Archives for June, 2011


Do You Have a Positive Social Support System?

One of the most important factors in mental and emotional health is having a support system that understands us and can help us work through problems.

Support systems can give us advice, help us to learn new skills, keep us on the right track, and hold us accountable to do what needs to be done.

For instance, research reveals that married couples are better able to cope and manage health concerns more effectively together. Women whose husbands were involved in their health care issues, specifically breast self-examination, were more likely to do the examinations and stay on a consistent schedule.

Some estimates say we should have at least 5 different support sources that we can turn to, and fortunately there are numerous outlets to begin building a support system.

Different types of support systems:

Friends and family - The more supportive people you have in your life the more effective your support system will be. Who do you have in your life that can serve as a support?

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Emotional Awareness

How to Overcome the Negativity of Others

What do you do when you're around someone who can't seem to notice or say anything positive? It can be tough to not let their mood and outlook have an effect.

So, who tends to breed negativity in your life? Is it your boss, coworker, family, or friends? Maybe you're the one who tends to view things pessimistically at times.

Either way, no one will always have a wonderful day free of frustrations. We are simply going to experience negativity at times; but despite this we do have a choice in how we let negativity effect us. When we experience a negative person it's important to not them bring us down.

If you're having a difficult time with a negative person, here are a few ideas to consider.

1) Learn to respond instead of react. This means recognizing when we are encountering negativity so we can prepare mentally and decide how we want to respond. We may want to ignore the comments and not let them get to us, however depending on the situation we may have to interact with the person.

Have you ever been in a work meeting where someone shoots down every good idea and can only see the negative side of things? In these cases we may have to deal with the negativity to prevent it from spreading to others.

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Social Issues

Meditation in Schools!? Could it be a Promising Educational Tool?

Students today are more stressed, have more distractions, and often don't have an effective outlet to cope with daily tension.

It's all too easy for teenagers to turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, and the media as a way of escaping the pressure of being a young adult.

Meditation is a simple and effective practice to help reduce stress, and been shown to have many other positive psychological effects.

So, would it be valuable for school districts to integrate meditation programs in their schools?

There are many schools around the nation that have already done so, and it appears that meditation can provide a positive outlet for youth.

Here are a few ways meditation can have a positive impact.

Research has show meditation improves academic performance and results in improvement in intelligence.

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The Importance of Purpose and How to Find It

"Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for." - Viktor E. Frankl

It seems as if everyone is searching for their purpose in today's world. Though, with so many conflicting messages being constantly presented to us, it can be confusing to know who we are, what to connect with, and what we're meant to do.

When we are able to connect with a sense of purpose it adds significant value to life.

Research has revealed that a sense of purpose is actually related to increased psychological well-being and can help people recover from and cope with stressful life events.

If you are looking for more life-satisfaction and clearer direction for your future consider the ideas below.

How to find purpose

Developing and growing spiritually has been shown to relate to a sense of life-purpose. Research has shown that people who rated their level of spirituality higher tended to have a greater sense of purpose.

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How Our Thoughts and Emotions Can Physically Heal or Harm

There are many things we can do to improve our physical health. We can exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get adequate sleep - just to name a few.

However, an often overlooked aspect of optimal health is how our emotions and thought life plays in role in our physical health.

Think about a time when you were emotionally exhausted and distressed. How did you feel physically after all was said and done?

When we are emotionally exhausted, our body tends to respond concurrently. We may get headaches, feel sick to our stomach, or actually become physically ill.

The mind and body connection offers an important focus for what it means to be truly "healthy." It's difficult to feel good when we are physically ill, just as when we are emotionally distraught and overwhelmed by stress it takes a toll on our body.

The medical field is beginning to recognize that our perspectives, emotions, and mood have implications on our physical health. In John Kabat-Zinn's book Full Catastrophe Living he reviews studies that examine how our physical health is intimately connected with our patterns of thinking and the beliefs we hold.

Below are some ideas adapted from his book on how our emotions, thinking, and attitude impact health.

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How Positive Emotions Impact Life Success

The benefits of positive emotions are far reaching, and involve much more than just being "happy."

Research has revealed that positive emotions can enhance our relationships, increase our resilience, and even improve our physical health.

Not to mention that people who rate themselves to be happier make more income are more successful by many standards.

It has also been shown that happiness isn't necessarily a byproduct of success, but that greater levels of success come from being happy. In this sense being happy increases our chances for life success.

There are many aspects that can help us to be more successful in life, such as how we view ourselves, the relationships we build, and being able to stay motivated, persevere, and solve problems.

Below are a few ways that positive emotions can contribute to your success.

A positive perception of self

When we are in a good mood and a positive state of mind our self-feelings and self-concept will be more positive. Think of a time when you were full of positivity. How did this impact your self-perception?

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Emotional Awareness

Cultivate Mindfulness to Enhance Well-Being

Do you have a demanding job, endless responsibilities, and just can't seem to relax? Wouldn't it be nice if you were able "let go" of the idle worries and concerns that come along with life's struggles?

One way to experience the present moment and be more accepting and open to what life may bring is being more mindful. Mindfulness is the intentional process of paying attention and being aware of our moment-to-moment experiences in a non-judgmental way.

It's about simply acknowledging what may be happening or how we may be feeling at the time, without becoming critical or emotionally absorbed in the experience.

It allows us to become more aware and focused in everything we are doing without unhealthy attachment and concern.

We no longer have to go through life on autopilot where we're bored by mundane tasks and frustrated by minor inconveniences.

We can embrace the present moment, develop a tranquil attitude, and experience greater satisfaction regardless of what is taking place. Research even reveals that certain mindfulness based practices can enhance well-being.

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Why Keeping Hope Alive Will Advance Your Life

Life is full of uncertainty, danger, and moments of indecision. However, even when times get dark and intimidating, as long as we keep hope alive, we can achieve anything.

There are countless stories of people overcoming what seem to be impossible odds.

This is because hope is more than idle wanting and wishing that things will get better. Hope is the actual belief and faith where we know things will get better and we will persevere.

When we know things will get better, we are willing to do whatever it takes. With hope we can look to the future with confidence and excitement, and we can begin to do more than we ever imagined.

How can hope improve your life?

Hope makes us feel lighter and stronger. No matter what adversity we encounter, hope gives us strength and keeps us persistent and determined to move forward in life. Hope reassures us things will get better in time, and helps us come alive during moments of recovery.

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Emotional Awareness

How Music Can Improve Your Mood

Like many people, music is a huge passion of mine. I love writing and listening to music as both a creative outlet and for entertainment. I listen to music to lift my mood when I'm down, and to brighten an already radiant day.

When we connect with music it has an impact on our emotions, and is an activity where we can connect with others, revive our energy, and experience greater joy.

Think of how ubiquitous music is in the world. We play music during celebrations; it sets the stage by accompanying movies, commercials, and any entertaining event. We listen to it for motivation, comfort, to relieve stress, and as an outlet to release emotions.

It's pretty clear that music plays an important role in many people's lives.

Research isn't totally clear about how people emotionally respond to music, but there is some research that shows people intentionally listen to music to regulate their mood, and that positive emotions tend to be a dominant response.

More often than not when we listen to music that we enjoy, it provides an increase in positive emotions and feelings, such as contentment, happiness, and interest.

How does music play a role in your life?

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