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7 Actionable Steps To Transform Your Life

7 Actionable Steps To Transform Your Life

To change your mind and your world it is going to take action. Since you are reading this, let’s assume you are wanting to change something in your life or perhaps completely transform your life. Let’s get real for a moment. This is not going to happen by accident or by blind luck. No matter what you are wanting to change, whether it’s wanting a new relationship, wanting to get out of a current one, needing more money, wanting more leisure time or whatever else, you have to keep the goal in mind and make sure that you are taking the right actions – and not the wrong ones. It’s not rocket science, but you must develop self-discipline and adopt the right mindset and behaviours.

Follow these 7 actionable steps consistently for a month, and you’ll be off to a very positive start.

The First Step: Be Honest

Being honest might be easier said than done, but if you are hiding from some glaringly obvious truth, hoping it will go away, then you can be sure that when you come out of the corner it will still be there waiting for you. Most of life’s problems and challenges lose power over you when you look at them squarely in the eye and challenge them face on.

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So be courageous with this exercise. For the next 30 days, keep a diary and write down everything that’s on your mind every morning. This isn’t for anyone else to see, it’s simply you taking control of what’s on your mind and reflecting on what is important and what isn’t. When you begin this diary, be as free and as brave as you can, as it is a safe place to face your own reality in life and to begin working out what needs to be done.

The Second Step: Watch Your Habits

As you begin writing your daily diary, you must make sure that you don’t ignore things that could be important. Also, you must be thinking about whether your daily patterns are getting you closer to your goals or further from them. Of course, nobody is perfect so don’t be too hard on yourself, but do remember that every habit you continue and every new one you start could have a massive effect on where your life is going. Remember it doesn’t cost anything to change your mind, and anyone can do it.

The Third Step: Educate Yourself

No matter what you are trying to do to transform your life, there is simply no excuse in today’s world for not giving yourself that chance. If you are feeling like the victim and all you can see are reasons (excuses) not to make a change, then you need more hope that what you want is achievable. This can always be found by reading, whether it’s non-fiction books, articles online or magazines that relate to your goal. What you think about and learn about will have results, so plant those seeds and let them grow.

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The Fourth Step: Don’t Look Back

History is important, and we can all learn from it. If you are interested in what happened in the past then this is good, but also learn not to get stuck on it when you are trying to change. This doesn’t mean you should trust someone who ripped you off last week or go back to a relationship when you can see this person is destroying you. It’s possible to learn from experiences and move on, so you must build this into your mindset as you change your mind and progress into your new life.

The Fifth Step: Don’t Be Afraid To Learn and Grow

This may sound like an unusual suggestion, but it is important to be free from fear of trying new things. If you are feeling too comfortable with your current habits, friends, jobs and relationships, then it’s possible you are blocking your own potential. In reality, everyone does this to some degree and it’s not a problem, but many people do this far too much. If you can join a new club, take up a new hobby or start to listen to someone who you know deep down is talking sense, then you are opening yourself up to new possibilities.

The Sixth Step: Be Creative

This step is not necessarily about creating a great piece of artwork or inventing the next big thing. It is simply about using your mind creatively to help bring about what you want. For the next 30 days, spend five minutes every day (preferably at the same time each day) simply relaxing, shutting your eyes and imagining the life you want. Make the most of this perfect fantasy.

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It costs nothing to use your mind in this way, and the most successful people in the world (no matter what success means to them) began with an idea of how their life should be, and they focussed on it. Don’t underestimate the power of this step.

The Seventh Step: Make A Long-Term Plan

Imagine for a moment that you had the life you wanted, and that everything was perfect. No problems to deal with and everything you could possibly desire is right there. What happens next? That’s right, there’s another day tomorrow, and then another. If you only think about solving a certain problem and you don’t think beyond it, then you could end up feeling even more discontent than when you started.

So imagine you will live to 120 years of age and list everything that you want to achieve during that time. Think outside the box and don’t underestimate yourself. Good luck, and always keep your positive goals in mind.

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Last Updated on September 10, 2018

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

Overcoming The Pain Of A Breakup: 3 Suggestions Based On Science

We thought that the expression ‘broken heart’ was just a metaphor, but science is telling us that it is not: breakups and rejections do cause physical pain. When a group of psychologists asked research participants to look at images of their ex-partners who broke up with them, researchers found that the same brain areas that are activated by physical pain are also activated by looking at images of ex-partners. Looking at images of our ex is a painful experience, literally.[1].

Given that the effect of rejections and breakups is the same as the effect of physical pain, scientists have speculated on whether the practices that reduce physical pain could be used to reduce the emotional pain that follows from breakups and rejections. In a study on whether painkillers reduce the emotional pain caused by a breakup, researchers found that painkillers did help. Individuals who took painkillers were better able to deal with their breakup. Tamar Cohen wrote that “A simple dose of paracetamol could help ease the pain of a broken heart.”[2]

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Just like painkillers can be used to ease the pain of a broken heart, other practices that ease physical pain can also be used to ease the pain of rejections and breakups. Three of these scientifically validated practices are presented in this article.

Looking at images of loved ones

While images of ex-partners stimulate the pain neuro-circuitry in our brain, images of loved ones activate a different circuitry. Looking at images of people who care about us increases the release of oxytocin in our body. Oxytocin, or the “cuddle hormone,” is the hormone that our body relies on to induce in us a soothing feeling of tranquility, even when we are under high stress and pain.

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In fact, oxytocin was found to have a crucial role as a mother is giving birth to her baby. Despite the extreme pain that a mother has to endure during delivery, the high level of oxytocin secreted by her body transforms pain into pleasure. Mariem Melainine notes that, “Oxytocin levels are usually at their peak during delivery, which promotes a sense of euphoria in the mother and helps her develop a stronger bond with her baby.”[3]

Whenever you feel tempted to look at images of your ex-partner, log into your Facebook page and start browsing images of your loved ones. As Eva Ritvo, M.D. notes, “Facebook fools our brain into believing that loved ones surround us, which historically was essential to our survival. The human brain, because it evolved thousands of years before photography, fails on many levels to recognize the difference between pictures and people”[4]

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Exercise

Endorphins are neurotransmitters that reduce our perception of pain. When our body is high on endorphins, painful sensations are kept outside of conscious awareness. It was found that exercise causes endorphins to be secreted in the brain and as a result produce a feeling of power, as psychologist Alex Korb noted in his book: “Exercise causes your brain to release endorphins, neurotransmitters that act on your neurons like opiates (such as morphine or Vicodin) by sending a neural signal to reduce pain and provide anxiety relief.”[5] By inhibiting pain from being transmitted to our brain, exercise acts as a powerful antidote to the pain caused by rejections and breakups.

Meditation

Jon Kabat Zinn, a doctor who pioneered the use of mindfulness meditation therapy for patients with chronic pain, has argued that it is not pain itself that is harmful to our mental health, rather, it is the way we react to pain. When we react to pain with irritation, frustration, and self-pity, more pain is generated, and we enter a never ending spiral of painful thoughts and sensations.

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In order to disrupt the domino effect caused by reacting to pain with pain, Kabat Zinn and other proponents of mindfulness meditation therapy have suggested reacting to pain through nonjudgmental contemplation and acceptance. By practicing meditation on a daily basis and getting used to the habit of paying attention to the sensations generated by our body (including the painful ones and by observing these sensations nonjudgmentally and with compassion) our brain develops the habit of reacting to pain with grace and patience.

When you find yourself thinking about a recent breakup or a recent rejection, close your eyes and pay attention to the sensations produced by your body. Take deep breaths and as you are feeling the sensations produced by your body, distance yourself from them, and observe them without judgment and with compassion. If your brain starts wandering and gets distracted, gently bring back your compassionate nonjudgmental attention to your body. Try to do this exercise for one minute and gradually increase its duration.

With consistent practice, nonjudgmental acceptance will become our default reaction to breakups, rejections, and other disappointments that we experience in life. Every rejection and every breakup teaches us great lessons about relationships and about ourselves.

Featured photo credit: condesign via pixabay.com

Reference

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