Category: Self-improvement

YOUR THOUGHTS ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU THINK

There’s a famous experiment by a Japanese researcher named Dr. Masaru Emoto. Dr. Emoto did these experiments where he took water and put either a positive word or a negative word on the slide, put the slides under a microscope and photographed the water as it froze. Dr. Emoto believed that by thinking the positive or negative word, the water would freeze differently because the vibrations (energy)  of the words affect the structure of water.

What do you think happened to the way the water froze? Watch this short video here before continuing to read….

Pretty amazing right? You could do the experiment yourself if you really wanted to. Many people have done a home experiment by using rice. Here’s one home experiment using rice…

 

Negative thoughts, followed by negative feelings, are a root cause of many problems. Problems such as getting sick, being in an irritable mood for “no reason”, and feeling like you’re making no progress in your life.

Negative thoughts come in the form of complaining, talking bad to yourself, replaying hurtful memories, holding on to grudges, constant worrying, fear, and being mean to others.

So you might be thinking, “Oh my gosh, I think so many negative thoughts! What do I do?!”

It’s okay.  The good news is that one positive thought is stronger than multiple negative thoughts. Just simply start paying attention to your thoughts. When you catch yourself thinking a negative thought, simply try replacing it with a positive thought, or at least think something that makes you feel better.

Over time, it’ll be much easier to think good thoughts until it becomes a habit and thinking any kind of negative thought doesn’t feel right to you anymore. Even being around negative people will be irritating for you.

 

“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

~ Oprah Winfrey

 

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About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.

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15 TRAITS OF TRULY HAPPY PEOPLE

What does being happy mean to you? Do you think it’s about walking around laughing, having a lot of energy, being in a good mood all of the time? Being friendly with every person you come in contact with? Or living in peace?

We work hard at trying to “find” it or pursue it. But the truth is that happiness is a state of being. It’s how we live our lives. It is not as a result of something outside of you. For example, people think “I’ll be happy when…” (get a better job, have a boy/girlfriend, have money,etc) when in reality, they could be happy now, while pursuing whatever it is that they want. This is not always easy to do for different reasons, including genetics.

However, we do have some control over our happiness. Luckily there are people who are truly happy and are great examples to follow. Here are 15 traits of truly happy people. See how many traits you already have. And try practicing the ones you feel you need to work on.

  1. They practice gratitude and are thankful for even the smallest things.
  2. They are open to change and take things as they come when going through transitions.
  3. They don’t take what other people think personally.
  4. They have positive self-talk.
  5. They love and accept themselves as they are.
  6. They don’t compare themselves to others.
  7. They look at problems as challenges to solve, instead of staying stuck in feeling like the victim. They also find ways to learn from these challenges.
  8. They mostly live in the moment, taking things day by day, instead of constantly worrying about the future and reliving the past.
  9. They spend money on experiences (going on trips, doing something with good friends and family, learning something new) and on other people, instead of only on material things for themselves.
  10. They get strength from within. That means practicing positive self-talk and reflecting on why something bothered them. Being spiritual or religious is another way to get inner strength.
  11. They surround themselves with other happy people and limit themselves from negative people. That includes staying away from gossip and not talking badly about other people.
  12. They help others in anyway they can. This could be doing something thoughtful for a friend or volunteering.
  13. They’re generally optimistic.
  14. They like to have goals to always be working towards. This could be anything from learning another language, or going for a walk for 20 minutes 3 times a week, for example. The point of the goals is to always be growing skills, experiences and interests.
  15. They meditate or do something calming to slow down. Even when super busy, they find the time to practice self-care.

If you liked this post, share it with your friends. And remember to subscribe below to automatically continue to receive posts like this one.

About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.

 

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4 Ways To Stay Motivated When You Have No Support From Friends or Family

How many times has this happened to you? You’re excited about a new opportunity or an idea that you want to pursue, so you share it with a family member or close friend. But instead of sharing your excitement, they start pointing out all the negatives and it kills your positive vibes. Their comments plant negative seeds in your mind and now you start to doubt yourself. So you just decide to give up before you even try.

It could be that you want to start getting up earlier in the mornings and begin to exercise. They’ll point out how hard it is to wake up so early. Maybe you want to change your job for a better one, they’ll point out how risky that is. Or you want to move somewhere new where there may be more opportunities, and they’ll point out all of the risks.

Any time you try to improve yourself, there will almost always be someone who is not as excited as you and will try to bring you down. Sometimes they do it on purpose out of pure jealousy. But most of the time they point out all the negatives because they think they’re helping you. You can read more about why it doesn’t matter what other people think of you here.

The good news is that it is always completely up to YOU, not anyone else to make things happen. You don’t need anyone’s approval to pursue whatever it is you want to do. So in the mean time, try some of these tips to stay motivated in pursuing your goals, even if you get no support from those around you.

Focus on the things you have control over, not what others are saying/doing.

When you’re pursuing something that you want, you have to learn to have tunnel vision. That means reminding yourself of why you want to pursue this goal, and ignoring any distractions. At first it might be hard to ignore negative people. But it’s actually easier than you think. You literally act like you can’t hear them. The best thing to do is not tell these people what your goal is in the first place. But if some how they find out and want to add their opinion, keep the topic of your goal short and change the subject quickly.

Instead of wasting your time and energy focusing on what others are saying, use that time to plan and take the steps necessary to pursue your goal. When you’re so busy pursing your goal, you have no time to pay attention to the negativity.

Keep a positive attitude.

It’s extremely hard, almost impossible, to achieve a goal when you have a negative attitude. Letting other people’s opinions bring you down is giving them power over you.

So you have to do whatever it takes to maintain a positive attitude. Try keeping a picture of your goal as the screen saver on your phone, or having positive quotes in your planner and on your night stand.

Practice gratitude every day to build a buffer against negativity and increase a positive attitude.

Take care of yourself physically.

I believe health is the foundation of true success. What’s the point of you reaching your goals, if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy it? Having little support can easily bring you down. If  you feel sick and tired, that makes it much easier to let those negative comments get to you.

When you feel good, you have energy to do things, and it’s so much easier to stay motivated.

Make sure you’re exercising, drinking plenty of water, eating a balanced diet, and not skipping meals. Here are some tips on exercising without going to the gym.

Be selective of who you share things with.

If you feel the need to tell someone your goal, make sure it’s someone that has been supportive in the past and you trust that they won’t judge you. If you don’t have anyone in your life that is supportive, join online groups where you can get some encouragement from complete strangers. Depending on your goal, there may be specific online support groups on that topic.

 

Remember, ultimately it is up to you to improve your life. No one is going to hand you things, you have to make it happen. You don’t need the approval of anyone to go after what you want. Stay strong, stay positive, and you’ll see how you can make anything happen that you set your mind to.

 

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About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, adults, and Spanish speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Be Selfish: When To Take Time for Yourself

I wrote the following post for Love Magazine a few months ago and wanted to share it with all my email subscribers. Hope you find it helpful!

 

The word selfish has a negative connotation. It brings up images of a greedy person who will make themselves feel better at the expense of others. Although there are times where selfishness can hurt other people, there are certain times that you must be selfish in order to improve yourself and your relationships.

Let me explain. We’ve all heard the example of the flight attendant telling passengers to put the oxygen mask on first before helping others. Well, if you try to help a passenger out first before putting on your own mask, you could possibly pass out, unable to help the other passenger. Now there are two people that are helpless.

In relationships, we tend to put other’s needs before our own. And this isn’t necessarily a good thing. You can become resentful, burn out, and get sick.

Most likely, you are the backbone of your family. People depend on you to get things done. You bring home the money, cook, clean, run people around, and organize family life. If you’re the one doing all of this, what happens when you get sick, can’t work, or just can’t be present for them? This is precisely why you must put yourself first. Here are four ways you can begin to put yourself first starting today.

1. Set boundaries with your time. If you say “yes” every time someone asks you to do something, you’ll quickly burn yourself out. Give yourself a limit of how many things you’ll be able to get done every week. If someone tries to volunteer you to do something, just reply, “Thank you for asking, but I already have a full schedule this week. Maybe next time.” If you feel that things just can’t get done without you, remember that they will find someone else to help. If you have trouble saying “no” to things, remember that every time you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else.
A word of caution: Some people might not like that you’re setting boundaries. They’re used to you doing everything and they were sort of trained this way. Just remind yourself that there may be an adjustment period both for you and those around you.
Setting boundaries with your time, allows you to use your time effectively. We all have twenty-four hours in a day. No one has more, no one has less. So why is it that some people seem to get so much done, while others get very little done in a day? It’s primarily because those that get things done know how to manage their time effectively.
Setting boundaries are healthy. You’re taking care of your own mental health while modeling realistic limits to those around you.

2. Schedule some me time. Pencil in time in your calendar to do something that relaxes you. (If you don’t have a planner, having one will also help you stay organized with your time.) Make it an appointment and priority. It could be giving yourself a break for as little as 10 minutes. If you think you don’t have 10 minutes for yourself, please re-read #1.

This time is supposed to be something that relaxes and re-energizes you. It could be anything from watching a funny YouTube video on your phone before picking the kids up, taking a hot shower a little longer than usual, painting your nails, driving home the long way to have alone time in the car, taking a supportive friend out for lunch, reading, etc. The activity itself does not matter as long as it’s something that you enjoy. Schedule a personal activity every week, ideally every day.

3. Ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you know your limits. Plus, delegating makes you feel empowered. If there’s something that takes up a lot of your time, see if you could either hire it done or just simply ask one of your family members to pitch in. It’s not fair for you to be in a cranky mood because you have too much going on, when you choose to do everything and not ask for help.

4. Do something that you love. Who said that we have to live boring, routine lives when we grow up?! If you do something you love for a living, congratulations. But it doesn’t have to necessarily be something you get paid to do. When was the last time you wrote, painted, played an instrument or went for a run? Make it a priority to do something that you truly enjoyed doing before, but may have neglected.

When you are feeling happy and relaxed, it rubs off on others and creates a positive domino effect. Therefore, putting yourself first is not a selfish mindset. It benefits you and everyone around you. You are the leader of your pack. Lead by example and you’ll start to see the rewards.

 

If you liked this post, share it with your friends. And remember to subscribe below to continue regularly getting great posts like this one.

About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and Spanish speaking families in Lehigh Valley, PA.

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