Tag Archives: Personal development

Scared of Making a Wrong Choice? How to Make a Choice Among Endless Possibilities

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Have you ever had enough and thought something like ‘If only making this choice was easier?’ This article might shed some light on how to make right choices when you’re overwhelmed by data and possibilities. Here are some of the ways (among loads) of how to deal with the influx of information from here and there and everywhere, and this, and that… Stop that! 

There is a lot to choose from. Everywhere. Literally. Instead of reading this post you could choose a million different things (online), or another few thousand offline (the numbers do not correspond to reality ;). I know that feeling. Having some time to spare and scratching your head over all these things you could possibly do. And that’s just a decision of how to spend your evening.

How about making bigger decisions? Where to live, who to hang out with regularly, what interests to pursue, what career decisions to make, not to mention romance-related decisions… If only it was easier, right?

Not exactly.

It’s not easy, and it’s not difficult either. It’s what you make of it. You can spend the whole evening thinking what to do and eventually spending the evening thinking… (yeah, it’s happened to me, I confess…) or, you can choose something randomly, ask a friend, throw a coin into the air… Maybe there is some better way of making decisions during this constant influx of information, possibilities, options, things to do, read & think about. It’s called Informational Age, but I guess that means what it means – instead of overwhelming you with choice, it’s supposed to give you all the information you need to make the right choice. At least in theory.

We are sometimes confused if we have too much choice. There is a book called ‘The Paradox of Choice – Why More is Less’ by Barry Schwartz, a psychologist, saying that the more choice we have (as consumers), the more anxious we are…And it’s true that if we have loads of choice, we might not know what to do and end up not choosing what we want. Or even if we do, there is this fear of not making the best choice… Have you ever had it? I have.

My options of how not to get lost in the abundance of possible (and impossible) choices are the following:

- mindfulness. I hope you don’t get impatient by me using this word quite often. I do it only because… it works. As a busy skeptic in her head all the time (before I started practicing mindfulness), I can say it brings gigantic results in the long run if practiced regularly. So if you don’t know what to choose, start breathing. In… and out. At your own pace. NOT thinking about the choice you’re making. Just allow your body to rest and relax into whatever comes to you. You might discover many different things while doing this. I’m not gonna tell you what they would be – only you can find out. Everybody has their own means to do it. For me, it clarifies my choices in a significant way. You can find out more about it here. I hope it helps you too.

- go for a walk instead. It works for me in terms of shopping. If I’m undecided about buying something, that means I’m not 100% sure (because when you know you need /want something, you know it). In this case, walking (especially in nature) helps. I would suggest a park or a quiet street. It may help you make the decision and, maybe even you would find that you don’t need to buy anything after all. It happened to me many times. There is so much consumerism anyways and sometimes we get influenced by adverts and juicy displays. We do that. They know it. And it’s ok as long as you’re conscious of it.

- doing one thing at a time. Multitasking is overrated. So if you want to do many things at the same time (to avoid making the wrong choice), please try to focus on just one thing. Sometimes even a random choice of one activity/thing to do helps your attention to not drift but stick to it and eventually you can enjoy it more than if you were doing several things at once.

- this one is a ‘freak’ option, and it works sometimes :) If you’re stuck between choices, how about choosing neither of them, but something completely different? You’re going against your ego then, that is trying to win your internal battle with itself by making the best choice possible. By circumventing its ways, you may choose  something new. And you might like it.

The above mentioned ways apply mainly to small choices that wouldn’t make a life-changing difference, however, you can use some of them for big decisions. I wouldn’t suggest flipping a coin when deciding whether or not to marry someone, for instance, but I would definitely suggest mindfulness in making a decision concerning your career. After all, your ‘inner self’ knows already what you want to be doing, so if you could only listen to it beneath all these distractions… It would be different, right? So… why not do it? Like, …now? :) (after reading this article)?

Making a choice doesn’t have to be scary. And even if your choice isn’t perfect, you can change it by making another choice. There is always a way to thrive in the abundance of information coming from all directions. If you trust your internal compass (intuition), you are likely to feel more secure while doing it. And it’s likely to pay off in the long run.

 
photo credit: Sweet One via photopin cc

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A Short Guide to Mindful Eating

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Mindful eating is a practice of savouring every bite of your meal, in the same way you cherish every day if you live by the carpe diem maxim.

In an era when there are so many overweight people, it might be a good idea to focus on what you are eating, instead of watching TV or reading at the same time. Because we think we are multitasking, whereas in practice we dissolve our energy and do not even notice what we are eating, which can lead us to actually eat more than our body needs. If we practice this for a prolonged time, that can lead to some additional kilograms… Why put so much stress on ourselves? Wouldn’t cherishing every bite in silence bring us better results? After all, it would be nice to have a break in our tight schedule, to enjoy the moment and slow down for a minute.

As Zen master Thich Nhat Hahn puts it,

When we can slow down and really enjoy our food, our life and our health, we take on a much deeper quality.

So, I suggest you do the following next time you have lunch, dinner, or any other meal. It can also apply for snacks, fruit, and tea:

- find a comfortable place to eat

- place your food in front of you and look at it for a couple of seconds, enjoying its texture, colour, shape, temperature,   vapour over a hot tea, or anything else you find special about what you are consuming. Settle into this moment

- breathe in and out

- slow down your thinking and focus on your breath

- take the first bite/sip. Focus on the texture of it in your mouth, on the flavour and on the feeling of eating/drinking. This is the only thing that interests you now. Feel the sensation of swallowing each piece/sip and how it makes you warm inside

- keep eating/drinking like this. If you get distracted by other thoughts, that’s ok. In this case, come back to your flavour and cherish it once more

- when you’re done, take a few deep breaths and acknowledge the experience, how relaxing it was

- you can now come back to your duties and enjoy the day :)

I hope that helps. It’s a lovely practice of being here and now. I am mindfully eating pieces of Green & Black’s Organic chocolate while resting my eyes from the screen, and it is a truly pleasant experience. You can do it too.

If you would like to get to know more about it, there is a book called Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Living by Thich Nhat Hahn.

Love,

Anna

photo credit: Jiuck via photopin cc

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How to have an effortless breakthrough by small, regular steps – a little, step-by step guide

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Here is how small changes, repeated over a period of time, can lead to a breakthrough.

Have you ever wanted to make a change but didn’t know where to start? Is there something you have promised yourself to do but didn’t do it because the process seemed daunting? Here are a few simple ways to help you stay on track by making some almost unnoticeable steps in your schedule that will lead you in the right direction.

It all begins with one single step. Whether you shop for groceries or want to enroll on a three-year course, it begins with one step. The sparkle – the decision – then one step. Or, if you want to make a significant change in your habits – let’s say, be on time to your appointments, finally, even one simple step of going out five minutes earlier than usual, would help.

Every bit helps. Same with your savings – instead of buying something now and stretching your budget, if you just refrained from that one thing you eat out normally, just once a week, and instead prepared yourself a sandwich before you went out, with time you might save enough to get this thing without much effort. With time.

It’s all about progress made in time. Small progress. Because if you want something different, even a little change in your habits is better than no change, right? If you don’t take the steps, things will probably not go into the direction you want. And if you do, you may effortlessly find yourself in the right place.

I’ve found a lot of these kinds of advice in a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life. The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer, Ph. D. It explains them in an encouraging way:

Kaizen and innovation are the two major strategies people use to create change. Where innovation demands shocking and radical reform, all kaizen asks is that you take small, comfortable steps toward improvement.

The same applies to getting fit, upgrading your skills, meeting new people, becoming less shy, learning a new language, stepping out of your comfort zone, quitting smoking, finding a job… The areas where you can use that approach are endless. You can probably come up with ten more things you would like to change a little bit. One at a time. If you like, please share them with me.

After all, our ordinary days consist of many little things that we do, which in time sum up into a whole of our experiences that is bigger than the sum of its parts. Even Einstein said that his talent was to be curious enough to check various possibilities and not giving up. And if the world is a matter of vibration, and we are too, why not raise it just a tiny bit and step by step become what we would truly love to be?

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent upon it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.

- Galileo

Small things matter.

 

And to end, this quote:

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.

Gail Sheehy

 

photo credit: Eustaquio Santimano via photopin cc

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How to Achieve Big Dreams?

Here’s something for you, dreaming of achieving great things. Before you start mourning how far it is to reach your goal, let me tell you this (simple & proved):

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It does not matter that the goal you would like to reach is far away. As long as you take your first steps, you’ll get there, finally. It doesn’t have to be quick, but you will. People who don’t start will not get there at all. You may reach your destination at some point, or even if you don’t, you will land in some place you wouldn’t imagine in the first place, that can turn out to be… even better than that thing you’ve imagined for yourself! You never know.

So, here’s to making ambitious plans to achieve something you’ve really wanted for a long time (yes, you, and I know that there is such a thing) and to making first steps in order to do it. You may achieve it easier than you think. Or you may not. Anyway – you will be much happier because you’ve tried. You’ll ask yourself questions in the future about today and you’d better not hear the response: ‘I wish I had…’. ‘I did it’ sounds better to me. There is a widespread quote saying that in a year from now you’re gonna wish you had started today. And another one…

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. – Les Brown

Fingers crossed for your dreams.

What has inspired you today?

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5 Tangible Benefits of Mindfulness in Every Day Life (even 10 seconds a day)

Hello and welcome to my brand new, fresh, aromatic, blog, just off the press (WordPress, that is). But first of all… close your eyes for 10 seconds and take three breaths. Not very deep ones, just normal ones. So that you know you are breathing and nothing else is more important in that moment. Okay? When you’re done, open your eyes and… you’ve guessed, keep reading :)

Today’s topic is mindfulness. What you’ve just done is being mindful for 10 seconds. Well done, huh, because many people don’t even manage to do that. They just run from one thing to another in their minds, as if life was some kind of a marathon. However, allowing even ten seconds of mindfulness a day can add a lot of quality to your already busy life. Here are the main benefits of mindfulness:

1. You become more yourself. You realise what is really important to you etc., and you gain clarity in topics that have been nurturing you.

2. You are more peaceful. Stresses of your job, heartbreak issues or just plain irritation at anything slowly dissolves and you smile to yourself.

3. You exercise your brain! It has been scientifically proven that regular meditation affects your prefrontal cortex (just above your eyes) and your brain becomes more intensely wired! Dr David Hamilton says something about it here.

4. Your problem-solving skills improve. Whether at work, in family life, or when returning an unwanted item in a shop, you are more likely to resolve problematic situations in a more relaxed and assertive way, even if they’re not easy.

5. You can get some brilliant ideas when you’re not forcing your brain to think about your problems! A few moments of simply focusing on your breathing (even in an elevator, on a bus stop, wherever you like) can make the difference and open you up to new ideas that are within you. Your unconscious is just waiting to give you straight-to-the-point, intuitive insights, if you only listen to it!

So, here are five tangible benefits of mindfulness, that I’ve heard of and experienced in my life. There is obviously much more than that to be gained from being mindful and this list is totally subjective. You can experience even better things for yourself. I totally recommend it. If you want to improve your life, be more relaxed and at ease with yourself, improve your attention and intuition, you know what to do :)

Enjoy yourself in the process.

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