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How to train for a happy life in 7 easy tips

How to train for a happy life in 7 easy tips

Every serious athlete will tell you that in order to compete with the best, you have to train. It takes hours upon hours to just get into the same league, let alone be the best at something. If we really want to excel at anything, we must prepare for it and make it part of our daily lives. It is not something we can just “wing” and see where we end up. It takes dedication, perseverance, and commitment.  It requires effort (lots of it) and a daily dose of attitude.

Isn’t life just as important?

Shouldn’t we be gearing up for bringing our best self to every moment, every experience, and every person we meet?  With all of the negativity in the world, we are bombarded with hate and anger, accompanied by misunderstanding and distrust.

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But we all want something better, don’t we? Maybe we won’t say it out loud, but we are all thinking it.

We all want to be happy. We all want to feel alive and that our days here mean something. We all want something to look forward to and to believe in.

No need to get on your latest running shorts or sneakers… you might not even break a sweat, but this training is serious stuff.

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Shake it off

There are always going to be things we cannot change though we want to and the past will always haunt us if we let it. If we really want to be happy, we have to move past the stuff that isn’t there anymore or the stuff that isn’t so happy.  Letting go doesn’t mean forgetting — it means, “I’ve accepted it, but holding onto it weighs me down or it makes me better.”  People are going to say bad things regardless of whether or not you are in their favor or not.  You know in your heart if it’s true or not.  As Dr. Seuss said, “Those that mind don’t matter and those that matter don’t mind.”

Positive vibes only

It’s easy to get sucked into the mindset of the “Debby Downers” who lurk around, just waiting for someone else to join their group.  Be mindful of those that sap your energy and those that restore it. ONLY spend time with the people who encourage you, who support you, and make you better.  It may mean saying “goodbye” to people you really care about, but no one can keep from drowning when people are constantly trying to hold you under water.  You can tell when you are with good people — you naturally gravitate towards them and find yourself removing yourself from those who just don’t have the “feel-good” vibes you need.  There is nothing wrong with putting your own needs before someone else’s.

Listen to your heart

Too often, we let our minds get in the way of our hearts.  We do what makes sense instead of trusting the path we already know we must take.  Listening to your heart can be difficult when people try to talk over it.  They tell you that your heart is wrong and that everything you love and want is just a waste of time.  Ignore them!  Your beating heart pounds its echo loud when it wants to be heard.  Your only job is to believe in its message and allow it to guide you where you really need to be.  No matter where it takes you, you will have followed your heart without a single regret.

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Believe in magic

Who doesn’t remember being captivated by the circus or “The Wizard of Oz” or even Tinkerbell and her Pixie Dust from “Peter Pan?” Too often we search for a rational explanation and refuse to believe in something until we find the answer why.  Accept that some things don’t have an explanation and no amount of logic will make it so.  Things that seem random really might not be all that random and when we believe in something a little more than only what we can see, touch, and hear, it’s just the magic talking.

Sing out loud

I know it sounds corny, and most people don’t understand why singing makes the list.  The next time you are sitting at a stop light and the person in the car next to you is belting out whatever top 40 hit that’s on the radio, look at their face.  Do they look unhappy to you?  Nope.  They are having a ball.  They don’t care if you laugh or sing right along with them.  Don’t just hide out in your shower or when no one else is at home with you… sing! Try it now! See? Feels good, right?

Find joy in every day life

The negative is always upon us. It’s there — in the news, in the schools, in the political arena.  We can’t escape it, but we can put joy in its place.  The secret is to look for it, buried beneath all of the other crap.  Look for the joy in a laughter of a baby.  Look for the joy found in old friends being reacquainted with one another. Look for joy in the warm cup of coffee you now hold in your two hands.  Look for the joy in a simple “hello” between two strangers.  Joy is everywhere… you just have to find it.

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Give yourself away

It sounds boring, but it works.  We cannot feel unhappy when we give of our talents and gifts to someone else for no other reason that we can.  Give to someone without being asked to or for any kind of recognition.  Leave parts of you with unsuspecting people who never even learn your name.  Create a legacy that will long be remembered long after you are gone.  Most importantly, give your time away unselfishly and never request it to be returned to you.  Create value in your message, in the way you live, and how you inspire others to fall in love with life.

The constant pull between just existing and really thriving is where our free will comes in.  Being happy is a choice.  It must be made every day.  Just like the athletes who train for their one shot at something exciting, we need to start “training” for our best event yet… life.

Featured photo credit: Ismael Nieto via unsplash.com

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Michelle A. Homme

Author, Speaker, Quote Writer, Empowerment Coach

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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