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Become Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

“The more you seek the uncomfortable, the more you will become comfortable.” – Conor McGregor

Challenge Your Thoughts

When we’re afraid or nervous about something, it’s common for negative thoughts to show up uninvited. 

Just because a negative thought makes its way into your mind doesn’t mean you have to listen to it. 

Whether we realize it or not, we all experience fear and question our thoughts from time to time.

Am I on the right track?

Was that decision wise?

Do people like me? 

Just because you think something doesn’t make it true. Sometimes our thoughts/worries can be confusing and make us feel uncomfortable. 

When something becomes a habit (like worrying) we can often do it without even noticing.

Now, you can’t change a habit you aren’t even aware you have. The first thing you’ll want to do is acknowledge your negative thoughts and question them.  

Why do you think those thoughts entered your mind in the first place? Do you have any proof that whatever you are worried about will happen?

Embrace Uncertainty

Even the most well-thought-out plans don’t always go our way, and that’s okay!

Leaving your house 30 minutes before the grocery store closes doesn’t guarantee you’ll get there on time.  

Studying your textbook inside and out doesn’t guarantee you’ll ace that test. 

There are several things we can do on a day-day basis that can help get us closer to our final goals. 

But even if you do everything by the book, nothing in life is guaranteed. Instead of trying to plan your perfect day, try planning your perfectly imperfect day and see what happens. 

Stare Down Your Fear

When was the last time fear held you back? When was the last time you said no to something you really wanted to do out of fear?

Facing your fears is not something that happens overnight. Depending on the intensity, it can take weeks, months or years to eliminate a fear.

You’ll want to start out doing activities that may make you feel a little uncomfortable, but deep down, you know you can handle.

If you’re afraid to start journalling, write down 25 words.

If you’re afraid to go back to school, spend 15 minutes a day researching programs. 

When in doubt, start small and work your way up. 

“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth

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Limiting Your Daily Screen Time

How many times do you think you check your phone a day? 

This includes checking emails, texts, social media posts, and even your weather app. 

Chances are, you check it more than you think. 

So many of us tend to have our smartphones on hand or in our pockets most of the day. 

Phones help us stay in touch with the people we love, read, study and more! 

But they can also prevent us from living in the moment and enjoying the little things in life. 

If you’re ready to keep your phone faced down more often and limit your daily screen time, keep on reading. 

Take it Slow

Getting any task done with your phone right in front of you can be very distracting. 

Every single notification can pull you away from the task at hand.

Even if you don’t answer a text or reply to comments on social media right away, just having the thought in the back of your mind can throw you off course.

Setting aside 30 minutes or an hour of phone-free time a day is a great place to start. 

Be Present in Conversations

Have you ever checked to see who liked your newest social media post while video chatting with a friend?

When something becomes a habit, we tend to do it without even thinking about it.

Even if checking your phone mid-conversation wasn’t your intention, it happens.

A great hack is to put your phone in a different room or turn it off while chatting with friends and family.

Out of sight, out of mind!

Remind Yourself That You Are Not Missing Out 

Being the first one to like an interesting post on social media or the first to watch that new video can be fun, but it doesn’t have to be your #1 priority.

When you’re participating in phone-free activities, it’s so easy to feel like you’re missing out on something, but you are not!

You are only one person with only 24 hours in a day. 

And the truth is, no matter how much time we spend planning our day or trying to be more productive, it’s impossible to get everything done. 

There will always be a few things each day you wish you could have tackled, and that’s completely okay. 

Instead of thinking to yourself “Well, what if I miss something important?”

Remind yourself that those notifications are not going anywhere and will be waiting for you. 

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Embracing Your Emotions & Letting Yourself Feel

Do any of these phrases sound familiar…

“There’s no need to cry.”

“Don’t be sad. This isn’t so bad.”

“Don’t cry.” 

So many of us have been told by friends and family to hold our emotions back, which can make us feel like we can’t express ourselves.

Even though holding back tears may feel like the “right” thing to do at the moment – holding our emotions in can prolong the healing process. 

Sadness Makes us Human 

Even though experiencing sadness, anger, anxiety, or fear typically isn’t fun, it is entirely normal. 

Sadness is a basic human emotion and is part of what makes us human.

Feelings come and go – but it’s important to have them.

If we didn’t experience sadness, we might not be able to understand and appreciate happiness. 

All of your experiences, both positive and negative, have helped transform you into who you are today.

Fighting Our Feelings

When we’re upset about something, it’s so easy to tell yourself and others that you are fine, when in reality, you are not.

Re-assuring yourself that you’ll be okay isn’t always enough to accept and move past negative feelings.

Take note of your emotions and remind yourself that your feelings are valid and it’s okay to have them.

Processing

Processing and experiencing feelings is part of being human. 

Life is a rollercoaster, and no two days are exactly the same.

Some days will be amazing. Some will be tough. And some will be somewhere in the middle.

We know it’s tough, but it’s what life is all about.

Whether you’re having a good, bad or in-between kind of day, it’s important to treat yourself with kindness and practise coping strategies.

There is no right or wrong way to cope with emotions.

It’s all about figuring out what works best for you. 

“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it…” – Nicholas Sparks

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Making The Most Out Of Online College Classes

If this is your first or second college semester of online classes, you understand how difficult some days can be.

Taking classes online requires determination, motivation and patience.  

Some days or some classes may be easier than others – however, these tips and tricks can help you stay motivated throughout the semester. 

If You Have Questions – Ask Them 

None of us are mind readers – yes professors included.

If you ever have any questions or want to confirm details, don’t be shy to reach out to your professor. 

It’s so easy to put off smaller questions until tomorrow. 

But if you keep putting off questions tomorrow, tomorrow never comes. 

And before you know it, your one small question has transformed into ten big questions. 

Avoid Last Minute Submissions When Possible

Now, some people do perform their best under pressure which is not a bad thing. 

If that is your preferred style and it works for you, then you should listen to your body.

However, regularly submitting projects last minute can bring on anxiety and there is a larger room for error.

For example, you may have thought you had all the materials you needed to complete a project – but halfway through you realize you’re missing one important piece of information.

That happens more often, you’d think, and usually is an easy fix – that is when the deadline isn’t tomorrow!

Aiming to submit projects at least one day in advance can take a huge weight off your shoulders. And in case something does happen, you can take your time to find a solution. 

Be Prepared For Tech Issues

Technology problems happen to all of us – especially when video is involved.

We’ve all had video chats where one minute everything is fine, and the next our video and/or audio just stops working.

Of course, there isn’t much we can do to prevent tech difficulties, but we can be prepared and have a backup plan.

Know When It’s Time To Walk Away From The Screen 

Life is all about balance. Sitting in front of a screen for hours on end can be very exhausting. 

Exactly, why it’s so important to break up the day with tech-free activities.

You can read a book, go on a walk or clean up around the house.

If you catch yourself getting restless or irritable, it may be time to walk away from the screen.

Scheduling regular screen-free time can help you recharge your batteries, so you can join classes with a fresh mind.

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How To Become a Better Listener In 3 Easy Steps

Conversations are a two-way street.

Mastering the art of listening can be a little tricky at first, but it is very learnable. Here’s how you can become a better listener in 3 easy steps. 

Validate in a Few Simple Words

Whether we are excited, happy, scared or nervous about something, sometimes all we want is to be listened to and supported.

Here’s an example.

Have you ever called a friend just to vent? 

You knew there was absolutely nothing they could do to change the situation, but you just wanted to let them in. All you wanted was a listening ear.

The next time a friend or family member calls you to vent, you don’t have to give them your two cents (unless they ask, of course.)

Simply using phrases like “I understand how you feel” or “Of course, that makes sense.” can help them feel at ease and listened to.

Listen With Your Body 

Communication comes in many forms. As much as it’s important to say comforting words, it’s also as important to listen with your entire body.

Let’s say a friend is telling you a long story about something that happened to them. You don’t want to interrupt them, but you want them to see you are listening. 

This is where facial expression and/or posture come into play.

You can smile, nod your head, sit up straight etc.

Sometimes body language can be stronger than words.

Hear What’s Underneath The Words

It isn’t always about what you say – it’s about how you say it. 

Almost all of us have claimed to feel fine when in reality, we were not. 

Saying everything is fine when it’s not can become a habit, and something we do without even noticing. 

Of course, you know your friends and family well. If they seem a little stressed or overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to check-in and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. 

As we discussed earlier, even if there is nothing you can physically do to change the situation, you can still listen. 

“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said” – Peter Drucker

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Talking To Your Children About Racism

Having conversations with your children about racism can be difficult.

It’s common for parents to think their children are too young to fully understand racism, and they are better off waiting a few years.

However, children start recognizing human faces at around 1 – 3 months old. 

The sooner you start the conversation with your children about race and racism, the sooner they will understand it.

Ask Them Questions

If we want to reduce the tension around race conversations, we have to talk about it openly and often. 

You can’t know for sure what your child thinks or feels about something unless you ask them.

Asking them a few open-ended questions can help start the conversation and encourage them to open up. 

Storytelling

There are several books for children of all ages that dive into racism. If you already have some at home that’s great. 

If not, here are some great children’s books you can look into.

You and your child can read the books together, and afterwards, you can talk about it.

You can ask them how the book made them feel, or if you they have any questions. 

Keep Up The Conversation

Talking to your children about racism is not a one-time thing. Encouraging them to ask questions whenever they want can help keep the conversation going.

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Teaching Children How to Manage and Understand Anger

Anger is a normal, healthy emotion that children, teens and adults experience. 

Here’s the deal though, children know when they are angry. They feel it just like an adult or teen would.

But they can have difficulty understanding and expressing it, which can be frustrating. 

The good news is, healthy coping skills can be learned!  

Here are three ways you can help your child better understand and manage their anger. 

Lead by Example

You are your child’s biggest role model. How you respond to frustrating situations can impact them in more ways than you’d think.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you accidentally drop your coffee one morning, and your entire kitchen floor is covered in coffee. 

We know that is far from fun, but those moments are the perfect opportunity to practice remaining calm even when it’s hard. 

If your child notices you remaining calm, chances are they will mimic those actions in the future. 

Time Outs

Time outs are a great calm down tool for kids.

When you’re angry or overwhelmed, sometimes the best thing you can do is take yourself out of the situation. 

The same tool works for kids. Now, you may prefer going on a walk or reading, while they may prefer drawing or playing with one of their toys.

After a few minutes of quiet time, they may even forget why they were angry in the first place. 

Remain Calm

We get it. When your child is angry and having a tantrum, it’s easy to lose your cool and raise your voice. 

Even though it may be tough, the best thing you can do is remain calm and talk it out with them. 

Sit down and ask them to explain exactly what they’re feeling and what brought it on.

Once you know what happened, the two of you can figure out a solution together. 

The simple act of getting their feelings off their chest can help dial down some of the intensity. 

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Remind Yourself – This Too Shall Pass

There is no secret recipe for dealing with anxiety since we all feel things in our own way.

But with that being said, there are several different techniques that can help you better understand, accept and overcome feelings of anxiety. 

Keep on reading to learn more. 

Let It Pass

Sometimes we can prolong our anxiety without even realizing it.

The more we think about something, the harder it is to stop. 

The next time you catch yourself feeling anxious, remind yourself that this feeling is only temporary and it will pass.

Here’s some homework for you. 

Think back to the last time you felt anxious…

1) What brought it on?

2) How did you react to it? 

3) Did you use any calming techniques?

4) How long did it take you to feel better?

Remember, you have overcome anxious feelings in the past, and you can do it again. 

Catch Yourself

You know yourself better than anyone.

It’s very normal to experience some pre-anxiety symptoms.  

Maybe you have difficulty concentrating, or maybe your palms start sweating.

It doesn’t matter what the symptoms are. All that matters is that you recognize them. 

Once you recognize them, you can stop whatever you’re doing at the moment and take some time to relax before things start to escalate. 

You can focus on your breathing, journal, take a walk or call a friend. 

Remember All The Things You Can Control

“We can’t control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond to things we can’t control.” – Avis J. Williams

There are so many things out there that we can’t control, and that’s okay!

We can’t control whether we get that promotion or what other people think of us.

But we can control our mindset, actions and attitude. Every event has a silver lining and something to teach us. Sometimes the lesson will find you, and sometimes you’ll have to find it.

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