7 Great Benefits of Being Alone

alonePerhaps you find yourself spending a lot of time alone. Do you struggle with how to spend that time? Although you have plenty of things you’d like to accomplish, getting focused and staying that way seems to be a challenge when you’re alone.

Are you wasting precious, solitary hours that you could be spending more productively? Believe it or not, you can actually find this time by yourself to be very helpful.

While it is fun to be around a large group of friends and family members, sometimes getting away from them all can be refreshing. There are several benefits of being by yourself without anyone else around.

Consider these benefits of being alone:

  1. Do whatever you want. Being alone means you’re completely in charge of your decisions. How often does that happen? You get to select what you want to do each hour that you’re without company. Think of it as being rich with time.
  • Need to clean the garage? Want to learn how to speak Spanish or German? Never finished that sewing or wood-carving project?
  • Having alone time means you can accomplish all those things you’ve been putting off.

 

  1. Set a goal and achieve it. Now, that you have no distractions, take some time and set one or two goals. Write them down. List the steps you’ll need to follow to achieve each goal and check off each step as they’re completed.
  • You have the power and time to make even your wildest dreams come true.

 

  1. Take up a hobby you’ve been considering. Maybe you’ve had a secret desire to participate in a certain pastime that appeals to you. What’s stopping you? At least, make a call of inquiry about getting involved or observe people engaging in the activity.
  2. Read more. Reading will broaden your horizons and make you a more interesting person. Read what you already love or try a new genre.
  • If reading has been less than appealing in the past, go to the library and pick out a book on a subject that interests you. Select a classic novel, a biography of a celebrity who peaks your interest, or a how-to book.
  1. If you’re alone a lot, then you have plenty of time to get in the best shape of your life. Design your own exercise plan. Include a schedule for when you’ll exercise and the type of exercise you’ll do. Then follow through. You can even change it up to keep it interesting.
  • You can be proactive and overcome any physical fitness or health issues you may have.
  • Can you imagine becoming the healthy, vibrant person you’ve yearned to be? It’s definitely within your reach.
  1. Start some soul-searching. What do you want out of life? When you’ve thought about the life you want to live, you’ll be more likely to obtain it. Spend some time considering what’s important to you and what you hope to accomplish in your lifetime. Having extra alone-time means you can create the very life you desire.
  2. Become really good at something. Nothing makes us feel better than to know that we can do at least one thing really well.
  • Maybe for you, it’s playing the guitar, doing yoga, or writing a children’s book. Whatever it is, spend some of your solitary time practicing to become the best you can be at something. It’ll be a great confidence-builder.

Alone time is more than it’s cracked up to be. When you’re alone, you have an abundance of time to spend in ways that bring you the opportunity to learn, achieve, and enjoy your life. Relish the time you spend alone. It gives you the power to do anything you want. Your time is now!

Stop Hurrying and Start Living

cvr_12_1410632625If you’re not getting enough things done on your to-do list, you’re not alone. It’s common to feel a little overwhelmed, rushed, and even guilty when you’re unable to get everything done each day. Staying focused and in the moment is challenging.

Then the little things seem to start piling up. The dishes are dirty and the laundry needs to be done. The only obvious solution is to be even busier and to schedule every minute of the day.

It’s important to remember that nothing stays finished for long. Most of us feel like everything has to be done before we give ourselves permission to enjoy life. However, that moment of feeling “caught up” never seems to come.

If you need to create a little more space and enjoyment in your life, try these tips:

  1. Learn to be glad that you have more work to do. Remember, if you have more to do, your time is valuable. Imagine the implication of not having any tasks to complete at work. You’d likely be out of a job sooner, rather than later.
  • Be grateful that so many of the people in your life need you.
  1. Look for dead time. You might believe that you’re busy 24/7, but that’s likely untrue. Use those moments between tasks to mentally relax. We all think much more than necessary.
    • If you’re working on a report at work, you’re probably also thinking about lunch, the unpaid cable bill, and what you’re going to do this weekend. None are helpful, nor do they help you get your report completed.
  • You’ll be much more relaxed and get more accomplished if you mentally limit yourself to the task at hand.

 

  1. Slower can be faster. The military has a saying, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” Calmly approaching each task will frequently result in getting it done quicker. As our minds become over stimulated, it’s much more challenging to stay focused.
  • Think about how quickly you tie your shoes each day. Now try to tie your shoes as quickly as possible. You’ll almost certainly find that you’ve become slower. Any excessive increase in tension slows things down.
  1. Limit unnecessary tasks. There’s no point in spending valuable time on things that don’t matter. If you’re spending time on tasks that have little meaning, ditch them.
  2. Limit the important tasks, too. You can probably only get a few important tasks done each day. Making a list of 5 is certain to lead to feeling overwhelmed. Pick the 2-3 most important tasks to focus on. The rest can wait until tomorrow.
  3. Give yourself the time you need. Everyone does some mental math each day that goes something like this, “This meeting ought to take 60 minutes. I’ll need 20 minutes to interview that job candidate. I have 30 minutes to drive home and change. Then, I still have 15 minutes to get Sarah to soccer practice.
  • We all tend to be optimistic, and our mental schedule requires everything to go perfectly. The interview could take 20 minutes, at best. It might also take 40 minutes. It probably won’t take 10.
  • Be realistic and give yourself the time required for each task, as well as the time between tasks.

 

If you’re constantly in a hurry, life can feel chaotic and joyless.

You have more time available than you realize. You can also learn to enjoy a busy schedule. Focus on each task and give yourself time to complete it. Remember that remaining calm and slowing down can actually increase the amount you get accomplished.

The Meaning of Life

You can expand your gratitude by listening and watching  as this 6-year old narrates the Meaning of Life.

 

You Can Always Be Happy

Gratitude SunshineAt work the other day, I was talking about this my gratitude website and how I was preparing for the latest post. After speakings about it for a couple minutes, a co-worker looked at me and said something that caught me off guard.

You see, I was really surprised at the response I received from him. ” I wish I was like you, but I really do not have much gratitude for anything. I’m feeling sick. I hate my job. I owe a lot of money and creditors are calling me. My girlfriend moved out. I gotta tell you… My life is the pits. What do I possibly have to be grateful for?”

My first thought was, “Wow – keep focusing on the negativity and you will just get more of it! It is a vicious cycle!” Regardless of how bad you think you have it, you can still be full of gratitude! That is right, FULL of gratitude!

One of my favorite Gratitude quotes by Buddha

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

(this is also my friend, Marie’s, favorite quotes as well!)

If you are stuck and cannot think of anything to list in your Gratitude Journal, start with the small things in your life. These are really what matter and will continue along with you. When someone can appreciate and show their gratitude for the “unnoticeable things” you will see the abundance you actually do have in your life. For starters:

What is the weather like by you? Is it sunny? Do you enjoy the sunshine? Do you smile when you feel the morning sunshine fall across your face and warm it up? Is it raining? Are you happy that you do not have to set up the sprinkler system to water the grass? Do you like the way the rain cleans the air and makes everything smell fresh? Even if the “weather is not cooperating with your plans” you can still find a lot in which to be grateful! Do you have shelter? Do you own your own home? Are you renting? Are you homeless and staying at a local shelter? You can be grateful for any of these. Do you have a car? Is it running? Is it a clunker? Does it get you from Point A to Point B? Is it better than having to walk? Can you save time using it? No car? How do you get from place to place? Public transportation? Do you enjoy the fact that you have someone else driving you around? Are you walking? Do you enjoy the fact that you are getting some exercise as you go to you destination? You can express your gratitude for a variety of options that may be available to you! Are you reading this? Can you see? Do you have your vision? Is this being read via a Text-To-Speech machine? Do you have glasses? Again, here is a lot for which you can express your gratitude.

You see, even if you are unhappy, you can still be grateful for many, many, many things in your life. If you start to appreciate all of these things, you will not be focusing on the negativity and all the bad things which you see.

I have written about a gratitude journal in prior posts. I highly suggest that you take this opportunity to start one if you do not have one. Try it for a week. List out those things for which you are grateful and I am sure that you will feel much better at the end a week then you do now.

As always, your comments are welcomed. Please let me know what you think about having this sort of gratitude mindset.

Be Well.
Paul.
The Gratitude Guru

You Can Do It – Understanding and Overcoming Low Self-Esteem

laughing_iguana_smLow self-esteem can often be traced back to childhood. For those who had a difficult upbringing or suffered through a traumatic event, low self-esteem is fairly common. However, it’s possible to develop self-esteem issues in adulthood as well.

When someone has have low self esteem, feel gratitude can be difficult.

When you go through a difficult time, it can affect the way you see yourself. For example, if you are unemployed, go through a divorce, or file bankruptcy, you may internalize these negative experiences and believe that it’s your fault and that you caused these bad things to happen.

Even though these negative things occur, you can still feel grateful. This is not to say that you should just ignore them, just try to be optimistic and realize that there is some silver lining in the situation. Your job is to find out what you can be grateful for.

One of the best ways is to overcome low self-esteem in the first place!

Learn about the steps you can take to overcome low self-esteem:

  1. Surround yourself with positive people and remove the negative ones from your life. Spending time with those who are negative will only reinforce your low opinion of yourself. It’s better to surround yourself with individuals who are supportive and encouraging.
  • If you’re fortunate enough to have positive influences in your life, listen to them when they say you’ve done a good job.
  • Avoid ignoring compliments because you feel unworthy. If you were undeserving of the praise, you wouldn’t be getting it.

 

  1. Avoid telling yourself you “should have,” “could have,” or “would have.” If you’re constantly telling yourself “I could have done this,” or “I should have done that,” you’re focusing on things that have already happened and that you’re unable to change.
  • It’s better to look to the future and say, “Next time I’ll do this,” or “I’m going to do that.”

 

  1. Set reasonable expectations. Accept that human beings make mistakes. If you’re unwilling to accept anything less than perfection from yourself, you’ll feel completely discouraged when you inevitably make a mistake.
  • Avoid letting mistakes get you down. Remember that every mistake you make is a chance to learn and grow.

 

  1. Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments. If your self-esteem is lacking, you might spend a lot of time focusing on the negative. Acknowledge your accomplishments and allow yourself to be happy. It’s okay to be proud of yourself.

 

  1. Volunteer for a charitable organization. Working to help others will make you feel good about yourself and help boost your self-esteem.
  • It’s difficult to have a poor opinion of yourself when you’re supporting a good cause.

 

  1. Make a list of all your best qualities. Get a pen and paper and write down your strengths, skills, talents, and positive personality traits.
  • When people have low self-esteem, they often focus on all of the things they dislike about themselves. Taking some time to focus on your good qualities can have a very positive effect.

 

  1. Consider seeking professional help. In more extreme cases, low self-esteem can have a negative impact on a person’s life and mental health.
  • A person with very low self-esteem may have issues in their relationships, trouble in their careers, or a number of other challenges. Sometimes esteem issues can lead to anxiety, social withdrawal, depression, or even suicide.
  • If low self-esteem is causing chaos in your work and personal life, you may want to consider seeing a therapist for additional help. They can provide you with additional strategies for increasing your self-esteem. A therapist may even be able to help you deal with the underlying issues that caused your low self-esteem in the first place.

There are many factors which can cause or contribute to low self-esteem. The key is to figure out how to overcome your low self-esteem and start feeling good about yourself again.