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5 Positive Ways to Shake Up Your Life

5 Positive Ways to Shake Up Your Life

Sometimes, a life that is peaceful, calm and uneventful can unexpectedly end up feeling stressed. You might feel a void because you’re not accomplishing anything new. You might start feeling worried about your current situation and wonder what disaster is around the corner.

Some people are fine with the mundane. But for those craving some excitement or personal growth, certain major life changes can give you valuable lessons that create a permanent positive life shift,  making you a happier person.

According to Psychology Today, the only way positive change can happen in your life is to make choices. Yes, there are always risks involved with every decision you make, but the payoff comes in the accomplishment you’ll feel during the journey. Even if the outcome isn’t exactly like you anticipated. As outlined in this article on how to conquer fear and make a change, going after something new is as much about the process as it is the result.

If you feel like you’re in a rut and are looking for a positive way to add depth to your life, here are five ideas.

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1. Further Your Education

If you’ve always dreamed of getting a new degree, it may be more within your reach than you think. Online educational programs make it more manageable for professionals to study on their own schedule. Many employers will even fund at least part of a higher education if it pertains to the role.

Studying something completely new may lead to career changes that are more rewarding. You’ll also connect with potential new friends and learn subjects you may have never considered pursuing. This may lead to new discoveries or life decisions that help you attain more personal growth.

2. Go on Your Dream Vacation

Travel is one of the best investments you can make in yourself. Exposure to a new places, cultures, and people make you more aware of your personal qualities and how you interact with others. This also teaches you to be thankful for your current home base and the abundance you have been blessed with.

Traveling to your dream destination doesn’t have to break the bank. You can even stay somewhere for free with a service such as Couchsurfing. Before you hit your destination, look into deals sites like Groupon to score discounts on restaurants and excursions, and research free activities, such as nature walks or festivals.

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    3. Face Your Fear

    Stepping outside of your comfort zone is essential to achieve growth and transformation, reports Psychology Today. Facing a fear provides many benefits including:

    • A sense of accomplishment
    • Courage to go after new goals
    • Lasting increased confidence

    Some fears maybe even hindering you professionally. For example, a fear of public speaking may make you less likely to go after executive positions that require talking to groups, even if you’d excel at all other parts of that role. In such cases, try taking a public speaking course to help you conquer that fear. To push the boundaries of what you think is capable in your life, perform the activity you fear, such as skydiving or bungee jumping if you’re scared of heights.

    4. Move to a New City

    Whether it’s a change of climate, population size, scenery, or culture, moving away from your home helps break the monotony of daily routine.

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    If you have a job where you work remotely or do much of your work online, you may be able to stay with your company and make the leap. Some countries, such as Australia, have extensive work-holiday visa programs that are welcoming to new residents for up to a year.

    Having an employee who works in a different country allows a company to potentially add a new exotic location to their list of “global offices.” Talking about your dreams to move somewhere else may be seen as beneficial to your job. So don’t be afraid to share your thoughts with your supervisor to see what your options are.

    5. Volunteer

    There are so many worthy causes to donate your time to; from working at an animal shelter with cute animals to helping disadvantaged youngsters as a tutor. A study published by the American Psychological Association found those who volunteered regularly were less likely to develop hypertension than non-volunteers.

    Volunteering doesn’t just help those you’re working with — it helps you focus on a positive task, which eliminates stressful thoughts. This makes you more appreciative of what you have in your own life while giving you a satisfying feeling of accomplishment.

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    Ready to make a move? The American Psychological Association recommends making a plan for your change and asking for support to increase chances of fulfillment. Use these techniques when you want to do something different in your life or to set a goal for personal growth. Embrace the uncertainties you face, and have the confidence you can handle whatever comes your way.

    Featured photo credit: life changes via shutterstock.com

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

    Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

    Video Summary

    Why is it important to train up our core strength?

    There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

    This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

    Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

    In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

    One Exercise, multiple benefits

    There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

    By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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    When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

    Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

    In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

    What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

    What will happen when you start doing planks every day

      1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

      Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

      • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
      • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
      • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
      • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

      2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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        Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

        Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

        3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

          Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

          4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

            Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

            A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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            A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

            On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

            5. You’ll improve overall balance

              Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

              6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

                Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

                7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                  Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                  How to hold a plank position

                  1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                  2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                  3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                  4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                  5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                  6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                  7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                  Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                  Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                    How to improve your plank time gradually

                    1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                    2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                    3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                    Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                    Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                    You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                    • Prolapse
                    • After prolapse surgery
                    • Pelvic pain conditions
                    • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                    • Previous childbirth
                    • Overweight

                    Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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