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5 Steps to Change Your Perspective and Overcome Your Challenges

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.” ~Carl Sagan

I’m there with a hundred other people. The lights fade to a whisper then vanish, leaving us in darkness. Stars appear. Thousands of them, projected onto the dome screen above.

In the center of the screen is Earth with its emerald and amber lands and sapphire oceans frosted by clouds. We watch the planet’s rotation, and then we’re flying backward through space, and the …

A Reason to Feel Less Anxious During Times of Transition

“How ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” ~Elizabeth Lesser

This past May I graduated from college, where I majored in Environmental Science. I chose this subject for one simple reason: I love learning how the world works.

There are always strong connections to be made between humans and other species. Every time I hear a unique, astonishing fact about other animals, I feel more connected to the world around us rather than more separate.

My latest …

Overcoming Fear-Based Thinking and Creating a Happy Mind and Life

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~George Addair

My parents were teenagers when they had their first of three children. I was the middle child. They were uneducated, poor, and had very difficult upbringings.

As I recall my childhood, most of what I remember is how fearful both of my parents were.

They were constantly stressed out about money, the kids, the tattered house, the rusty car, and everything else in their lives.

My mother, my first role model, was so scared of the world. She definitely had an undiagnosed anxiety disorder. She was afraid to …

How to Transform Self-Criticism into Self-Appreciation

“Stop hating yourself for everything you aren’t. Start loving yourself for everything that you are.” ~Unknown

They stop you dead in your tracks.

Critical thoughts.

Like tiny knives, they slash at your happiness.

In public, you feign confidence. You can easily squish down your critical thoughts. You push yourself to smile, laugh, and even be the life of the party.

But when the dust settles, and you are all alone, the thoughts start, first as a trickle: “I shouldn’t have said that. Why couldn’t I say smarter things?” And then they start to crash harder and stronger with, “I am …

7 Reasons Your Breakup Is A Beautiful Thing

Watch for big problems. They disguise big opportunities.” ~Ritu Ghatourey

After many years of being the “dumper” in the relationship, I then spent many years being the “dumpee.”

Even after I had worked through all of that karma that I had instilled upon myself, when it came time for my last breakup, it was finally a mutual decision. Still, it left me feeling lost and incomplete.

I had never felt happier with any other man, and at the same time, I knew I deserved better. We both loved each other so much, but we found ourselves growing apart.…

A Tiny Act of Kindness Can Help Someone in a Big Way

I started working in the food industry when I was just twelve years old.

I couldn’t drive, stay out past 11:00pm, or do algebra, but I could easily fill a bag with bagels at a business owned by a close family friend. And so I did, every weekend.

It was a simple job, working the dozen counter. I didn’t even have to ask people how many they wanted (thirteen, a baker’s dozen—that’s just good business!) I only had to ask what kind they wanted, then hand it to them, make change, and send them off with a “Have a nice …

5 Dos and Don’ts for Surviving a Hard Time

“Our ultimate freedom is the right and power to decide how anybody or anything outside ourselves will affect us.” ~Stephen Covey

My partner was a well-respected bank manager in a small country town. He was rising through the bank hierarchy with good prospects for further promotion. We were thought of as a happy, close-knit family that contributed in every way we could to the local community.

Unbeknownst to us, the bank was conducting a re-assessment of their country branches. Several of the smaller banks would close and all staff would be dismissed.

Frightening words were on our lips—redundancy, fear of

How to Mend a Broken Friendship (Even if You’re Not on Speaking Terms)

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Teresa

I kept thinking about how many years had passed by. Did I really waste four years by not contacting my best friend?

You see, I had a falling out with my close cousin. Growing up together since childhood, we became best friends—more like brothers through the years.

That was until we had a huge disagreement. We didn’t speak for what seemed like forever.

Admittedly, I was the one to blame. Though at that time, I didn’t see it that way.

When someone means a lot to …

Authenticity May Feel Risky But It’s Worth It

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.” ~Brené Brown

Growing up I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. One minute I would be on top of the world and the next I felt overwhelmed by anxiety. I didn’t know how to share my difficult emotions in a healthy way with my friends and family, so I started suppressing them instead.

I realized early on that it felt safe to hide my feelings, because no one could judge me if I kept them to myself. I believed …

How to Turn Your Fear into Excitement So You Can Pursue Your Dreams

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance.” ~John Lennon

When it comes to facing fear and moving past it in order to see my dreams realized, I was always advised to power through it. Do the thing that scares you, no matter how much it makes your heart pound. Take that step that makes your stomach knot up in tight balls. Do it and power through, or else miss out …

Why Being the Best Is Not the Key to Happiness (And What Is)

“A bad day for your ego is a great day for your soul.” ~Jillian Michaels

A few weeks ago, when I was feeling a bit down on life, I was surfing through Facebook and found myself getting more and more upset.

There were weddings and vacation photos and posts about promotions and new purchases and all the great things that happen in people’s lives.

These were my friends, and I couldn’t understand why I felt so unhappy. Why did I feel a pit in my stomach that I wasn’t good enough when I heard about someone getting the job of …

How Meditation Calms Your Mind and Makes You Feel More Alive

“While meditating we are simply seeing what the mind has been doing all along.” ~Allan Lokos

People around the globe have practiced meditation for centuries upon centuries, and it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular pastimes in the modern world. It’s one of the most effective ways to find inner peace, relax, and cope with stress.

I’ve had my share of stress and troubles over the years. I remember one time, nearly eight years ago, when the stress and anxiety really got to me and made my life miserable.

I was facing the prospect of being made redundant at …

The Key to Freedom: Minding Your Own Business

“The day you stop racing is the day you win the race.” ~Bob Marley

Let me take you back to the beginning of my day, how I used to do it.

Flicking through my Facebook newsfeed, clicking on profiles, scrolling through comments, monitoring social interactions, checking how many likes my last post or profile picture got. Then I’m going to my therapist, to talk about how worthless my own life is, how inadequate I feel.

I’m not saving the world, pursuing my passion, making friends, or traveling. Neither am I getting married or engaged nor having children—and I do …

Stop Waiting for Permission to Live the Life You Want to Live

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” ~Unknown

I know you.

You’re smart. You’re driven. You’re a “good girl/boy.” You found out a long time ago that life goes more smoothly for people who follow the rules, so you learned the rulebook inside out.

People expected things from you and you made it your job to live up to those expectations—and probably beat yourself up inside when you fell short.

But now you’re stuck, the way anyone who has spent their life making other people happier than they make themselves gets stuck.…

How to Discover the Work That Will Bring You Joy and Purpose

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” ~David Viscott

You are a seeker. Searching for more of life. More joy. More depth. More connection. More happiness.

Our generation is not willing to settle for meaningless existence. Just to get by, just to keep it all together. It doesn’t interest us any more.

We want more freedom. Especially in the realm of our work.

But it can seem like a long road between ‘here’ and ‘there.’ From this job, from this life into… the unknown.

We know there is deeper …

How Pain Can Lead to Pleasure and Why We Should Embrace It

“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow.” ~Unknown

We all hate to suffer, and avoid suffering at all costs. I’ve gone through great lengths to avoid discomfort, pain, and sorrow.

I stayed with the wrong people to avoid the suffering of letting go; I indulged in tasty, fatty snacks to avoid the suffering of not eating them; and I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day to avoid the suffering involved with quitting.

I stayed in bed for longer than I should to avoid the discomfort of waking up when I needed to. I …

10 Simple Ways to Ease Your Anxiety Today

“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

As an almost recovered anxiety sufferer I know what it’s like to feel stressed, out of sorts, desperate, and unlike yourself. I know what panic attacks feel like; I’ve had many. I wouldn’t wish them on my worst enemy.

Anxiety can be debilitating and affect every area of your day-to-day life.

I remember about four years ago, when I was feeling so overwhelmed and anxious I could barely leave my house. I had three young children at the time. It was all I could do to get through each day.

Just …

10 Deathbed Regrets You Can Avoid by Making Changes Now

“While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci

It’s terrifying, isn’t it?

There you are—days, hours, maybe minutes remain in your life. You lie there helpless, searching for the strength to say your last goodbyes.

You look back on your life. All the things you wish you’d done differently.

As you continue to reminisce an overwhelming emotion comes rushing in, an emotion many are familiar with.

Regret.

You set the standards high for yourself. But now that it’s all said and done, more was always said than …

5 Ways to Create a Life You Love Without Making a Major Change

“Some people thrive on dramatic change. Some people prefer the slow and steady route. Do what’s right for you.” ~Julie Morgenstern

Admit it.

You feel like something’s missing from your life.

You see people who have transformed their lives, given up their day jobs, and moved to exotic lands.

People who have created a new life and found whatever was missing from their previous humdrum existences.

But you don’t hate your life. You’re okay with a little humdrum. You like your responsibilities—your partner, kids, house, or job. The thought of the life you have stretching out in front of you …

We All Have Bad Days and All Need a Little Kindness

”Be kind to unkind people. They need it the most.” ~Unknown

A couple weeks back I had what Alexander would call a no good, terrible, very bad day.

I’d slept poorly the night before—possibly because I had caffeine, which I usually avoid, somewhat late in the day, and possibly because I have a toddler-sized bladder that doesn’t seem to understand or care about REM cycles.

In addition to being physically exhausted, I was feeling emotionally spent. I’d been dealing with a high level of uncertainty, as my boyfriend and I were preparing to move yet again, after months of discussion …