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7 Tips for A Wonderful, Exciting Life From Eleanor Roosevelt Herself

7 Tips for A Wonderful, Exciting Life From Eleanor Roosevelt Herself

In many ways, Eleanor Roosevelt was one of the most inspiring women to have ever lived. Here are the 7 fundamentals she applied to her life in order to make every day an adventure:

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

“A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.”

Eleanor Roosevelt was not only the First Lady and wife of U.S president Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In many ways she was a pioneer.

She was the first woman to speak in front of a national convention. The first woman to have a syndicated column and to earn money through lectures. After the death of her husband, she didn’t disappear into obscurity.

Instead she continued her work and she became an American spokesman in the U.N. There she played an important part in creating The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In a survey by Gallup she is one of the most widely admired people of the last century.

And she is the source of some of my absolute favorite quotes of all time. So in this article I’d like to share 7 of her timeless fundamentals for making life an exciting and wonderful adventure.

1. Look fear in the face.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

If you want to build confidence in yourself then nothing is better than facing your fear and doing something you think you cannot do.

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This is of course also something that can be greatly uncomfortable or downright scary too. So people tend to often want to avoid these kinds of situations.

But there is no avoiding them if you want to build your mental strength, just like there is no avoiding spending hours upon hours in the gym or with doing some kind of exercise to build your physical strength.

I have however found a few ways to make it a bit easier to face your fears and to step outside of your comfort zone.

  • Take small steps forward. Too many think they have to face a fear or step out of the comfort zone in great and very uncomfortable leaps. You really don’t in most cases. You can take one small step after another instead. Check out last week’s article for more on that.
  • Be here now when you take action. Spending too much time in the past can create a lot of worries. Spending too much time in imagined future scenarios can create a lot of exaggerated fears. So when you face a fear or step out of the comfort zone try stay in the present moment.
    You can reconnect with the moment right here and now by sitting down and just focusing on your in-breaths and out-breaths for 1-2 minutes right before you step into the scary situation. I have found this to be a very helpful habit in my own life to greatly decrease fear at least for a few minutes.

2. Do the right thing.

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

No matter what you do, some people will have one opinion or another. You can never please everyone so don’t go down that path because it will only lead you to live a life that is unhappier than it needs to be.

Instead, do what you deep down think is the right thing. Besides taking steps towards what you want you’ll also raise your self-esteem and you’ll feel good about yourself. This is terrific combination.

And that raise in self-esteem will over time make you less sensitive to other people’s criticism and make it easier to stand up for yourself and your actions in your own mind even if someone wants to make you feel inferior.

3. Be your own best friend.

“Friendship with ones self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.”

No relationship you’ll ever have will be more important than the one you have with yourself.

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Especially since it will not only make you happier and help you to live a fuller life.

It will also have a positive effect on all the other relationships in your life. Because you’ll have more energy and love to give and the people closest to you get to experience the joy of you finding a self-love and expressing yourself more than you have in the past.

So how can you become better friends with yourself this year?

  • Think about three things you can appreciate about yourself. This only takes a minute or less. As you wake up – or if it fits you better to do it before you go to sleep – think of three things you can appreciate about yourself.
    It doesn’t have to be something big. It could just be that you did a good job with a small and everyday thing. Appreciate anything that is positive about you even if it may sometimes just be that you do a thorough job with brushing your teeth.
    Because the point of this is to think kind thoughts about yourself every day so it after a while becomes an automatic habit. This will lead to more and more self-kind thoughts popping up in your mind when you need them the most.
  • When you stumble, take the kinder path.  Instead of beating yourself up, ask yourself: How would my friend/parent support me and help me in this situation? Then do things and talk to yourself like he or she would. It will help you to be more constructive after the first initial pain of a mistake or failure is starting to fade.

4. Focus on the optimism.

“It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”

“A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping-stone to the optimist.”

You will stumble. You will fall. You’ll wind up in situations that may look negative from time to time. No matter what you do. Such is life.

But what you do in such situations makes all the difference. Not just that day or week but even more so in the long run in the coming years and decades of your life.

If you would like to take the optimistic and more constructive path in these situations here are a few practical tips that help me every week:

  • Ask yourself the optimistic questions. Two that work really well for me are: What is one thing that is positive or good about this situation? And what is one thing can I learn from this situation?
  • Be careful about the input. Destructive messages from the people around you or from media, advertising and society in general does not help you to stay optimistic. So, bit by bit, replace them with other daily and weekly input.
    It could be the encouragement of friends and family and the help from someone close to you who has been in the situation that you are in now. Or practical personal development books and blogs that help you out with real solutions to the challenges you face and the dreams you want to achieve.

5. Spread the happiness.

“Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.”

Spreading happiness to the other people in your life can be very rewarding.

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You feel happier as someone’s face light up with joy. You feel happier because you feel you have done a good thing. And in the long run you tend to be treated by others as you treat them.

But how can you make someone happier in a practical way?

A few ideas:

  • Just listen. Let someone vent and just be fully there and listen for a little while. It can certainly help him or her to release stress and concerns.
  • Encourage. The world can be tough place sometimes. So take a few minutes to encourage someone who is in a negative situation at the moment. Add your own perhaps more grounded and optimistic perspective on the situation and lessen his or her worries and perhaps exaggerated fears.
  • Help out in practical way. If your friend needs some help then ask another friend who has been in that situation for advice. Or do a bit of online research. Making that often pretty small effort can mean a lot.
  • Express your gratitude. It can mean especially much if it is for something the other person values a lot or if it is for something that you and others often may take for granted.

6. Don’t worry so much about other people may think.

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”

A lot of people – me included big time in the past – hold themselves back in life because of what other people may think or say. Perhaps because they are afraid that people will laugh or analyze what they said or did for the rest of the week or year.

But that view of life comes from an inaccurate belief. Not from how life is in most cases.

A much more realistic scenario is that the people in your life have their hands full with worrying about their own lives (and what other people may think of them). And with thinking about their kids, a pet, school or work and their partner.

Yes, in your head you may be the most important person in the world.

But in a wider sense of life people tend to have their hand full with their own lives and with being the most important person there.

7. In the end it comes down to what you do with your life.

“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”

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“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”

Positive things will happen. Negative situations will arise. No matter what you do in life.

You cannot control everything. You do not have much influence over some things.

But you can still shape a huge part of your life. Take control over the rudder and sail the ship through obstacles and bad weather. Navigate towards more promising and rewarding destinations.

This may sometimes mean that you have to be patient. That you have to face fears or step outside of your comfort zone. That you have to get to know yourself better and learn how to keep your mental strength and balance and self-esteem in shape.

Along the way you can find help and support from people close to you or not so close to you in the world or even in time.

But in the end and in the long run your life and what you do with it is your responsibility. That responsibility can sometimes feel heavy. But also bring a liberating sense of freedom and of truly taking charge of yourself and what happens in your life.

And if it feels scary from time to time then just focus on taking one small step after another in the direction you want to go.

Henrik Edberg lives on the west coast of Sweden and for the past 7 years he has been writing about self-esteem and happiness at The Positivity Blog.

Eleanor Roosevelt’s Top 7 Fundamentals for Making Life an Exciting and Wonderful Adventure | The Positivity Blog

Featured photo credit: Vinoth Chandar via flickr.com

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

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become 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.

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. He 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.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” 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.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He 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.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he 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.

His 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.”

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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:

“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:

  • He riles 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.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

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

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances 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!

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

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.

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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.

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

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s 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. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

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!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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