Inpirational Tips For Becoming A Better Person

meadow...be a better person“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived—this is to have succeeded.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every so often, I hear someone remark about the terrible state of the world today. And, I guess there’s some validity to such a statement. After all, when you tune-in to the evening news, it’s usually one tragedy or crime after another that’s being reported. At the end of the broadcast, the newscasters often share a closing, uplifting report…to reassure us, I suppose, that it’s not all doom and gloom. I’ve always considered myself to be an optimistic-type. I look for the good in people, and it’s not often that I’m disappointed. And, I’ve learned from the social networks that I’m not alone in my quest to see the good side of humanity. News feeds are full of shared inspirational videos and hero stories. Still, I believe that within us lies the obligation to be the best version of ourselves and to be the type of person that we aspire others to be. In that spirit, I’m sharing some inspiration to help us on our journey…

Helpful Tips To Be A Better Person

1.  Pay It Forward – April 25, 2013 is National Pay It Forward Day.  Paying It Forward is a  concept based upon the premise that together we can change the world, one good deed at a time, by performing random acts of kindness, in the hopes that it will cause a ripple effect.  Good deeds have a tendency to restore faith, both to the giver and to the recipient, that there is still an underlying layer of compassion in the human spirit; a desire to see good things happen for others.  Although random acts of kindness shouldn’t necessarily be saved for special days, it’s a reminder to do something good. Mark your calendars…

2.  I still believe in the adage “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.”  Origins of the saying are somewhat iffy, ranging from being attributed to Thumper (Bambi), to an old wives tale.  Regardless, it’s hard to argue with the notion.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t voice your opinion, or that everything that comes out of your mouth should be all flowery and bubbly, but if you take the time to think before you speak, it might give you the opportunity to say something else instead.  It’s hard to take back words once they’ve been spoken in anger or otherwise, and it’s worth the effort it takes to bite your tongue.

3.  Let go of the past, and look forward to the future.  Letting go of past disappointments, betrayals or failures can be one of the most difficult hurdles to clear in life.  It’s easier said than done.  But living in the past – constantly dredging up old feelings and resentments – can be paralyzing to your emotional well-being, preventing you from being your happiest.  Forgiveness can be the tool you need to move forward. Try it…and then try again.

Some helpful quotes:

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”  ~ Harper Lee

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ~ William Faulkner

“I am a better person when I have less on my plate.”  ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

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How To Clear Your Mind of Clutter and Focus On What Matters

Peaceful and Clear ThoughtsWhen it comes to clutter, the television show Hoarders has absolutely nothing on me.  Oh, my house is clean enough…the clutter is in my mind.  At times, my mind is so full of junk that it’s hard to get a thought in edgewise.  I recognize this comes from being  busy, and when we juggle life, it’s inevitable that thoughts will get a little jumbled. Still, the noise can get a little loud sometimes. I’m a big movie fan, and one of my favorites is a Kevin Costner film For Love of the Game.  In the movie, Costner is a major league baseball player nearing the end of his career, trying to hold on through his last season, and finish strong.  One of the techniques he uses, while on the pitching mound, is a mantra that he repeats to himself to quiet the noise from the fans in the stands.  He repeats Clear the Mechanism, Clear the Mechanism until he achieves absolute silence.  Okay…so I’ve been mumbling this to myself for the last week or two, and so far…no silence.  So, what’s up with that?  I mean, it worked for Costner.  I know…this isn’t the movies. Still, in an effort to find some techniques that might work,  I’ve done a little research that I thought I would share.  Ready?  Ommmmmmm……

1. Madison K. Krown, a MidLife Empowerment coach, and blogger for the Huffington Post recommends sitting down for 30-60 minutes per day, and doing what she refers to as free form writing.  The process, according to Ms. Krown, is to take three deep breaths, and then write nonstop, without thinking, all of the thoughts that are cluttering your mind. Don’t stop to think about what you’re writing.  Just write, and write, and write…get it all out there.  Don’t edit them, change them, or rearrange them on the paper.  Stop when you feel the need,  but don’t read the finished product, and then immediately destroy or shred it.  She recommends doing this consecutively for 30 days.  Okay…I’m going to try this.  I’m so glad I have access to a shredder.

2.  The second technique I found was from a YouTube video of Dr. Sharon Melnick,  a psychologist dedicated to helping talented and successful people “get out of their own way”.  This breathing technique involves a three-step exercise that, according to Dr. Melnick, gives the same benefits as a 90-minute Yoga class.  Hey, I’m all for saving some time, so I actually tried this as I watched the video, and it was helpful.  The basic concept is to breathe in, hold, and exhale, all for the same count.  For example, breathe in (count to five), hold (count to five), and exhale (count to five).  Do this for 3 minutes, once or twice a day to rewire your nervous system.   Since Dr. Melnick recommends closing your eyes during the exercise and placing your fingertips together, I did this too.  As a plus, during my future breathing exercises, I’m pretty sure if anyone sees me doing this, with my eyes closed and my hands in front of me taking deep breaths, holding, and exhaling…it will communicate that I’m temporarily unavailable.  All together now…inhale…hold…exhale…

3.  The third technique involves (again) writing down the thoughts that are cluttering your mind, and listing them into categories – the thoughts that are actually productive (such as tasks), and the thoughts that are just worries and unnecessary clutter.  By actually visualizing the thoughts, you can prioritize the productive thoughts, and mark them off once they are accomplished, and for the worrisome thoughts…well, if they’re worries that you can’t control, then mark them off the list, as well.  I’m going to grab a Sharpie for this one…it’s time to start markin’ stuff off..

If you’ve got any helpful techniques for clearing the mind clutter, share them with me!

A quote or two for inspiration: 

The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives. ~ William James

Don’t believe everything you hear–even in your own mind. ~ Daniel J. Amen

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