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Returning to the Present Moment

Do you ever catch yourself getting lost in moments that happened weeks, months or even years ago?

Maybe you can’t stop thinking about that job opportunity you turned down…

Or maybe you wish you shared more in-depth feedback during that last meeting…

If we aren’t careful, it’s so easy to get lost in those “should have”, “would have” thoughts. 

Now, our past does play an important role in both our future and present. 

Every single event, both positive and negative, can teach us so many things. The only thing is, when we spend so much time thinking about the past, we can forget to focus on the present.

These tips can help you live in the moment and appreciate every day.

Start Small 

Do you ever catch your mind wondering while doing day-to-day activities such as cooking or cleaning?

If you answered yes, you are not the only one. In fact, it happens to us too!

Now, we all have household chores we don’t love doing, and that’s completely okay. 

But there are plenty of ways you can make those household chores more fun. As time goes on, you may even look forward to them.

It’s all about implementing little things you already love into the activity.

You can play your favorite song on full blast in the background or chat with your best friend on speakerphone.

Add Spontaneity to Your Routine

Ever notice how you always take the same route to work?

Or how you always gravitate towards that blue mug in your cabinet?

When we do the same thing for so long, we often do it without even thinking about it. It’s basically like living on autopilot.

Adding a little spontaneity here and there can encourage creative thinking, boost productivity and help us get out of our own head.

Take a brand new route to work, visit a new grocery store, or read a book by an author you’ve never heard of.

Try it out and see how it goes.

“When you’ve had a life of overthinking, you have the same reaction time and time again.” – Joel Annesley

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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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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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This One Tip Can Help Prevent Burnout

Even though burnout is preventable, it can sneak up on us when we least expect it.

Getting enough sleep and taking regular breaks is one of the most popular ways to prevent it. 

However, there is another method that is less talked about. 

It all comes down to adding structure to your day. 

Get Creative

Even if every day for you is incredibly different, you can still add structure to it. You’ll just have to get a little creative. 

Constantly moving on from task to task without some sort of a plan can be confusing and overwhelming. 

Every Decision Adds Up

First thing in the morning or before you go to sleep, spend a few minutes visualizing your ideal day in your mind.

What would you prepare for breakfast? How many meetings will you have, and when will they happen?

Again, this doesn’t have to be a set-in-stone system. 

But having somewhat of a rough idea can eliminate the need to make so many decisions under stress.

Studies show that the average adult makes around 35,000 choices per day! That is a huge number.

Small decisions such as what cereal you’d like for breakfast or what to wear to your Zoom meeting may seem pretty simple. But when you’re so exhausted or drained, every decision can be tough.

Planning out your day before decision fatigue hits in can help make your day run smoothly.

Time Flies

Have you ever had one of those days where one minute it was 10 AM and the next it was 3 PM?

Those days can be quite interesting. Time flies when you’re having fun or extremely busy. 

When we’re that busy, sometimes we can forget to check in with ourselves and see how we’re feeling.

We could be feeling stressed and not even realize it. Make an effort to check in with yourself a few times a day and ask yourself how you feel at that moment.

If you feel energized and productive, that’s amazing; keep going. 

But if you notice yourself feeling a little tired or stressed, it may be time to call it a day or take a much-needed break.

Catching these feelings early on can help prevent them from escalating to burnout.

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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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