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A Letter To My 20-something Daughter

A Letter To My 20-something Daughter

Recently I was reading an article written by Whitney Fleming. It was a letter to her daughter before she heads into her teens. This got me thinking about what will happen when I have a daughter that is going through her 20s just like I am now. What will I want her to know?

To my daughter,

I write this letter to you as I am working through my 20-something years. There are some lessons I’ve learned and I hope that I can pass on my knowledge to you.

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1. Choose a career that matters to you

Sometimes it isn’t until you hit your 20-somethings that you really start to understand what matters to you. Take your passion and make it into a career. When you choose something you’re passionate about, you’ll never really feel like you’re working.

2. Don’t be afraid to open your heart

You will with no doubt have been burned by a love, if not more than one, by this point in your life. And while it won’t be easy to open up completely again to another person, just try. Don’t ever sell your love short because you’re afraid of getting hurt. You will get hurt over and over until you find the right one. And when you find the right one, it’ll all be worth it.

3. It’s ok to let go of friends

Friends, unfortunately, come and go. Sometimes they fade away, sometimes a fight will damage the best of friendships. But remember, you don’t need to hold on to everyone. Some people are meant to stay in your life, some are meant to teach you things, and some are meant to leave you with amazing memories. Take each situation as its own, so that you can learn and grow.

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4. Smile at your memories

Wether it’s losing friends or boyfriends, you’ve once had amazing times with these people. Don’t ever let anger or sadness of a situation ruin your memories. Let yourself smile when you remember these times because at one point, they were exactly what you wanted out of your life. And the good times can’t ever be erased.

5. Be indepepdent

Learn how to be on your own. Learn how to navigate directions, hang pictures, find studs in the wall, and cook. Become your own independent woman. No matter if you’re still living with me or a roommate or a boyfriend. Learn how to stand on your own two feet and know that when the cake burns, the picture rips out of the wall, or your get lost, you’ll be proud because you will be able to manage it all by yourself.

6. Don’t worry about money

There’s a secret to money. You’ll always need more and you will never have enough. So let what you have be enough. As long as you can pay your bills, eat, and keep yourself safe, you have enough. Don’t worry if others are going on vacation or have better cars than you. Your day will come for those things, too. Appreciate what you can afford.

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7. There’s no time limit for finding “the one”

I found the man I married at only 19 years old. But that doesn’t mean that if you’ve hit mid-way through your 20’s and you haven’t met him all hope is lost. Mr. Right will come for you when the time is right. Don’t rush it and don’t worry yourself looking high and low for him. You WILL find each other.

8. Embarrass yourself

I was always someone who was too timid to make a mistake. So afraid of making a fool of myself. You WILL make mistakes. You might over sleep and miss your class, or drink too much and dance on the bar. I’m not saying go wild, but I’m saying let yourself go. Embarrassing yourself is unfortunately life. And your 20s are usually the time when you’re exploring so much that you will make these embarrassing mistakes. So laugh it off and remember that it’s turning your face red now, but will make for some pretty funny stories one day.

9. Enjoy the present

Today is today. Tomorrow is tomorrow. I tell you this incase you forget to live for today not for tomorrow. You don’t know what life will hold for you in the future. It’s always smart to plan, but don’t stress over what will be. What will be will be, so embrace your present and live it to its fullest.

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10. I have been there, done that, and will help you through it

I was a 20-something myself years ago. I made mistakes, worried about the future, embarrassed myself, lost friends, had heartbreaks, and many other obstacles which you will no doubt go through as well. Talk to me. Even though you think I’m old and out of touch with life, I’ve been where you are. Never forget I’m your mother. I will love you unconditionally no matter what mistakes you make. I will give you advice when you seek it and I will listen when you want to cry. I will help you through.

I wanted to share something I’ve learned while I worked through my 20s but there are many more lessons about life that you will learn on your own. But remember your 20s have to be embraced. Explore life and enjoy every second. Just know there will always be a light on for you to come back home.

Love you always,
Mom

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

How to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Let’s be honest. When you’re going through a difficult time in life, doesn’t it drive you crazy when someone says, “just be optimistic”?

Everyone has that one overly-optimistic “Positive Pam” friend who sees the good in everything. Trying to find anything to be happy about when you’re struggling feels unrealistic.

The question remains: “Why is it difficult to pull upon happy thoughts when everything in life feels like it’s falling apart?”

Well, the root of the problem lies in the brain. Your brain isn’t designed for happiness because its focus has always been on promoting survival, it saves the happy chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin) for opportunities to meet a survival need.[1]

While all of this is true, it is still possible to train your brain to be optimistic so that you can find the silver lining amidst life’s greatest adversities.

You Can’t Be Positive All the Time

Before I talk about how you can do this, you must realize that you aren’t expected to be positive 100% of the time. You’re human and life happens.

Have you ever had a solid plan in place, and then life comes along and says, “Let’s explore rock bottom for a while instead?!” You’re allowed to feel sad, angry, or negative sometimes.

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However, the trick is making sure that you don’t live in this place for too long. Disempowering emotions serve their purpose in the short-term but can become destructive to your overall quality of life in the long-term.

When it comes to thinking positively, I think a lot of people have a skewed understanding of what positivity should look like. You don’t have to sing in the rain or smile 24/7 to be deemed a positive person.

Appreciating the smallest of things can work wonders for your mindset, such that, over time, you start wiring your brain to seek out and expect more positives. This speaks to the power of having an attitude of gratitude.

Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression.[2]

The more grateful you are, the happier you are.

So, what does all of this mean? Well, happiness won’t always be your automatic response. Rather, it’s a choice that you have to make every single day.

3 Ways You Can Train Your Brain to Be Positive

Similar to any habit, your brain conditions itself to think and behave in certain ways through repetition. Thus, if you engage in daily rituals that enhance your positive thinking, over time you will rewire and train your brain to become more positive.

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Let’s talk about 3 ways that you can train your brain to be positive:

1. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Your mind is a powerful tool – you can either fill it with positive thoughts or negative ones. The average person has thousands of thoughts per day, 80% of which are negative, and 95% of which are exactly the same thoughts as the day before.[3]

If you’re like most people, you probably spend a lot of time in your head. This is where your inner critic loves to hang out and try to convince you of all the reasons why you’re not good enough or why things won’t work out.

Not surprisingly, if you play this disempowering record over and over again in your head, eventually you will start believing it.

People get into trouble when they define who they are based on how they think. You are not your thoughts, so don’t believe everything that you think. This is why it’s so important to practice challenging your negative thoughts.

The next time that you have a thought that doesn’t serve you, stop and reflect upon whether or not that thought is accurate. Once you determine where the fallacy is in your thinking lies, step back and ask yourself, “Is this thought building me up or tearing me down?” If it’s the latter, reframe the negative thought to a more empowering one.

The fastest way to change your life is to change your narrative. Small shifts in your mindset can trigger a massive shift in how you perceive yourself, others, and the world.

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2. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Your success in life is determined, in large part, by your environment. If you want to be an optimistic person, you have to surround yourself with optimistic people. End of story.

As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Take a moment and think about your close circle of friends. Are they inspiring and driven people who uplift and empower you? Or are they lazy, negative, and toxic?

If it’s the latter, I hate to break it to you, but it’s time to find new friends.

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’re more likely to adopt empowering beliefs and see life as happening for you instead of to you.[4]

Decide who you want to be and find people who embody those traits. When you raise your standards, your circle will change and so, too, will your life.

3. Make Your Mental Health and Well-Being a Priority

The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a drastic increase in mental health issues. The isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic turmoil that people are facing around the world is a breeding ground for psychological distress.[5]

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Given the current state of our world, there has never been a more important time for us to make our mental health and well-being a priority.

The question remains, “How do you stay positive when everything sucks?”

It’s all a matter of perspective.

We know that the mind and body are connected. If you ignore one, the other one suffers equally as much. Research has found that taking care of ourselves physically and mentally can influence our happiness and train our brains over time to be more positive.[6]

Looking after your mind and body means creating a daily self-care ritual, consisting of eating healthy foods, exercising, meditating, doing yoga, staying connected with friends, journaling, reading, and practicing affirmations, to name a few.

Anything that helps you manage your stress and connect with the present moment is key. Even in the most challenging of times, it is always possible to find something to be grateful for. By choosing to focus on what is good in your life and what makes you happy, you will grow stronger in the face of adversity.

Now Is the Time to Train Your Brain to Be Optimistic

Your mindset is everything. Thinking positively is as important as your skills or talents. We cannot always control our outer world, which is why it’s imperative to cultivate a strong inner world.

How you respond to adversity will determine your success in life. Have faith, trust in yourself, and believe in what is possible. When you think positively, positive things will happen.

More Tips on How to Be Optimistic

Featured photo credit: Dayne Topkin via unsplash.com

Reference

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