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18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18

18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18

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    By the time you turn 18 you realize that there is little you can do to predict or control a) bad weather and b) bad hair days. Here are 17 other things you’ll probably have realized by the time the 18th year of your life comes around. My 18th birthday is one month away and here are some of the things I have learned along the way…

    1. You realize that a smile is indeed a very powerful and contagious infection and that all of us benefit from catching it every now and then. By the end of 17, you’re thinking, if no one else wants to start this amazing virtuous circle of smiling that brightens up everyone’s day- too bad for them- I will begin, with my smile. (Even if you didn’t think about this by 17, you got it now. Smile!)

    2. You’ve realized by now that your favorite childhood novels, movies and music are forever going to be your fairy godmother and fond-memory-bank occupants. (How can I ever forget Harry Potter and Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide?)

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    3. I’ll-pretend-like-I-don’t-know-you is a real phenomenon. People you said “Hi” to and who spoke so happily to you only yesterday may ignore your today like you’re a total stranger. In that case, 18 years of wisdom says, wave more to them more crazily and say a louder, ‘Hi!’, until they can’t pretend any longer to be straight-up strangers. (If they still want to ignore you, they’re just missing out on your awesomeness.)

    4. By 18 you realize that life is really, really short and unfortunately people you care about actually do die. This just gives you a million more reasons to say ‘I love you’ whenever and however you can. It is important to take on the practice of saying ‘Thank you’ for every moment you breathe and every second that you are able to love and live in this world.

    5. By the time you turn 18 you realize how important it is for you to turn 18 because you’re (more than mildly) frustrated with all the consent forms that you have to beg and plead your parents to sign before you’re permitted to do practically anything with your life.

    6. Heartbreak has happened, and sadly, will happen. But there’s nothing that a mint chocolate chip cookie ice-cream can’t fix right? (Wrong. By 18 you have to digest that there are some things that neither pralines nor mint chocolate chip can fix.) But then not everything in life needs be fixed, its okay that some things are imperfect. Leave the unfixable pieces behind, and move on.

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    7. By now you have realized that humans aren’t as smart as we like to think. Though science and religion give us many explanations, neither legendary geniuses nor anyone else have been able to answer the actually important and totally confounding questions that dictate the world around us. These questions include: What happens after death? Why are we here? Why is there evil in the world? By now we’ve figured out how most adults handle these defeating questions: by pretending they don’t exist. Now comes our own turn to decide how we’re going to handle them.

    8. If turning 18 (like me) and STILL haven’t gone out on a real date (like me) you might slightly despair (like me). Well, you’ll also realize you shouldn’t. By 18, you realize that 18 is not the end of the world (hopefully); you got your whole life ahead of you, for more awesomeness, for true love, and for everything else.

    9. If you want to feel loved, you’ve got to first believe that you are worthy of love and happiness. And by 18, you should have realized: You are worthy!

    10. It is tiring and totally not worth it to pretend to be someone you’re not. By the time you turn 18 you realize that life is hard, and sometimes intimidating, but if you just be yourself, you can handle it so much better and more easily. (Then of course,  “just being yourself” does take a lot of courage)

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    11. Reaching out for help can be a difficult thing, but it isn’t wrong, and man, it does help tremendously. By 18, you might begin to realize that vulnerability is actually a beautiful thing and there’s nothing wrong in feeling insecure. You can make some of the best connections with others by reaching out for help when you need it.

    12. By 18 you realize that success need not be just measured through the common standards of fame, money, power and popularity. You realize that there’s more to life, like enjoyment, like screaming at the top of your lungs in an open ground at 4 am, like baking cookies for a midnight breakfast, like speaking to your absolutely cute crush for the first time, like laughing awkwardly with your best friends. All of this counts as success too!

    13. By 18 you understand that your drawbacks, awkwardness, and insecurities are completely normal and that everyone feels the same way. These characteristics make you the uniquely amazing person you are. You learn to embrace both your light and dark and be equally proud of them both. (Or at least try to begin on that incredible journey of self-love).

    14. You are kind of missing your childhood, slightly apprehensive about taking the responsibilities of an adult, and sort of nostalgic about end of school days. Remember all the days spent learning to ride the bike and playing teacher to imaginary students? (Well, I still play imaginary teacher…but that would be for another article)

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    15. You know by now that there are some mean people in the world, or some who love bathing in negativity and pulling you down in that unproductive spiral of gossip and sulking. Of course these are fundamentally amazing people, so try to show them light if you can. If the task defeats you, shake off the cynicism and import your own sunshine into the world. That’s the simple recipe to make life happier for everyone.

    16. You’ve realized that nobody ain’t goin’ anywhere if they are not ready to work hard. The odds of a person winning a lottery is pretty close to zero and by 18 you know how challenging yet totally possible it is to reach your dreams. Seventeen years of Earth has taught you life is no easy business; till now your parents may have sweated it out so that you could live well and now its your turn to take to the hard work and live all your dreams.

    17. And finally, through all this accumulated wisdom, you might realize how difficult it is to practically implement things we know too well in theory and in our thoughts. What sounds great in theory is tough to gain the courage or wisdom to get going…from asking someone out to starting a small online business, taking the first step can sometimes be the most difficult.

    But that’s the real challenge of life, right? To act on the wisdom and thoughts whose implementation terrifies us… or at least to try.

    Featured photo credit: just1snap via flickr.com

    More by this author

    18 Things You Should Learn by the Time You Turn 18 10 Forgotten Truths About Happiness 10 Ways To Go From Being A Good Leader To A Great Leader 11 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do

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    Last Updated on January 17, 2019

    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

    8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

    In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

    Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

    Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

    Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

    Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

    The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

    There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

    How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

    According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

    Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

    Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

    The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

    Listen carefully:

    We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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    The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

    Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

    8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

    There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

    Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

    1. Pray Daily

    You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

    When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

    Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

    Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

    2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

    A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

    By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

    Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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    If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

    This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

    How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

    3. Smile Often

    Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

    Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

    Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

    The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

    4. Organize Your Working Desk

    A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

    When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

    Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

    Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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    5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

    I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

    Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

    What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

    6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

    God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

    I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

    I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

    7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

    You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

    How do you do that? This is my formula:

    First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

    If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

    If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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    If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

    Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

    8. Go Exercise

    Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

    The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

    You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

    12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

    The Bottom Line

    It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

    It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

    Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

    More Resources About Mindfulness

    Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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