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What DO you want?

Easy question right?

For many of us, it is a less than easy question to answer. It is so much easier to talk about what we don't want.

Our brain is geared towards avoiding pain and so it is easy for us to recognize what we want to move away from and what we don't like.

Getting clear on what we DO want is not automatic. It takes intentionality and reflection.

It is worth the effort though because we are much more likely to get want we want in life (and in relationships) if we are clear on what we want.

Begin noticing how many times you talk about what you don't want . . .

Here are some things I noticed just this week:

I don't want to be overweight
I don't want to go to the dentist
I don't want to take flights that land in the night
I don't like action movies
I don't like loud spaces

What do I like and want?

I would like to be an ideal weight
I would like to have a perfect set of teeth
I prefer daytime flying
I like movies which are calming to the nervous system
I prefer quiet spaces

...
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Getting confident

All of us feel more confident in some areas of our life than in others. For areas that we are less than confident in, we tend to tell ourselves that once we feel confident, we will take action in this area.

But here's the thing: confidence only comes from taking action.

It is practice which gives us the confidence. Confidence without doing the necessary practice is actually foolhardiness not confidence!

Think of when you started to drive. (or cook, or work . . .)

Remember how you were nervous even after you passed your road test? You started taking the car around the corner and then down the street. Slowly with practice you felt comfortable going further and you finally made it on the highway. If you had waited to have full confidence before you drove, you would have never taken the car out of the garage.

You decided to push through the feeling of nervousness and fear and take action despite those feelings.

Now that you are a confident driver, it may be hard to even remember those...

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Venting is so old fashioned

Many of us have been led to believe that it is good to 'let it all out'. To talk about our problems. To vent or 'ventilate' our issues.

Just think about it - have you an issue or a problem that you have been venting about for a while? A long time? More than a month? A year? Several years?

Has venting helped or has it, in fact, solidified the problem, made it grow roots so that is now firmly established as a 'thing' in your life?

While talking about a problem can SOMETIMES help, more often than not, it does little good. It grows roots for the problem and it can actually stop us from engaging our brain in finding solutions for the problem or the issue.

The latest research in psychology and neuroscience suggests that is more helpful to talk through your problems, that is discuss them with a view to looking for solutions and alternatives.

So while venting occasionally about an issue may help you feel better in the short term, know that it is not an effective strategy for happiness in...

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Dealing with negative feelings

Are you desperately trying to get rid of negative feelings so that you can be happy?

Good luck with that!

According to research on happiness by Russ Harris (The Happiness Trap) it is unrealistic to expect that we can get rid of all negative feelings.

In fact, emotional wellbeing entails experiencing and embracing a full range of human emotions, sadness, grief, happiness and joy.

We cannot selectively turn off certain emotions. When we try to suppress negative emotions, we end up putting a blanket on all emotions. We cannot really feel joy if we do not allow ourselves to experience sadness.

A more useful approach to emotions is to recognize and label the emotion we are feeling and to acknowledge it, knowing that all emotions are transitory.

Happiness and sadness come and go. Let us practice noticing and labeling the emotion we are experiencing.

A simple but very powerful exercise.

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The power of baby steps

Are you desperately trying to get rid of negative feelings so that you can be happy?

Good luck with that!

According to research on happiness by Russ Harris (The Happiness Trap) it is unrealistic to expect that we can get rid of all negative feelings.

In fact, emotional wellbeing entails experiencing and embracing a full range of human emotions, sadness, grief, happiness and joy.

We cannot selectively turn off certain emotions. When we try to suppress negative emotions, we end up putting a blanket on all emotions. We cannot really feel joy if we do not allow ourselves to experience sadness.

A more useful approach to emotions is to recognize and label the emotion we are feeling and to acknowledge it, knowing that all emotions are transitory.

Happiness and sadness come and go. Let us practice noticing and labeling the emotion we are experiencing.

A simple but very powerful exercise.

Continue Reading...
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