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How To Select Reading And Entertainment That Enriches Your Life

How To Select Reading And Entertainment That Enriches Your Life

“Every day, think as you wake up, ‘Today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.'”

-Dalai Lama

Let the Dalai Lama’s words inspire you to enrich your life. One of the best ways to develop yourself is through the information you consume.

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Reading enriches life.

As you read, whether fiction or nonfiction, you expand your mind. Reading allows you to experience new worlds, perspectives and ideas.

The more you read, the better you can relate and react to the world around you. As you process all of this information, you will find it is also easier to come up with your own new, unique ideas.

It is up to you to choose reading that will enrich you.

Enriching your life with reading can also be fun and enjoyable. However, reading isn’t the only medium to enrich your life. You can also select audio and video programs that are enriching.

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The question then arises, how to choose materials that are enriching. The best way to choose materials that enrich your life is to ask yourself a few questions.

Is there something new to learn?

Choosing materials that teach you something new will expand your universe.

  • Watch a TV Program on how to do your next home improvement project.
  • Learn about your next vacation destination through guidebooks, podcasts, articles or videos.
    • Explore the culture through local legends
    • Learn some phrases in the local language
    • Immerse yourself in the history of the peoples, land or architecture
  • If you are choosing a fiction book for your enjoyment you can still find it enriching.
    • You may learn about a new place, time or even a profession the characters have.

Strive to learn at least one new thing every day. It’s easy when you surround yourself with great information and resources.

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Is the material mostly positive?

This will not be everyone’s preference. However, I find that keeping the information I consume at least 90% positive makes life more enjoyable. It is easier to see the best in the people and world around you when you focus on the good that surrounds us.

  • Choose news outlets that focus on more positive stories (or simply change the channel for ugly news).
    • Look for sources that focus on positive news
      • http://www.dailygood.org/
      • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-news/
      • http://abcnews.go.com/US/Good_News/
  • Read biographies of people who inspire and have accomplished great things.
  • Watch movies that have a positive, uplifting message.

Am I interested in the topic?

Consuming information that isn’t of interest to you can be drudgery. Remember your school days: what was your least favorite subject? I bet the thought of having to attend that class was torture some days.

Better to find a topic or an aspect of the topic that interests you.

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  • Make a list of things you’ve always wanted to learn about.
  • What are your favorite tv shows? They may help point you towards subjects you would like to learn more about.
  • Dislike a topic? Look for a method that makes it more interesting.
    • If you don’t like history, you might enjoy historical fiction or movies that are period based.
    • You may find reading a nonfiction book is a challenge, whereas listening to the same book in audio format while driving is easy and enjoyable.

Reading enriches life. As you enrich your life through your entertainment choices, take a moment to journal each day about what you learned. Processing and recording your thoughts in this way will help you get even more from the material and formulate new ideas.

Featured photo credit: Ed Yourdon via flickr.com

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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