How to stop worrying, think positively and be happier
How to stop worrying, think positively and be happier

According to research most of the things we worry about are based in the future. This is because we fear the unknown.

As humans we don’t like the unknown, we prefer certainty, stability and security.

There’s only one thing, for certain, we know about the future and thats the fact that it ends in death.

Knowing this fact, does nothing for our stability or security.

 

Stop worrying quotes 003
 

Death is the ultimate loss and fear is all about loss.

So because we know we will lose our life this fear seeps into every other aspect of our lives. We fear losing our job, our money, our house, our health and the ability to look after ourselves and loved ones.

These fears are all in the future.

BUT what if we could visit the future.

OK we can’t visit our future but we can listen to people who have most of their lives behind them, the elderly.

For his Legacy Project, Professor Karl A. Pillemer asked 1,200 elderly people this question:

“What do you regret when you look back over your life?”

The most popular answer, by far, was:

“I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life worrying.”

John Alonzo, 83, is a man of few words, but I quickly learned that what he had to say went straight to the point. A construction worker, he had battled a lifetime of financial insecurity. But he didn’t think twice in giving this advice:

Don’t believe that worrying will solve or help anything. It won’t. So stop it.

James Huang, 87, put it this way:

Why? I ask myself.

What possible difference did it make that I kept my mind on every little thing that might go wrong?

When I realized that it made no difference at all, I experienced a freedom that’s hard to describe.

My life lesson is this: Turn yourself from frittering away the day worrying about what comes next and let everything else that you love and enjoy move in.

 

Stop Worrying Quotes 002
 

So what can we learn from this?

Three things:

1. Accept the facts, forget the fiction.

We will die, that’s a fact but we don’t know if we’ll lose our jobs, money or houses so there’s no point worrying about things that might or might not happen.

We can only live our lives in two ways: needlessly worrying or trying to enjoy it.

 

2. Worrying makes things worse.

Happy people are more successful in all areas of their lives.

Worrying impacts happiness.

Being unhappy for long periods of time affects both your mental and physical health. You are more likely to lose what you hold dear, to yourself, if you’ve lost control of these faculties.

Likewise if you’re happy you’re more likely to be healthier and therefore both mentally and physically stronger.  You’ll be more successful in retaining what you value in this state of being.

 

3. Learn to enjoy the positives in your life right now.

Your past and your future is only made up of what’s happening right now. If you are positive in the present then your past and your future will also be happy.

One of the most important words in the above sentence is, “learn”.

Our minds are predisposed to creating a certain amount of worry. This is healthy. A little amount of worry is a good motivator, it helps us improve, to flee from danger or prepare for it.

The problem comes when we worry too much.

Think about the old analogy: the glass half full or empty and how you perceive it.

 

Screenshot 2014-05-12 15.00.42
 

Is it half full or half empty?

Now imagine the water is your life. You have to drink it to survive but when it’s all gone you will have nothing else to drink and therefore no more life.

So what do you do?

Enjoy drinking the water while you still have it or not drink it, worry about it evaporating and die of dehydration.

We’ve got to learn to see the glass half full.

We’ve got to learn to enjoy it now while we still can or we will look back on our lives and wish we hadn’t worried so much.

The more we practice anything the better we get at it.

Think of something you’ve started doing something that required some mental attention like, Sudoku, Crosswords or a game on your mobile. You need to do them repeatedly to improve.

This is the same with positive thinking. You have to regularly practice thinking positively before it becomes more natural to you.

 

Stop worrying Quotes
 

This is why I set up happymap, to consciously practice positive thought.

happymap encourages us to post something that made us happy everyday. Then when we look back at our past posts we can see that not only did everything turned out OK but it was a pretty pleasant experience.

Does it work?

Yes, we have data and testimonials stating it’s helped people do the following:

– Think more positively

– Worry less

– Feel better about themselves

Why not give our 21-day happiness challenge a try (by clicking here)?

Can you complete it? Yes of course you can…. think positively 🙂

 

 

 

 

Is your attitude as positive as Martin’s?

Life is of what happens to you... copy
 

I received an email the other day, that really lifted my spirits.

I admit, initially on reading it, my ego got a boost as the sender, Martin, was thanking me for writing such positive thinking, motivational posts.

As I re-read the email it struck me that there’s no better example of positive thinking than Martin’s story.

It’s easy to pretend to be a positive thinker when everything is going well but the true test of anyones strength and resolve is their attitude in the face of real adversity.

Martin has gone through some rough times but I guarantee these times will not only get better but become better than he’s ever experienced.

How do I know?

Because he has the attitude of a winner.

 

Muhammed Ali
 

Sometimes, in life, when we come face to face with an unexpected challenge, at the time, it can seem like an insurmountable mountain which will kill us before we conquer it but in hindsight it becomes no more than a speed bump that temporarily damaged our suspension.

Winners, learn from these experiences and are therefore more prepared for future bumps in the road.

Successful people are not successful despite challenges along the way but because of them.

This is Martin’s email:

Hi Justin,

I just wanted to thank you for the posts on your blog.

I’m a 42 year old guy who last year had to sell his house to finance the closure of one of his businesses. I’m now living (with my fiancée & 8 year old son) back at my parents house.

Quite a comedown from our own 5 bedder.

We owned a children’s nursery & not only did we lose the business, my fiancée lost her job as manager. Because I have another business we chose not to go into bankruptcy – but boy, it sometimes would have been much easier. To pay off all the employees, HMRC & all other people, it cost us upwards of 50k (this is after the 200 we sank in over the last 3 years).

The nursery was brilliant, got the highest marks in all inspections – yet the lack of government funding for our pre-school department meant it grew increasingly less viable as a business.

I spent some time feeling very down after we chose to close in October last year, but reading your posts have really helped me in a positive way after reading them via LinkedIn. I’m not usually prone to writing these kind of emails – but I felt urged to let you know that you have have a definite effect on my outlook and approach to the future.

Luckily my other company has been trading for 11 years & is still here after the horrible recession years – even when we suffer knock-backs I tend to look at your latest post & it usually spurs me on again.

I don’t subscribe to usual self-help mumbo jumbo, but your straight talking style is to be applauded & I just wanted you to know that thanks to you I am most definitely more happy than I would have been after the last 12 months!

We’ve got out heads up & hopefully within the next 18 months we will have enough money to get a new house, and we will have come out of the situation wiser, stronger & happier!!

Thanks a million & keep up the good work.

Kind regards,
Martin

 

winners never quit
 

 

How to win from a mistake

 

Jack Cinema Screen
 

The other week I was asked to host a cinema showing, of a the new Muppet’s film, for the radio radio station I work for, JACK fm.

Before the film starts I, basically, stand at the front with a mic, play a few games with the audience and throw out some prizes.

This time we were about to do the same and I was really looking forward to the game we were about to play.

Pete in the office had created an animated little graphic, to go on the big screen. It was a film clapper board that generated a seat number when the clapper shut.

The person sitting in this seat would win a prize.

 

Jack Cinema Screen clapper
 

Sounds good yeah?

There was only one snag, five minutes before we started, the game, my boss said to me, “There’s been a clerical error and only 150 people will be showing up rather than 300”.

I said, “ok” thinking nothing of it then I realised something.

What if the clapper board generated a seat number nobody was sitting in?

This was very likely to happen, as one half of the cinema was empty. So potentially 5 of the 10 prizes, we had to give away, would go to nobody.

We had neither the time nor resources to change the seat numbers on the animated graphic, as the audience started taking their seats.

All of a sudden this excellent little game, we’d come up with, was quickly turning into a damp squib. It would be a bigger flop than… well whatever the biggest film flop you can think of is.

My boss said, “Hmmmm”

So I thought for a while and said, “How about we say, “If the number generated is an empty seat, then the first to sit in that seat, wins the prize”?

“Yeah good idea”

 

never a failure always a lesson
 

It turns out, seeing children and adults alike frantically scurrying around in a semi lit cinema, desperately trying to find the empty winning seats, was the best part of the game!

You think about it.

If the cinema had been full, all people would’ve had to have done was raise their hand to claim their prize.

With the cinema half empty, most of the audience would have to get up and leg it to the row and seat they thought was the winning one. It provided some excellent comedy value with people falling over each other and jumping rows of seats.

In fact, I liked it so much I’ve suggested that we do the same next time, that is, slightly under book the audience and select winning seats located at the extremes of the cinema.

Thank goodness for the clerical error, if it wasn’t for the empty seats we wouldn’t have had half the fun, or a better plan for next time.

 

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How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.

 

How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.
 

My son Monty has just celebrated his first birthday.

A few weeks previous to this, I got a call in work from, an excited, Meagan, “Monty just walked!”

“What?! Oh nooo – I wanted to see that! Can you stop him from walking again, before I get home?”

“How do I do that?”

“I don’t know… pin him down?”

I got home and he walked again, as you can see from the video below.

 

 

I’ve re-watched that video over 20 times and after getting over the initial smiling phase, there’s one thing I noticed, Monty’s expression.

For the first 3 steps, he’s absolutely thrilled with what he’s doing. Then as soon as he realises he’s doing something he’s never really done before, his exhilaration gives way to doubt, tinged with fear.

That fear is the fear of the unknown.

This is unchartered territory for him. He’s not sure he can actually walk. He’s not done it before, so he doesn’t believe he can.

 

How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.
 

How is it possible to achieve something, if you don’t believe you can?

This leads to a crisis of confidence, in his ability to walk any further and he promptly sits down.

The thing is, I know he can and will walk, as does Meagan and Fred who are watching him.

There’s no stronger argument than evolution.

In fact he will, in his lifetime, walk the equivalent of twice round the world. The important point here is, he doesn’t believe he can walk, beyond the few steps he’s taken.

This is a great analogy for life.

We are all capable of doing a lot more than we realise. The only reason why we think we can’t do it, is because we haven’t done it, yet.

The only, essential, ingredient missing is belief.

We can only achieve it, if we believe it.

 

How baby steps will help you believe and achieve.
 

To download a free copy of my Ebook, 50 Motivational Quotes: To inspire you to think more positively click here.

 

 

 

Is there a positive side to depression?

 

Is there a positive side to depression?

 

I know this headline might sound like a superficial way to grab attention but I believe it to be partially true.

I’ll explain.

I often experience bouts of darkness, where I feel hopeless and therefore useless. This state, I thought, was super de-motivational.

In hindsight this turns out to be the opposite.

The most creative ideas I get are born during these periods.

I’m not just going to rely on a survey of one here. It’s no coincidence that history’s most creative people (I’m not including myself amongst these people) have documented their struggles with depression e.g Ernest Hemingway, Steven Fry, Spike Milligan.

We need some type of stimulus to motivate us.

 

Is there a positive side to depression?

 

This motivation doesn’t always originate from a positive place. In fact, stimulus from a dark place is probably a lot more realistic because it’s been created with a backdrop hopelessness.

I recently interviewed John Dennis who is about to undertake a mammoth 12,000km solo walk to the south pole. This is months after recovering from him being bed ridden through chronic depression.

If it wasn’t for this suffering he’d never have even contemplated this life changing mission.

So if you come up with an idea or solution when you’re feeling negative, it’s more likely to be a winner than the idea you came up with when your head is full of unchecked optimism.

If you come up with an idea when you feel that nothing is worth it, you can guarantee that idea has made it through every negative cynical filter you have, before you’ve decided it’s a good idea.

Ideas created when you’re in a good mood suffer no such scrutiny.

 

Is there a positive side to depression?

 

Therefore, it’s the ideas you get at the bottom of the curve that motivates you to reach the top of the curve.

In other words, it’s your dark moments that not only fuels your bright moments but enables them to exist. You would not experience happiness if it wasn’t for the sadness.

This is not just a question of appreciating the contrasts, it more re-evaluating the usefulness of depression.

Depression is a fertile bed from where your best ideas and actions grow.

Maybe we should therefore stop looking on depression as a negative force but as the complete opposite.

If this is true and studies seem to suggest so, depression let’s us, ultimately, perform better.

So we maybe we should not see it as the end of the world, more the end of dead thought and the beginning of new ideas.

 

Is there a positive side to depression?

 

Click here to download a copy of my ebook: 50 Motivational Quotes: To inspire you think more positively.

 

 

One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

When is the last time someone asked you, “How are you?” and you responded with, “I’m not too bad thanks”.

I used to say it all the time but now I try to stop myself uttering it and it’s one sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good.

Why?

Thoughts are real things. What you think, especially repeatedly, you believe.

So what’s the harm in saying, “I’m not too bad thanks”?

 

One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

If you think about how you are feeling on a scale of good to bad, this response is on the bad side of the scale.

In other words you’re bad but you’re not too bad.

If we repeatedly express we are feeling bad, how can we ever hope to feel good?

In other words it’s a negative expression. If we say it without thinking then surely we’re coming from a negative standpoint.

When someone now asks me, “How are you?” I try to say, “Good thanks” or “I’m out of this world crazy loving it”.

Ok maybe I’ve never said the second one but it’s amazing how much better you feel when you chose to express positive sentiment rather than settle for a negative one.

Give it a try, I bet you’ll feel better.

I recently read a great article which I highly recommend entitled: The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work by James Clear, which is based on the works of Barbara Fredrickson a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina.

If you don’t believe thoughts are real then let me point this out to you: the very device you are reading this blog post on was once just a thought in someone’s head.

 

One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

If you’d like to read another post of mine on positive thinking you can do so by clicking here.

Ps – If you’d like to subscribe to this blog (I’ll send you one email a week containing one link to a new blog post of mine) then you can do so by clicking here.

 

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

Last week I spent several days in a dark mood. I lacked, inspiration motivation and to a certain extent, hope.

I didn’t care about anything. I was truly apathetic.

The only emotion I felt I could honestly relate to and express was anger. Of course I held it inside for the most part but it was still there.

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

On day three of my seemingly never ending mood, as I cycled into work, I had one thought that helped relieve my depression.

It’s a simple mind trick that helped me feel happier.

It came to me as I thought about the recent passing of Meagan’s nan.

Her last few weeks were spent, getting slowly weaker in a hospital bed. When I last saw her, via Facetime, it took all her strength to say, “Hello”.

Apparently during the last few days she just wanted to go. She’d had enough.

For some reason, I imagined myself in my advanced years, in a similar predicament. Then I imagined being like that and looking back on my life as it is, right now.

With this perspective, I considered what I’d have said to myself, if I could have spoken to myself right now.

This is what I would say:

“You’ve got a lovely little family, you’re all healthy, you’ve got a decent job and you’ve got friends. You have nothing to worry about. Learn to enjoy it right now whilst you can because it won’t last forever”

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

My problem was overly focusing on issues that aren’t really that important. They may seem important to me in the short term but they’re not really that important in the grander scheme of things.

I find it so easy to let small issues, which aren’t going as well as I’d like, get the better of me in the moment. So much so that I forget a more realistic and relevant perspective exists.

All I was experiencing was the trough of one wave. There are many more to come, in fact there’s an ocean full of them.

So the mind trick that helped me feel happier and I hope works for you is this:

Think like an old person.

Be the old you, with a few days left on the planet and look at your position right now where you are today and assess what your problems really are.

I guarantee they won’t seem as big as they seemed.

It also turns out that what we believe makes us happier, changes as we get older. I just read this great article, “What Makes Older People Happy by Judith Graham”.

This is an extract:

“When we’re young and believe we have a long future ahead, we prefer extraordinary experiences outside the realm of our day-to-day routines.

But when we’re older and believe that our time is limited, we put more value on ordinary experiences, the stuff of which our daily lives are made”.

Which perspective is more sustainable and essentially more wise?

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

 

I’d like to apologise to Meagan.

I lost my temper, really badly, recently and we argued.

Looking back on it now, I realise the source of this outburst was anxiety, about an upcoming event, amplified by tiredness.

This is why I’m going to start three morning affirmations and this is going to be one of them:

Treat life as an experiment.

 

ghandi-what-you-think-you-become-life-as-an-experiment

If I can burn this into my subconscious mind, then I believe I will have the ability to observe and analyse my emotions, rather react to them, which stresses me out.

I know this to be true.

Take this example.

When a scientist goes into the laboratory to carry out an experiment, they are not offended or upset by unexpected outcomes.

It’s no reflection on their ability as a scientist.

They’re just results, they’re not right or wrong, good or bad, they’re just results.

Objectively analysing these results allows them to adjust their experiment accordingly, in order to get closer to their desired output.

life-as-an-experiment

What would happen if you treated life like this?

For example, let’s take two different people’s reaction, to the same scenario.

Gary and Charlotte, go for a job interview.

Gary is desperate for the job and has no idea what he’ll do, if he doesn’t get it.

Charlotte, treats the interview as an experiment, to see if her method will be successful or not.

Neither of them get the job.

Gary goes home, feeling personally rejected, with low self esteem blaming himself (and or the interviewers) for the failure. He’ll almost certainly, not feel motivated or confident about tackling another job interview.

Charlotte, is intrigued why her experiment didn’t work and so seeks to analyse her results by questioning the interviewer.

The interviewer gives her valuable feedback, which she’s confident she’ll be able to incorporate, into her experiment, for her next interview.

 

life-as-an-experiment

At the next interview Gary does exactly the same as he did in the first interview and fails to get the job again.

Charlotte doesn’t go for a second interview. The interviewer was so impressed with her willingness to learn, they changed their mind and offered her the job.

Ok I made that bit up (to suit my experiment) BUT if you shoot for a target and miss then don’t adjust your angle, the next time you shoot, you’ll miss again.

If we rewire our brains to think of “failures” or “setbacks” as opportunities to learn, then we keep moving forward.

By treating life as an experiment we objectify it, removing our emotional attachment to it therefore making it easier to change or influence.

Life will always present all of us with unexpected outcomes. It’s how we react to them determines how successful we become.

Every+Adversity+Has+the+Seed+of+Opportunity+001a1

If we allow ourselves to become upset or personally offended, then we’re missing an opportunity to improve.

It’s less demanding, emotionally, to make, “adjustments”, rather than, “changes”.

In future, whenever I’m faced with challenging situation, I’m going to try my best not to say, “What if this goes wrong?” but to say, “Let’s see how this turn out”.

This is otherwise known as emotional intelligence.

After all, there is no right or wrong, just interesting results and a life experience to learn from.

life-as-an-experiment

 

One-word-that-will-helps-me-think-more-positively

I read an excellent article by Geoffrey James called, “How To Make People Happier At Work – A Question You Should Ask Every Day”.

I’d encourage you to read the article.

It’s premise revolves around a, “simple question which makes people remember what they truly value and appreciate”.

Before I reveal the question, the article backs up how important the language we use is, in regard to how we think.

If we use the correct language it can motivate and inspire.

One-word-that-helps-me-think-more-positively

The question in the article, which promises to make people feel happier at work is:

Just out of curiosity, what do you like best about your job?

This is clever is because it doesn’t give the respondent the opportunity to search for any negatives. It only allows them to come up with the positives.

Ok they can reply with, “Nothing” but by this admission they’ll soon discover they’re in the wrong job.

Language is so influential in the way we think. Most words can be classified into positive or negative.

For a list of positive words click HERE

One word that helps me think more positively is: challenge.

Wherever possible I try to substitute the word “challenge” in place of the word “problem” and it works.

One-word-challenges-ahead-post

A problem has a negative connotation that suggests there’s nothing to be gained by encountering one, which is always untrue.

If you have a goal in mind and you encounter, what is in your head, a problem, it can cause you to stumble even stop in your progression.

It can be regarded as dead end, which possesses no benefit.

If I regard any unexpected bump in the road as a challenge, then I’ll tend to attack it with enthusiasm in order to find a solution. This is because I know that finding this solution will make me more likely to achieve my goal.

Every problem you have generates stress, whilst every challenge is a chance to learn and find a solution – (click to tweet)

What would you prefer a problem or a challenge?

It’s up to you.

one-word-that-helps-me-think-positively

 

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