Worried About Not Making It in Life? 5 Reasons to Relax and Think Twice

#truelove #allowing #dating

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Worried About Not Making It in Life? 5 Reasons to Relax and Think Twice
Just recently, I received an invitation for my 20-year high school reunion. I was wondering what people would look like after all of these years and how their lives have turned out.

I remember many of us leaving school with the anxiety-inducing question of whether we would ever be able to make it in life.

Somehow, this question tends to pop up later in life, again, when we reach special waypoints — a milestone birthday, promotion, marriage or parenthood. We still carry this burden with us: Have we finally made it?

The answer to this question is very much dependent on our personal standpoint; however, we have a tendency to consider ourselves successful only if we measure up to general standards of success — and it can be quite frustrating when we feel left behind.

1. Live by your own standards.
Why don’t we ask ourselves, for a change, how we define success in life? What are the standards we are expecting to live up to? It’s healthy to find out, and also, to learn where they stem from.

Quite often, we are chasing the wrong ideals for the wrong reasons, and it makes us miserable. We make ourselves believe that there are achievements we need to be able to tick off at some point in life. At the same time, we neglect what we really want.

The only standards for success in life should be the ones we set by ourselves. After all, it’s on us to fulfill them. We think we can have it all — fame, money and a millionaire lifestyle — but we will never feel satisfied if this is not our ideal in the first place.

2. Look at your life as a whole.
Our lives are always in motion, but when it’s time to evaluate, we do it from a static perspective. We judge from an angle that doesn’t do justice to how our personality has grown over the years, which difficulties we have mastered or what we’ve learned about life and ourselves.

It’s unfair to just take into account what’s happening in the present and what we own. It makes us oblivious for what could be possible if we weren’t so blinded by the not so perfect “now.”

3. Put your life in perspective.
It can be humbling to count our blessings before asking ourselves why we have not made it yet. With our daily routines keeping us busy and distracted, we live in a microcosm that we attach too much importance to.

We forget about the “world out there” that has nothing to do with office politics, tight schedules and colleagues who climb the career ladder faster than us.

I’m talking about the world in which many of us live decent, privileged lives without even being aware of it. We take too many things for granted and end up feeling like a failure. Just because our peers lead other lives, does not mean that ours is less successful. It’s just different.

4. Uncover your excuses.
How our life turns is a result of the choices and decisions we’ve made or didn’t make; however, we like to find excuses, don’t we? In fact, we use them to make us feel better about ourselves, because we know that it’s ourself who is standing in our own way most of the time.

Uncovering the reasons takes courage; it can be an unpleasant and eye-opening experience. Who likes to discover that it was all in our own hands, but we just refused to pull the strings?

The more in-depth questions we ask ourselves, the more it will help us get the ideas to create a road map we can consult when we get stuck. Insight is the first step towards change, and it can help us push our life in another direction.

5. Don’t overthink — live.
Life cannot be planned like a project. Our dreams and standards will never be chiseled in stone. As life changes, so do we — and what we’ve considered important once can become obsolete at a later stage.

Priorities shift, so don’t desperately cling onto old dreams just because you had them when you were younger. Sometimes, it’s good to go with the flow of life, and keep an open mind to new chances and what resonates with us.

Don’t overthink your life’s achievements or failures. In the end, what counts is that we manage to be content with our life no matter where others stand at the time we take stock of our own.

Put yourself in the shoes of another person looking at your life. Do you think they would see it the same way you do?

Success in life is pretty much a matter of perspective, and perspectives can change, too. So relax, and enjoy the moment.

Read more on how to live a full and fearless life on www.myfearlessheart.com or connect with Andrea Haupts on Facebook.

Why Being Neurotic Could Actually Be A Good Thing
Irritable. Moody. Anxious. Tense. Neurotic types get a bad rap, and it’s no surprise considering the characteristics most commonly associated with the personality trait.

Neuroticism is considered one of the “Big 5” personality traits, along with extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience. According to a 2009 article in the journal American Psychologist, neuroticism refers to “tendencies to respond with negative emotions to threat, frustration, or loss.” In other words? Neurotics don’t exactly roll with the punches. And that can affect more than attitude and mood. In studies, neuroticism has been associated with negative health outcomes, including increased risk of mental conditions and physical health problems, as well as decreased occupational and marital satisfaction.

“Indeed, it predicts shorter, less happy, less healthy, and less successful lives to a meaningful extent,” the American Psychologist article reads.

But it’s not all doom and gloom if you are a neurotic type. Research shows that some people are actually healthy neurotics, meaning they have high levels of both neuroticism and conscientiousness. (Conscientious people are known to be organized, good planners and thorough. They even live longer.)

So what sets these “healthy neurotics” apart? Read on to find out.

They harness the anxiety that is so fundamental in neuroticism, and use it in a positive way.

Nicholas A. Turiano Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, explains that people who are neurotic tend to have more anxiety, emotional reactivity and a negative affect. Anxiety and emotional reactivity in particular are not only linked with increased stress hormones and blood pressure, but also with negative health behaviors, such as self-medication.

“But those neurotic individuals that also endorse high conscientiousness don’t seem to resort to these behaviors,” Turiano tells HuffPost. “We think the high conscientiousness gives the person the resources to refrain from engaging in such detrimental health behaviors and use that anxiety to improve health.” For instance, a healthy neurotic will still experience worry, but will channel that worry into positive behaviors, such as going to the gym or eating healthier.

“The neurotic who is low on conscientiousness and doesn’t have the appropriate self control resources isn’t likely to take this path and instead they ruminate on their anxieties and worries in life and engage in more detrimental behaviors,” Turiano says. “Those high in conscientiousness may have anxiety but it is not making the person freeze while they ruminate on their life problems. They act on their anxiety and that is what motivates them to address what they have anxiety about.”

Being conscientious and neurotic could actually be good for health.

Turiano was the lead researcher of a recent study in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, showing that people high in both of these personality traits actually have low levels of interleukin-6, an immune protein that’s known to be a biomarker for inflammation.

Healthy neurotic people don’t just engage in healthier behaviors, but they also “have fewer chronic health conditions, they have healthier body weights, and they have lower levels of inflammation,” Turiano says. Research is also increasingly showing that these people have better stress responses, and don’t overreact to stress (which leads to increased stress hormone levels and heart rate).

“Somehow, these conscientious individuals dampen their own stress responses,” he says. “Finding out if this indeed the case and how they do it will be an important area of future inquiry.”

They also use their conscientiousness and neuroticism to be more successful at work.

Healthy neurotic people don’t just have better physical health, they may also experience benefits in other areas of their lives, Turiano notes. Stress permeates all professions, whether it be the myriad responsibilities of a CEO, or the pressure to obtain grant funding for professors or researchers. But it’s how you deal with that stress that can make you successful or not.

“The healthy neurotic individuals somehow find a way to channel that anxiety they have to motivate them to do good work,” Turiano says.

For journalists for instance, instead of panicking about an upcoming deadline, they will use that anxiety to work harder to get the story done. Meanwhile, a doctor might use that anxiety to better prepare for surgery and be more meticulous while in the OR. “A little stress and anxiety in life can be a good thing to motivate people, especially if you have the resources to channel that anxiety in protective and productive avenues,” he adds. “And high levels of conscientiousness seem to be that protective resource.”

It is possible to boost your conscientiousness. (The big question is how.)

While research is still emerging as to how to increase conscientiousness among neurotic people in particular, there are strategies that exist to increase conscientiousness on a general level. Most people become more conscientious as they get older and mature, and experience life events such as marriage, childbirth, and the like. But not all people experience these increases in conscientiousness, and it’s these people who would potentially need to utilize strategies to increase the trait.

The first step, Turiano says, is to get them to realize that they aren’t harnessing their anxiety and stress in a healthy way.

“For the person who has high anxiety, getting them on a routine may help with their behaviors,” he says. “For example, they plan their meals for the entire week and prepare as much as possible before their work week starts. This way, during the week when they know the stress will be very high, they have already done the planning so they aren’t just eating fast food all week when they are stressed.”

Arianna Talks Burnout, Wellbeing And Sleep At Harvard
harvard forum

When HuffPost President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington collapsed from exhaustion in 2007, breaking her cheekbone and and requiring stitches, she knew it was time to reevaluate the way she understood success, shifting the conversation beyond one of just money and power. In her continued effort to do so, she explored that new definition of success when she spoke at the Harvard School of Public Health on Wednesday.

Led by moderator Jay Winsten, the Frank Stanton director of the Center for Health Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health, Arianna addressed the panel on how we can reinvent our outlook on achievement in order to create more sustainable lives. She explained that one of the ways we can start to make these changes is to start prioritizing our own needs — and when we do so, our work will be much better for it.

“We now take better care of our smartphones than we take care of ourselves,” Arianna said. “The truth is, when we are recharged and renewed, we are much more effective at whatever it is that we are working on or what we want to achieve.”

Arianna discussed her own burnout wakeup call, as well as her book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, which earned the No. 1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list for a nonfiction title.

“We discovered that there was nothing wrong with me medically [when I collapsed], but everything wrong with the way I was living my life,” she said. “My hope is that Thrive will be a bridge between knowing what we should be doing and actually doing it … I want to make it clear that this [new definition of success] is not some some new-agey thing. This is a way we can completely thrive — and it’s based on data.”

Check back later for video highlights from Arianna’s Thrive panel at the Harvard School of Public Health.

For more on the Third Metric, click here.

The Healing Power of Animals
I am the proud dog-parent of two rescues, Boo Radley and Maisey Mae, which many of you have come to know through my various posts on Facebook and Youtube. In all my travels, I get asked about my dogs and how they are doing. I am so thrilled that they have brought happiness and joy not only to me, but to everyone who sees them or hears about them. In my house, the day will start with a wet tongue on my cheek to wake me up and a furry tail wagging to say “Good morning, let’s start a new day.” After their morning walk, Boo always wants to play a little ball while Maisey stares at us with a look that says “Enough of this nonsense. Where’s the food?”

The healing power of animals is nothing new to us. Their restorative energy has been written about, filmed and documented for many years now.

According to NPR, The benefit of pets in the medical world actually dates back more than 150 years, says Aubrey Fine a clinical psychologist and professor at California State Polytechnic University. Studies dating back to three decades ago found that just petting one’s own dog can lower blood pressure; and more recently, studies have been focusing on the link between interacting with animals and the release of the hormone oxytocin which has powerful effects on the body’s predisposition to heal and to grow new cells.

The health plusses continue with bringing you more exercise (don’t I know it what with running through the house and up and down the street with them!), but owning a pet also assists the human to realize that love can be unconditional! The animals don’t judge, or criticize you for how you look, what you wear or your political views of the world. No, that doesn’t exist in the animal kingdom. It seems that in the animal world, all they want (besides a few earthly needs) is to be with you and love you for who you are. Imagine that! What a great simple lesson for all of us. To just BE! No judgment; just love and acceptance. It is through this simplistic view, that the enormity of it takes hold. Animals are what humans aspire to be. They live in the now and operate from unconditional love.

Those of us who have pets can relate to the feeling that we are the ones who actually have been saved. I will never forget the story of how Maisey came into my life. I was in San Diego where I had just seen my friend Chelsea Handler perform the night before at a local club. I was driving downtown in search of a Starbucks for my morning pick-me-up. As I came to a four-way stop sign, I saw a little girl on the left-hand corner holding a puppy in her arms without a leash. I suddenly became aware of the puppy leaping from her arms and jumping onto the ground and running into the street. Everything went slow-motion, like a movie. The inevitable occurred: a car made its way into the intersection and drove over the puppy. I let out a screeching scream: “NO!!!” I had never seen anything so horrific before in my life. I got out of my car and ran to the puppy, knelt down and saw the poor baby writhing in pain. It seemed so helpless. I remember bending over and thinking maybe I can heal it, turn back time, something to not make this animal cry. After a moment of shock, I realized I had better get out of the street myself and then people came running. I thought the best thing was to go park my car. I found a space and ran back to the corner. By now there was a police woman holding the dog in her arms and I asked if the dog was alive. The police woman shook her head no. The poor little girl was crying, “Just let me say goodbye!” I was so angry at the mother for allowing this little girl to have a puppy in a busy part of a big city without a leash. I knew this event would scar her daughter’s heart. I eventually left the scene, but my spirit was damaged as well. I couldn’t wait to get home and hold Boo in my arms. That scene plagued me for two weeks and I couldn’t do anything to shake it off. I had trouble focusing on work. I kept playing that scene over in my mind so I asked the Spirit world to help me.

That night, I had a dream. I was with an angel and we were walking at a park near the shelter where I had rescued Boo. The angel told me to go to the shelter – that there would be a dog there that would heal me and that I would recognize her immediately. The next morning, I drove to the rescue shelter and looked in each one of the kennels. None of the dogs spoke to me and I didn’t feel the connection that I was expecting. I walked back to the lobby and was distraught. Had the angel been wrong? There was no dog. I was more depressed than ever. As I sat in the lobby, I noticed a volunteer bringing a dog back from a walk. A little white muzzle appeared in the kennel. My heart skipped a beat as I went out to look; actually, it was more like I was being drawn out. I felt the dog was calling to me. The moment I got near her, she wagged her tail and rolled on her back to show me her freckled belly. That was the same position that I had seen the wounded puppy in! This was my dog! We immediately bonded and she could not stop licking me!! Today, she is the loving sister of Boo Radley and, even though she lets Boo thinks that he is in charge, Maisey rules the roost. She has brought my life back to me and continues to heal me every day. I’ll never forget that poor dog in San Diego but Maisey has filled the void in my soul that was opened that day. She is a constant reminder that everything happens for a reason and that for her, I am perfect and loved.

Falling in Love
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Love, the “L” word, is what so many of us are searching for and yearning for. Somehow we think that if we could only be truly loved by someone else, that their love will caulk up all the empty holes we have and quiet the myriad questions that occupy our hearts and minds. I think not.

I believe we have it quite backwards and maybe even upside down and inside out. We must first apply the “L” word to ourselves. Then, it blossoms into something quite remarkable and supremely enriching. To truly love ourselves seems to be a very difficult thing to do in our modern, always-comparing, always-wanting-more culture. We keep getting the outside confused with the inside. We feel somehow that the “I” part of us is incomplete. That we are not enough without someone else to fill us up.

Gee, what happens when I sit down and really get to know myself — deep inside where my heart and feelings are so gently waiting? What happens when I allow the real me to show up in my own life and I discover that this me is pretty darned wonderful? I learn that it’s more than great to celebrate and delight in who I am — that I can feel whole and remarkable just being me. For I have gone on an adventure of self-love and self-knowing that makes me rich and wide on the inside. I am now able to reach out to another person with no needy gaps that I must fill by pretzel-twisting their heart and soul into place. We each get to just be ourselves. Oh, the ease and simple joy of this!

There are now two hearts and souls, two minds and bodies, meeting each other on even ground. There is no “I need what you have to feel complete.” This joining of two creates another entity that is quietly separate and true — the “us.” We are each whole and complete alone — and together. This juncture of two hearts becomes a celebration of each of us and a delight in the distinctions, talents and deliberate “who” of the separate “two.”

I don’t want to be the reason for your life. Please don’t tell me that I complete you. I don’t want that responsibility or burden. Come to me firmly in love with yourself. Come to me happy in the person you are. I will greet you half way and play with you in the field of our coming together — in that arena where we honor each other’s gifts and abilities.

My life will be richer for having you there. The sharing of thoughts and feelings, the comfort of being able to bare my soul, the knowing that you will care for it well. I will not die if you leave me. Without you, my life shall be less, but I will still have a life that is mine to cherish and create as before. The journey of me celebrating myself and growing will continue — as will yours.

This is falling in love.

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