Make a Great First Impression, Science Says First Do 1 Thing


If you want to make a great first impression -- and why wouldn't you? -- you know there are basic steps you can take: Smile, make eye contact, listen more than you talk, ask questions about the other person. Anyone can do those things.
But what you might not know is that if you think other people are going to like you, they usually will.
As research shows, interpersonal warmth explains the self-fulfilling prophecy of anticipated acceptance; study participants who expected to be accepted were perceived as more likable. (Or in nonresearcher speak, when you think other people will like you, you act more naturally and come across as friendlier -- which then makes people like you more since we tend to like warm, friendly people.)
All of which sounds great, but the trick, when you're shy or insecure, is actually believing that other people will like you. When you're in an unfamiliar setting or an uncomfortable position, it's a lot easier to assume people won't like you -- which research shows creates a self-fulfilling prophecy all its own.
So how can you convince yourself that people will like you? Positive self-talk ("They're going to love me!") won't cut it. 
Instead, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and commit to taking a few steps that ensure almost anyone will like you. (When results are basically guaranteed, it's easy to feel more confident and self-assured.) 
Be prepared to:

1. Give a genuine compliment.

Everyone loves to be praised, especially since no one gets enough praise. So be prepared to tell people what they did, or do, well. Find out whom you will meet and then do a little research.
If coming prepared isn't possible, no problem. Show interest by asking questions. But go past, "What do you do?" Ask what it's like to do what the person does. Ask what's hard about it. Ask what the person loves about it. You'll soon find things to compliment.
And then not only will the people you meet appreciate the praise, they'll feel more accomplished and more important, and they'll like you for making them feel that way.

2. Focus on letting people talk about themselves. 

People love to talk about themselves. (And even if they didn't, they can't help it.)
Research shows approximately 40 percent of everyday speech is spent telling other people what we think or feel -- basically, talking about our subjective experiences. (Not just that you took a spin class last night, but whether you liked the spin class. And whether you liked the instructor. And the studio. And the other people in the class. And ... )
In fact, we almost can't help sharing our thoughts and feelings: Research also shows that talking about ourselves, whether in person or on social media, triggers the same pleasure sensation in the brain as does money or food. Self-disclosure causes increased activity in brain regions associated with the sense of reward and satisfaction from money, food, and even sex.
By helping people talk about themselves, you're seen as a great conversationalist even when you actually say very little. And in the process, you also make other people feel better about themselves, which makes them like you.
That's another win-win.

3. Change one word.

Think about the difference in these statements:
  • "I had to go to a meeting."
  • got to meet with some great people."
Or
  • "I have to interview some candidates for a job."
  • "I get to select a great person to join our team."
No big deal, right? Wrong. We like to be around happy, enthusiastic, and motivated people. Do you want to be around people who have to do certain things or who want to do certain things?
Keep in mind choosing the right words also affects how you feel. Don't say, "I have to go to the gym." Say, "I want to go to the gym."
In time, you'll believe it. You'll look forward to it. 
Which you should, because improving your fitness will improve your overall health, performance, and even make you happier.

4. Show a little vulnerability.

Great teams are often led by people willing to admit weaknesses and failings. Great friends are also willing to be vulnerable. 
Want to make a great first impression? Don't try to impress. Instead, be humble. Share your screwups. Admit your mistakes. Be the cautionary tale. Laugh at yourself.
When you do, other people won't laugh at you. They'll laugh with you.
And they'll immediately like you better for it -- and want to be around you more.







Source: INC magazine 

A Captivating Story Of Courage, Inspiration, and Affirmitive Decision...


Colonel Harland Sanders was a man who encountered struggle after struggle.
…He was fired from a variety of jobs throughout his career
…He first started cooking chicken in his roadside Shell Service Station in 1930, at the ripe age of 40, and during the Great Depression
…His gas station didn’t actually have a restaurant, so he served diners in his attached personal living quarters.
Over the next 10 years, he perfected his “Secret Recipe” and chicken-frying method for his now world-famous fried chicken before moving onto bigger locations.
But even then, it was not all sunshine and roses for the Colonel. Soon enough, the interstate came through the Kentucky town where the Colonel’s restaurant was located in the 1950s.
It took away important walk-in traffic, and the Colonel was forced to close his business and retire.
Disheartened. Broke. Depressed.
His $105 monthly pension cheque wasn’t helping his situation either…
…At this point, the man was presented with 2 options.
1. He could accept his dire situation as what it was, and wait for misery to consume his entire being. Or…
2. He could take massive action to change his circumstances
There’s a certain type of beauty in destruction… Because it’s only during moments of adversity that the heart of man truly shines. And that’s what Colonel did.
He chose to discover his true purpose. He chose to believe that this wasn’t the end. He chose change over hopelessness.
That’s when he set out to franchise his secret recipe. The path itself was not far from easy. Sanders ended up sleeping in his car and getting rejected over a thousand times…
Until he found his first partner.
Kentucky Fried Chicken is now worth over 15 BILLION DOLLARS.

The 10 Stages of Addiction Relapse


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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, between forty and sixty percent of people in recovery experience a relapse and end up requiring further medical attention. Contrary to popular belief, relapse does not happen at random. Stress and other environmental triggers can impact people who have been sober for years. Knowing the ten stages of a relapse can help you anticipate whether your newfound sobriety is in jeopardy, so you can seek help before it is too late.

Stage One: Denial

Prior to relapsing, you may feel concerned about your own well-being or others may voice fears about your health. You will dismiss this apprehensiveness and pretend that everything is fine.

Stage Two: Avoidance and Defensive Behavior

During the second stage, you will begin to convince yourself that turning back to your old habits is not in the cards. To divert attention away from your own situation, you will begin to worry excessively about others and will become defensive if questioned about past or present events. You may adopt compulsive habits and proceed to impulsively make decisions or take risks. You will also feel lonely more frequently, whether you are completely isolated or surrounded by people.

Stage Three: Crisis Building

In the next stage, you will develop tunnel vision, feeling consumed by a single thought or fear (such as spiraling back into addictive tendencies). These negative thought patterns can develop into a minor depression, which will affect your ability to make plans and keep them.

Stage Four: Immobilization

The following stage is characterized by pessimism and lack of action. You will start envisioning more hopeful scenarios but will not take the steps to make your dreams a reality. You will think your problems are not fixable and wish for a happier life.

Stage Five: Confusion and Overreaction

The fifth stage of relapse may make you irritable and hostile, even over mild inconveniences. You will also experience periods of confusion.

Stage Six: Depression

Minor depression will intensify during the sixth stage of relapse. You may develop irregular eating and sleeping patterns, become more lethargic, and abandon daily responsibilities.

Stage Seven: Behavioral Loss of Control

Severe depression progresses into apathy about recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. You may begin to skip AA and treatment meetings and stop caring about recovery or anything else happening in your life. You will openly reject any outside help, become dissatisfied with the direction your life is taking, and feel powerless or helpless.

Stage Eight: Recognition of Loss of Control

Your focus on negative emotions translates into self-pity. To make yourself feel better, you begin to convince yourself that a moment of social drinking or using will not hold serious consequences. You start purposely lying to yourself and others, and you lose any remaining self-esteem.

Stage Nine: Option Reduction

Right before you relapse, you will feel unreasonably resentful and stop attending treatment altogether. You may feel lonely, angry, unfulfilled, and stressed. Your behavior will spiral out of control.

Stage Ten: The Relapse Episode

Any tensions come to a boiling point during the final stage of relapse, which starts with using the substance that provoked your addiction in the first place. After initial use, you will feel ashamed and guilty, and convince yourself that you cannot be helped and that your future is hopeless. You lose all control, further damaging your mind and body in the process. The relapse may also impair your interpersonal relationships.

You may have already experienced these emotions and exhibited these behaviors, but the tenth stage of relapse does not have to be the end of your story. It is one chapter with a resolvable conflict. Rather than dwell on past missteps, concentrate on your future and the ways you can minimize your chances of relapsing again. Look to family, friends, and any connections you made during treatment for support.
Relapse is not synonymous with failure. Though there is no cure for addiction, the disease is highly treatable. Don’t let a relapse prevent you from living your best life

If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we are here to help. Call Ron Mills 954-394-4980




















Source /mountainside.com

Like an ancient old-growth forest

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Like an ancient old-growth forest — where the subtle play of light, texture and shadows is the product of a process measured in centuries and inches — most things of lasting value develop gradually, at their own pace. The ability to learn from experience — one of humanity's greatest capacities — implies constant yet gradual progress. The combination of stillness within and determination without are the essence of this dynamic. Good things sometimes sprout quickly; the truly delightful take much longer. 

The principle of gradual development applies also to human relationships. For love and marriage or any important partnership to endure, progress must be slow but steady: slow enough to allow for the bonds to knit properly; steady enough to keep moving in the right direction. 

You can't expect to have everything all at once. Development must be allowed to take its proper course and allotted time; events must neither be rushed nor manipulated, but allowed to unfold naturally. In this way, you will come to enjoy long-lasting relationships and achieve success.

10 Strange Behaviors Of An Authentic Empath


You have discovered you might be an empath and want to know the exact signs – it is not all bad you know! Once you learn the tricks of psychic protection, you will find it much easier to navigate this world without being energetically punched down all the time.
1. You Take On Other People’s Energy
You really can’t help it. This is the key trait of the empath. You feel someone else’s energy and emotions, then begin to vibrate to the same emotion. If another is crying, you can start to tear up. Someone is angry – you can feel this anger literally burn your aura. Someone is negative and fearful – you sink low with them, and it seems you can’t help it! Sound familiar? The good news is that once you become consciously aware that this isn’t normal (the non-empaths do none of these things) then you are halfway towards finding a solution to this. Who wants to be vibrating to other people’s emotions all day? Its exhausting.
2. High Natural Intuition
You have intuition in spades, but doesn’t everyone? Actually no, as an empath you have unique skills that others don’t seem to have. Being an empath is a bit like being clairsentient, except that clairsentients sense things without ‘catching’ the emotion. As an empath, like a clairsentient, you feel things psychically. You know what others are feeling just by looking at them. You chat to them and you can know their intentions without hearing it from their lips. You understand how they are thinking, as if they were an extension of yourself. It is easy. You know what you know. Your intuition fires on all cylinders.
3. People Drain You Easily
This can be a problem for you. When around other people, you are so giving that you take on other’s emotions or problems but are left feeling tired as a result. If you are doing this every day, willingly giving away energy to help others, you find you don’t have much left for yourself. You become more and more drained and perhaps irritated, angry or feeling downright used. Something has to give. The answer is to pull back and stop giving yourself away so easily. Only give to those who have a right to take, like your close people. Take more time for yourself and pamper yourself. Put yourself first for a while.
You really can’t help it. This is the key trait of the empath. You feel someone else’s energy and emotions, then begin to vibrate to the same emotion. If another is crying, you can start to tear up. Someone is angry – you can feel this anger literally burn your aura. Someone is negative and fearful – you sink low with them, and it seems you can’t help it! Sound familiar? The good news is that once you become consciously aware that this isn’t normal (the non-empaths do none of these things) then you are halfway towards finding a solution to this. Who wants to be vibrating to other people’s emotions all day? Its exhausting.
2. High Natural Intuition
You have intuition in spades, but doesn’t everyone? Actually no, as an empath you have unique skills that others don’t seem to have. Being an empath is a bit like being clairsentient, except that clairsentients sense things without ‘catching’ the emotion. As an empath, like a clairsentient, you feel things psychically. You know what others are feeling just by looking at them. You chat to them and you can know their intentions without hearing it from their lips. You understand how they are thinking, as if they were an extension of yourself. It is easy. You know what you know. Your intuition fires on all cylinders.
3. People Drain You Easily
This can be a problem for you. When around other people, you are so giving that you take on other’s emotions or problems but are left feeling tired as a result. If you are doing this every day, willingly giving away energy to help others, you find you don’t have much left for yourself. You become more and more drained and perhaps irritated, angry or feeling downright used. Something has to give. The answer is to pull back and stop giving yourself away so easily. Only give to those who have a right to take, like your close people. Take more time for yourself and pamper yourself. Put yourself first for a while.
You really can’t help it. This is the key trait of the empath. You feel someone else’s energy and emotions, then begin to vibrate to the same emotion. If another is crying, you can start to tear up. Someone is angry – you can feel this anger literally burn your aura. Someone is negative and fearful – you sink low with them, and it seems you can’t help it! Sound familiar? The good news is that once you become consciously aware that this isn’t normal (the non-empaths do none of these things) then you are halfway towards finding a solution to this. Who wants to be vibrating to other people’s emotions all day? Its exhausting.
2. High Natural Intuition
You have intuition in spades, but doesn’t everyone? Actually no, as an empath you have unique skills that others don’t seem to have. Being an empath is a bit like being clairsentient, except that clairsentients sense things without ‘catching’ the emotion. As an empath, like a clairsentient, you feel things psychically. You know what others are feeling just by looking at them. You chat to them and you can know their intentions without hearing it from their lips. You understand how they are thinking, as if they were an extension of yourself. It is easy. You know what you know. Your intuition fires on all cylinders.
3. People Drain You Easily
This can be a problem for you. When around other people, you are so giving that you take on other’s emotions or problems but are left feeling tired as a result. If you are doing this every day, willingly giving away energy to help others, you find you don’t have much left for yourself. You become more and more drained and perhaps irritated, angry or feeling downright used. Something has to give. The answer is to pull back and stop giving yourself away so easily. Only give to those who have a right to take, like your close people. Take more time for yourself and pamper yourself. Put yourself first for a while.
4. You Attract Broken People
Other people can sense giving people and try to start up a friendship. People could approach you in public places, at work, etc, because you are sending a message out to the universe that you will give time to strangers, listen and offer them some relief. This is nice, isn’t it? Perhaps, until you run out of time and energy. When an empath starts to ignore strangers with problems, like magic they stop approaching you. They do not sense that you are open for business, with a big shoulder for them to cry on. This activity will stop. You were not put on this earth to heal every person that comes your way (see point 3 for why).
5. Crowds Affect You
This might sound strange, but not to empaths. Crowded rooms, events, streets or parties can send your senses into a huge, overloaded muddle, with simultaneous emotions coming at you from all directions. Sounds like a nightmare, yes? With correct shielding (I recommend the use of protection stones) this energy is all but annulled. You can feel people’s moods or predominant energy as they walk past you. An aggressive person passing can feel like an energetic punch or slap in the face as they pass you. A softer soul will emit no such punch and seem quiet in comparison.
6. Living Location Is Important
Some empaths may feel the pain of the world, like a curse. Others are just aware of the energy of the city or neighbourhood they live in. Many empaths end up living in smaller areas where the population energy is less in their face. Living in a very lively area, like a young and hip area, or a crime area, or a highly populated, dense area, can drain the empath. As an empath, don’t you just love a country walk in a lonely place to recharge those batteries?
7. You Are VERY Sensitive
This is a given. You do not like to see any living thing in pain or suffering because you suffer right along side them. Some empaths might even feel physical symptoms coinciding what others are going through. If violence on TV is extreme, you might just change the channel. If there is an unpleasant scene, an argument or someone is being bullied, you might even leave the room if you can’t help them. You don’t want to see it or feel it.
8. You Can Often See Through Lies
“Liar, liar, pants on fire”. This one gets old, doesn’t it? You know they are lying. You don’t know how, but you know it immediately. Can’t they see you are an empath? Who do they think they are fooling? You put up with it and don’t let on, because you can’t always prove it. But you know who to trust and who not to. It’s easy actually. Those lies are just so juvenile.
9. Emotional Healing Is Your Gift
Through your compassion and time spent understanding the woes of others, you are healing them. Yes, this is one of your gifts. This one ties in with point 4. This is why you attract all those people who want healing. You can really help your loved ones through giving this gift of listening and truly understanding and caring. Not everyone does this for people. Use this gift when it is warranted.
You will learn who to heal and who to leave. Some people will take your healing and then go ahead and kick you in the teeth. Discern who your real friends are before offering this amazing gift. You have something real to offer the world, so understand its worth, because it is worth a lot.
Don’t downplay yourself if you are an empath. People would kill to be your friend and get healing each time they talk to you. But then you know this already. So be careful who your real friends are and who just wants to take your gift.
10. Empaths Ignore Their Own Problems
Lastly, you are an expert in ignoring your own issues, which you need to talk about. You are so busy healing others, you never get to talk out what you need to. You carry the weight of their problems along with your own. When is your healing time?
You know you are strong and great with problems, but are you suppressing all your own stuff, in favour of helping everyone else? You may dismiss this and not even realise. But surely at some point or another, you may find yourself breaking down. All those pent up emotions and problems have to come up for healing at some point.
Learn to take care of your own issues as they emerge. Don’t stuff them down inside so you can take care of others endlessly. Take a day, heck a week, to sort out yourself as you go. This way, you won’t melt down, explode or break down at some point in the future.
Via AskAngels

OverComing Obstacles

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Let’s face it, obstacles are a part of life and none of us have the playbook on how to overcome them. As ideal as it may sound, dodging obstacles isn’t possible; although you can learn how to work with the energy that creates them and overcome the notion that you are somehow at their mercy. Let’s first identify what obstacles are, why it’s important to overcome them, and where they might trip you up.

Identifying Obstacles

An obstacle is anything that gets in your way of achieving your goals and living the life you truly desire. Obstacles present themselves the moment you set your sights on something you want.
Think about this: Have you ever been interested in someone romantically and then you just gave up without making your first move for fear of making a fool of yourself? What about the area of well-being? Do you ever find yourself wanting to make healthier food choices only to be derailed when the waiter brings the dessert menu featuring a warm chocolate lava cake? Or, maybe you hit the snooze button a few times too many and you keep missing your window of opportunity for exercising before work. These are just a few of the typical, day-to-day obstacles that can throw you off track and out of whack.
Why is overcoming obstacles important? Obstacles derail you. They keep you stuck in the past by preventing you from taking action. They root you in fear, convincing you that you aren’t good enough, you don’t know enough, you don’t have enough time or money, and you’re out of options. If you don’t learn how to overcome obstacles, you run the risk of being ruled by them.
In many cases, obstacles are physical or blatantly obvious, whereas some are non-physical and less discernable. In some ways they can show up as limiting beliefs you have about yourself or others, and on some days they appear as other people or circumstances preventing you from being, doing, or having the things you want. Obstacles show up in many forms and are experienced throughout the energetic (spiritual), mental, emotional, and physical bodies.

Energetic Obstacles

Energetic obstacles are things that give you the feeling of being depleted or exhausted all the time. They show up as day-to-day choices that you are making in your life that lead to an imbalance in energy output versus energy input.
Spending 75 percent of your time working and leaving very little energy to put toward healthy nutrition, exercise, or downtime will result in lethargy, complacency, or total burnout. Many of us tend to give more than we receive and at some point, the inequality will take its toll.
Try the following exercise to help you overcome energetic obstacles:
  • Spend some time looking at the areas in your life where there is a lack of harmony.
  • Make a list of the things you are doing that you are giving too much of your time and energy. Jot down an approximate percentage of time you spend for each.
  • Look at the areas of life or things you do that give you more energy and indicate an approximate percentage of time you spend doing these things.
  • At the end, see where you can minimize things that take away from your energy levels and increase things that give you more energy.

Mental Obstacles

Mental obstacles often revolve around a lack of goals, motivation, or focus. If you don’t have a goal, you don’t have any direction. It’s near impossible to get to where you’re going if you have no idea where it is you want to be.
Another mental obstacle is absence of motivation. Motivation requires a level of passion in order to sustain forward movement toward the goal. If there is no motivation, mental obstacles will show up in the form of resistance and excuses.
An inability to stay focused on the end result can be a huge obstacle. “Chasing squirrels” in your mind—another term for being easily distracted—is a common theme for many people as we live in a world where multi-tasking has become glorified. When you’re scattered and not able to maintain your focus, you start to spin out and are easily thrown into overwhelm.

Emotional Obstacles

Emotional obstacles show up most frequently in the form of daily stressors: irritation toward other people, limiting beliefs about your own self-worth, thoughts around your inability to accomplish certain things, and negative emotions based on past experiences.
Not taking enough down time to become present to—and experience—love, joy, gratitude, and happiness in your daily life may leave you ambiguously feeling as though life itself is the obstacle.
Mental and emotional obstacles are where we tend to point the finger outward, blaming other people or circumstances for the way things are rather than taking responsibility for our choices.

Physical Obstacles

Physical obstacles tend to show up as a lack of time or money, behavior patterns, and physiological responses. For example, if you are someone who struggles with managing your time effectively, you will have difficulty getting things done in an efficient manner—if at all. If you aren’t in a financial bracket that supports your needs and goals, this will show up as a very real challenge for you.
Sudden illness and injury experienced in the physical body are obstacles that can temporarily throw you off course. If you’re not quick to heal—mentally or physically—it may derail you for months or even years. In other cases, obstacles may show up as behavioral choices like sleeping in because you feel energetically, mentally, or emotionally exhausted.

Guided Meditation for Overcoming Obstacles

Depending on how you deal with the obstacles that present themselves will determine the frequency and intensity of which you experience them. Following is a guided meditation for helping you to overcome obstacles in any area of your life. As you move through each self-reflection question, allow yourself a minute or two for contemplation.
  • Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  • Begin to take slow deep breaths, in and out through your nose.
  • Allow your shoulders to relax and your torso to soften with every exhale.
  • Bring into your awareness an area of your life where an obstacle is present.
  • Think about when, where, and how this obstacle began.
  • Ask yourself who or what triggers the problem. What thoughts and emotions are prevalent when the obstacle is present?
  • Now bring your attention to the cost of this obstacle. How does it affect your ability to be, do and have the things you want in life? How does it affect those around you?
  • Next, see what can be available to you if you overcome this obstacle and are able to move powerfully forward in your life.
  • Consider anyone you know who has already overcome this kind of obstacle. Who was it? What approach did they take?
  • Now think about how you might do things differently than the way you have been up to this point, perhaps including some approaches others have taken.
  • Next, invite in an intention for a creative solution to come forth. Ask your Self or the Universe for guidance in how best to navigate and overcome this obstacle.
  • And now, imagine your life as if the obstacle was dissolved and you are now standing in the life you have created by design.
  • After you have a positive internal representation (an image, sound, or feeling) of being free from this obstacle, spend a few moments in quiet contemplation before slowly coming out of your meditation.
Upon coming out of your meditation, you may want to jot down any thoughts into a notebook or journal so that you have some tangible details to then turn into actionable steps. It’s important to take a compassionate approach to this process and really allow yourself to feel into your emotions, listening for your internal guidance to bring forth the insight you need.
Remember, obstacles are the opportunities that have been put on your path to challenge you to move beyond your perceived limitations. Identifying them is just the first step in creating lasting change in your life. The follow-through and taking action to overcome them is where the real gold is. 







Source: @DepokChopra 

How to Deal With Fear and Emotions

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Your entire experience and quality of life hinge on your ability to clear and control the mind.
Many of us believe that our happiness is dependent on outside factors and on what happens to us. This, however, is not true. Rather, our happiness depends on the way we react to what happens to us. And the same goes for every other aspect of our experience too: your stress levels are a result of the way you react to events, and your ability to be productive depends on your reactions too.
Don’t believe me? To prove it, let’s imagine that you’re in an RV and it’s hanging over the edge of a cliff. If you move too much then it’s going to topple over the edge into a ravine.
If you are aware of this situation, then in all likelihood you will be riddled with fear. Your heart rate will increase, your blood vessels will dilate, your muscles will contract and you will start breathing quickly. You’ll sweat and your mind will be all over the place.
But now let’s imagine that you’re in the very same situation but you believe that you can fly. In that case, you’ll probably sit happily reading and not worry all too much about your precarious position!
As you can see here, your belief about the situation and about the events is what is in control of not just your mood – but your very physiology. And guess which person is more likely to survive this situation without letting the RV fall?
Now don’t get this twisted: I am not here to tell you that holding completely deluded beliefs is the way forward! And nor should you convince yourself you can fly.
But this is merely a demonstration of the power of the mind and of your beliefs. Now if you imagine yourself in another more realistic setting you can see how your beliefs can change the way you react.
Let’s say you’re standing up on stage and you’re about to give a speech in front of lots of people.
Some of us don’t believe we can fly. Some of us think that we’re going to say the wrong thing, that we’re going to stutter and that people are going to laugh at us! We thus begin to panic and guess what? Our blood vessels dilate, our muscles contract and our heart rate go up. Our mind begins to race which makes us more likely to make mistakes and our throat becomes dry and hoarse. The irony is that the speech is much more likely to go wrong simply because we’re worried that it might!
And now imagine the same scenario but where you believe it’s going to go well, or where you just aren’t bothered about what other people might think. This kind of calm mindfulness is going to help you to act as though there isn’t even an audience there!
Again, it is your reaction to the event that is going to keep stress at bay.
And it’s not just these acutely stressful situations that can benefit from mindfulness and calmness either. Imagine for example that you come home from work and you can’t stop thinking about the last thing your boss/client/colleague said to you. Then you wonder if you sent that important last email...
How present are you going to be when you get home? How much are your family likely to enjoy spending time with you?
Imagine that you are on a great vacation but all you can think about is whether or not you left the oven on at home. How much do you think you’ll enjoy the incredible views of the mountains going past your window?
Imagine that you’re in the gym and your mind is thinking about the computer game you were playing last night, or Dancing with The Stars. Do you really think that you’re going to be capable of exerting maximum force in that workout?

INTRODUCING CBT

Our aim is to help you to take back control over your mind and in doing this, you’re also going to be taking back control over your emotions and your feelings.
The end result is that you’re going to be able to become completely present in any given moment and completely ‘mindful’, thereby abandoning unhelpful concerns, stressors and emotions.
There’s a school of psychology that can help us to do this called CBT. CBT stands for ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’ and it’s all about taking control of your thoughts. What’s more, is CBT actually starts out using a form of mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation means that you are meditating in such a way as to become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings. In other forms of meditation – such as transcendental meditation – ask the user to try and completely clear their mind, often by focussing on a single point in space, or perhaps a sound or a word (this is called a ‘mantra’ and it is why we imagine Buddhist monks to hum as they meditate!). The difference with mindfulness is that you aren’t trying to eradicate your thoughts but rather you are trying to simply ‘watch them’ as they float past you. The idea is that you are becoming aware of the kinds of things you normally think but you aren’t engaging with them and you aren’t letting them affect you. The description is often that you should watch them pass by ‘like clouds in the sky’.
Do this for a while and then write down the content of some of those thoughts. Look at the things you stress about and worry about on a regular basis and reflect on them in an objective, disconnected manner – nonjudgmentally.

Cognitive Restructuring

The CBT professional would next instruct you to begin breaking down and analyzing those thoughts. Some of these will be things that you are going to worrying about and stressing about and which are going to stop you from enjoying yourself at the moment.
You’re going to practice dismissing them but to help, you’re also going to disassemble them using restructuring techniques.
One example of this is called ‘thought challenging’ which is going to teach you to challenge the validity of your worries or your distractions.
For example, let’s say that you’re worried you didn’t send an email at work. Thought challenging is going to help you overcome this. First, you ask yourself if there’s anything you can do about it. If not, then what is the good in worrying? In fact, it is more important that you relax and enjoy yourself so that you can be fresh and well to handle the challenges tomorrow.
Next, you ask how much it really matters. What is the worst case scenario? Everyone makes mistakes and in all likelihood, your boss isn’t going to be furious – they’ll be understanding.
Does some small part of you think that you’re going to get fired? Then just remind yourself that this is incredibly hard for any business to do legally and it would be worse for them than it would be for you.
And after all, if your workplace would fire you so readily, would you really want to be there anyway?
Are you worried that people will be mad at you? You made a mistake! So what? And since when do you need to be best friends with your work colleagues?
This is the logical and reasonable reaction to this concern and once you can learn to deconstruct your worries this way, it will allow you to simply forget them and go back to enjoying whatever you’re doing – or remaining calm when you’re under pressure.

HOW TO USE THE BODY SCAN MEDITATION

Generally meditating is one of the most important ways to promote mindfulness, calm and self-control.
In his book Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss looks at the habits and routines of the world’s most successful people. What he finds is that they have a lot of things in common and one of the most prevalent of these commonalities is that they all meditate! Everyone from Arnold Schwarzenegger, to Tony Robbins, to Elon Musk describes meditation as being a key tool that helped them achieve everything they did.
When you meditate, you learn a method to forget your worries and to simply let your mind ‘be’. More importantly, though, you develop greater concentration and greater focus which prevents your mind from getting into an anxious mess to begin with!
So how do you begin meditation?
One useful strategy is to start with the body scan technique. To get started, sit somewhere comfortable with your legs crossed and your hands on your knees. Keep your back straight, your chin up and forward and your eyes closed – but make sure you aren’t in a position where you can fall asleep!
Now you’re going to simply ‘scan’ your body by focussing on each part one at a time and then making a note of how it feels and relaxing it. Before that though, you begin with your senses. Listen carefully to the world around you. You’ll find that there are sounds that you have completely blocked out until now and you’ll notice birds tweeting, cars honking, children playing and wind howling.
Feel the temperature of your skin, notice if you’re on a slight gradient and even look at the light as it dances through your eyelids.
Okay, now focus on the top of your head and start to take your attention down to your cheeks, jaw and then neck and shoulders. Stop at each point and make a note of how it feels: are you carrying any tension? Are you feeling any pain? Release tension in the muscle and then keep moving.
Eventually, you’ll reach the very bottom of your body. At which point you can begin to concentrate on your breathing for a while. Breathing should be ‘belly breathing’, which begins with the gut expanding and then fills the lungs all the way up. Breathing steadily and rhythmically will slow the heart rate via the parasympathetic nervous system and put you in an even calmer state. Finally, bring your attention to just below the navel and hold it there. This is your center of gravity and concentrating here will ground you.
Throughout this process, you might notice your thoughts start to drift from time to time. If this happens, don’t let it concern you. It is normal and not the end of the world – just quietly dismiss those thoughts and then return to the focus.
Finally, repeat the steps in reverse order and bring yourself back around. That was a body scan meditation!
This is a powerful tool because it is forcing you to direct your attention and to ignore the outside thoughts. More importantly, it is engaging you with your own body, physicality, and surroundings. And when you do this, your sensations become richer and more vivid.
Eventually, if you keep practicing this skill, you should get to the point where you can begin to become more mindful and more present at will – even while moving and engaging in other tasks. That means just taking a moment to actually look at the world around you. Pausing to see what you can hear. And fixing your posture. It means not getting so caught up in your own thoughts that you let life pass you by, or that you live in a constant state of stress and anxiety.
Once you can do this, then you will find that nothing can stir you in quite the same way unless you want it to. You can always just enjoy being in the moment and forget the past and the future for a time. You can enjoy living and taste the amazing taste of that chocolate biscuit while that email sits there in your outbox completely unsent.
This is the key to happiness: you can choose to react positively instead of negatively. You can choose to view things as a challenge or an amusing hiccup instead of a serious threat. But it is also the key to unlocking your full potential so you perform better and achieve more!