Strategies To Clear My Mind – Being Grateful Is The Key

Be grateful
Just appreciate all the little things and little moments. Talk to people in a really nice voice, always compliment someone, and try not to be negative, see the good in everything.

What is Gratitude?
(Also thankfulness, gratefulness or appreciation) is a positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgement of a benefit that one has received or will receive.

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity:
It must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.
William Faulkner

The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions, but the systematic study of gratitude within psychology only began around the year 2000. Psychology has been more focused on understanding distress; however, with the advent of the positive psychology movement, gratitude has become a mainstream focus of psychological research.

Gratitude is an emotion that occurs after people receive help, depending on how they interpret the situation. Specifically, gratitude is experienced if people perceive the help they receive as valuable to them, costly to their benefactor, and given by the benefactor with benevolent intentions.

If you count all your assets, you always show a profit.
Robert Quillen

Gratitude Journal
Writing a gratitude journal can be a great way of learning a more positive way of thinking. It helps you to really appreciate the small pleasures in life and to appreciate the things you do have instead of the things you don’t.

Each day, at the end of the day, get together as a family and take few minutes to reflect on the past day. Let each family member find at least five things that happened that day that he/she appreciates and is grateful for.

“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more. If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough.”
Oprah Winfrey

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A Catalogue Of Some Common Excuses

excuses excusesWe all use excuses at times for whatever reason. It makes us feel good, it is a justification of our behaviour, and it is a reason for our inaction and procrastination.

I am hoping if you can relate to one of these excuses it may either make you laugh or you might feel a little guilty or you may recognise it next time you are using one of these excuses and realise it is an excuse and change your behaviour.

Whether you learn from this or laugh at this, I hope you get some value from it.

It will be difficult
Ah yes, this is designed to discourage you. Do you actually have any proof that it will be difficult? Loads of things in life are difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

It’s going to be risky
Most things in life have an element of risk in them, if we just stop and think about it. It’s pretty hard to guarantee that something will be completely risk free? Maybe think about what is your risk tolerance and if it is below that level then give it a go. If it is above that then how much above and perhaps just this once, you could push forward and extend your comfort zone. Who knows it might actually work out brilliantly.

It will take a long time
It may take a long time or it may not take a long time. What difference does time make? If it is something that is going to allow you as a person to grow, develop and extend then perhaps it is a good investment of your time.

There will be family drama
Oh yes, the old family drama excuse. It’s a good one, that’s for sure. Perhaps it is time that you took control of your own life. That you decided to live life on your terms. Rather than letting others opinions, values, and beliefs direct your life.

I don’t deserve it
Would you say that to your best friend? I doubt it. So don’t say it to yourself. We are all worth it. Each and every one of us is special and deserves to live our life to the maximum. Treat yourself more kindly because you really do deserve it.

It’s Not My Nature
It’s not in your nature yet! It could be, if you just decided that it is something that is important to you and that you really want to do. We all have the opportunity to change what we have always been, to reinvent and recreate ourselves. It actually doesn’t have to be that dramatic and reinvent and recreate it could just be extend our self a little bit.

I can’t afford it
Yes you can, believe it or not. Start a savings plan. Are you someone who dreams of going overseas but can’t afford it. Well start saving today and in 5 or 10 years’ time, you will be able to afford it. If you want to do a course that is going to allow you to become a better you then save up, borrow; find a way to make it happen. Change your thoughts from ones of poverty and never having enough to thinking that whatever I need in the form of assistance to guide me in the direction of my life will come.

No one will help me
Really? No one? The fact is that the world is filled with people who would jump at the chance to help you with whatever you’d like to create. But if you hold on to a false notion that no one will be there to help you, your experiences will match that belief. Open yourself up and you will find there are loads of people who would love to help and support you.

It Has Never Happened Before
Yes, that’s true, and if you continue to do things the way you have always done things, it will never happen. Alternatively, you could open up to the possibility that just this once it might happen.

The past is something you leave behind, much like the wake of a speedboat. That is, it’s a vanishing trail temporarily showing you where you were. The wake of a boat doesn’t affect its course – obviously it can’t, since it only appears behind the boat. So consider this image when you exclaim that your past is the reason you aren’t moving forward.

I’m Not Strong Enough
Some of us have spent years believing that we are not strong enough, that we are weak. This actually strengthens the belief. If you are truly weak, you will find it only takes a little bit of criticism to discourage you and activate this belief: I’m not a strong person, so I’ll resort to my true self, that of being weak. Start to change your thoughts, believe in yourself, and give it a go.

I’m Not Smart Enough
Interesting thinking. I actually believe that the way we are tested and graded at school gives many of us the belief that we are not smart enough. Did you know your vast intelligence isn’t measurable by an IQ test or school reporting results? Your ideas or beliefs about what you’d like to be, accomplish or attract are evidence of your genius. If you’re capable of thinking and conceiving an idea then that act combined with your passion will make it happen.

I’m Too Old (or Not Old Enough)
This is one I am passionate about I’m too old (or not old enough). Look around you there are plenty of people who are choosing to be old and there are plenty of others who are choosing to live life to the fullest. Don’t let your birth age dictate your potential.

The Rules Won’t Let Me
What rules? Who set the rules? Who told you those are the right rules? Sometimes, rules are made to be broken. The famous Wright brothers broke a whole lot of rules and now we have aeroplanes that can fly us anywhere in the world. So go on break the rules. If you do, something incredible may happen.

It’s too big
So many things in life are big; however, that is where we can achieve great things. We just need to take the first step. So what is your first step? Figure it out, then take action and then take another step and move even closer.

I don’t have the energy
In our 24/7 world, many of us are tired, worn out, exhausted, and weary. However, not having the vitality to fulfill your life purpose is such a shame. I believe our self-talk is really a key to what we can achieve so drop the “I’m too tired” and see what happens. Never say it again.

It’s my Personal Family History
We all have a personal family history. For some, it is birth order, for others, having divorced parents, single parents, being adopted, alcoholic parents … we all have a story to tell. Look at your family history as a blessing – it is what you had to go through to arrive at where you are today.

I’m Too Busy
If you’re overextended, know that you’ve chosen to be in this position. All of the activities of your life, including those that take up huge portions of your time, are simply the result of the choices you make. If your family responsibilities are problematic, you’ve opted to prioritise your life in this way. If your calendar is crammed, you’ve decided to live with a full schedule. If there are way too many small details that only you can handle, then this, again, is a choice you’ve made.

I’m Too Scared
Yes, that is possible, but you are letting fear control your outcomes. Take control of your fear, decided to take one step to overcome your fear and start living the life you want to live.

Remember Franklin D Roosevelt’s famous refrain from his inaugural address, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

That is some of our most common excuses take a moment to think about which excuses you are using and then decide to eliminate your excuses. Take back control and live life on your terms with a purpose.

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Strategies to Clear My Mind – The Power of Solitude

  • How much sleep are you getting?
  • Sleep is actually a very important function of and for the brain.
  • We need to generate enough sleep to feel rested, to have energy, to assist with mood, and to even help us think more clearly.
  • Go to sleep the same time each day and wake up the same time each morning.
  • Sleep helps our energy levels and helps us think more clearly.

Planning Quiet Moments

The Power of Solitude

When was the last time you sat and stared off into space?
Did you get into trouble for that as a child, for daydreaming in class? For being absent of mind, even though present in body?
Maybe that’s why we resist it now…
Take a moment (not while driving!) and just let your mind drift. Watch the clouds move in the sky. Watch people walk past you on the street.
Let your mind wander. Don’t tell your thoughts where to go.
It’s amazing where we can go if we let go … even if only for a minute.

The brain benefits from quiet moments during the day:
A quiet moment does not involve any goal, task completion, or endpoint.
It is about process and about being in the here and now.
Allow your brain to shut down and to turn inward.
Allow your brain to freely roam and to explore ideas and feelings that get shut out with structure and task driven behaviour.
Your most creative moments will come from such experiences.
It might mean a walk, sitting on a bench or under a tree, or playing an instrument.

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Do You Take Responsibility For Your Life?

no excusesJordan Belfort said “The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bull**** story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it.”

Wow, how’s that for an impact at the very start? Extended apologies to anyone who may have been offended by the quote, but I was simply quoting.

This article is about taking responsibility and being aware of our behaviour and the implications of not taking responsibility. This is an action that holds us back from being the very best we could be.

How often do we catch ourselves not taking responsibility? Instead of doing something, we come up with ways to explain our inaction.

We all like to blame others, at times, for things that happen to us or those around us. We like to pass the buck as the saying goes. Blame others for our situation. It took me many decades to realise and understand that where I am in life today is based on the decisions I have made and the actions I have taken. No one else. It is all my doing! I could certainly show you a long list of the people that I believed had dictated my life. However, when I really thought about it, I realised it was all me. My decisions and my actions have brought me to where I am today.

That meant that if I wanted different things to happen then I had to make different decisions and take different actions.

A concept that I wish to introduce to you is about taking responsibility and not using excuses anymore. It is called being above the line or below the line.

I want you to picture a line and above the line is written:

  • Take responsibility
  • Think of solutions
  • Look for the lessons
  • Keep my power

Below the line are written the words:

  • Blame others
  • Make excuses
  • Whinge
  • Victim (give my power away)

Before I go into the whole explanation, I am going to start with an example.

If you’re a parent you’ll relate to this (if you’re not, just think back to when you were at school). It’s 7.30pm and your daughter is in tears because she has an assignment due tomorrow and she hasn’t started it yet. She’s angry because her sister is always on the computer, so she can’t get her research done. Her teacher didn’t remind her it was due, and you, her parents expected her to set the table, tidy her room … You get the picture.

This is a perfect example of “Below the Line Behaviour”.

Some more examples:

Late for a meeting – blaming the traffic rather than you not allowing enough time in case there was traffic or to just get a parking spot.

A report is due in one hour and your printer breaks down. You could blame the printer or perhaps you could realise that you should have had it ready the day before, that way, if there were any last minute problems they could be handled.

Your website gets hacked and the web designer hasn’t got a backup. You could easily blame him or take responsibility for not ensuring it was backed up.

It is time you stepped up and took responsibility that is called being above the line.

Our attitudes, state of mind, and moods when we are above the line are significantly different than our attitudes, state of mind, and moods when we are operating below the line.

Take a moment to think about how you operate, do you take responsibility or do you tend to blame others.

If you have blamed others in the past it is time to pause every time you hear the words “It’s not my fault…”, “I had no control…” The list of examples continues. The important part is to catch yourself when you realise that you are making excuses and passing the blame onto someone else. Then just think about what parts you had to play in this outcome. What decisions you may have made. What actions you had taken.

Think about how it could all be different if you had been above the line.

There is power in understanding the difference between below the line and above the line behaviour. There is immense power in actually living your life above the line.

“Be an inspiration to yourself and
you will be an inspiration to others.”

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Strategies to Clear My Mind – The Cycle of Completion is a Method to Clear the Clutter Mentally

The Cycle of Completion

  • The cycle of completion is a method to clear clutter mentally
  • Answer this question if you will. How many objectives, projects and tasks do you have sitting on your plate right now?
  • How many uncompleted past projects do you have lingering around in your head?

15 completed projects have more power than 45 partially completed ones. Let’s begin going through the cycle of completion.

  • Begin to clear clutter by listing all of your uncompleted tasks, personal commitments, objectives and projects on a sheet of paper
  • You are now ready to begin making decisions about these items
  • Jack Canfield, author of the Success Principles Journey (this is where this idea comes from) suggests deciding in one of the following manners:
    • Ditch – the project gets tossed
    • Delegate – outsource the project
    • Action – complete it
    • File – file it away for future date
  • Listing and deciding which uncompleted projects is the first step to clear clutter from your mind.

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Ancient Chinese Story – Birdsnest

goodnessA beautiful story that holds some advice from ancient China, attributed to a fictional character named Birdsnest.

Long ago in China, there lived a monk who perched in a certain tree everyday to meditate. No matter if the tree swayed in fierce winds and rain, the monk settled himself comfortably, high up in the branches. Because of this, he was nicknamed “Birdsnest” by the village folk nearby.

Many of these villages passed beneath the monk while hunting or while gathering wood in the forest, and after a time, they grew used to him. Some began to stop and talk of their concerns with Birdsnest. They liked the things he had to say, and soon Birdsnest become known for his kind and thoughtful words.

After some years, the monk’s wise reputation spread throughout the province. Visitors from distant cities hiked to the remote forest for advice. Even the governor of the Provence decided that he too would like to visit Birdsnest to discuss matters of importance. So one spring morning, the governor set off to find him. After travelling for several days, he at last located Birdsnest’s tree in the dense forest. The monk sat calmly, high in the topmost branches, enjoying the warmth and the birdsong of spring.

Looking up, the Governor shouted, “Birdsnest! I am the governor of this Provence, and I have come a great distance to speak with you! I have a most important question!” The governor waited for a reply but heard only the pleasant sounds of leaves stirring in the breeze. The governor continued, “This is my question, tell me, Birdsnest, what is it that all the wise ones have taught? Can you tell me the most important thing the Buddha ever said?” There was a long pause – just the soft rustle of leaves again.

Finally, the monk called down from the tree: “This is your answer, Governor: Don’t do bad things. Always do good things. That’s what the Buddha’s taught.”

But the governor thought this answer far too simple to have walked two days for! Irritated and annoyed, he stammered, “Don’t do bad things; always do good things! I knew that when I was three years old, monk!”

Looking down at the governor, Birdsnest replied with a wry smile, “Yes the 3-year old knows it, but the 8-year old still finds it difficult to do!”

When it feels difficult to do good things, remember to seek the 3-year old within that Birdsnest referred to. Give yourself the gift of hearing thoughts from a time before conditioning was deeply embedded.

Realise the existence of the unknowable and ecstatic aspect of your existence. Know that this Divine element is an intrinsic part of yourself. Begin trusting your underlying nature by becoming conscious.

Why am I telling you that story – one, because I like it. Two, because it is about doing the right thing by yourself and by others, don’t let excuses get in the way.

“Be an inspiration to yourself and
you will be an inspiration to others.”

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Strategies to Clear My Mind – Physical Clutter and Procrastination

Reduce Clutter

Clutter is a big drain on mental, physical and emotional energy.

Clutter is those things you never use, do not really need, do not like, are broken or a poor fit, to name just a few examples.

Make that clutter a priority. Like many goals in life, you have to schedule time to achieve them.

Set aside time each week to tackle the clutter in your environment and in your life.

Eat Your Frog!

Is there anything you have been putting off doing?

How do you feel when you think about it?

Procrastination has a high cost.

It robs you of vital energy and can produce feelings of guilt.

Take a day in which you can do things by yourself.

Take yourself out to a movie, go to a museum or art gallery, or do something you’ve always wanted to do but never made time for. In doing so, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace and quiet of being alone.

What would you do?