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14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope

14 Ways to Live Life Free of Fear and Full of Hope

Can you see yourself sitting down watching a sunset, the waves lapping the white sand beach as the evening’s last rays of sunshine warm you? A book lies forgotten in your lap and all you are thinking about is how wonderful it is to be you, right here, right now.

Compare this to you watching the sunset and feeling guilty that you should be making dinner, finishing a work assignment, doing laundry, calling your mother or anything other than just enjoying yourself.

Somewhere along the line, feeling guilty, fearful, and unhappy has become the norm. It is almost expected. What happened to us to take away our feeling of excitement for what tomorrow holds and replaced it with worry?

It is time to revisit the things that caused this change, and to nullify their effects on us. Keep reading for 14 ways to live a life free of fear and full of hope.

1. Let go of pre-existing ideas that don’t make sense.

My friend and radio co-host, Sally Nutter, told me about a time she thought she couldn’t eat a pizza because she couldn’t find a knife to cut it. She finally realized that she could tear it up and enjoy it just as much.

There are so many ideas that are set in our minds early on and never looked at again. We do the darndest things for no other reason than we have always done them that way, or someone told us it was the right way to do it.

Start looking at the things you do. Re-evaluate the things that bug you. If they don’t make sense, do it your own way!

2. Know your own power.

Everyone doubts their ability to make things go right. Many times these doubts have nothing to do with whether we can or can’t, but they make us very unhappy.

Take a look at the doubts you have and put them into words. What, or who, made you feel doubtful? As we grow, doubts can be sown in our minds. They can be stated outright or simply implied. Remember that this is someone else’s opinion and can be discarded no matter how much they assert it as truth.

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Look at these doubts in the present and decide whether they are true for you. Discard the ones that don’t make sense.

3. Look carefully at the things you are afraid of.

I had a friend who I wanted to take traveling with me, but she was afraid of flying. Back in the ’80s planes were falling out of the sky and many of us developed fears based on media reports.

In order to help her out, I sent her to a site that outlined all of the advancements that have been made, and how safe airplanes are today. There were details of exactly how these new things worked and the statistics on safety. She felt a lot better after that.

Things in the past can impact how we view things in the present. Look at current information on things that make you fearful and see if you are worrying over something with relatively low risk.

4. Trust yourself.

Somehow you have made it through everything life has thrown at you and you are still in the game. Although life is uncertain, take a minute to look at all of the seemingly impossible times you have had to deal with. Think about all the times you asked yourself if you would make it through. Somehow you did it. You may not have done it gracefully, but you did it!

Have faith that whatever happens in the future, you will find a way to deal with it.

5. Quit looking for stuff to fix

There are many home improvement shows, and I love them, but there are times when we should be happy with what we see in front of us.

Our houses are not model houses. We live in them. They will, at times, be untidy and look lived in. Relax. If something needs to be fixed, trust that you will get to it. But for now, just enjoy.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff

When we go through tough times, we adopt survival patterns that work for the rough times, but are not necessarily right for every day living. We may have decided to worry about the small things so they don’t get away from us. It takes the joy out of life.

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If something goes wrong, you will notice and handle it. Most of the small stuff irons itself out.

7. Remind yourself that you are worthy.

There are many messages tossed at us in life. Most of the time they are attempts to get us to buy something. We are told we are not thin enough, smart enough, educated enough, or cool enough.

Here is a new take on these things: you are enough. You are enough no matter what you weigh. You are enough no matter what your IQ. You are enough if you decide that you are.

These things are up to you, not anyone else. Know that you, as you are, are worthy of love, happiness, and all the good things in life.

8. No matter what is bugging you, you can always do something about it.

Looking at your situation right now, it may look pretty bleak. But no matter what is happening in your life, there is always something that you can do about it.

If there is something bugging you, sit down and figure out  some things you can do about it and then go and do them.

9. Hang out with positive people.

There is nothing more discouraging than someone who is apathetic and makes it known to everyone around him or her, or the person who is always angry or sad no matter what you do to help them.

These people can bring us down. Limit your exposure to these people. The majority of your time should be spent with dynamic people who are happy and get things done. People who find ways of handling things in life are the people who feed you positive energy.

10. Don’t let anyone insult, manipulate, or use you.

This can be hard to spot but whenever you feel uncomfortable around someone or feel as if you are walking on eggshells, chances are they are doing or saying things that bring you down and make you liable to manipulation.

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Social rules can make it difficult to stand up for yourself when someone is negative or insulting, but that is what that person is counting on.

People who covertly insult you are counting on the fact that you feel you are being rude if you point out that they have acted thoughtlessly. But they are the ones who lack manners. If someone insults you, you have every right to cordially insist that they treat you with respect.

It is not good manners to sit there and be abused. If someone insulted your spouse or child, you would rise to their defense. Why not rise to your own defense?

11. Don’t set personal goals based on external influences.

Last week I was talking about goals with my brilliant friend, Julia. She reminded me that it can be damaging to set personal goals based on external factors over which we have limited or no control.

For example, having a personal goal of winning a dance competition is an external goal because you never know when the judges will be biased, or some other competitor has a better day than you. Having a personal goal of learning a highly technical program, on the other hand, is a good internal goal because it is something over which you have complete control.

Look over your goals and revise them so that you are in control of the outcome.

12. Throw away the newspapers.

Most of what is written in the newspapers is BAD NEWS! There is nothing like something very scary to make people buy and read newspapers. Have you noticed that there is rarely, if ever, good news on the front page?

Good news exists everywhere. You don’t have to look hard to find it. If you are having trouble believing this, write down all of the good things you see in a day. People open doors for others, people put on benefit concerts to raise money for injured or ill people. The list can go on.

I fully believe that way more great things happen each day than bad things, and I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

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13. Work with children.

My job is teaching music to children. It is the best job I can think of. They are so bright, adorable and fun. They are excited about the future, even if the future is a sleepover or a movie. Kids are more balanced than the average adult because they have not learned to be worried or fearful.

Working with children in whatever capacity you can puts you in the same mindset. I get swept away daily by these kids and their ideas. It is the highlight of my life.

14. Listen to music or take a look at some high quality art.

Art and music are the antidote to the stress and negativity of life. It is like the Yin and Yang. It is your choice whether to focus on the good or the bad. Contrary to what many people believe, art and music are not just whimsical pursuits. They are the breath of life.

Many articles tell you to focus on the good but they don’t tell you that you have to make an effort to go out and find the good. It doesn’t just come to you.

Go to Youtube and find music you love, look at websites and books to find art that makes you happy. Bookmark them and go to them often. Make it a large part of your life to seek out and enjoy these things. Tip the balance in favor of things that make you really happy. This has a profound effect on your happiness level.

Go have a look in the dusty corners of your mind and pull out some of your old decisions and thoughts about things. Take a look at them in the bright light of day and see if they still make sense. If not, toss them in the trash and move on!

Good Luck!

Featured photo credit: sunflares free sun enjoyment of deep breathing girl via shutterstock.com

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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