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Stop Existing and Start Living: How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week

Stop Existing and Start Living: How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week


    Okay, so your cubicle is boring, you haven’t had a good date in what seems like decades and every day is the “same old, same old” with nothing happening to make you feel revved up and excited.

    Clearly, that’s no way to live.

    But the key to getting the life you want is to make changes in your routine and kick it in the a** a little bit, so our days aren’t spent like Bill Murray in “Groundhog Day” — experiencing the same thing over and over again, day after excruciating day.

    In less time than it took Murray to learn the life lessons of “Groundhog Day,” you can do the same, starting the ball rolling on a new, improved life that looks much brighter…no matter what challenges you might be facing.

    Erase negativity

    First of all, let’s admit that it’s finally time for that voice in your head to shut the hell up.

    Sure, it’s been through a lot of stuff. And of course, it remembers every single disappointment and failure. But it can’t see the future, so you can’t let it play a part in how you perceive what’s to come.

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    When the voice says, “No, I can’t,” unleash your inner actor and find a way to tell that voice “Yes, you can”. After all those years of thinking you’re not good enough, it’s time to stop. Build your confidence slowly. Set small goals and take on tiny challenges that allow you to build the confidence it takes to tackle the monster ones.

    Negativity harms you and keeps you from really living life. It doesn’t matter whether someone dealt with you unfairly or not. Harping on injustice (outside a brief period of venting) destroys your life and erodes precious time you could use to really start living. It’s best to decide or plan how to remedy the problem at the root of your negativity — and then take action to remedy it. Whatever you do, don’t stay in a negative or gloomy funk for long. Just start living.

    Take stock of the good things and be grateful

    You might not have the most challenging job, but in a troubled economy you do have a job — so that’s a blessing worth counting. And even though your romantic life might be as exciting as a trip to the dentist without Novocaine, remember that the good friends and great family you do have are special gifts, and their love will help see you through hard times.

    One of the best ways to take stock of what you do have is to start a gratitude journal. Every morning write exactly what you are thankful for on a daily basis. Then at night, write about what went well in the day. Focus on the positive and you will attract more of it.

    Recognize where you are lucky and you will create a sense of optimism that will spread into all other areas of your life.

    Most people have heard the expression “taken for granted”. Too often we take so many blessings in our lives for granted. We fail to take stock of the many good things. Instead we focus on the handful of items that are unpleasant or despicable. If you take a few minutes to make a list of the positives in your life, you’ll soon see that:

    • the negatives are greatly outweighed by the positives and;
    • you have so much to work with and live for.

    Take stock, be grateful, and start living.

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    Discover your purpose

    Whether we believe it or not, we all were put on this earth for a reason. Finding yours will be one of the first steps toward making big changes in your life.

    Think about the things you’re good at, the things that you feel passionate about, the things that you enjoy most and get the most satisfaction from doing. These things might be key to what will make you happy and give you a life that feels fulfilling.

    Say you love nothing more than riding your bike. You might not have the training under your belt to become a professional rider — but you could work in a bike shop, sharing your passion for the sport with other riders. If you love to read, find a way to surround yourself with books. If you always wanted to be a firefighter but thought it was impossible, sign up for a First Responder class and get started.

    Call to Action: What is one thing you can do right now that will have the most positive impact. What can you stop doing right now that has the most negative impact. Now go and do it!

    Finding a way to make our work feel like play is essential to true daily happiness. Discovering your purpose will make sure your life is on the right track and you’re headed in the direction of your own choosing. You’ll begin seeing the excellent opportunities in your present work — or you’ll start enjoying a type of vocation or work that’s more purposeful to you. Living your life according to your purpose makes for a very enjoyable life.

    One step at a time

    But remember that taking action is the vital key to the equation.

    If you dream of something bigger, it’s not likely it will come to you. You will have to go out and get it. It takes hard work.

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    And even if you do make that move, it might take time and lots of patience to reap the rewards of your initial act of bravery. Jenna Fischer, who plays “girl next door” Pam on “The Office,” made the trip from Missouri to Los Angeles expecting a great job within a year. The truth is, it took much longer for her to capture the attention of her new bosses at “The Office”, a high-profile gig that ultimately led to movie roles and producing. But she was patient…and her rewards finally came.

    Remember, if you’ve taken that first critical step, you’ve already done the hardest part. Don’t become overwhelmed by everything that has to be done. Just take one step at a time. With consistency, moving one step at a time will cause you to live and achieve the life of your dreams.

    Find your Zen

    To live a peaceful, happy life – and I mean truly live it – sometimes you have to do things that are totally against your nature.

    That means if you’re carrying around grudges that are filling you with anger, it’s time to let go and forgive those who have wronged you. The negativity harms no one but yourself, and letting go will be sweet freedom from pain that’s simply unnecessary.

    So how, than, do we forgive someone who damaged us and our lives?

    • Get away from the problem. While it might seem like running away, if you can move somewhere where troubled memories don’t follow you wherever you go, you open the door to a new mindset, and that, coupled with a new environment, can lead to better things that can turn a negative into a positive.
    • Get spiritual. While some are best served by attending church to find their introspective side, others can head out into the woods and find a sense of peace that is a good move toward thinking that isn’t done in anger, regret, or despair. Practice meditation. Personally, it has done wonders for me.
    • Use your bad experiences to help others. Share your story to prevent other people from making the same mistakes.

    Surprise yourself

    One of the best ways to jolt yourself out of a disappointing life is to do something completely different.

    Even if you think you might be terrible at it, give something new a try.

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    Whether it’s signing up for a ballroom dancing class or trying kick boxing, horseback riding, singing lessons or gymnastics, doing new things challenges us mentally and physically, and sparks a new interest in living by giving us a new reason to get up in the morning to a day that’s fresh and full of possibilities.

    Many people are afraid of trying anything new. Others feel as if there’s nothing new worth trying. And then there’s a whole different group of folks who say they “hate surprises.” What they’re all saying is they hate change and prefer structure. Structure is good; however, most people would be pleasantly amazed at how trying something new will add a real spark to their lives. Try something new, surprise yourself, and start living.

    Revisit that Bucket List…or rather, that LIVING List

    If you have a list of things you want to do before you die, don’t sit around waiting for a reason to do them. Try to find one thing on that list that you can accomplish if not today, then tomorrow.

    Order the classic movie you know you need to see on DVD, and start looking online for car rentals if you’ve always wanted to drive a Mercedes or Rolls Royce.

    If your list includes an exotic adventure, but you’ve been waiting around to become part of a couple before you take that tropical vacay because you don’t want to travel alone, rethink the plan. Maybe you have a good friend who’s been feeling the same way. And who knows? The love of your life could be planning the same vacation right now, and will be sitting on the same beach when you arrive. The thing is, you’ll never know unless you go.

    The best way to make life worth living is to find ways to ensure that you really are living. And making every moment that we live and breathe count – appreciating that we are indeed living and breathing — it the best first step.

    What can you do everyday that would make it impossible for you to have a bad day? Now go and start doing that….today.

    (Photo credit: Be Free via Shutterstock)

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    Justin Miller

    Healthy Lifestyle Architect

    Stop Existing and Start Living: How to Dramatically Change Your Life in Just One Week The Habits of the Highly Healthy How to Discover Who You Are And Then How To Behave Like It The Beginners Guide To Slacklining A New Way to Create a Bucket List

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    How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

    How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

    Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

    But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

    Sight – Visual Stimulation

    The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

    1. Maximize your exposure to light.

    Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

    Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

    2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

    Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

    Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

    Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

    3. Take note of your environment.

    Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

    By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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    Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

    What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

    4. Engage in conversation.

    Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

    Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

    Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

    Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

    5. Listen to upbeat music.

    Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

    Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

    Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

    If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

    6. Work your nose.

    Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

    If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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    Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

    Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

    If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

    7. Have a good breakfast.

    Start off with the most important meal of the day.

    Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

    Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

    Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

    20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

    8. Drink lots of water.

    Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

    So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

    How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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    Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

    3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

    9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

    Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

    Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

    Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

    25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

    Touch – Tactile Stimulation

    Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

    10. Splash cold water on your face.

    Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

    This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

    5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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    11. Use acupressure.

    Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

    Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

    12. Get moving.

    Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

    And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

    You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

    Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

    Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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