There is Always A Way

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There is always a way.  Even you can’t imagine how, there is always a way. Put your focus on knowing and trusting that the answer will unfold.   When you focus in on a positive outcome, and then hand it over to the Universe, it will come about in the perfect and right time for the […]


Kindness Isn’t Weakness (and We Need It to Survive)

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“You make a living by what you get but you make a life by what you give.” ~Winston Churchill

Many of us are brought up today to look after number one, to go out and get what we want—and the more of it we can have, the better.

Our society preaches survival of the fittest and often encourages us to succeed at the expense of others.

I was no different, and while I noticed a tendency to feel sorry for others and want to help, I was too busy lining my own pockets and chasing my own success to act on these impulses. I worried that kindness was me being soft and, therefore, a weakness that may hamper my progress, especially at work as I moved up the ranks.

It was only when I quit my corporate career, after years of unhappiness, to realign my values and rebuild a life around my passions that I learned the true value of kindness and how it has impacted my life since.

I volunteered overseas with those less fortunate. I lived in yoga ashrams and spent time with Buddhist nuns and monks across many different countries. I learned how compassion and kindness can be a source of strength, and since then I’ve applied this wisdom, with success, repeatedly into my own life.

Our natural response to seeing someone in distress is to want to help. We care about the suffering of others and we feel good when that suffering is released. This applies if we do it ourselves, see it in a movie, or witness it in real life. It makes us feel good. Feeling like we’re making a difference in the world and helping those who need it brings us joy; it gives us meaning.

My grandma was the most giving person I ever knew.

When her weekly pension arrived she delighted in giving the grandchildren money, even though it meant having less to spend on herself.

Family members would get upset that they bought her lovely gifts, which she then re-gifted to others, often less fortunate. Over the years I began to understand that it if she gifted it to someone else it meant that she liked it and thought it was worthy of sharing.

Knowing the pleasure she got from giving to others and that she wasn’t in the position to buy things herself, I saw it as her getting the gift twice. The pleasure of receiving it but then also the pleasure she got from being able to give it to someone else, the recipients were always grateful and touched by her kindness too.

Buddhists say, “All the happiness there is in the world comes from us wishing others to be happy.” When we do good deeds for others it makes us feel good.

James Baraz quotes statistics on why giving is good for you in his book Awakening Joy. “According to the measures of Social Capital Community Benchmark survey, those who gave contributions of time or money were 42 percent more likely to be happy than those who didn’t.

Psychologists even have a term for the state of euphoria reported by those who give. It’s called “helpers high,” and it’s based on the theory that neuroscience is now backing up: Giving produces endorphins in the brain that make us feel good. This activates the same part of the brain as receiving rewards or experiencing pleasure does.

Practising kindness also helps train the mind to be more positive and see more good in the world. There’s plenty of it out there; it just doesn’t seem like it because, while the kind acts outnumber the bad, they don’t make as many headlines.

When I think back to how life was before, I realize that I wasn’t even being kind to myself, so it makes sense that I didn’t value kindness for others. I’ve learned it’s about self respect first, and from there it’s much easier to respect others. Kindness as a skill taps into our true strength. We can respect ourselves when we are being kind to others and to our planet.

Friends would warn me I was too soft and that people would walk all over me. Whether I was buying a coffee for a homeless man (he should get a job and buy his own coffee) or letting someone else go in the queue before me (you were here first, don’t let them push in).

Sometimes I think this comes from fear, or a sense of entitlement and protection of one’s self. I guess that’s the ego at play.

Most of us are kind. I believe we have this innate nature within us to be kind. It just gets a bit lost sometimes or drowned out by all the noise of a more selfish sense of being—particularly in our consumer-driven society when we’re taught we must have things for ourselves, and the more we can get, the better. Where money is such a force and where we put up fences rather than inviting people to share in what we have.

In business as a senior manager I used to think that any signs of kindness would be viewed as weak. I used to dumb down skills like empathy and try to act like the tough business leader I thought the world expected me to be. In more recent years I’ve noticed that having time to be kind builds trust and relationships and garners the sort of respect that leads to strength in a leader.

Don’t get me wrong, it is not about being lenient, giving in, and not holding people accountable. It’s about being reasonable, fair, open, and trustworthy; supporting others, empathizing with them, recognizing them when they’ve done well, and showing you care. Not by overpaying them or extending their deadlines, but by asking how their weekend was, getting to know what motivates them, how they feel and who they are.

It’s too easy to justify desire, self-indulgence, and miserliness with the survival of the fittest mentality. We tell ourselves this is based on Darwinian evolution and competition to survive. What we have overlooked is that a fundamental part of our survival is cooperation, working together, looking after each other.

Humans did not evolve to be big and strong or with big fangs. We survived because we helped each other. Look how ancient tribes lived. They didn’t see competition as a priority but thrived on cooperation. It is the essential nature of living things to cooperate not dominate. Yes, there’s competition in naturem but the basis is cooperation. In Descent of Man Darwin did mention survival of the fittest (twice), but he also mentioned love (over ninety times).

I’m not suggesting we all need to donate our savings to charity or move overseas to rebuild huts in poor villages. There are many small gestures and so many opportunities every day: getting coffee for a coworker who’s struggling, helping a mother with her shopping, holding the door open for someone, smiling at a stranger, or asking the store assistant how their day is going.

It makes people feel good when they are on the receiving end, but also it makes us feel good because we are being kind and connecting with others on a genuine level. Kindness increases our sense of fulfilment and joy, it helps us build resilience, and it’s also a source of strength, as well as a skill that aids our success.

About Jess Stuart

After a successful career in the corporate HR world Jess decided to follow her passion in Health and Wellness as a coach, speaker, and author. A qualified yoga instructor who has trained in Buddhist meditation and mindfulness, living and working in many countries Jess draws her life experience into her work to share the principles of health and happiness.

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How to Stop Overthinking Everything: 12 Simple Habits

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What is holding people back from the life that they truly want to live?

I’d say that one very common and destructive thing is that they think too much.

They overthink every little problem until it becomes bigger and scarier than it actually is. They overthink positive things until they don’t look so positive anymore.

Or overanalyze and deconstruct things and so the happiness that comes from just enjoying something in the moment disappears.

Now, thinking things through can be a great thing of course. But being an overthinker can result in becoming someone who stands still in life. In becoming someone who self-sabotages the good things that happen in life.

I know. I used to overthink things a lot and it held me back in ways that weren’t fun at all.

But in the past 10 years or so I’ve learned how to make this issue so small that it very rarely pops up anymore. And if it does then I know what to do to overcome it.

In this article I’d like to share 12 habits that have helped me in a big, big way to become a simpler and smarter thinker and to live a happier and less fearful life.

To get more weekly tips that help you to live a simpler and happier life join the free newsletter.

1. Put things into a wider perspective.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of overthinking minor things in life.

So when you are thinking and thinking about something ask yourself:

Will this matter in 5 years? Or even in 5 weeks?

I’ve found that widening the perspective by using this simple question can quickly snap me out of overthinking and help me to let go of that situation. And to focus my time and energy on something that actually does matter to me.

2. Set short time-limits for decisions.

If you do not have a time-limit for when you must make a decision and take action then you can just keep turning your thoughts around and around and view them from all angles in your mind for a very long time.

So learn to become better at making decisions and to spring into action by setting deadlines in your daily life. No matter if it’s a small or bigger decision.

Here’s what has worked for me:

For small decisions like if should go and do the dishes, respond to an email or work out I usually give myself 30 seconds or less to make a decision.
For somewhat larger decisions that would have taken me days or weeks to think through in the past I use a deadline for 30 minutes or for the end of the workday.

3. Stop setting your day up for stress and overthinking.

You can’t totally avoid overwhelming or very stressful days.

But you can minimize the number of them in your month and year by getting a good start to your day and by not setting yourself up for unnecessary stress, overthinking and suffering.

Three things that help me with that are:

Get a good start. I’ve mentioned this many times by now. And with good reason. Because how you start your day tends to often set the tone for your day. A stressed morning leads to stressed day. Consuming negative information as you ride the bus to your job tends to lead to more pessimistic thoughts during the rest of your day. While for example reading something uplifting over breakfast, getting some exercise and then getting started with your most important task right now sets a good tone for the day.
Single-task and take regular breaks. This will help you to keep a sharp focus during your day and to get what’s most important done while also allowing you to rest and recharge so you don’t start to run on fumes. And this somewhat relaxed mindset but with the narrow focus will help you to think clearly and decisively and avoid winding up in a stressed and overthinking headspace.
Minimize your daily input. Too much information, too many times of just taking a few minutes to check your inbox, Facebook or Twitter account leads to more input and clutter in your mind as your day progresses. And so it becomes harder to think in a simple and clear way and easier to lapse back into that familiar overthinking habit.

4. Become a person of action.

When you know how to get started with taking action consistently each day then you’ll procrastinate less by overthinking.

Setting deadlines and a good tone for the day are two things that have helped me to become much more of person of action.

Taking small steps forward and only focusing on getting one small step done at a time is another habit that have worked really well.

It works so well because you do not feel overwhelmed and so you do not want flee into procrastination. And even though you may be afraid, taking just a step is such a small thing that you do not get paralyzed in fear.

5. Realize that you cannot control everything.

Trying to think things through 50 times can be a way to try to control everything. To cover every eventuality so you don’t risk making a mistake, fail or looking like a fool.

But those things are a part of living a life where you truly stretch your comfort zone. Everyone who you may admire and have lived a life that inspires you has failed. They have made mistakes.

But in most cases they’ve also seen these things as valuable feedback to learn from. Those things that may look negative have taught them a lot and have been invaluable to help them to grow.

So stop trying to control everything. Trying to do so simply doesn’t work because no one can see all possible scenarios in advance.

This is of course easier said than done. So do it in small steps if you like.

6. Say stop in a situation where you know you cannot think straight.

Sometimes when I’m hungry or when I’m lying in bed and are about to go to sleep negative thoughts start buzzing around in my mind.

In the past they could do quite a bit of damage. Nowadays I’ve become good at catching them quickly and to say to myself:

No, no, we are not going to think about this now.

I know that when I’m hungry or sleepy then my mind sometimes tend to be vulnerable to not thinking clearly and to negativity.

So I follow up my “no, no…” phrase and I say to myself that I will think this situation or issue through when I know that my mind will work much better.

For example, after I’ve eaten something or in the morning after I have gotten my hours of sleep.

It took a bit of practice to get this to work but I’ve gotten pretty good at postponing thinking in this way. And I know from experience that when I revisit a situation with some level-headed thinking then in 80% of the cases the issue is very small to nonexistent.

And if there is a real issue then my mind is prepared to deal with it in much better and more constructive way.

7. Don’t get lost in vague fears.

Another trap I’ve fallen into many times that have spurred on overthinking is that I’ve gotten lost in vague fears about a situation in my life. And so my mind running wild has created disaster scenarios about what could happen if I do something.

So I’ve learned to ask myself: honestly, what is the worst that could happen?

And when I’ve figured out what the worst that could happen actually is then I can also spend a little time to think about what I can do if that often pretty unlikely thing happens.

I’ve found that the worst that could realistically happen is usually something that is not as scary as what my mind running wild with vague fear could produce.

Finding clarity in this way usually only takes a few minutes and bit of energy and it can save you a lot of time and suffering.

8. Work out.

This might sound a bit odd.

But working out can really help with letting go of inner tensions and worries.

It most often makes me feel more decisive and when I was more of an overthinker then it was often my go-to method of changing the headspace I was in to a more constructive one.

9. Get plenty of good quality sleep.

I think this is one of the most commonly neglected factors when it comes to keeping a positive mindset and not get lost in negative thought habits.

Because when you haven’t slept enough then you become more vulnerable.

Vulnerable to worrying and pessimism. To not thinking as clearly as you usually do. And to getting lost in thoughts going around and around in your mind as you overthink.

So let me share a couple of my favorite tips that help me to sleep better:

Keep it cool. It can feel nice at first to get into a warm bedroom. But I’ve found that I sleep better and more calmly with fewer scary or negative dreams if I keep the bedroom cool.
Keep the earplugs nearby. If you, like me, are easily awoken by noises then a pair simple earplugs can be a life-saver. These inexpensive items have helped me to get a good night’s sleep and sleep through snorers, noisy cats and other disturbances more times than I can remember.
Don’t try to force yourself to go to sleep. If you don’t feel sleepy then don’t get into bed and try to force yourself to go to sleep. That, at least in my experience, only leads to tossing and turning in my bed for an hour or more. A better solution in these situations is to wind down for an extra 20-30 minutes on the couch with, for example, some reading. This helps me to go to sleep faster and, in the end, get more sleep.

10. Spend more of your time in the present moment.

By being in the present moment in your everyday life rather than in the past or a possible future in your mind you can replace more and more of the time you usually spend on overthinking things with just being here right now instead.

Three ways that I often use to reconnect with the present moment are:

Slow down. Slow down how you do whatever you are doing right now. Move slower, talk slower or ride your bicycle more slowly for example. By doing so you become more aware of how you use your body and what is happening all around you right now.
Tell yourself: Now I am… I often tell myself this: Now I am X. And X could be brushing my teeth. Taking a walk in the woods. Or doing the dishes. This simple reminder helps my mind to stop wandering and brings my focus back to what is happening in this moment.
Disrupt and reconnect. If you feel you are getting lost in overthinking then disrupt that thought by – in your mind – shouting this to yourself : STOP! Then reconnect with the present moment by taking just 1-2 minutes to focus fully on what is going on around you. Take it all in with all your senses. Feel it, hear it, smell it, see it and sense it on your skin.

11. Spend more of your time with people who do not overthink things.

Your social environment plays a big part. And not just the people and groups close to you in real life. But also what you read, listen to and watch. The blogs, books, forums, movies, podcasts and music in your life.

So think about if there are any sources in your life – close by or further away – that encourages and tends create more overthinking in your mind. And think about what people or sources that has the opposite effect on you.

Find ways to spend more of your time and attention with the people and input that have a positive effect on your thinking and less on the influences that tends to strengthen your overthinking habit.

12. Be aware of the issue (and remind yourself throughout your day)

Being aware of your challenge is important to break the habit of overthinking.

But if you’re thinking that you’ll just remember to stop overthinking during your normal day then you’re likely just fooling yourself.

At least if you’re anything like me.

Because I needed help. It wasn’t hard to get it though. I just created a few reminders.

My main one was a note on the whiteboard I had on one of my walls at the time. It said “Keep things extremely simple”. Seeing this many times during my day helped me to snap out of overthinking faster and to over time greatly minimize this negative habit.

Two other kinds of reminders that you can use are:

A small written note. Simply use a post-it note or something similar and write down my whiteboard phrase, a question like “Am I overcomplicating this?” or some other reminder that appeals to you. Put that note where you cannot avoid seeing it like for example on your bedside table, your bathroom mirror or beside your computer screen.
A reminder on your smart phone. Write down one of the phrases above or one of you own choosing in a reminder app on your smart phone. I for example use my Android phone and the free app called Google Keep to do this.


7 Misconceptions That Keep You from Achieving Peace of Mind

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“There is no greater wealth in this world than peace of mind.” ~Unknown

Achieving (and keeping) peace of mind is high on my priority list, yet my choices didn’t always reflect this, particularly when it pertained to my work.

Over time, I realized that I needed to change to live a more peaceful life.

If you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated, it may be time to bust a few misapprehensions. Here are a few of the main ones that compromised my peace of mind.

1. Money will make me happy.

I formerly considered money and material possessions to be the ultimate sources of happiness, and my life’s aim was to earn and acquire as much as I possibly could. Because of this, my professional commitments were constantly eating into my personal time with my loved ones, and vice versa.

There I was, trying to give my best at work while simultaneously catering to the needs of my family to the greatest extent possible. I was trying to excel at everything, but I wasn’t doing justice to either of my roles. And I wasn’t enjoying any aspect of my life.

There came a point when I realized my schedule was depleting me, and I could not serve from an empty vessel. Now, I’ve come to understand that money can buy you fancy things but not happiness.

There can be no happiness without peace of mind, and materialistic things can’t provide that. Indulging in a certain degree of hedonistic pleasure will do you good, but happiness comes from feeling at peace with who you are and how you spend your time.

Also, spending wisely can make a huge difference to your peace of mind. Today, investing in meaningful and memorable social interactions such as family vacations, sporting events with friends, and concerts with near and dear ones brings me more satisfaction than spending money on a pair of designer shoes ever did.

2. There’s no room for mistakes.

It’s hard to feel peaceful if you punish yourself for making mistakes. You may even end up avoiding risks and new experiences to escape the pain of your own self-judgment. Remember, trying new things not only opens up avenues for you, but also brings a sense of fulfillment in life.

The key is to perceive mistakes as lessons rather than failures. I could easily get down on myself for, consciously or unconsciously, choosing material gains over all-round prosperity. But, choosing to learn from experience worked wonders in speeding up my healing process.

Now, instead of focusing on my errors, I pay attention to the feedback received and the experience gained.

Instead of feeling bad for focusing too much on money and things, I focus on learning from my past, letting it go, and making my present better.

At the time, my near and dear ones told me that they missed my presence and attention. They also mentioned how they worried about me neglecting my needs while trying to double my earning capacity.

So, these things had to change for sure, and over time, I did find balance through conscious efforts. I feel so much more in control of my destiny now, which brings me inner peace. I didn’t think bouncing back from supposed failures would feel this empowering, but it does.

Think about it; if you learn from mistakes, you end up a much wiser and happier person, so really, mistakes are valuable.

3. Shunning negative emotions brings peace of mind.

When my mind was troubled, I often experienced bouts of anger, frustration, anxiety, and other negative emotions. And I tried hard to fight them.

There were times when I masked them under the guise of a fake smile, indulged in a lot of retail therapy, and even overate to make myself feel better. I wanted to get rid of my demons by any means possible.

After all, that’s what you’re expected to do, right—keep your real feelings to yourself and plaster a smile on your face to appear happy and successful? However, as Carl Jung said, “What you resist persists.”

Emotions don’t go away when we hide them. If anything, they control us even more; we just don’t realize it. Also, emotions are what make us human. Not feeling them means we’ve become robots.

Avoiding negative emotions can give you the feeling of being trapped in a prison, because when you can’t accept them, you can’t deal with them. You deny yourself the opportunity to resolve those feelings permanently and feel free.

I’ve found healthy ways to come to terms with my emotions with the help of mindfulness, meditation, and even by writing them down. Peace doesn’t come from suppressing your feelings; it comes from working through them.

4. Getting ahead in life is all that matters.

In our quest to stay ahead in the rat race, we forget that no amount of getting ahead will ever feel like enough. And more importantly, by pushing to get ahead in one part of our life, we “fall behind” in others.

When I was focusing on money and material pleasures, I missed family milestones and cancelled on friends’ get-togethers just so I could work more. This, in turn, made me stay late at office, even though I was well aware that my family awaited my return so we could spend some valuable time together.

I thought I’d make up for lost time later on. Little did I know that ignoring my needs would affect my relationships, physical health, and mental state. I’m glad I realized my true priorities sooner rather than later and that I made a conscious effort to create balance.

We often undermine the importance of balance. We cannot expect to find peace if we’re constantly chasing our dreams and neglecting ourselves and our relationships. A lot of people are under the impression that only achievement will bring them happiness and peace. However, this is far from the truth.

Sure, secure finances are crucial to our peace of mind, but we need to draw a line between what we need and what we want and focus more on the former. Only then will we know real peace.

5. I need to hold on to my past and think about the future.

No, you really don’t! We can experience peace of mind only in the here and in the now. I live in the present and this is where I find my peace. This is where the answers to all my pressing questions are.

If I keep going back to the choices I made in the past, I will never be able to move on. I believe that I made the kind of progress that I did because I chose to let go of my former decisions and lifestyle, and I stopped thinking about the money I was going to have in the future. I consciously became more concerned with what I was achieving in my present.

Holding on to your past will only allow it to control your present. Everyone has experienced a mix of happy and hard moments. While reminiscing about the good times once in a while is fine, you need to let go of memories and moments that hold you back or instill fear in you.

Thinking about the future, on the other hand, will lead you to daydream and imagine potential outcomes, which may be far worse than the reality. So pondering too much over what’s to come won’t help much either.

Life always happens in the present, and it’s only by truly experiencing it that we can find peace of mind.

6. To express my feelings is to be weak.

Being in the situation that I was in (and knowing that I’d brought it upon myself), I wanted to talk about how I was feeling and seek help for dealing with it. And it’s not like I didn’t have an audience. I knew I could always speak to my family and friends, and they’d offer me an ear and a kind shoulder to cry on. However, I was too afraid of being perceived as weak or vulnerable, which reinforced my silence. After all, I was supposed to be the pillar of strength to them, and not the other way around.

A lot of us feel uncomfortable expressing ourselves. This is especially true of people like me, who grew up in a family that didn’t encourage open expression of emotions.

I had a hard time opening up to my family about the hardships I was facing, but when I did, I experienced a catharsis of sorts. It was liberating to not have to carry the anxiety and frustration alone. You can experience this too.

We need to realize that expressing our emotions in a healthy manner is a sign of strength rather than weakness. It takes a brave person to be honest about his or her feelings. More often than not, the bravado is rewarded with peace of mind.

7. I need to be or feel a certain way.

There was a time when I thought I needed to be visibly successful to gain approval from those around me, but all that did was make me unhappy. I was always too preoccupied with trying to receive approval from those around me

The truth is, you really don’t need to be anyone other than yourself or do anything you don’t want to do. We all have this image of our “ideal” selves and we try to live up to that as best as possible. But, this can sometimes mean setting ourselves up to be someone we’re not. How can that bring peace?

Accepting ourselves, on the other hand, can be immeasurably liberating. When we accept ourselves and our values and build our lives around what’s actually important to us, peace inevitably follows.

Achieving peace of mind is a gradual and a continuous process, and it’s not just about knowing what to do, but also understanding what not to do. Start with busting these misconceptions and you’ll be well on your way to peace, happiness, and contentment.

About Brian Zeng

Brian Zeng is the owner of He is an entrepreneur by spirit. Through Ponbee, Brian would like to share his insights on an array of topics related to business, e-commerce, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. His recent collection of motivation quotes will surely help you to see failure and success in a different perspective.

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Have you ever stopped think how much you have to appreciate?  Appreciation is an undervalued feeling that can really do wonders for your life. When you appreciate, you have no room to think negative.  As long as your mind is in the state of appreciation, it can’t possibly be negative in that moment. As you […]