believe in yourself

How to Believe in Yourself When No One Believes in You

So many of our dreams get crushed every single day by believing those who don’t believe in us. In a perfect world, we are surrounded by supportive people who encourage us to be different, think differently and take the less travelled path in life. But we don’t live in a perfect world so we shouldn’t wait for approval to proceed with our dreams. So here is how to believe in yourself.

Tuning out the disbelievers

Most of the people you admire today have experienced doubt, skepticism and critique along their way to greatness. What makes them different is they continued in spite of it all. They navigated their way through messy, treacherous terrains to get to where they are now. Yet most of us give up before we are even half-way through because we lack the admiration or approval of others.

But the truth is, those who tell you to stay ordinary are, themselves, afraid of change and failure. They take comfort in the safety of predictability and want you to do the same. So they project all of their fears on you and make you doubt your abilities, ideas and potential. Sadly, most of the time we believe them and we lose the drive to continue.

Navigating the messy beginnings

I get how difficult it is to keep going when no one seems to believe in what you do. I wish I could tell you to disregard the disbelievers and keep going, but it’s not that easy. We need positive feedback to know our time is spent wisely and productively on things that can ultimately sustain a dream life.

Now, a dream life looks different for everyone. For one person, it may be accumulating great wealth and achieving status recognition. For another, it may be living a simple life in touch with nature. Two very different lifestyles that require taking a similar path to be achieved – building competence through education and a great amount of dedication.

Competence builds confidence

Sometimes, we think we don’t have the resources to achieve our goals, but according to Earl Nightingale: “if you’ll spend one extra hour each day in the study of your chosen field, you’ll be a national expert in five years or less.” Yes, all you need is one hour a day to dedicate it to the goal you wish others believed in as strongly as you do. That is how you build competence, which gives you confidence in what you do and in your ability to do it well. And when you feel competent you are less likely to believe those who don’t believe in you.

Whatever it is you are trying to achieve in life, pay attention to how you feel each morning you get the privilege to wake up. Do you feel energized and motivated to start your day? Do you look forward to working on your projects? If your answer is yes, then you have already found your purpose, which is a gift you should not take for granted.

So many people sleepwalk through life, unable to find their purpose or too afraid to pursue it. And before they know it, time has run out. Don’t wait too long to believe in yourself because there is no perfect time, nor situation, to live a life that makes you feel alive. Inaction is a disease. Just start, keep going and you’ll get there somehow.

Read next: When You Feel Like You Don’t Belong


feeling like you don't belong

When You Feel Like You Don't Belong

They say home is where the heart is. But what if your heart can’t find its place in this world? Have you ever wondered why? I have… and after moving cities, states and countries, I think I may have found the answer.

It all started twenty four years ago in a small town in Romania. I was a six year old little girl who had a wild imagination and even wilder dreams. One day, a family friend asked me: So what do you want to be when you grow up? I said I wanted to move to America. It is the earliest memory I have of feeling like I didn’t belong.

I was rushing to grow up, imagining my life in a place where I belonged, surrounded by people who fulfilled me, nurtured my big dreams and allowed me to flourish on my own terms. Twelve years in the making, the big day had finally arrived. My American visa was approved and my lifelong dream was about to become reality. I was convinced I was going home, even though I had never physically been there.

The journey to belonging begins

After a four hour car ride to the airport and two long flights I arrived in America. As I was picking up my luggage I couldn’t contain my excitement. I remember smiling so much my cheeks were sore. I remained in this euphoric state for about two weeks until reality set in. Things were not going to be as easy and smooth as I had naively expected.

There were many obstacles I hadn’t expected, like the language barrier and a much faster paced lifestyle. Life was so busy, I felt I couldn’t keep up. But I kept pushing forward because I was convinced this was where I belonged. I just had to find the right city that matched my way of living.

New York City?

Fate took me to New York City, the city that never sleeps and as amazing and energetic as it is, it drained me. I knew right away that I wasn’t a big city kind of girl. So maybe the suburbs were more of my thing. After living in the city for one year, I moved to the New Jersey suburbs in an entry level house that backed to a little forest. I loved the backyard, but I disliked everything else. The cold winters and the monotony of a well scheduled life that left no time for enjoyment or personal reflection.

So I thought… perhaps moving somewhere warmer and cheaper with the added benefit of southern hospitality was the answer. We sold our house and moved to Texas. I prefered the heat and humidity over the cold, snowy winters and people seemed nicer. So far so good. Only that, a few months later, I once again began to feel like I didn’t belong. The cycle of searching for the right place continued. I was convinced that my lack of belonging would be fixed if only I’d found the right city, in the right country.

home is where the heart is

Finding my happy place

After moving countries, cities and states nine times over the past ten years I realized I may never find it. Because my lack of belonging has nothing to do with the place I live in. It is the by-product of a disconnected childhood and living a socially acceptable life.

My heart has never been attached to a place. It has been longing for the harmony I didn’t find growing up and the peace I can’t find in our modern society. It is the realization I have come to only recently after looking up the happiest countries in the world for the third time this year.

I am beginning to see things in a new light and from now on, instead of searching for the best place to live in this world, I’ll be surrounding myself with people who understand me, immerse myself in activities that fulfill me and keep nurturing the imagination that fuels my inner world, the place where I feel most at home.

Watch video: When you feel like you don’t belong

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps


mindfulness practice

5 Ways To Practice Mindfulness In Daily Life

Mindfulness is about creating a strong, healthy relationship with yourself in a practical way. But whenever I research the topic of mindfulness, it’s almost always interconnected with meditation. While meditation is amazing, and I don’t dispute its benefits, some of us have a harder time meditating. I believe that attaching the two terms together actually discourages those who can’t meditate from practicing mindfulness.

I have been practicing mindfulness (without meditation) for a few years now, and while it may sound difficult, it doesn’t have to be. As Ellen J Langer says in her book, Mindfulness:

“Trying to be mindful at all times may seem exhausting… I believe that being mindful is not hard, but rather it may seem hard because of the anxious self-evaluation we add. “What if I can’t figure it out?””

Here is the thing, you don’t need to figure it out all the time. The benefits of mindfulness lie in your attempts to get in touch with yourself, let go of old ways that no longer serve you and create new contexts. Mindfulness means seeing things in a new light and believing in the possibility of change.

Here are five ways you can incorporate mindfulness practice into your everyday life. And this is exactly how I stay mindful daily.

1. Question your emotions

As you go about your day, pay attention to your emotions and ask yourself why you are feeling them. For example, If you are feeling angry try to pinpoint the underlying causes of your anger. You may think it’s due to another person causing you to become angry, but most of the time that is not the true cause of your anger.

Anytime you want to figure out what is behind those negative emotions ask yourself the following three questions:

1. Have my physical needs been met today?

2. Is my body going through any hormonal changes

3. Am I more stressed today than usual?

Asking yourself these questions shifts your perspective on who is in control of the way you feel. So rather than saying to yourself: “I am angry because you made me”, say “I am angry because of this, but I am in control of the outcome” Therefore, you don’t empower the other person to make you miserable, you empower yourself to decide what you want to do with those emotions.

Also, it is equally important to question your positive emotions so you can reach for them when you need to.

2. Reflect on your thoughts

Your thoughts shape your life. You become what you think. In order to keep those thoughts positive, you must separate that negative voice in your mind from yourself. You basically want to have an ongoing conversation with yourself about your thoughts and reflect on where they came from.

Ask yourself: “Are these thoughts founded?” Are you truly a failure, loser or whatever other negative thing you believe you may be? And if so, why? By what standards? Who decides your worth, anyway? YOU DO. You have the power to build your own reality, so be wise about the things you say to yourself. If you wouldn’t say those things to someone else, then you shouldn’t say them to yourself.

3. Give yourself room for error

Mindfulness is about being aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and accepting that you are not perfect. Perfection is unattainable. So what if today you were not as productive as you could have been? Tomorrow you will get a second chance at it. Or, you may have failed on a project and naturally feel like such a failure. But what about everything you learned along the way? Perhaps you can use this knowledge, or skills, in the future. You have no choice but to move forward. So give yourself the opportunity to learn and grow from your mistakes.

4. Be aware of automatic behavior

A lot of times I catch myself doing things mindlessly. I just do them that way because this is what I learned from my environment. This is how habits develop. And automatic behavior is what makes it difficult for us to break old habits and form new ones.

Be mindful of your automatic behavior whenever it doesn’t serve you well. The best way to evolve as a person is to constantly adjust your habits to meet your current needs, or lifestyle.

5. See things from others’ perspective

I believe this is a crucial step in mindfulness practice. Yes, we want to be in touch with our thoughts and feelings, but we should also strive to see things from other people’s perspective. In doing so, we minimize misunderstandings and have an easier time letting of negative emotions caused by others.

There are different ways of saying and doing things, and your way may not always be the best. We have a lot to learn from each other as long as we stay open-minded and willing to hear out what others have to say.

Mindfulness is the road to inner peace. It won’t always be smooth, but it will lead you to a better version of yourself.

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

Watch video: 5 Ways To Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Everyday Life

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habits that changed my life

5 Wellness Habits That Changed My Life

I used to see life through a very blurry lens. I was confused, lost, depressed, anxious and insecure. It took me almost five years to master these five wellness habits and find myself. It was not an easy road, but one worth embarking on. All the soul-searching and wellness practices I tried are now paying off.

Unlike five years ago, I now look forward to waking up everyday and challenging myself to stay positive. Although my daily activities are the same as five years ago, my mindset has changed. I see life from a different perspective. As a result, I am a happier person.

Here are five wellness habits that have enabled me to change my life for the better, so you can take a shortcut to happiness.

1. Practice self-awareness

First, let’s define self-awareness since it can sometimes be misunderstood. Self-awareness is an awareness of one’s own personality and individuality. To achieve a high level of self-awareness you must be willing to analyze yourself to become aware of your strengths and weaknesses. So ask yourself questions and when you don’t have the answers, look for them

I would also recommend taking a personality test. It will give you some great insight into why you think and behave the way you do. Here is a reliable resource for that.

2. Practice mindfulness

Make an effort to focus on the present moment without judgement, and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness practice helps relieve stress, anxiety and it enables you to make better decisions while letting go of negative emotions.

Before the thought of practicing mindfulness overwhelms you, I would like to clarify that I am not talking about mindful meditation. If you have the ability to meditate daily, that is great, but it is not required to practice mindfulness. All you need is a few minutes a day to get in touch with yourself and your feelings. Here is an article I wrote which can guide you through mindfulness practice.

3. Practice self-acceptance

You want to focus on the things you can change rather than on those you cannot. There are no benefits to complaining about your features or personality type. So you might as well accept them and turn your imperfections into your superpowers.

As you attempt to practice self-acceptance, take into consideration to stage of life you are in. If you are very young, or you are going through a difficult time in your life, it may take you longer to achieve it. But remember, self-acceptance is a skill you perfect over time. The more you practice, the better you get at it. So start now!

4. Adopt a positive mindset

Choose to focus on the good things that happened to you daily rather than dwell on what went wrong. Over time, you will train your mind to search for the positive in any situation. You will also have an easier time snapping out of a negative mindset whenever you find yourself in one.

Do not underestimate the power of your thoughts. They shape your life. Therefore, remind yourself, you are in control of your thoughts and not the other way around.

5. Practice tolerance

I cannot overstate the power of forgiveness and compassion, both towards yourself and others. Tolerance will enable you to let go of past hurts, and prevent new grudges from forming. Which leaves more room for positivity and happiness in your life.

We tend to be so harsh on ourselves, we forget we are humans. Mistakes are natural, regardless of who makes them. So do your best to be compassionate and let little mistakes slide. It will improve all of your relationships, but most importantly the one you have with yourself.

Make these habits a part of your daily routine so you can enjoy the instant rewards. And to help you along the way, I have created a downloadable emotional wellness template to guide you through your daily practice.

Daily Emotional Wellness Practice PDF


Daily Emotional Wellness Practice

I hope you find these five wellness habits as helpful as I did.

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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pain

The Agony of Being Stuck in Emotional Pain

Why do you pretend you are fine while your soul is screaming for help? The forced smiles, out of body laughter, the meaningless conversations through inner tears are all a testimony of your pain. The pain you’ve been living with for so many years.

You have been unable to muster the courage to do something about this pain. So you are still here, stuck in a haze of regret, resentment and wishful thinking. You are hurting to protect others from feeling the way you do.

Hiding the pain

Sometimes you dream of the life you would have had if your choices didn’t lead you here. Other times you wish you could stand up and say “enough”. But you can’t, you won’t, because the price of your happiness comes at the cost of disappointing the people you love the most. So you stay. You remain stuck in this pain that may never go away.

You know you have so much potential and you deserve better. Happiness is within your reach, yet you won’t grab for it because you are so used to your pain. It has become a part of who you are and you’ve accepted it. Maybe living in pain is your destiny.

No one knows how much you’re hurting. You’re doing a very good job at hiding it. But in those moments when you are all by yourself, you confess. You confess to yourself how much being stuck in this pain hurts. And you look at yourself in the mirror and cry. The tears stream down your face, each one of them telling a bit of your life’s story.

being stuck in pain

Peace and harmony

There are actually two stories. The story you’ve been told about yourself, and the story you know about yourself. Sometimes you believe one, other times the other. And sometimes, you believe both. You are lost in your stories. But on the surface, you have it all figured out. You keep it all together for the sake of peace and harmony.

You have been a people pleaser your entire life. While you’ve gotten pretty good at not trying to please everyone, there are still a handful of people you avoid disappointing at all costs. And you’re doing so because you are aware of your own scars. You don’t want to disturb the sand on the bottom of the sea, or the water will turn murky. So you let it be. You allow it to maintain it’s clear blue beauty on the surface.

Repeating history

You have repeated the history you ran away from. The history you are denying to yourself you’ve repeated. However, if you look closer you will be able to see all the mistakes which led you here. You can trace back the wrong turns you took, and rewrite history, but you won’t change it. And this is what’s holding you back, the inability to change the choices which led to broken dreams.

Even now, you are choosing to tell yourself lies about things that will never change. And you worry about the cost you’re paying for accepting these lies. Yet you choose to live with them and foolishly hope one day they will transform into the reality you long for. Until then, you’ll be right here, stuck in your pain.

Your imagination is so rich. You’ve lived your ideal life in your mind so many times and it feels right and peaceful. You’re a dreamer, yet you know most dreams never become reality. It’s life’s way. So carry on with your pain and do your best to leave it undisturbed. It’s the safe way.

Remember, life is short. Are you willing to die with regrets? I hope you’ll be able to answer this question before it’s too late.

I will leave you with the top five regrets dying people have as listed in the book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, by Bronnie Ware.

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

 

Read next: Defeat Fear Of Change: Find Happiness

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reach emotional freedom

What Reaching Emotional Freedom Feels Like

I lived my entire life questioning if I am enough. Am I smart enough? Pretty enough? Capable enough? The constant need for acceptance and admiration paralyzed me. I would give up before I had even tried because the thought of failing to satisfy my thirst for approval terrified me. This mentality held me from pursuing dreams and following passions. It held me from reaching my full potential and it painted my world in the darkest colors. I desperately needed to reach emotional freedom.

Why do we allow others to decide our worth?

The biggest mistake anyone can make is to place their worthiness in other people’s hands. Yet we all do it one way or another. Perhaps it has to do with the way we are raised. We grow up learning our worth depends on intellectual capacity, grades, level of extroversion, beauty ideals and social class. Our worth is measured by the way others perceive us. And when we don’t fit into the ideal box we grow self-conscious, lose trust in our abilities and become the people others want us to be. The people who trudge their way to a job they hate, or stay in an unfulfilling relationship because they don’t believe they are valuable enough to deserve better.

emotional freedom

How do we break free from self-sabotage?

We break free from self-sabotage by silencing the voices that tell us we can’t. By breaking the ceilings you’re told are unbreakable and by looking inward to find your worth. Along the way you’ll learn, if you allow yourself to try, you have so much to offer.

When you let yourself think, feel and speak without fear of judgement or disapproval, you understand how valuable you are. As cliché as this may sound, there is only one “you” and comparing yourself to someone else is self-defeating. Your strengths are others’ weaknesses and vice versa. So don’t persuade yourself to believe you have nothing worthwhile to give.

How does one reach the “I am enough” state of mind?

I reached this state of mind when I understood I belonged to myself and I was unlike anyone else. And I believed I was enough when I stopped allowing others to define me or label me. Emotional, physical and intellectual beauty truly are in the eye of the beholder. So surround yourself with the people who see the beauty in your uniqueness. Strive to be the best version of yourself, but don’t attempt to change your core. Once you reach this state of mind, you are on your way to emotional freedom.

What does emotional freedom feel like?

Reaching emotional freedom helped me create a life I no longer dread. It taught me there is a better way to live life that doesn’t involve pity parties and helplessness. All you have to do is dare to think that emotional freedom is possible and take the first step to achieve it. Your first step will naturally lead to the next one, until you find your way out of whatever is holding you back.

Learning I was enough in my own unique way enabled me to let go of guilt, shame and anxiety. It showed me that it is possible to see the glass half full even when you’re deemed a pessimist. So I replaced the words “I can’t” with “I’ll give it a try” and it has changed my life in so many ways. I went from a perpetual complainer to a content and grateful person. And now, I am no longer simply existing, I am flourishing.

The takeaway

Live aware. Instead of trying so hard to fix your imperfections, embrace them. They may hold the answers to a life well lived. Whenever you face resistance, remind yourself that people’s opinions don’t define you. This is the only life you get, make the best of it.

“I am enough”- and so are you.

Here is a great Wellness Quiz: The 7 Dimensions of Wellness 

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps


How to Overcome Fear of Failure and Rejection?

How To Proceed When You Fear Failure

Why do we fear failure?

We fear failure because we are afraid of tainting our carefully crafted image of ourselves. We fear being judged, ridiculed, or not meeting expectations. And we fear not measuring up to the high standards we set for ourselves. But if we dwell on the potential of failure for too long, fear stops us from proceeding at all.

How do you proceed when you fear failure?

Think about it, what is the worst that can happen if you give it a try? Well, you fail at succeeding this time, you learn from your mistakes and keep going. Yes, that’s right, you’ll likely go on with your life, and eventually find your way out of an unfortunate situation. But what is the worst that can happen if you don’t try? You prevent yourself from achieving your goals. Result? Failure.

As you can see from the two answers above, you risk failing either way. But the price of not trying is higher, because you may have something truly valuable to offer, or gain. The potential rewards of proceeding through fear of failure are far greater than the pitfalls. And you never know when an attempt to face your fears leads to greatness. Give yourself this opportunity.

Here are three tips to proceed with your goals when you fear failure.

Proceed Through Fear of Failure

1. Don’t focus on what you don’t want to happen.

I am sure you can find endless reasons you shouldn’t do something. That negative voice inside your head is the mastermind behind your fear of failure. So silence it by finding the reasons you should do something. Focus on achieving a positive outcome and do your best to make it happen. Also, keep in mind that some of the most successful people in the world failed multiple times before they found success. Why would you be any different? The key to succeeding is perseverance. You fall, you get up and you try again.

2. Don’t expect a smooth road to success.

Even if you reach your peak in life, you won’t remain there forever. It’s an up and down thing. Nobody stays at their peak forever, because life is made of highs and lows. Without one, we wouldn’t know the other. Instead of obsessing over how to prevent those lows, be aware that it’s a natural life cycle. Strive for the best outcome, but handle failure with grace and an open mind. Your energy and time are never wasted when you attempt to achieve a goal. Life is a never ending learning journey, and failure is part of its lessons.

3. Take a healthy dose of mindfulness.

Mindfulness is an indispensable tool when dealing with fear of failure. It allows you to pay attention in the present moment, nonjudgmentally. And it helps you focus on creating something you’re proud of without expecting approval, or admiration. So when you catch yourself fearing failure, find an inner source of calm. Activities like listening to music, going for a walk, or playing with a pet are great sources to tap into when you’re feeling anxious or fearful.

Treat fear of failure as a naturally occuring feeling, but don’t allow it to stand in the way of pursuing dreams. Remember, even if you are gifted, talented, or extremely knowledgeable in your field, there will always be someone who won’t like your work, or who will disagree with your opinion. The constant need for approval and appreciation fuels fear of failure so don’t expect either. Instead, allow curiosity and interest in the end result to lead the way. They will keep you motivated as you go through the process of reaching your target destination.

Finally, self-acceptance and self-awareness must be at the base of everything you do. Be aware of your potential because you can only be as great as you allow yourself to be. And instill passion in your goals since passion is what will keep you going when you feel like giving up. Now, proceed!

For a great source of inspiration on resilience read my favorite book of all time Unbroken, by Laura Hillenbrand

You may also like: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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How to Keep Yourself Away from Depression?

How To Stop Depression From Ruining Your Life

Depression- an ugly, dirty monster that rules its victims’ lives. Some people lose their battle with it, others are barely surviving. The stigma of depression keeps so many sufferers quiet about their struggles. Yet, talking openly about what depression does to you is the only way to stop it from ruining your life.

Some of my dear friends, loved ones, and myself, have battled depression. The state of depression feels like being trapped in a gray bubble, watching your life slide by you while shaming yourself for your inability to be a responsible, productive person.

It’s high time we ended the negative label of depression and replaced it with a label of bravery. We must encourage ourselves and those around us to speak up about depression. With this article, and the tips herein, I am hoping to get the conversation started and shed some light on how you can stop depression from ruining your life.

Tips to Overcome Depression

1. Look beyond the surface

To cure depression, and stop it from returning once it’s resolved, you must learn its causes. Depression can be caused by traumatic or stressful life events, faulty mood regulation within the brain, certain medications, medical problems and genetic vulnerability.

What is the cause of your depression? Can you pinpoint a recurring trigger? Is there a time of the year when your depression seems to worsen? These are all important questions to answer. You may need to peel back a few layers until you get to the root cause. But it’s imperative to discover what stands at the base of your depression and make peace with the cause(s). Then, you can begin addressing your depression as a side effect.

2. Connect the dots

What made you who you are today? Have you experienced any traumatic life events? Does depression run in your family? Understanding how your past is affecting you today is crucial to finding your way out of depression. Sometimes, there are things that are subtly contributing to your depression. So be ruthless in your search for inner answers. Focus on your pain points and dissect each one of them. Allow these pain points to lead the way to self-discovery.

For example, you may have had a difficult childhood that affected your ability to form close connections, which left you feeling lonely and depressed. Or, depression is so embedded in your family that you don’t know another way of living, so you become complacent and accept the status quo. But you should not give in to depression. And you should certainly not allow it to become a core value in your life.

3. Fight the battle

In an ideal world, what would put an end to your depression? When you suffer from depression it’s very difficult to see your strengths and attributes. But underneath the broken person you think you are there is a brilliant human. Each and every one of us has something special and unique to offer to the world. And before you scoff at this idea and call it a cliché, I’d like to share a brief story with you.

Six years ago I almost lost my battle with depression. I felt useless, worthless, unlovable and undeserving of any good. I thought I had nothing valuable to offer to anyone, including my children. Depression had left me broken into so many pieces it felt impossible to put myself together again. But with the help of loved ones, and through sheer willpower, I did. Today, I am a writer who has inspired thousands of people. I am a nurturing mother and wife, a budding business woman, and the happiest I have ever been. I can’t help but think how much I would’ve missed had I allowed depression to win the battle.

4. Live unapologetically

Do you know what the biggest setback in life is? Fear. We are so afraid of living an authentic life that we box ourselves in this persona we want the world to see. And we do our best to avoid showing too much vulnerability, or uniqueness. Because the simple thought of being anything other than “normal” terrifies us. Therefore, we stay put and we glide through life mindlessly.

A key factor that helped me overcome depression has been becoming less of a people-pleaser. Not too long ago, the idea of upsetting or disappointing someone would fill me with anxiety. But then I realized that trying to please others at the expense of my well-being was self-defeating. I was compromising my identity. And our identities are our guides in life. When we lose them, we become lost as well.

5. Find freedom

When you are depressed, it may seem like there is no escape. You feel like you are drowning in a sea of negative thoughts and painful memories. But I promise you that if you try, keep at it, and focus on the end result, you will defeat depression. So visualize beating depression everyday. Contemplate the things you’ll do and the places you’ll go. Feel the freedom and joy. It’s exhilarating.

If your depression is severe, or you have attempted suicide, please talk about it with loved ones and seek professional help. There are ways to stop depression. Below are a few helpful resources that can guide you through recovery.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

How To Deal With Depression and Sadness | THIS WAY UP 

You may also like: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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Overcame Social Anxiety

How I Won The Battle With Social Anxiety

The burden of social anxiety weighed heavily on my shoulders for twenty years. It held me back socially, academically and professionally. Up until two years ago, I was one of the 15 million American adults living with social anxiety, and it was the most difficult time of my life.

The onset of my social anxiety took place sometime in elementary school. Growing up, I was called shy and quiet so many times that it became my identity. And the way these labels were placed on me made it seem that being so was a flaw. So I became a self-conscious child and did my best to avoid social interactions.

Going to school had become a form of punishment, and my sensitive nature kept me on pins and needles throughout my school years. In 11th grade, I could no longer take the pain of my social awkwardness, so I decided to drop out of high school and move across the globe. With the support of my family, I moved from Eastern Europe to North America. And I was so excited to finally be able to leave my misery behind. Little did I know that the worst of my social anxiety had yet to come.

Overcome Social Anxiety & Shyness

Would living the American Dream cure my social anxiety?

At the age of 18 I found myself in a foreign country, barely able to mutter a few words because I was so embarrassed about my broken English. But I was determined to immerse myself in the culture I had idealized as a little girl, and live the American Dream. Instead, I struggled to find myself in a world of seemingly confident people who had it all figured out. So I isolated myself, and I became dependent on loved ones just to get through my days. By my mid 20s I could barely get out of the house. My social anxiety was in full swing, and I was the epitome of unhappiness.

Mundane tasks like grocery shopping, or running errands, would fill me with anxiety and fear. I was afraid of people’s perceptions, judgements and assumptions. So I lived in constant worry that I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, and I tortured myself thinking that others would see my flaws. I didn’t want to be seen as anything less than perfect.

The taste of freedom

At the age of 27 I was already a mother of two, and I knew something had to change. I couldn’t possibly be a good mother for my children while being riddled with doubt, fear and anxiety. So I finally went to see a psychologist. But the high cost of quality therapy only allowed me a handful of sessions. However, they were enough to stir my curiosity about the underlying causes of what I was feeling. And I became excited about the possibility of healing. So I created the following three step plan for myself to win the battle with social anxiety. And it can help you do the same.

My 3 step plan to win your battle with social anxiety

Heal your mind

Work on discovering the root cause of your social anxiety. Take a walk down memory lane and allow your feelings to lead you to the first time you felt anxious in a social situation. How old were you? Where were you? What happened? How did you feel afterwards? Proceed to write down as many events as you can remember that triggered your social anxiety. Try to find the one event that affected you the most, and focus on discovering why it did. What would you do differently if you had the power to redo it? Rewriting that event with a positive outcome will help you cope better when you find yourself in a trigger situation. And it will also enable you to start the healing process.

Nurture your soul

Social anxiety can leave you feeling worthless and unable to see your strengths. It is important to enable yourself to flourish from within so you can face your social anxiety on the outside.

This is the step where you need to get to know yourself better, accept your imperfections, and love yourself more. So focus on finding your strengths, and highlight your qualities. Also, don’t measure your self-worth based on people’s reactions to your actions. When you suffer from social anxiety, trying to please others fuels negative perceptions of self. Instead, see and accept yourself as the unique human being you are.

Face your fears

As you work your way through the first two steps, your mind should be in a healthier place and your confidence level higher. Regardless of how severe your social anxiety is, you should start with slow exposure to situations that trigger it. Proceed with the following five steps:

1. Expose yourself to social situations that cause mild discomfort.
2. Increase exposure time slightly with each outing. Keep at it for as long as needed until you reach your comfortable place.
3. Try to engage in small talk as often as possible, it’s the best way to let go of social inhibition.
4. Smile! Studies have shown that smiling helps reduce the body’s response to stress, lowers heart rate, and makes us feel stronger. Exactly what you need when dealing with social anxiety.
5. Praise yourself every time you manage to function outside of your comfort zone. When trying to overcome social anxiety every tiny victory matters. So celebrate each one of them.

Today I can say I have finally won the battle with social anxiety and, by sharing my story and tips, I am hoping to help others win their battles too. But please remember that you will not connect with everyone you meet, and that’s OK. Your inability to connect with everyone doesn’t mean you are unlikable, or unworthy. Stay open minded and you’ll find your tribe. Don’t give up, the only way out of social anxiety is through it, you’ll prevail through persistence.

Read next: Become A More Mindful Person: 5 Easy Steps

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Soothe a Broken Heart

How To Soothe A Broken Heart

The gut-wrenching feeling of a broken heart. We all feel it at some point in our lives, and we all desperately search for ways to overcome it. While there is no quick fix for a broken heart, there is a way to soothe it until the pain goes away.

Some common mistakes people make when they try to heal their broken hearts are: rushing into new relationships, drowning away the pain with harmful substances, or engaging in risky behaviors. But the key to mending a broken heart is to do the inner work first, which will lead you to make wiser decisions in the future.

Whether your broken heart is the product of a failed marriage, relationship, or friendship, the following three tips will prove efficient in soothing it.

fix a broken heart

1. Rediscover yourself

The best way to deal with heartbreak is to focus on the self. We often spend so much time tending to other people, striving to please them, that we lose ourselves in the process. Yet, we can’t offer much when our emotional buckets are empty and when we forget ourselves.

For instance, being in long term relationships shrinks our sense of self. As a result, our partners become part of our identities, which is why we struggle to find ourselves once a relationship ends. So you want to focus your energy on rediscovering yourself and your worth as an individual. Reconnect with old hobbies, do the things that interest you, or get in touch with friends you may have neglected.

There is nothing more rewarding than the feeling of growth. So why not embark on a journey of personal growth and become the best version of yourself? It will positively impact every other area of your life, and lead you to new beginnings.

2. Banish resentment

It’s so easy to get caught up in regret and wishful thinking. We often resent the people who have hurt us, or wish that things had developed differently. We wonder what we did wrong, what they did wrong, and why this is happening to us. And we dwell on what could’ve been, but wasn’t until it turns into a toxic cycle of resentment and self-pity.

Resentment hinders your ability to heal from heartbreak. It keeps you stuck in the past and unable to see the future. So learn to forgive and accept that broken hearts are part of life, they can’t always be avoided. Mourn the loss that broke your heart, but remind yourself that you will find happiness again.

3. Accept what is

Your broken heart will only get better if you allow it to. And the way you allow a broken heart to heal is to accept what is. Accept the outcome, the suffering, the mistakes and missed opportunities. Cherish the good memories you’re left with, and let go of the ones that cause you pain.

Sometimes, broken hearts are the greatest gifts because they force us to take steps we otherwise wouldn’t dare take. Perhaps now it’s your chance to evolve. So get excited about the upcoming experiences and possibilities. This could be the beginning of the greatest time of your life.

Stay open to trusting again, do your best to avoid past mistakes and you’ll get better than what you had. So when you meet new people, do give them a chance to prove trustworthy. Don’t make assumptions about them based on your past experiences. Instead, use those experiences to stay level-headed whenever you have to make a decision.

You’re only given one life. Are you willing to sacrifice fully living it for one person? Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’ll never recover from losing your “true love”, “soulmate”, or “best friend”, because you will. The pain may linger on, you may get some flashbacks, but eventually it will become a memory. One of the many memories we collect along the way in our complex, intriguing lives.

Bonus: 10 Activities To Soothe Your Broken Heart

1. Write your pain away in a journal.
2. Take a walk.
3. Talk to a person who makes you feel good.
4. Help a stranger.
5. Tell yourself out loud how much potential you have.
6. List 5 things you disliked about the person who broke your heart.
7. Write a note to your future happy self.
8. List three things you love about yourself.
9. Do something you’re afraid of.
10. Ask yourself: Do I want to allow the person who broke my heart to determine my future?

Here is a helpful quiz to evaluate your emotional well-being.

You may also like: 5 Mistakes To Avoid In A New Relationship