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Last Updated on September 6, 2018

16 Simple Rules to Live by for a Successful And Fulfilling Life

16 Simple Rules to Live by for a Successful And Fulfilling Life

Is your day-to-day life full of stress and chaos?

Are you scrambling to find a peaceful moment in the day when you can put your feet up and relax? Are you rushed, stressed out and ready to call it quits?

Why is that so? Who is responsible for it? Why have we made it so difficult?

The solution is simple: simplify your life.

It’s the implementation part that is hard, but here are the rules to live by to help you with that:

1. Believe in yourself , but be aware of your limitations

The first step to accomplishing all your goals and making your dreams come true starts with this simple realisation that you are human:

You are not perfect and you can’t do everything alone.

Always keep things realistic. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you find it hard to move; trust yourself to deliver what you need to, but also be prepared to cut yourself some slack.

Own up when you make a mistake. Set goals, and enjoy the journey.

2. De-clutter and simplify

You have a thousand different things screaming for attention:

You have to tidy up the kids’ room again; you have to do the dishes and laundry; and the never-ending household chores are waiting. You have to organize your calendar and make room for more appointments; make time to socialise; help the kids with homework; and make a gazillion school runs.

Don’t even get started on what needs to be done at the office.

Let’s get one thing straight—you cannot accomplish anything unless you get yourself some of the clarity that comes from creating space in your life, in your relationships and your environment.

You need to reduce, cut back, simplify—Only then will you stop the feeling of being overwhelmed and rushed.

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Give anything you haven’t used for the past 3 years to charity. Get organized

Enjoy the concept of enjoying without owing, and appreciating without acquiring.

3. Use everything in moderation

This is something I live by, be it work, socializing, family commitments, overeating, shopping, or watching too much TV—it helps with every single thing.

Embrace the philosophy of “having enough”:

There’s no need to go to extremes, so exercise common sense and learn to curb any obsessive behaviour.

Spend less money than you make. watch your diet and watch less TV.

4. Keep things in perspective

I admit there will be times when nothing will go your way, and you will find yourself fighting battles, fixing problems and minimizing damage all day long.

We all have those days, and it is too easy to get caught up in the drama. Get a handle on things: this, too, shall pass.

Your child will get better soon, the noisy neighbourhood parties will end, your backstabbing colleague will get transferred (we can hope, can’t we?), and there will be actual days where you tick off all the items on your to-do list.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Have an open mind.

5. Treat others how they want to be treated

You might end up getting in trouble if you try treating others how you want to be treated, instead of how they would like you to treat them.

For instance, if you are not a phone person, you might not call your friend because you assume that they feel the same way you do, which may not be the case.

Try to be sensitive to the needs of others, and occasionally going out of your way to do something for them.

Try not to judge. Be generous; try to do something nice for somebody on a regular basis.

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6. Family first

My priority is my family, and I left work to start my own freelancing career for the flexible hours it gives.

That doesn’t mean that my work is not important—it just means that I have to operate in a way that works for me and my family.

How important is it to you that you spend time with your family? Are you making sure that your work doesn’t prevent you from doing just that? What sort of arrangements have you made to make it happen?

You don’t have to stop living your life for your family members, but you’ll feel far less guilt if you prioritise and make time for them.

7. Pay attention to the moment

Stop thinking about what happened in the past, or worry about what might happen in the future.

Live in the moment and learn to savour each one.

8. Have a positive mindset

You are what you think all day long.

If you have nothing but negative thoughts racing through your ahead, then that’s what you are going to get, so try shifting to a more positive outlook on life.

You will be surprised to see that whatever you wished for will start to manifest itself around you.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” ― Henry Ford

9. Educate yourself

The most interesting people are the ones who take an interest in life and never let go of the “beginner’s mind”. They discover learning opportunities and continue to grow, both personally and professionally.

Be a life-long learner. You don’t have to get old to become wise.

Read good books. Try to learn something new every day. Take courses in subjects you enjoy.

10. Be passionate about something

There are some people who are so bursting with energy and vitality that others feel compelled to listen to them, and feel drawn to them.

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Passionate home cooks, budding interior designers, gourmet chocolate lovers, antique collectors—just try asking them a question about their interest and they will talk your ears off.

You want to be that person:

Someone who’s full of love for something significant.

Have one meaningful hobby that encourages you to follow your passion, and you’ll begin each day looking forward to something special.

11. Always be reflective

Do you ever think about yourself in moments of solitude?

What makes you, you? What makes you tick? What bores you to death? What sort of things do you dream of? What can’t you get over? What regrets do you have of your past?

Take some time to think about those things and you’ll understand yourself more clearly and deeply. You’d be surprised at the life-changing impact such reflection can bring.

Consider doing a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or another personality assessment to develop true understanding of your self.

12. Surround yourself with supportive people

Three things can change your life: friends, books and your thoughts.

Choose them wisely.

Avoid naysayers and party-poopers.

13. Banish the word “perfection”

Listen to what you tell your children: always do your best and forget about the rest.

You are expert enough. Strive for excellence, not for perfection.

14. Fix it, or deal with it, but stop whining about it

Nobody likes a person who complains all the time.

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If you look around, you’ll see many people who have been dealt a bad hand, but are making the best of things.

Don’t blame others for your problems. Don’t make excuses. Don’t be overly sensitive. Don’t be a drama queen.

15. Remember things that you are grateful for

Try this exercise:

Whenever you are feeling low, make a list of all the things that make you happy, joyous, and grateful.

A beautiful family, adoring kids, kind friends, health, happy home, a job that pays the bills, surprise dinner prepared by a loving spouse, a blog, favourite books and keepsakes, unexpected twenty dollar bill in your jeans pocket.

Everything counts.

After you’ve done this, consider what has happened to the feelings of doom and gloom.

It is impossible not to be cheered up after remembering all the fantastic things you have in your life.

Be grateful, and always make room for more happiness.

16. You can have it all, just not at the same time

There is no greater truth than this:

You cannot have everything at the same time. You have only 24 hours in a day and need to take care of your relationships, work and spirit.

One any given day, the focus will shift. Some days your children have to go to after-school care because you have an important meeting, while other times work has to take a back seat because of a sick child with a high fever.

Sometimes you just need to chill with your girlfriends because it has been ages since you last took a break.

You don’t have to do everything all at once, and life doesn’t have to be complicated.

Simple living is mindful living.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Marya Jan

Facebook Ad Strategist

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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