Focus on your mental and emotional side to gain self improvement

Not everyone believes this but the emotional and mental aspects of a person, when combined, leads to better self improvement.

Emotions love to dominate our actions and reactions, even though we do not want it to happen sometimes. The society often see emotions as a sign of weakness, so people are used to putting them aside and focusing on the rational aspects more and more.

No matter how strict and logical you may be, you will always feel. One way or another, someone or something will get through you.

Positive emotions are a lifelong goal for many of us concerned about emotional health and self improvement. What is more important; the amount of money you made during your life or the times you laughed out of sheer joy?

People tend to put their positive emotions behind their negative feelings. This is one of the biggest problems that people come across during their lives.

There is no clear way to ignore a negative experience and try to replace it with a positive one. Life just does not work that way.

For example, when you were a child, if your goldfish dies, you would be heartbroken. Your parents will probably buy you another goldfish but the sorrow is still there.

Things get even more complex when you become an adult. A fight with your spouse the night before will affect your entire day. You will go to work angry, tired, and your mind will wander. On the way home from work you will not notice the sun shining and you would not be tempted to stop at a roadside stand to pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables.

All this because that one negative thought has contaminated the way you perceive the reality around you.

In this moment you will realize finding a safe place to relax your mind will do wonders for your emotional and mental improvement.

That place is relatively easy to find. It can be an actual place or an imaginary location. The best idea is to totally lose yourself in it.

Let us say you have a problem on your mind and it just would not go away. Go bowling. Do not know how? Just give it a shot.

Get caught up in the game. Your mind will drift away from the negative thoughts that dominated your last hours or days and start processing a whole new kind of information.

A safe haven can take many forms. It can be a song, a movie, even a person or animal. The main thing is allow yourself to get completely involved with this new activity.

You might still get flashes of the problem every now and then. Ignore it and get even more absorbed in what you are doing.

When the bowling game, the song, or the movie ends you will abruptly return to reality. You will probably want to retreat back to the safe place. Do not do it.

The safe place exists only as a helping hand, not as a solution to your life’s problems, may it be a small or big. It serves only as an escape route.

You will return from your safe zone with an increased energy level. You will feel better about yourself and gain more confidence. You will see that any issue can be resolved.

This is how a small escape from a harsh reality can increase your emotional and mental health. Try to do this often and you are on your way to better self improvement.

Work Life Balance And The Power of Positive Thinking

Can we learn how to respond optimistically and hopefully to events that challenge work life balance? According to psychologist and researcher Martin Seligman, the answer is YES. While some folks appear to be hardwired to respond optimistically to ups and downs in life and work, others are wired for pessimistic responses. Fortunately, you do not have to settle for the wiring you were born with. Find out how you can improve your resilience and hopefulness by acquiring positive thinking skills.

It’s important to get a handle on mood swings or energy shifts if you want to maintain your work life balance and be successful in business. According to psychologist and researcher Martin Seligman, some folks appear to be hardwired to respond optimistically and hopefully to work life balance upset and life’s ups and downs. Others are wired for opposite responses. Fortunately, you do not have to settle for the wiring you were born with. With practice you can improve your resilience and your hopefulness by acquiring solid positive thinking skills.

I like to think of the process of building hopefulness, resilience and positive thinking skills as an analogue to building physical fitness: it takes attention, concentration, commitment, and repetition. If you approach a workout program with those qualities, you can almost always improve your fitness.

The first hurdle to get over is the belief that you already need to be different in order to succeed. You don’t. You are the way you are and you can start from here, overwhelmed, worried, anxious, whatever. Don’t fall into your story about how you feel, but take a stand for what you intend to accomplish to restore your work life balance and where you plan to go. You do not need to feel better before you try these practices — do them now. Another caveat: Do not interpret your progress in the short term — measuring increase in strength and endurance after a single workout would be silly.

Seligman points out that people with an optimistic approach to life habitually accept positive thoughts and dispute negative thoughts. Those of us who are wired to be more pessimistic tend to dispute the positive and accept the negative. Optimists tend to assume that their life balance will be restored, good events will happen again and that bad events are an exception; pessimists assume the reverse. I am oversimplifying his rigorously considered arguments, and I encourage you to read the book if the science of this is important to you.

Here’s a practice he recommends for shifting from hopelessness to hopefulness. I successfully use it with my clients to help them restore their work life balance. He calls it ABCDE for:

Adversity — Beliefs — Consequences — Disputation — Energization.

A – Adversity
Start by spelling out the nature of the situation. Notice that you can experience hopelessness in response to ostensibly positive situations as well as to negative ones. For example, getting a new client or being accepted into a final round of interviews can upset your balance and send you into a whirlwind of anxiety and fear that produces just as much hopelessness and overwhelm as not getting the job or not making the cut.

B — Beliefs
This is your opportunity to spell out the thoughts and beliefs that are fueling the negative response.

C — Consequences
Look at the consequences of your beliefs — what happened as a result? How do you behave? What happened then?

D — Disputation
Actively dispute the beliefs that break your life balance and send you into the downward spiral. This is where you practice arguing with yourself in a productive way.

E — Energization
When you have been effective in disputing the problem beliefs, you feel an influx of energy, a sense of renewed hope, or at least of peacefulness.

So, here’s an example from my life:

Adversity:
I was excited about moving forward on two projects when I fell on my bike and cracked my ribs. I was okay and working hard with this for almost three days, then depression and anxiety set in and my usual positive thinking ability left me. Instead of feeling like moving forward I felt like bursting into tears.

Beliefs:
How will I ever restore my work life balance and get things done if I can’t stop these mood swings? Maybe I am just not meant to lead these projects. I don’t know enough and I can’t seem to get started — I probably should have said no in the first place. It would be better to bow out now, as embarrassing as that will be, than to keep going and have a bigger train wreck later when I just can’t make the grade.

Consequences:
These beliefs leave me feeling very sad and small, like a six year old, and then I wonder how a six year old can possibly be a leader. I find it hard to concentrate and I just want to hide.

Disputation:
Constant low-grade pain can take it out of anyone. The world is not going to come to an end if you delay things because you’ve been injured. And who says you have to do it alone anyway? Some of the problem is that you don’t have enough information to go forward. That calls for making requests of others, not for blaming yourself. And when you’re not leaning on yourself so hard, your positive thinking ability starts coming back and your mood lightens — so maybe it would be smart to cut yourself some slack this week after letting folks know what is going on. You don’t have to crawl under a rock — you can reach out instead to restore your work life balance. And even if some work projects end up being passed on to others, there will always be other opportunities.

Energization:
I called and emailed colleagues to regroup. Not only did these conversations relieve my anxiety, they made simple next steps quite clear. In one case, my summary of a conversation ended up being exactly what our group needed to move forward. Who knew? I had been worried about making things happen on my own when all along my strength was in articulating and clarifying complex input from many sources.

See how this works? I do strongly recommend the book as there are many more practices in it that address different aspects of overwhelm and ways to restore your work life balance. But if you struggle with hopelessness and challenge yourself to work through this one exercise on a regular basis (and if that means five or ten times a day, so be it), your positive thinking skills will grow and you WILL get relief. Remember — don’t measure change before it can happen — keep doing the practices long enough for significant positive shifts to take root and grow.