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5 Things That Changed My Way of Thinking From Traveling Across Europe

5 Things That Changed My Way of Thinking  From Traveling Across Europe

I had the amazing opportunity to travel through Europe this summer. It wasn’t the typical destinations either. It was in the Balkans where some countries are barely touched by tourism. I got a glimpse into how life should be embraced. People that dealt with the rise and fall of communism, then lived through a war and still live with landmines just off main roads. The atmosphere of the past only revealed itself from bombed buildings and abandoned homes with bullet holes. The people reflected something much more inspiring.

1. The Past Shouldn’t Dictate Your Right Now

In Bosnia, we drove for two hours and didn’t see a soul. The houses had seen bombs and bullets. They were being devoured by nature. However, when we arrived in a village, city or campsite, people were warm to me. They were full of life and laughter. Initially, they were always a bit reserved at first but became playful and open pretty quickly. They were very community oriented and laughed with each other. At night in the cities, they gathered in squares and socialized. Despite their tumultuous past of post-communism, war and now poverty, it was amazing to see that their spirit was so alive. Many of us are so much more fortunate. Live life with laughter and warmth.in your heart no matter what is happening.

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2. It’s Not What You Have But How You Feel

In some of the poorest countries in Europe, it seems even more important to have a Mercedes. I’ve never seen so many of them in my life while going through Albania, Bulgaria and Romania. Some people have to live in their car because they can’t afford anything else. The smiles I got usually came from the guy driving an old Trabant or a horse and buggy. Every culture is guilty of wanting things. It’s letting them define you where the problem lies. I witnessed the incredible power of being content with what you have. I saw unwavering happiness for life in those kind of people. Being grateful for whatever you have takes away the feeling of not having enough. You likely have much more than many.

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3. Being Self Sustainable

In the high hills and deep valleys of Montenegro, people still live off what they can grow or farm. While it may be hard work, the families were connected and the food, unbelievable. Fresh goat cheese, vegetables and farm fresh eggs. These hearty people of the villages knew how to treat ailments with natural plants in the area and didn’t rely on society. They were happy, healthy people. While it’s not possible for all of us to own goats and have a garden, supporting local farmers by purchasing their produce is a good option. You support sustainable practise while enjoying farm fresh goods.

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4. Keeping A Sense of Community

The Balkans showed me a side of humanity that melted my heart. The togetherness of families and friends lit up all surroundings. Their uninhibited laughter and how they adored one another was deeply touching. They welcomed me into their lives as though I was family. Having a community of people around you gives a sense of security and belonging in the world. Make the effort to stay close to your loved ones. Help each other and have get-togethers. This is truly a secret.to fulfillment.

5. Honouring Your Roots

Horse drawn buggies and shepherds tending their sheep is still a way of life in the Balkans. They were proud people that were excited.to tell you about the best parts of their country. They value their past and keep on with family tradition. Knowing your roots allows you to have an identity of yourself. This allows for greater conviction in your life. Decisions are easier and you’re secure. You also have a rich family history. Be proud of where you came from and carry on a small tradition. Something as small as using your grandma’s pie recipe can make you feel like you’re a larger part of something.

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Loraine Couturier

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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