11 Things You Must Do to Create the Life of Your Dreams

Look closely at the present you’re constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming Alice Walker

An ugly duckling.

Diana (pronounced DeeAnna) was told as a young girl by her mother that she was ugly, and lacked the beauty her younger sister possessed. First of all, I can’t imagine a mother saying such a thing, and repeatedly reminding her daughter of her wretched opinion, but what Diana Vreeland did with her mother’s lack of love and support (emotionally) is what is inspiring. She created a life that was uniquely her own. She created her own unique signature style and became respected for being authentically herself. Now I’d say, she redefined the definition of beauty.

Over the past weekend I had the opportunity to sit down and watch two documentaries I have been eager to see: The Eye Has to Travel which spotlights the inspiring life and talent of Harper’s Bazaar columnist and former Vogue Editor-in-Chief Diana Vreeland and Makers which I spoke about a few weeks ago regarding women in America and their fight for equality.

Both were inspiring and a dutiful reminder of the responsibility we each have to create the life we wish to live, rather than become an effect driven by someone else’s expectations or assumptions of how our lives should move along.

It’s hard to dream of a life that may never have seen modeled for us. How we are nurtured as we grow up, the media we are exposed to and the world and times we live in have a profound influence on what we believe we can achieve for ourselves. But once we realize that so much of what we already believe was instilled in us through nurture, not nature, we become aware that we hold the key to creating the life we desire from that moment forward.

Much like the brave women who refused to be treated as second-class citizens or denied the same rights already afforded men, it is our responsibility to stand up and become willing to work for a life that can materialize if we refuse to live silently in somebody else’s idea of a fairy tale.

Here are eleven must-have inner tools that one must find within themselves in order to create a life that creates a feeling of tranquility, fulfillment and true contentment.

1. Be brave. A life without bumps is a life spent following the dictates of those around us (spouses, parents, friends, the world, etc) as to not disappoint, disrupt or anger anyone. But in doing so, one loses themselves and tosses aside the gifts that the world can only discover from one such unique individual – you. (Click here to learn 8 ways on how to be brave.)

2. Be willing to let go. I’ve spoken quite a lot about the importance of being able to let go (thoughts, stereotypes, people, the past, etc), but in order to create the life you want, you have to let go of what is holding you back. And the only way to do that is to be honest with yourself. Are you wrapped up so tightly with the rules your friends have engrained in you regarding how you should spend your evenings/weekends/etc? So much so that to dare to do something they may laugh at or tease you about causes you anxiety? Part of any similar anxiety is not accepting what you’d rather do as absolutely acceptable. Who cares if they laugh? You’re creating a life that you enjoy living, not one your friends enjoy being a part of. Whose life is it anyway?

3. Speak up for yourself with intelligence and composure. The key to speaking up is knowing what you are speaking up against, having a sound solution and being able to keep your emotions intact. The last necessary key is often the most difficult because often we are speaking up about something that we value greatly or have great passion for. However, similar to the success of the American Revolution, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and endless other long-fought successful battles, those who chose to speak up and keep speaking up until a wrong was corrected relied on understanding their opponent and becoming clear about all of the tools that were at their disposal.

4. Use fear to your advantage. Fear of taking a path that few others have traveled, if any, can be very daunting. And even just the thought of stepping down such a road can stop us in our tracks. However, find strength in feeling the fear in this situation because it is telling you that you are indeed on the right track. Your fear is actually built-up excitement anxiously wanting what you desire to come true, and fearful that it won’t. If you weren’t a bit fearful, it would signify that you didn’t have the passion within you to put forth the effort to make it your reality.

5. Become savvy to others’ attempts to manipulate, guilt or cajole you away from what you know is the right path for yourself. It may be a parent who refuses to support you, a sibling who inflicts a tone of voice when you say “no” to their requests of babysitting their children that you’ve elected not to have for yourself or a friend who keeps nagging you to head out every Friday night when you’d rather go to bed at a decent hour so you can get up bright and early and keep puttering away on your project – slowly, but certainly making progress. Once you are able to recognize what they are doing (whether they consciously realize it or not), let their attempt to deflate, derail or cause you to doubt your direction roll right off your back. Do not expend energy toward someone who doesn’t truly wish to see you happy, but instead wants you to fit inside a box that makes sense for their life and their limited understanding and perspective.

6. Seek knowledge and become able to distinguish propaganda from truth. Propaganda has been around as long as there have people wanting to gain something from other people – power, money, control. The key to successfully navigating the many different messages our minds are bombarded with in any given day is to know what the truth is and what is fiction disguised as truth. Keep educating yourself.

7. Show gratitude. No matter how rich or poor you may define yourself to be, you have something to be thankful for every single day. We all do. After all, we are here – on this planet earth with an opportunity to leave it better than when we found it in whatever way we are capable.

8. Refuse to accept limits. Limits are for people without vision, determination, and creativity. On your way toward your dream, there will be barriers to push through, obstacles to climb and lessons to learn. Often we are the ones putting the limits on ourselves based on what we believe we should do or cannot do. Remove the blinders, broaden your horizons and stop saying you can’t . . . because whatever you think you are capable of doing, you’re right.

9. Find regular moments of stillness and choose to listen to what you hear from within. With constant access to news, the internet and other people’s social networking pages, it seems even when we are alone, we’re not truly alone. While there are many benefits to technology, the ability to be still with our thoughts is free therapy. A moment to help us evaluate, assess how to move forward or get back on track. Take it. More is not always better and faster is not always better either.

10. Remove yourself from situations and people who can’t, or refuse, to accept you as you are or are striving to become. The aesthetics of your life help to create the life you wish to live. If someone causes you to feel uncomfortable, inferior, less confident, remove yourself. If, on the other hand, you are inspired, supported and loved for exactly as you are and applauded for the improvement you wish to make, foster these relationships and environments.

11. Trust yourself. As a young girl, one of the many quotes I was drawn to and have since kept with me to this day is “Trust yourself, and then you will know how to live.” I didn’t always know what this meant or what “trusting yourself” would look like, but what I’ve come to discover is that we each have an inner compass. However, often it is drowned out by the exterior noise that we place ourselves in trying to fit into someone else’s vision of what a “good life” looks like, or we ignore it because we realize that it is pushing us to do something many people around us aren’t, and that can be frightening.

The good news, based on my experience, is that even though it may be frightening, the results surpass following anyone else’s definition of true fulfillment. Recognize that even when you trust yourself, you will have moments of fear, but then revert back to the advice given in #4. And always keep in mind, the life you wish you could be living is waiting for you to begin living it.

“Whoever you are, whatever your dream, you have to be strong in your head and strong in your heart. Be strong. There’s no quitting in the person who wants it bad enough.“
– Carly Patterson (gymnast, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist)

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What’s it Like in Your Town?

Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world. Wayne Dyer

Once there was an old and very wise man. Every day he would sit outside a gas station in his rocking chair and wait to greet motorists as they passed through his small town. On this day, his granddaughter knelt down at the foot of his chair and slowly passed the time with him.

As they sat and watched the people come and go, a tall man who surely had to be a tourist-since they knew everyone in the town-began looking around as if he were checking out the area for a place to live. The stranger walked up and asked, “So what kind of town is this we’re in?” The older gentleman slowly turned to the man and replied, “Well, what kind of town are you from?” The tourist said, “in the town I am from everyone is very critical of each other. The neighbors all gossip about everyone and it’s a real negative place to live. I’m sure glad to be leaving. It is not a very cheerful place.” The man in the chair looked at the stranger and said, “You know, that’s just how this town is.”

An hour or so later a family that was also passing through stopped for gas. The car slowly turned in and rolled up to a stop in front of where the older gentleman and his granddaughter were sitting. The mother jumped out with two small children and asked where the restrooms were. The man in the chair pointed to a small, bent-up sign that was barely hanging by one nail on the side of the door. The father stepped out of the car and also asked the man, “Is this town a pretty good place to live?” The man in the chair replied, “What about the town you are from? How is it? The father looked at him and said, “Well, in the town I’m from everyone is very close and always willing to lend their neighbor a helping hand. There’s always a hello and thank you everywhere you go. I really hate to leave. I feel almost like we are leaving family.” The older gentleman turned to the father and gave him a warm smile. “You know, that’s a lot like this small town.” Then the family returned to the car, said their thank yous, waved goodbye and drove away.

After the family was in the distance, the granddaughter looked up at her grandfather and asked, “Grandpa, how come when the first man came into our town you told him it was a terrible place to live and when the family came into town you told them it was a wonderful place to live?” The grandfather lovingly looked down at his granddaughter’s wondering blue eyes and said, “No matter where you move, you take your own attitude with you and that’s what makes it terrible or wonderful.”

From Stories for the Heart, Multnomah Books

Today’s story has been shared from the folloiwng website: https://www.tonycooke.org/stories-and-illustrations/in_your_town/

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The Critical Role Nutrition Plays in Mental Health

The best doctor gives the least medicine Benjamin Franklin

One of the most unrecognized factors in the development of mental health is the role of nutrition. The link between diet and mental health is growing as the field of Nutritional Psychiatry/Psychology expands. This field is becoming more impactful as epidemics continue to make headlines surrounding the health of our country and world. We know nutrition has substantial physical impacts, but it is the mental impacts of nutrition that are gaining traction with additional research and heightening awareness around this topic.

Proper nutrition is what fuels our bodies and our bodies need a regular supply of fuel. Oxygen is part of that formula and food is another part. If we supply our bodies with a sugar-laden diet, we are filling up on poor fuel. But if we supply our bodies with a healthy diet, we are giving our brains the fuel it needs to affect our cognitive processes and emotions. Similar to a high-end vehicle that uses premium gasoline, our brains function best when it receives premium fuel.

How nutrients help your brain

The fuel we use can make all the difference and directly affects the function of your brain and mood. Eating high-quality foods that contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants will nourish the brain in a positive way. Similarly, just like an expensive car, your brain can be damaged if you ingest anything other than premium fuel. A diet high in refined sugars can impair brain functions and worsen the mental health symptoms.

When food interacts with the chemicals in our brains it keeps us going throughout the day. And when we eat a variety of foods, there are a variety of effects on our brain. For example, carbohydrates increase serotonin which is a chemical that has a calming effect. Protein-rich foods affect our brain by increasing alertness. And certain healthy fats that contain omega-3 and omega-6, are linked to reducing rates of depression. Since our bodies cannot produce some of these, it is important that they are included in our diets.

What should I eat?

It is important to avoid the high sugar, processed foods and focus on foods containing the nutrients that benefit brain health. A brain-friendly diet includes fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein, and limited amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and sugar. Working these foods into your diet will help protect your brain, fight fatigue, and boost your mood and alertness.

Common brain-friendly foods include:

  • Avocados
  • Blueberries
  • Fish
  • Turmeric
  • Broccoli
  • Dark chocolate
  • Eggs
  • Almonds

Helping youth understand how nutrition improves mental health

Nutrition and how it affects mental health is especially important during adolescence due to rapid growth and brain development that occurs during the teenage years. At a time when eating patterns are being established, it is also a time when psychiatric illnesses may develop. Although getting young people to eat healthily can be challenging, putting in the effort can improve their mental well-being and instill practices that will benefit them in their adult lives.

Engaging youth in food preparation and limiting their access to high-fat and sugary foods is a start. Keeping plenty of fruits and vegetables stocked at home while encouraging small changes like swapping out soda pop for sparkling water, or fruits instead of potato chips for an afternoon snack, might lead to more healthy choices. It takes a lot of effort to change one’s diet to include healthier food choices, especially for adolescents. But encouraging them to make a smart choice can help them build habits that will have a positive impact on their mental health.

What now?

Start by paying attention to how eating different foods can make you feel. Not just how they feel hitting your taste buds, but how they make you feel a few hours later or the next day. Experiment with a healthy diet for three to four weeks. Cut out the processed and sugar-laden foods and replace them with healthy alternatives. See how you feel. If you feel great, you might be onto something. If you feel more alert, are in a better mood and have more energy, you are definitely on to something. Then slowly introduce foods back into your diet and see how you feel. This will be the “aha moment” when you realize how critical nutrition is for your mental health and truly realize that premium fuel is the best fuel for your brain.

Today’s article was written by Darren DeYoung and is shared from the following website: https://psychcentral.com/blog/the-critical-role-nutrition-plays-in-mental-health/

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5 Ways to Shape Your Life With Positivity

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor RooseveltThere are all kinds of theories about how to shape your life to get the most happiness, the most peace of mind, the most whatever it is you hope to achieve in your life. And then there is reality.

You get up every day and face the world – the world of traffic, the world of politics, the world of news, and the world of people you encounter socially and professionally. Your world is full of surprises, risks, brave actions and deeds – in essence, the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes, as you’re immediately waking up, you might think that it’s just not worth getting out of bed, or it’s too difficult to create the energy necessary to face the day with a positive spin.

The truth: it’s not that hard to cultivate positive attitude—optimism, expectancy, and enthusiasm – because these three mindsets make everything in life and in business easier. Why wouldn’t you want to have an easier life?

A positive attitude can tear into you like a hurricane up when you’re down or lift you up like a rocket when you’re already “on a roll.” People ask me every day how I do so much at 73 years of age. They want to know where I get my energy. How do I do so many things in life? What drives me? Some people take offense that I have a positive nature about what I do and how I feel, so they simply walk away.

But, if you don’t want to walk away from a person who shapes his or her life with positivity, here are 5 ways how to cultivate your own positive attitude, regardless of what’s happening in the world.

1. Control your attitude.

You shape your life with the attitudes, either positive or negative. These attitudes translate into activities that reflect your positive or negative mindset.

You don’t have to get up in the morning with a negative attitude about what’s going to happen that day. You have a choice. Of course, there are challenges, struggles, and unpleasant encounters, but you can choose a positive approach to each detail of your life. By steadfastly holding on to your strong and grounded core beliefs, you can achieve what you truly desire every day. This is the way you honor your life with a profound sense of self.

2. Control what you let into your life.

Your core beliefs about who you are and how you present yourself in your personal and professional world will consistently keep away the negatives and firm up the positives. However, if you choose to let in the bad energy of arguments and other people’s anger, you will slowly sink into quicksand. Your life will be stall mode. Nothing accomplished. Nothing gained.

Today’s world is full of haters and seekers of division. Avoiding situations that cause you to feel bad about either yourself or others is crucial in maintaining the positive. Limit the bad stuff and keep your inner life in positive control.

Caution: too much exposure to news and media can result in flooding your mind with negativity. Negative exposure limits your ability to maintain a positive attitude; it actively interrupts your brain and makes you more apt to have a negative mindset. Turn off the television, radio, and monitor how much social media you take in. Read a book, ride a bike, go for a swim and decompose.

3. Create a litany of positive thoughts.

One of the most effective ways to strengthen a positive mindset is to meditate 10 minutes a day. Let all negative thoughts go by, release their hold on you, and focus more on positive mantras instead of limiting opinions.

The ability to let thoughts go by without labeling them as good or bad gives you time and space for inspiration, and even perhaps, motivation to create the most positive mindset. If you do this regularly, you’ll have consistent clarity of thought and the ability to manage your feelings when events don’t go exactly the way you’d prefer. Then everything takes on a positive spin. My yoga teacher used to say: “It’s all good.”

4. Watch your words.

Do you think you are more hard-wired to think negatively? If you do, you will certainly use more negative words on a daily basis. But turn that around and describe yourself as hard-wired to think positively. If positive is your bent, then the words that come out of your mouth aren’t just a reflection of what’s in your brain—they’re programming your brain how to think. Therefore, if you want to have a positive attitude, your vocabulary must be consistently positive.

It takes full awareness, full consciousness to process your emotions and put them into the appropriate emotional context. Most negative words relate to fear, shame, guilt and disgust and require more mental processing than does using positive words.

Try taking a mental assessment of how many negative words you use during the day and see if you can determine the ratio of negative to positive words you use. What’s interesting is that you have more negative words available to you than you have positive words. Hint: avoid the shaming, blaming, hate words. Focus on neutral words to express unpleasant situations, such as, “I’m annoyed,” and not “I’m enraged.”

5. Ignore whiners and complainers.

There is nothing worse than listening to whiners and complainers. To ward off people who have an ax to grind with the world, listen closely to how whiners and complainers couch their emotions. You can usually spot a “negativo” within the first five minutes of conversation. They spread their “poor me” life before you and tell you everything that’s wrong with their existence. And they want everyone who can hear them to be as miserable as they are in their world because they can’t bear to see somebody else happy and satisfied.

So next time someone asks you how you are or “how’s it going,” tell them that you never felt better – and mean it! That’s when you are shaping your life with the positive.

Today’s article was written by Joan Moran and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/5-ways-to-shape-your-life-with-positivity_us_589a5df7e4b0985224db5b85

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What Kind of Life are You Creating?

Life isn't about finding yourself. It is about creating yourself. George Bernard ShawAcres of Diamonds

One of the most interesting Americans who lived in the 19th century was a man by the name of Russell Herman Conwell. He was born in 1843 and lived until 1925. He was a lawyer for about fifteen years until he became a clergyman.

One day, a young man went to him and told him he wanted a college education but couldn’t swing it financially. Dr. Conwell decided, at that moment, what his aim in life was, besides being a man of cloth – that is. He decided to build a university for unfortunate, but deserving, students. He did have a challenge, however. He would need a few million dollars to build the university. For Dr. Conwell, and anyone with real purpose in life, nothing could stand in the way of his goal.

Several years before this incident, Dr. Conwell was tremendously intrigued by a true story – with its ageless moral. The story was about a farmer who lived in Africa and through a visitor became tremendously excited about looking for diamonds. Diamonds were already discovered in abundance on the African continent and this farmer got so excited about the idea of millions of dollars worth of diamonds that he sold his farm to head out to the diamond line. He wandered all over the continent, as the years slipped by, constantly searching for diamonds, wealth, which he never found. Eventually he went completely broke and threw himself into a river and drowned.

Meanwhile, the new owner of his farm picked up an unusual looking rock about the size of a country egg and put it on his mantle as a sort of curiosity. A visitor stopped by and in viewing the rock practically went into terminal convulsions. He told the new owner of the farm that the funny looking rock on his mantle was about the biggest diamond that had ever been found. The new owner of the farm said, ‘Heck, the whole farm is covered with them’ – and sure enough it was.

The farm turned out to be the Kimberly Diamond Mine . . . the richest the world has ever known. The original farmer was literally standing on ‘Acres of Diamonds’ until he sold his farm.

Dr. Conwell learned from the story of the farmer and continued to teach it’s moral. Each of us is right in the middle of our own ‘Acre of Diamonds’, if only we would realize it and develop the ground we are standing on before charging off in search of greener pastures. Dr. Conwell told this story many times and attracted enormous audiences. He told the story long enough to have raised the money to start the college for underprivileged deserving students. In fact, he raised nearly six million dollars and the university he founded, Temple University in Philadelphia, has at least ten degree-granting colleges and six other schools.

When Doctor Russell H. Conwell talked about each of us being right on our own ‘Acre of Diamonds’, he meant it. This story does not get old . . . it will be true forever . . .

Opportunity does not just come along, it is there all the time – we just have to see it.

Today’s story was written by Earl Nightingale and is shared from the following website: http://www.agiftofinspiration.com.au/stories/achievement/

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