Remember to Always be yourself. Unless…

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck. –Joss Whedon

Always Be Yourself?

It’s funny when people tell you to “always be yourself.” How could you possibly be anybody else? Does that mean that you ought to just settle for being how you are instead of striving for greatness? It’s okay to be yourself, but if you aren’t where you want to be, then perhaps you should try something a little different.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Living Up to Your Own Expectations

So if you start to think that you suck at life, that’s okay. It’s perfectly natural not live up to your own expectations, but let that be a motivator to strive for excellence. Be the best possible version of yourself. There’s always room to grow.

Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone

In order to be the best possible version of yourself, it’s necessary to practice taking action in ways that may not feel comfortable. If you find yourself being lazy, do something about it! Social pressure can cause you to go into your shell. You have to make a conscious effort in the beginning to step outside your comfort zone until it becomes a habit. Talk to strangers. Be adventurous.

Comparing Yourself to Others

Comparing yourself to others is not healthy. It can lead to intense feelings of fear, anger or sadness. I think that’s one of the big reasons people say to always be yourself, but we don’t have to compare ourselves to others in order to learn from them. We can observe and admire someone without letting those feelings turn into envy or jealousy. Life is not a popularity contest.

Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself

Yes, it’s a good idea to be honest with yourself, and it’s good to admit when you are not as great as you want to be. However, don’t be discouraged by your current situation. Keep practicing to better yourself. You will never be perfect in every way, but you will learn to be better than you were yesterday.


5 Tips to Simplify Our Busy Lives

We live in a busy world where we are frequently bombarded with information. It’s easy for us to be distracted from what we really want or need to be giving our attention. Here are five straight forward tips for filtering out the noise of every day life and becoming focused on what really matters.


Focusing on the Breath

Sometimes when we take on too much, we notice ourselves holding our breath. One of the best ways to bring our awareness into the present moment is through mindful breathing. Take slow, deep and deliberate breaths in and out while clearing the mind and relaxing completely. This helps to ground us back into the body instead of being overly concerned with thoughts about the past or future. It’s good to practice slowing down and concentrating on the breath for a minimum of 5 minutes a day. Then we can get back to whatever we were doing with more energy, presence and focus.

Limiting Unwanted Distractions

Social media is continually notifying us to log in to see what our friends, family and colleagues are doing. We also often set reminders for ourselves on our phones or calendars. Sometimes we get added to email lists that we never even signed up for. With all the advertising, popup windows and ringtones bombarding us every day it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Taking a few minutes a day to turn off annoying notifications, close browser tabs, turn off annoying ringtones etc. can buy us future peace of mind.


Prioritizing Our To Do List

Making a to do list is a great way to get more done, although it can also cause us to take on more than we can handle at once. A long list of tasks can cause us lose focus and get less done than if we were to simplify. The best way to simplify our list is to prioritize. Go down the list comparing the importance of just two items at a time. Then you can move list items up or down accordingly. Choose only three tasks to complete in a day. Keep it simple by narrowing it down to what will make you feel most accomplished that day. Checking items off the list is also a good practice. We must not forget to acknowledge ourselves for the hard work we do.


Practicing Time Management

Commit to doing one thing at a time. It’s tempting to multitask, although Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”¹ Did you know that the average person gets one interruption every eight minutes, or approximately seven an hour, or 50-60 per day. The average interruption takes five minutes, totaling about four hours or 50% of the average workday. 80% of those interruptions are typically rated as “little value” or “no value” creating approximately 3 hours of wasted time per day.²

HoarderRemoving Excess Clutter

This is something that many people struggle with. If you’ve ever watched the TV show, Hoarders – Buried Alive, then you’ve seen some of the horror stories of people with homes full of garbage collected over the years. They are so attached to the most random stuff. Looking at the worst cases is rather disturbing and disgusting. Who wants to be that dysfunctional? At some point we have to ask ourselves is this serving me? Why am I holding on? If you have a really solid reason then great, although more often than not we come up with silly justifications to hold on to our junk. You can start small by letting go of one item per week. Sell it, give it away, recycle it or toss it. You will feel better, and then you will have more room for organizing the things that are truly important.



  1. Why the Modern World is Bad for Your Brain
  2. Time Management Facts and Figures

The Only 3 Great Exercises You Need

I’ve been going to the gym 3 days a week for the last 6 months, and I’m in the best shape of my life. I’ve never given the gym a chance before, but I have a great personal trainer who has shown me the key exercises to build muscle fast. I notice a huge difference in how I feel. My self-confidence is through the roof, and I can feel muscles in my body that I never even paid attention to before. So without further ado, here are the top three exercises I recommend that anyone can do whether they have access to a gym or not.

1. Squats

This is one of the best possible exercises you can do to strengthen your core. I always do three sets of five with as much weight as I can handle for building muscle, and I go as low as I can keeping my weight on my heels. You can also do more reps with less weight if you’re going for burning calories. As a variation, you can do dead-lifts instead if you have access to a barbell.

2. Push-ups

Doing three sets of as many push-ups as you can handle will get your arms in shape fast. Keep dong them until you can’t push yourself up anymore. Wait 2-3 minutes, then do it again. Remember, if you feel any unusual pain don’t force yourself to keep going.

3. Pull-ups

Find a stable bar and do three sets of as many pull-ups as you can handle. Spread your hands further apart to target your back muscles more. This will make a huge difference if you keep it up. I went from barely being able to do 5 the first set to now being able to do about 11 in just six months.

 In Conclusion

These three exercises will give you a toned and muscular body relatively quickly if you keep your goal in mind and do them consistently. Like I said, I work-out with variations of these three exercises 3 days a week, and it only takes about 20-30 minutes. No matter how bad I might feel before hand, I always feel so much better afterward from all the endorphins that are released. It’s truly amazing!


Disclaimer: Consult your doctor to make sure exercise is right for you. 😉

Top 10 Brain Health Tips by Dr. Michael S. Trayford

While there are many “Top 10” lists out there, this is a list I have compiled based on years of literature review and firsthand experience in clinical neurological practice.  While no list is ever complete and priorities and orders of importance change with the literature and time; these are, in my opinion, the top 10 ways you can help your brain perform at its maximum potential…in no particular order.  While we offer many advanced applications for boosting brain performance, these are tools that every one of us has at our disposal and can begin to implement immediately.

1) Get plenty of sleep – While there is no definitive number of hours proven to be the best for humans, it is suggested by most experts that a minimum of 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep be observed by most.  Care should be taken to remove any barriers to achieving and maintaining sleep from the bedroom (i.e. TVs, computers, excess light, poor quality/old beds, etc.).  Among other things, memories are formed when we sleep and improved quality and duration of sleep can stave off cognitive decline due to aging.  Click here for a New York Times article on impaired sleep and memory decline.

2) Manage your stress – Stress, namely the long-term continuous stressors many of us face on a day to day basis (e.g. jobs, relationships, traffic, finances, etc.), and the ill-effects it brings on are touted as the root cause of the majority of chronic diseases of our modern society.  There are countless techniques available to us to help us manage stress including meditation, journaling, counseling, prayer, yoga, NLP, Tai Chi, etc., and they all have their distinct advantages with regard to helping our brains perform better.  The majority of the research on stress reduction and the brain has been done in the area of meditation.  Click here for a link to a great book written on meditation and its amazing impact on brain function.

3) Exercise – We all know we should do it and we need to ‘Make the Time’ instead of trying to ‘Find the Time’.  The evidence is irrefutable; exercise makes your brain work better…period!  From increased blood flow carrying oxygen and nutrients to our ‘Greedy Master’, to production of chemicals that help us connect nerve cells and even grow new ones; we all need to exercise.  Click here for a link to my blog post on a phenomenal book that will teach you everything you want to know about this subject.

4) Drink plenty of WATER – Notice the word water is capitalized!  While the occasional naturally flavored drink of your choice is fine, water should be your main source of hydration as it will eliminate intake of sugars, sugar substitutes, artificial flavors/colors, etc. that can all be harmful to your brain.  Our bodies are made up of roughly 60% water content and our brains are even higher at upwards of 70-80%.  General recommendations for intake are currently accepted by many to be 1/2 of your body weight in oz. of water per day (e.g. 140 lbs = 70 oz.).

5) Eat the right kind of fat – Another area where our brain requires more, and the right kind of, raw materials is fat consumption.  Under normal circumstances our bodies are comprised 20-25% fat and our brains approximately 60%.  While I am unable to get into the biochemistry of fats in this limited space, adhering to a few simple rules can help get you off to a good start.  Avoid at all costs processed, man-made fats that fall under the general heading of ‘Trans Fats’.  These are dangerous for our brains and bodies in so many ways, many of which we do not even know yet.  Also, minimizing saturated fat intake is advisable for most (e.g. red meats, butters, etc.).  Poly and monounsaturated fats found in whole food sources (nuts, vegetable oils, greens, etc.) and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and other whole food sources are desirable for a better brain.  Click here for a recent article on fats and your brain.

6) Learn something new – Exercise for your brain!  Learning new subjects, skills and hobbies can help to preserve and build your brain’s resources to ensure it functions at its highest ability as we move through this journey of life.  Novel stimulation has been shown to enhance brain activity immeasurably; whereas routine, monotonous type behaviors will likely ensure a slow, steady decline in cognitive function over time.  Google ‘Learning and the Brain’ and sift through the 132 million results for some light reading to begin the process of learning and remember…We are NEVER too old to learn!

7)  Eat your fruits and veggies – The benefits of REAL/WHOLE foods in our diets is endless, especially fruits and vegetables.  They are low-calorie and loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, good sugars and fiber; which are all good for our brain.  So many of our foods are far from their original source, so begin to learn (which is also good for your brain) about the dangers of processed and genetically modified foods and you will begin to develop an appreciation for fresh, whole foods that power your brain much more efficiently!

8) Be social – Much to my dismay this tip is often left off of many “Top 10” brain health lists and could quite possibly be one of the most important factors for a brain to be able to survive and thrive!  Numerous studies over the past 100 years have shown how social isolation can cause significant psychological and neurological impairment, and even death in extreme cases.  Social isolation disrupts myelin production, which is critical for nerve signaling and transmission.  Volunteer, join a book club or service organization, take a class, walk the neighborhood and talk to your neighbors…put yourself out there – your brain will thank you!  Click here to read more on social isolation and decreased myelin production.

9) Eliminate bad habits – Drinking, smoking, laziness, poor diet, worry, anger, sedentary behavior, dangerous physical activities, etc…Need I say more?

10) Set goals and move towards them – Our brain’s ‘reward system’ is intimately linked to our older emotional (limbic) brain on one end, and our newer cognitive (cortical) brain on the other.  That said, to help balance and improve function in either of these regions, exercising our reward system is a critical step in the process.  Further, the neurotransmitter dopamine is a key player in this system and it is increased with repetitive utilization of this system (this is the same neurotransmitter in short supply in conditions like Parkinson’s!).  Goals must be realistic and attainable, but also strong enough to stretch our mental capacities for optimal benefit!

~Please enjoy, feel free to comment, share with others; and, most importantly, put these to good use!~

Dr. Michael S. Trayford

The Power of Reframing

Ever hear the saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk?” It means a lot more than may be initially apparent. Often times, people beat themselves up over insignificant mistakes or shortcomings. Sometimes people have a single seemingly negative experience that causes them to form a limiting belief about themselves or the world which hinders their success.  These people often appear bitter, jaded or insecure. All it takes is a small shift in thinking to transform their lives. One might tell themselves, “I’m so clumsy! I can’t do anything right.” or they can simply clean the mess and have more positive self-talk like, “It’s okay. That milk was probably going sour anyway.”

In each moment, we are perceiving reality through the lens of our senses, and the way we choose to interpret it is completely unique to who we are and what we believe from past experiences. If you’re speaking and some dude walks out of the room, you might take it personally and think, “He must be bored by what I’m saying. I must be boring,” or you can have a more optimistic outlook and think, “He must really have to pee, because what I’m saying is awesome.”

Focus on becoming aware of any negative belief patterns that surface in various situations, and take time to remember the earliest event that triggered you to think that way. Then, you can look for evidence to disprove the negative beliefs. For example, if you think you’re too fat to get a girlfriend, look for examples of fat men who have girlfriends. The more you prove to yourself that your fears are irrational, the easier it will be to switch to a more confident mindset.

Ever since the movie “The Secret” came out, the idea that you create your reality has been spreading like wildfire, and whether you believe in the law of attraction or not, hopefully now you can at least see how you create your experience of reality which dramatically affects your actions and results. If you don’t believe something is possible for you, the motivation to strive for it will be nonexistent. Keep an open mind, and practice seeing things from different perspectives. If someone is feeling upset, see if you can say something that reframes what’s bothering them and shines a more positive light. Find ways of seeing your supposed weaknesses as strengths. If you feel awkward approaching people in social situations, and think you might be viewed as an annoyance, you might reframe it by flipping the script and thinking something like, “I’m awesome, and all these people want me to approach them.”

Joe asked God, “How much is a penny worth in Heaven?”

God replied, “$1 million.”

Joe asked, “How long is a minute in Heaven?”

God said, “1 million years.”

Joe asked for a penny.

God said, “Sure, in a minute.”

“Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapy in the 1960s. Beck worked with patients that had been diagnosed with depression, and found that negative thoughts would come into minds of these patients. Beck helped his patients recognize the impact of their negative thoughts, and aided them in shifting their mindset to think more positively—eventually lessening or even getting rid of the patient’s depression. This process was termed cognitive restructuring – the main goal of which was to rethink negative thoughts and turn them into positive thoughts

Competition vs. Creativity

In our culture, we’ve been taught from an early age that we need to compete for what we want.  We’ve been socially conditioned to believe that we have to be better than everyone else to be a winner in life.  The truth is, when we’re working towards our goals, whether it’s attracting a romantic interest, making money, or physical fitness, there are two mindsets: The competitive mindset based on scarcity and the creative mindset based on abundance.  The competitive frame is one of ego, and the creative frame is one of selflessness.

Different Interpretations of Reality

Our perceptions are based on the information coming in through our five senses, and our interpretations of the experiences and events in our lives is everything!  Everyone interprets life through their own filters.  The way people interpret reality is generally influenced by their past experiences. People can fall into the scarcity mindset without even realizing it because of previous trauma which causes them to react with negativity often in situations that don’t warrant it.  People who seem jaded have often had bad experiences that they formed limiting beliefs around.  They simply haven’t taken the time to reprogram themselves.

That’s why we retrain our minds through positive affirmations, hypnosis, meditation etc.  People who have lived privileged, successful, or wealthy lives thus far are more likely to have positive expectations, and therefore, they tend to keep getting the results they want.  The rich get richer, because they have a positive attitude that hasn’t been clouded by past failures.

The Competitive Mindset

One of the main problems with the competitive frame of mind is that it often manifests as a superiority complex, arrogance, jealousy, envy, and insecurity.  Remember, no matter how good you are there is always someone better.  Feeling the need to be the best is coming from a lower state of consciousness. Comparing ourselves to others and trying to one-up them all the time is based on an ego-based limited perspective. When criticism enters the picture, it’s often based on the competitive frame of mind.  People see what you’ve created and feel envious, or they compare what you’ve done to what someone else has done.  Competition is all about trying to get ahead.  Competing is a taking energy highlighted by the saying, “Whoever eats the fastest gets the most.”

The Creative Mindset

When we approach life from the frame of creativity, we see everything from a different prospective.  We do it for the fun of the process focusing on what we love.  Creativity comes from a place of abundance, and from a belief that there is more than enough to go around.  Creativity provides value. Creativity is independent of the opinions of other people.  Break the mould!  Do you think Vincent van Gogh was trying to be better than anyone else when he painted Starry Night?  He did it out of love.  Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.  The only person you should ever try to be better than is yourself.  Creativity comes from the heart, and it’s a giving energy.  It’s the essence of generosity.  When we look at the big picture from a state of higher consciousness, it’s not about being the best; it’s about doing our best.  Do what you love.

Top 10 Ways to Increase Motivation

1.  Finding a Purpose and Setting Intention

Studies have shown that having a purpose gives us intrinsic motivation.  As opposed to extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation makes one think and behalf more creatively instead of simply going from point A to B with little or no meaning or consideration of the why.  Having a purpose creates the spark of passion that is the fuel of success.

When we set an intention, we give ourselves direction, create a framework or blueprint, and it also sets unseen forces in motion.  It programs our subconscious to recognize new patterns and make new choices.  It also creates a vibrational vacuum that pulls into it the intended result by the Law of Attraction.

“The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion.”

-Terry Orlick

2.  Dreaming Big and Making Wishes

Setting goals is a great way to increase motivation.  Some people have resistance to actually doing it though, so one way to overcome that is by changing the way you think of the process.  We can start by dreaming and visualizing life as we would like it to be.  Making wishes is another way to make goal setting more fun and easy.

Most people have believed that being accountable to others makes you more likely to achieve your goals, although some recent research by psychologists has indicated that telling others about our goals makes us less likely to achieve them, because we feel as though we’ve already done it leading to a decrease in motivation.

Remember to write your goals down.  Once something is in a tangible form instead of only a thought in the mind, it holds space in physical reality, and radiates and attracts like energy.  It’s also good to be reminded of our goals regularly, so having something to look back on for reference is essential.  Another benefit of writing them down is being able to track your progress which leads to my next point.

“In my lifetime, I’ve come to realize that you can’t depend upon other people for what you want. You can’t be scared to go out and get it. You have to dream big, wish hard & chase after your goals, because no one is going to do it for you.”

-Cee Lo Green

3.  Rewarding Yourself for a Job Well Done

We can dream, wish, set goals, and talk about what we’re going to do all we want, but we won’t see much result until we start doing the work required.  When we find ourselves procrastinating doing the work required to achieve our goals, we can simply make a promise to do something fun and reward ourselves once we’ve completed the task at hand.  Whether it be relaxing, eating something delicious, gifting ourselves a present, making more time for our hobbies, or going on adventures.  When we do this, we create extrinsic motivation by finding healthy ways to treat ourselves for accomplishing what we set out to do and being the awesome human beings that we are.  Follow-through is everything.


“You get what you reward. Be clear about what you want to get and systematically reward it.”

-Bob Nelson

4.  Facing and Embracing Your Fears

Fear can increase our motivation, although it can also decrease it depending on what we’re afraid of.  Getting in touch with our fears is a great way to release blockages and limiting beliefs that may be holding us back.  Instead of lying to ourselves and denying our fears exist, let’s face them head on, and embrace them with love and understanding.  One way is to make a list of everything we’re afraid of, and get to know and accept ourselves as we are.  Let us not judge our feelings as wrong or something to be gotten rid of.  Everything is there for a reason.  Instead of labeling them as wrong or bad, let’s see the value that they offer, and let them go when they no longer serve us.  The more we learn to know ourselves including our shadows or apparent weaknesses, the more they become our strengths.

“You can only come to the morning through the shadows.”

-J.R.R. Tolkien

5.  Nutrition and Exercise

Proper nourishment and getting regular exercise are key ingredients to happiness.  When we have a clear head from eating nutrient rich/plant based foods, inspiration and motivation will come naturally.  If we’re loaded up with unhealthy fast foods, processed foods, high levels of sugar, and harmful fats then we will feel sluggish and depressed which will affect our motivation.  Getting exercise raises the endorphin levels and produces a natural state of well-being.  From this place, we are more connected to our source, and expressing ourselves creatively and enjoying life to the fullest becomes effortless.

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

-John F. Kennedy

6.  Love and Gratitude

Make lists about all the things you love and give thanks for.  The more we stay in a state of love and appreciation, the easier it will be to think positively and keep moving in the right direction throughout our day and life.  It only takes a few negative thoughts in a row to trigger a fight-or-flight response thus pumping our bodies full of stress chemicals.  Stress has be proven to inhibit digestion, sex drive, and other body functions.  The good news is that we can train our minds to break the cycle of negativity.  We can choose not to sweat the small stuff.  The more we stay in the space of love and gratitude, the more we are training not only our minds but also our feelings to respond to the situations in our lives differently.  Being loving and grateful is one of the best things we can do to stay on purpose and increase motivation.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”


7.  Mind Mapping and Vision Boarding

Having your dreams and goals represented visually can help you stay focused on achieving them.

Mind mapping is simply the process of creating branches with nodes that each contain one word or concept.  It works the same way our brains do by association and imagery.  Use colors, curved lines, and images to make your mind map more appealing to the eye.  Mind mapping can be used for many things. It’s a great tool for expanding on your ideas and becoming more organized.

Vision boarding is a similar idea in that it’s a visual representation, although it’s done by gathering images of things we’d like to be, do, or have and creating a collage out of them.  Look at the vision board regularly, and visualize it as already accomplished.  The results can be miraculous.

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

-Jack Welch

8.  Writing and Creative Expression

By making a commitment to write out our thoughts even if they’re negative, we allow yourself to vent.  Noticing the patterns that we see can be an invaluable aid in releasing blockages. Sometimes just by writing down our objections, we solve our own problems.  Try making a list of everything negative, and reading it back in the positive.  We don’t have to believe it, but over time it will retrain our minds to avoid going into fight-or-flight response.

Writing about our goals can be very helpful too.  The more clear we get on what they are, the easier it is to move toward them.  If we don’t know what we want then how are we ever going to get it?  Write it down.  Break your larger goals down into smaller steps you can take for the day.  Be as specific as possible, and then let it go.

Creative expression is another way to get in the flow.  Being creative and doing what we love is a big part of following our purpose. We need to make time to do what we enjoy whether it be playing music, preparing food, painting, yoga, or dancing.  Following our passions not only makes us more interesting, but it also makes life more fulfilling.  As the saying goes,

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”


9.  Learning New Skills

Sometimes we can feel like we’re just stuck in a routine, the the truth is that we are.  Make time to learn new things.  Without new tools to use in our lives, we are limited to where we’re at. Growing, learning, discovering new information, and improving ourselves, we can gain new insights to achieve our goals and live an inspired life.  Listen to speakers, read books, research online, watch movies, take classes, go out and get real life experience.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
-Albert Einstein

10.  Getting Out Into Nature

We weren’t meant to live our lives in little boxes looking at brightly lit screens all the time while putting garbage in our mouths.  Nature is an excellent healer.  By breathing fresh air, putting our bare feet on the earth, walking, running, absorbing sunshine, swimming, and listening to the birds, we can reduce stress and unlock latent potential. Living closely with nature will bring joy, health, creativity, and help us to see the abundance that is all around us.  Sometimes taking a break is the best way to get motivated and inspired.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

-Lao Tzu

Mind Mapping for Motivation and Success

Mind MapA Mind Map is a thinking tool that works much the way our brains do using images and association.  You basically start with a central word and draw branches with related word nodes expanding out indefinitely.  You can add color and images to make it more fun and impactful.

Humans remember by visualization and association, so this is a great tool for programming the sub-conscious mind.  It’s also a great way to set goals which are proven to aid in motivation and success.  Much like a vision board, you can use it as a visual representation of what you’d like to manifest in your life.  This method can help clarify what you want and don’t want, set clear goals, create action steps, and clear limiting beliefs allowing your wishes to come true by the law of attraction, or assisting in achieving your goals by simply bringing clarity and organization.

The idea of creating diagrams connecting ideas with branches and nodes has been around for centuries under various names including thought bubbles, spider diagrams, spidergraphs,  mind webs, and idea sun-bursting.  The term, “Mind Map,” was coined by Tony Buzan.  He says the idea was inspired by Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics.  Tony Buzan recommends using one word per node to keep it more open and free.

You can use colored pencils, magic markers, paint, or Mind Mapping software to create your own.  Find what works for you.  This is a powerful tool for motivation, inspiration, organization and having fun.

iMindMap Basic Mind Mapping: Why Do It?

  • Self Discovery
  • Goal Setting
  • Team Building
  • Organization
  • Brainstorming
  • Manifestation
  • Clarifying
  • Get Ideas Out
  • Development
  • Improving Memory
  • Finding Relations
  • It’s Fun!


7 Habits of Happy People

Sunflower“Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.”
~Unknown Source

What is happiness?  Does it really exist?  Can happiness last forever?  How does one become happy?  How many people do you know that are authentically happy?

People who have realized true happiness in their lives have certain habituated ways of being which can easily be observed and learned from.

1. Living in a Feeling of Gratitude

When we focus on actually feeling true gratitude, it opens us up to a new perspective.  Instead of slipping into negative thinking about what we don’t have, it helps us stay positive and allows us to recognize the blessings and gifts in our lives.  Another good reason to be grateful and focus on the blessings is that all it takes is 3 negative thoughts in a row before we trigger a fight-or-flight chemical response.

“To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.”
~ Johannes A. Gaertner

2. Being of Service to Others

True happiness comes from making others happy.  It just feels good to make others feel good.  Like the golden rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If we can be true servants and help give people what they desire, it opens up the door to receiving.  We get what we give.  The universe keeps track of all this stuff so that we don’t have to.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

3. Loving Unconditionally

The physical world is all part of the same sea of vibrational energy.  All is one, and therefore to love unconditionally is to see beyond the conditions of separation. This also goes back to the law of reciprocity or the golden rule.  If we’re sending out loving energy it’s going to come back to us.  Everything is just a reflection after all.  Happy people understand this, and keep on loving everything and everyone no matter what.

“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.”
~Dr. Wayne Dyer

4. Detachment from the Approval of Others

Living life seeking popularity and favor will only lead to suffering.  Happy people know to follow their own hearts without worrying what other people might think of them.  You can’t please everyone, and trying to do so makes us doubt our abilities and compromises our self-confidence, likeability, and authenticity.

“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.”
~Lao Tzu

5. Having Positive Expectations

If we don’t have high expectations we can’t be disappointed, and negative expectations can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It’s all about having positive expectations without being so set on the details of how you think it should or shouldn’t be.  Simply trust that the universe in all its infinite wisdom will provide for you exactly what you need.  Releasing and being in the moment is also essential to being happy, and when our minds are set on some fixed expectation then we lose flexibility to handle our current reality.  Another form of negative expectations ties into the law of reciprocity or golden rule.  Give freely without expecting to receive anything in return, otherwise, it’s not a true gift.

“An attitude of positive expectation is the mark of the superior personality.”
― Brian Tracy

6. Letting Go of Control

Sometimes things are simply out of our control.  These are the best times to simply observe, let go, and allow things to be as they are without trying to change them.  Resistance to things we can’t change will only cause us suffering.  Surrendering to the flow of life, and giving up our ego based desires leads to real lasting happiness.  Let go, and let God!

“What you resist persists.”
~Carl Jung

7. Exercise and Diet

Eating healthfully provides our bodies with the proper amino acids and nutrients to be happy, and exercise releases endorphins which give us a happy feeling.  5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, and L-DOPA is a precursor to dopamine both of which play an important role in experiencing a feeling of well-being through brain chemistry.  Don’t take our word for it.  Do your own research and consult a health care professional before making any major life changes.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

Mountain Lake

20 Steps to Effective Living

By Marisa Singhnarinaath

1. Eradicate negative mental attitude. Try to always be positive. Being positive makes it easier for you to search for solution to any problem you are facing. Being positive also makes you happier.

2. Avoid undue stress. Stress is the number one cause of tons of diseases. Stress weakens your immune system. If you want to be healthy you have to find ways of dealing with stress effectively.

3. Stop worrying. Ask yourself this question: Will the situation that you are facing change or get better if you worry? Worrying will only make things worse. Usually things that you worry about never happen.

4. Eliminate feeling of inferiority. Remember that you are created in the image of God. How can you ever be inferior?

5. Develop a pleasant disposition. This will improve your relationship with everyone. It is always better to have more friends than enemies.

6. Enjoy your work. Since you have to work why not try to enjoy it? If no matter how hard you tried, you still can’t enjoy your work, then it’s time to consider new career. Since you spend a great chunk of your time on your job, you might as well be doing something that you enjoy. If you enjoy your work, you will be happier.

7. Be grateful. Gratitude is the best attitude. Try it and you will find that the more grateful you are, the more you will have to be grateful for.

8. Forgive yourself and others. Life is short. Don’t bear grudges. “We achieve inner health only through forgiveness-the forgiveness not only of others but also of ourselves.” (Joshu Loth Liebman)

9. Have faith in the Higher power. “A man with a grain of faith in God never loses hope because he ever believes in the ultimate triumph of Truth.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

10. Have a sense of humor. Sense of humor will help to improve almost every relationship. “A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership,of getting along with people, of getting things done.” (Dwight David Eisenhower)

11. Let go of the Ego.

“To serve your ego is to worship a false identity created by yourself. It is like someone suffering from amnesia reinventing herself because she has forgotten who she is.”

(Tao Te Ching)

12. Live in the present moment. If you live in the present moment you will find that you enjoy your life more. All your mental anguish come from either remembering passed experiences or fretting over future outcome. Living in the present moment is one of the best ways to make yourself happier.

13. Believe in abundance. Believing in abundance will help you to be abundant. “Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”(Wayne Dyer)

14. Be kind and generous. It is good for the soul. “When we feel love and kindness toward others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.” (Dalai Lama)

15. Dwell on the good things in life. The more you dwell on the good things in life, the more good things will come into your life.

16. Meditate. Spend at least half an hour everyday meditating. You will feel refresh and more centered. Meditation helps to relax your body, thus removing stress from your body. Meditation helps you to focus better and help to heighten your awareness. Meditation help quieten the mind, thus making you happier.

17. Pray for others as well as yourself.

18. Laugh as much as often. Remember, laughter is the best medicine.

19. Help others. When you help others to get what they want, the universe will be quick to give you what you want.

20. Follow your heart’s desire. If you follow your heart’s desire, you will be unstoppable and you will finally be happy.

Marisa Singhnarinaath

I run a site that review self improvement products.

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