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Personal Development

Lagom: Swedish Philosophy For Living a Meaningful Life

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Did you know that Sweden is one of the happiest countries in the world? What do they do so differently that it helps them stay happy and satisfied with their lives? The answer is found in one word – lagom.

In this article, I will share with you what lagom is and how we can all implement it into our lives and make it more balanced and meaningful.

What Is Lagom?

Lagom (pronounced “lar-gohm”) is the Swedish philosophy that focuses on finding balance in your everyday life through moderation.

This word can be translated as “Not too little. Not too much. Just right.” In other words, if you focus on having enough but not too much, you create a balanced mindset.

The famous Swedish proverb says “There is virtue in moderation”. And this is the main difference between our american mindset which makes us always seek the next best thing.

Lagom philosophy is the opposite of materialism and consumerism. It focuses on creating a balanced, sustainable lifestyle that welcomes the pleasures of existence rather than those of consumption. This philosophy is very practical and applied to everyday lives – food, clothes, lifestyle, work, etc.

Lagom is all about having only what you need. It is the new minimalism for anyone who wants to live with fewer material possessions but aim to enjoy a more meaningful and happier life.

Don’t they get bored living like this?

Lagom is not a rejection of pleasure, but the ability to indulge in it in a moderate and balanced way. Of course, the Swedes also allow themselves to deviate from the plan. If you’ve ever been to Sweden you know what an incredibly strong coffee they brew! Not to mention punch-rolls, chocolate balls, cinnamon buns that Swedes adore. However, after a little indulgence, they do not punish themselves with strict diets but get back to a moderate and balanced lifestyle.

How to practice lagom?

Now let’s talk about how we can implement lagom into our daily life. As I already mentioned, it can be applied to all areas of life. In this article, I will share with you some ideas on how to do it.

Step 1: Inspect your home

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If we try to highlight the area where the Swedes are #1, it is home organizing. Impeccable Sweden style is not overloaded and attracts the eye.

But how did the Swedes manage to create this balance?

They have an innate desire for minimalism and absolutely no desire for hoarding. That’s why there are no boxes in Swedish homes filled with old things like broken phones, a dozen old sweaters, and jeans that we vow to wear one day, old magazines, etc.

Here’s a little clutter test for you. Check the correct statements box:

  • You have a box or drawer with the items that you never use.
  • It takes you more than five minutes to find the right thing.
  • You feel stressed if your friends come to visit you without an invitation because you have to do a big cleaning first.
  • You have things that you don’t use or things that you don’t like anymore.

If you have marked more than two points — it’s time to think about how to throw out the excess.

Here are a few tips on how to declutter without stress:

  • Don’t try to do it all at once. Take 10 minutes a day to declutter.
  • Distribute items in three boxes: keep, give away/donate, and throw away.
  • Use the “buy one thing, get rid of one” rule.
  • Do not allow the emergence of “hot spots” where junk tends to accumulate.
  • Keep your toiletries in a special box.
  • Keep all your papers and documents in folders.

Step 2: Infuse your house with lagom

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Reduce the number of items

For several months, once a week, remove one item from each room — and very soon you will notice that the energy of your house has improved.

Be mindful of what you buy

If you buy a new item, let it be not only beautiful but also functional and high-quality item. Look for handmade items, visit fairs, and meet new artists and designers. But before you buy anything ask yourself if you really need it or perhaps your home already has everything you need.

Invite nature into your house

Use natural eco-friendly materials in the decor. Get indoor plants. Collect twigs, snags, acorns, pebbles from the beach — all this brings you closer to nature. As you may already know, nature heals and if you invite nature into your house you also infuse it with peaceful and healing energy.

Do not clutter the house

Keep it simple. For each new item, get rid of one old.

Step 3: Be mindful of your food

We, Americans, tend to waste lots of food. It makes us spend more money than you probably should. But if we become more mindful in planning and organizing food we can actually save more money than you may think. And the less money we spend the less stress we have. Here are a few tips on how to be more organized with your food.

Freeze your food

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Label the bags of frozen items so that you don’t confuse chili with strawberries.

You can freeze herbs, juice, coconut milk in ice molds.

Freeze overripe bananas so you don’t waste them. You can use them later for making ice cream or smoothies.

Don’t let the vegetables wither

To keep salad leaves and green leafy vegetables fresh longer, wash them, put them in a sealed bag, and put them in the vegetable compartment.

Too much parsley or dill? Finely chop it and freeze it. You can use it for soups and other dishes.

Buy seasonal and local products

Do not use expensive imported ingredients brought from the other side of the planet for preparing your meals. Try to always buy local veggies, berries, and fruit. Find out which fruits and vegetables are in season and try to cook seasonally.

Plan your menu a week in advance

This is a super helpful tip for those who want to reduce the amount of food waste. During the week, prepare simple dishes. Leave new and complex recipes for the weekend, when you have more time. This will also help you to be less stressed about not having enough time.

Step 4: Create a balance between work and personal time

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We tend to go from one polarity to another. Today we’re working hard with no breaks and rest, and tomorrow we are so exhausted that have zero motivation even to get up from the bed. Lagom teaches us to create a balance between work and personal time that you can use for hobby, yoga, rest, or other things you like to do during your free time. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Reduce the number of tasks scheduled for the week and weekend

On the weekend, choose one day when you have nothing planned. This is a day for restoring balance, spending time spontaneously, and communicating with your family and friends.

Good rest is the key to efficiency and stress reduction

Try to go to bed on time and get up a little earlier than usual. An extra half hour in the morning will give you a sense of control over time and self-confidence that you are unlikely to be able to experience while doing everything on the run. If it is still dark outside when you get up, light a candle and drink tea from your favorite mug. It will give you a feeling of self-care and the necessary comfort for feeling safe and relaxed.

Step 5: Take care of your health

Swedish Philosophy For Living a Meaningful Life Image

A healthy body and a balanced mind lead to a happy life and less stress. Lagom gives us some tips on how to take care of our health and be more balanced.

Make your workout easier and don’t overdo it

Everyone should make time for rest, work, and active movement. Find a way to work out in a way that brings real benefits to both body and spirit. Make sure that you actually enjoy your workout time. For example, go for a run alone to clear your mind, or go for a walk with friends to chat. If you feel like lifting weights brings more stress to you than enjoyment, then maybe yoga or cardio exercises will suit you better? Don’t try to copy others. Find your own unique way to work out and enjoy it!

Seek balance, but don’t be obsessed with it

There is no doubt that balance is the key component for our physical and mental health. However, we all need to accept that there can always be a slight imbalance in life. There is no need to feel stressed about it. Each of us, from time to time, has days when we have too much work and it’s hard to find time for quality rest. Sometimes it is impossible to find time for the gym and working out. Don’t feel stressed or guilty about that.

Keep it simple

Use natural cosmetics. Skincare is really simple — healthy food, rest, and fresh air will do almost all the work for you.

Step 6: Spend more time outside in contact with nature

Swedish philosophy lagom image

Swedes love to spend time in nature. More than half of Sweden’s territory is covered with forest. Nature is an integral part of Swedes’ life.

The state also strongly supports such leisure. In Sweden, there is a concept called “Allemansrätten” – everyone’s right to access certain public or privately owned land, lakes, and rivers for recreation and exercise. Everyone can freely walk, pick mushrooms and berries, and camp in any place if it does not disturb the peace of others. So, Swedes in any weather go out of town, have picnics, go sailing, etc.

In 2016, the World Wide Fund for Nature conducted a study that found that those who regularly go out to nature feel happier and healthier. Another study also showed that during these “nature time”, we calm down, restore the psyche, and become more creative and peaceful.

Step 7: Don’t get involved into arguments

Try to cultivate peace in every communication you have. Instead of passionately proving your point, try to always find a compromise. If you feel like your opinion is not welcomed, let your opponent keep his/her views, don’t try to change them. Arguments and conflicts lead to stresses, disappointments, and breakups. You can always walk away from the argument and let people have their opinions.

Step 8: Invite celebration into your life

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Arrange small celebrations for yourself for your family and friends. In Sweden, there are many traditions that are designed to unite friends, colleagues, and family members. For example, the sacred Swedish Fika ritual – a coffee break with sweets. Its essence is simple: a hot drink, a treat, and communication without haste. Or Fredagsmys – a cozy Friday ritual, when you are gathering with the family, watch a movie, and eat something tasty. It is these small traditions that create unforgettable memories, evoke a smile, and create a feeling of being loved. This atmosphere reduces stress and makes life more enjoyable.

The Bottom Line

You can start practicing lagom by asking yourself, “Is this lagom?”. When you look inside your crowded closet, or when a big portion of food is placed in front of you, or when you consider that second cookie, ask yourself if you really need it, if it is lagom. Constantly, try to build that balance between work and your personal life. Always make sure you find time to do the things you love. Keep track of your spending, consciously reduce your environmental impact on the world, take purposeful breaks from work, spend quality time with family and friends. By bringing lagom into your life you become much happier, more peaceful, and less stressed.


Personal Development

How To Become Emotionally Balanced And Live a Stress-Free Life?

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Life always gives us challenges and life lessons for our development and personal evolution. Each of us in one way or another is dealing with some sort of life challenges. However, some people happen to manage these challenges better than others. You can find lots of examples where a big life challenge made a person much stronger and more successful in life, whereas a small problem another person faced caused him to go into a deep depression and mental breakdown.

So, why can some people handle anything and turn lemons into lemonade whereas others can’t deal with even the smallest of problems without feeling stressed?

In this article, we will share with you what emotional balance is and what are the principles of emotionally balanced people. Also, we will give you some helpful tips on how to improve your emotional health and become more emotionally balanced so that you can enjoy your life and deal with life challenges in a more harmonious way.

Emotional Health

We all manage stressful situations differently. Some of us can stay calm and balanced while solving a problem, while others violently show uncontrollable emotions.

It’s not a bad thing to be emotional, but it can negatively affect the course of events. And if you are an overly emotional person, you probably know about it.

The ability to remain calm in a stressful situation indicates a person’s emotional health. If you’re not emotionally healthy, chances are you’re going to run into trouble and turn a tiny problem into a big disaster.

The way you process your emotions determines how you will deal with issues as they arise in your life. If you’re emotionally disconnected with yourself, it makes it that much harder for you to process and cope with life circumstances and problems that you may encounter. When you’re able to truly find inner peace and balance your emotional self you’ll start to see life challenges in an entirely different way.

5 Principles Of Emotional Balance

The emotional balance may be an innate skill, but you can also develop it by starting to apply these 5 principles of emotionally balanced people.

#1: Wait for the right moment instead of acting right away

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This will help you master the skill of impulsive control – the ability to stop and think about whether you want to act. By learning to control yourself, you can take a break and evaluate the situation, and potentially committed actions in the long term.

For example, a friend or family member might make you angry. In response, you can immediately say or do something that may disrupt the relationship. The control skill will help you to choose an action that matches your best intentions.

#2: Take a pause

Emotionally stable people are patient – they can take a pause before reacting to the situation. If you are not such a person, remember how you reacted in a fit of anger? Now, think about what your response would be if you were patient for one hour.

If the first principle was about choosing the best action, this one is about sitting with your emotions and not taking any action. During this time, you will find a solution that will correspond to your intentions in the best way.

#3: The healing power of time

Acceptance doesn’t mean being weak and giving up or letting stress get the better of you. On the contrary, it is about understanding your emotions and believing that you will be OK.

Time heals! The feelings of sadness or frustration are temporary – they will gradually go away as time passes.

When you are emotionally imbalanced you may think that you will never get out of this state. Now, remember the last time you felt like this. You may have thought that this tough time would never be over, but you eventually felt better. And it always gets better as time heals!

#4: Make time for yourself

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Emotionally stable people are organized people who know their self-worth and value their time. They know that taking care of themselves is the way they replenish their resources and become stronger.

Self-care for such people is a daily practice.

They have certain tools that they can use during times of stress to relieve it and regain their calm: meditation, yoga, sports, meeting a friend, a сup of tea, etc.

So, next time when you feel like stress is taking control over you, instead of allowing your emotions to guide you to self-destructive mode, focus on your inner peace – go to yoga class, do some breathing exercises, or meditate. Turn off your restless mind and listen to your inner voice!

#5: Focus on good things

Where attention goes, energy flows and manifestation occurs. You will attract whatever is most often and most powerfully on your mind and in your heart. So don’t focus on “what’s wrong.” You will only attract more of the same. Don’t waste your precious energy on something you don’t want to attract into your life! Shift your focus on good things instead. Remember that there is always something to be grateful for. Keep a positive mindset!

Count your blessings, not your troubles!

Counting your blessings puts you into a state of gratitude which opens the flow to attract more happiness and joy into your life. When you turn your attention to all the goodness that you already have you’ll find that you’ll begin to see things you had not noticed before and feel more appreciative of your life. With this kind of mindset, you will be able to deal with your life challenges in a more balanced way and see the right solutions for your problems more clearly.

Are You Emotionally Balanced?

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After reading a bit about what it means to be emotionally balanced, how do you feel? Do you believe that you are emotionally balanced, or are there some areas of your life that you could use a little change in?

According to Dan Mager, MSW, “there are several levels of awareness involved in cultivating emotional balance:

#1: Become consciously aware that you are experiencing an emotion

Although you may not know specifically what the feeling is, it is important to simply notice and acknowledge that you have some feeling.

#2: Identify the particular emotion

It may be helpful to close your eyes, turn your focus inward, and allow yourself to experience that emotion in your body. Different emotions are typically experienced in different parts of the body.

For example, anger might manifest as tightness in your neck and shoulders, sadness as an ache in your chest, fear as a knot in your stomach, and joy as warmth in your heart.

#3: Put the emotion into words

“I’m feeling anxious.” “I’m feeling angry.” “I’m feeling sad.”

Putting the emotions you experience into words by making these simple self-statements can create the space you can use to respond intentionally rather than react automatically and unconsciously.

How to Become Emotionally Balanced?

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The good thing is that there are plenty of ways in which you can learn to balance your emotions, learn self-love, and see life in a more positive way. Here are some quick tips from Dan Mager, MSW to improve your emotional health you can start with.

#1: Feel your feelings

Instead of blocking your emotions or denying them allow yourself to feel whatever you’re experiencing. Write down your negative emotions instead of acting on them so you can vent.

#2: Grow daily

Every day challenge yourself to take risks. By doing this, you allow yourself to grow and boost your self-love. The risks don’t have to be hard. For example, you can talk to someone new, or learn a new skill, or even set a workout goal.

#3: Focus on the present moment

You see, usually, our mental health becomes challenged when we focus too much on what was or what could be. Though it is important to have structure and plans in your life, allowing them to consume your mind can be detrimental. It is easier to deal with reality when you start focusing on the present moment and stop worrying about the future.

#4: Laugh more

Try to find the bright side of things and laugh a little more through the ups and downs in life.

#5: Be grateful

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, it’s great to show gratitude for what you do. Start reciting positive things about your life on a daily basis. Things like “I’m happy I have a job” and “I’m blessed I have a home” can start to make you appreciate more of what you have now.

#6: Make your heart sing

Connecting to something larger than yourself makes your life purposeful and meaningful. Do more of what makes your heart sing. It could be meditation, aerial yoga class, or seeing friends more often.

#7: Watch who you surround yourself with

You may need to take a look at your relationships to determine if they’re healthy. Having people who give off negative energy can certainly affect your emotional health. You may need to separate yourself from them as you learn to heal. Do this from a place of love and compassion, rather than righteousness or by wronging anyone.

The Bottom Line

Emotional stability is all about a balanced attitude to challenging situations and daily problems. By practicing the above principles and tips and learning how to respond to stress, you can live more joyfully and be a support to others.


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Personal Development

What Is Your Fear Archetype And How Is It Holding You Back?

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Fear Archetype Image

Fear impacts all of us, and very often holds us back from pursuing the things we really want. If you are one of those people who let their biggest dreams fade away just because you are too afraid to pursue them, this article is for you! We are going to dig deeper and find out what this fear that holds you back looks like. You will learn what your fear archetype is and what you can actually do about it.

Destructive Power Of Fear

Fear is one of the basic human instincts that is supposed to protect us and make us act faster in dangerous situations. But at the same time, fear also inhibits and hinders our self-expression and progress. It is fear that can prevent us from living the life that we dream of and from expressing our full potential. So it turns out that this instinct of self-preservation can ruin our lives.

Everyone’s fear manifests itself in different ways, and people deal with it differently. Ruth Soukup, entrepreneur, and author of “Do It Scared” discovered seven fear archetypes and came up with the best ways to overcome each of them.

Which one describes yours the best? Read on!

7 Fear Archetypes

Fear Archetype #1: Procrastinator

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Also known as a perfectionist who tends to postpone things or not start them at all, because they are afraid to do everything imperfectly or make a mistake. And since it doesn’t work out perfectly in most cases, these people prefer not to take on a failed idea or project at all.

This archetype may manifest itself as:

  • fear of commitment;
  • fear of getting started.

Procrastinators tend to be indecisive when they need to act quickly. Usually, they prefer to plan everything in detail, do research, the organization of the process is more important than the actions themselves. As a result, they have many incomplete and unmanifested ideas and plans and rarely get anything done.

Are you a Procrastinator?

You can consider yourself a procrastinator if you:

  • never feel like things are done or ready if you like to plan things way in advance;
  • research tends to be more important than the action itself;
  • have trouble committing or saying yes to things that are outside of your comfort zone.

What can you do?

  • Get out of their comfort zone and say “Yes” more often to everything new, even if it is not planned.
  • Set a deadline for when your planning and researching period will end and when you’ll actually get started.
  • Realize that the problem with ‘perfect’ is that nothing will ever be good enough.
  • Set realistic standards and work towards doing your best.

Fear Archetype #2: The Rule Follower

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Such people are dedicated to following the distinct rules and guidelines set by those around them. They’re obsessed with always trying to make the right decision, despite its potential effect on their own success.

The rule followers are very afraid of changes.

They tend to see the world in black and white and feel anxious anytime they sense themselves or other people stepping outside the norms of acceptable behavior. They may also be overly concerned with making sure other people are making good decisions.

The rule followers may avoid taking risks, especially when they are not sure whether there is a “right” path to follow, and their fear of authority may prevent them from coloring outside the lines of trusting their own judgment.

Are you the Rule Follower?

You can consider yourself the rule follower if you:

  • like knowing there is an established protocol to follow;
  • strongly prefer for things to be done the “right” way;
  • spend time worrying about regulations and things not being done correctly.

What can you do?

  • get out of the dual perception of the world, stop seeing everything as “either right or wrong”;
  • realize the fact that an unknown path can lead to something new and beautiful;
  • practice self-compassion;
  • realize that it’s OK to make mistakes – this is necessary for your personal growth;
  • define your own set of guiding principles instead of always leaning on others or outside factors.

Fear Archetype #3: The People Pleaser

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The desire to please everyone arises from a deep fear of being rejected by others. Such people care about what others think of them, and they are very afraid of public condemnation. The worst thing for such people is to be ridiculed or rejected by someone.

The people pleasers are afraid of being judged which also manifests itself as the fear of letting people down and the fear of what other people might say. Essentially, the People Pleaser’s biggest concern can often be summed up as the fear of how others may react.

Usually, they pay a lot of attention to their appearance and care a lot about their reputation and status symbols such as a nice car, home, or designer labels.

Are you the People Pleaser?

You can consider yourself the people pleaser if you:

  • have a hard time saying no, setting limits, and establishing healthy boundaries;
  • are overcommitted;
  • allow other people’s priorities and requests to override your own goals and dreams;
  • are often worried about looking foolish or being judged;
  • worry about letting other people down;
  • struggle to disagree when others share an opinion.

What can you do?

  • spend more time alone and learn to hear yourself first;
  • stop saying “yes” when you want to say “no”;
  • learn to set your boundaries when communicating with people;
  • realize that you can’t pour from an empty cup, meaning that when you’re in tune with your own wants and desires, you become a better friend, partner, and family member;
  • remind yourself that you deserve to be prioritized, just as much as other people in your life.

Fear Archetype #4: Outcast

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This is the opposite of those who try to please. Such people, on the contrary, try to be as different as possible, to show their individuality and the fact that they do not care about the opinion of others.

Behind all this is a huge fear of rejection or a fear of trusting other people. This fear archetype manifests itself by rejecting others before they have a chance to be rejected.

While to outside observers, the Outcast often appears to be fearless, inwardly he often believes other people can’t be counted on or trusted and he tends to view even the mildest slight or dismissal as confirmation of that belief, which in turn causes the Outcast to reject others even more frequently.

Are you an Outcast?

You can consider yourself an Outcast if you:

  • struggle to ask for help;
  • don’t trust others;
  • keep your distance from other people;
  • push people away and do not let them get too close;
  • tend to think “I don’t need anyone, I’m on my own”.

What can you do?

  • work on your self-esteem;
  • don’t be afraid to ask for help and express your feelings;
  • take the time to ask yourself if you are focusing on the worst-case scenario and what some other alternatives may be;
  • give others a chance;
  • look for evidence that you can trust others and know that if things don’t go well you are already experienced at ending a situation.

Fear Archetype #5: The Self-Doubter

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This fear archetype is dominated by the fear of not being good enough. Those who self-doubt tend to feel insecure about themselves and their capabilities. Therefore, they can find it difficult to put themselves out there.

The Self-Doubter often judges others to mask his own fears and insecurities.

Such people may also struggle with feelings of intense jealousy toward someone who is doing the things they wish they could do. This jealousy may manifest itself in the form of sarcasm, gossip, or criticism.

These people are very insecure about themselves. In fact, they are afraid of themselves and their self-expression. Here there is a fear of the opinions of others, and the fear of not being good enough or not qualified enough.

Doubts prevent such people from starting something new. They doubt and criticize themselves and often envy those who succeed.

Are you the Self-Doubter?

You can consider yourself as the Self-Doubter if you:

  • avoid trying new things or taking risks because you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities;
  • often feel jealous;
  • frequently struggle with feeling unworthy or unqualified;
  • tend to be hypercritical of yourself and others.

What can you do?

  • start doing what you’ve always wanted to do and dreamed of, even if it seems scary;
  • step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while and take note of the outcome.

Fear Archetype #6: The Excuse Maker

Excuse Maker Image

This fear archetype struggles most with the fear of taking responsibility. It can also manifest itself as the fear of being held accountable, or the fear of being found at fault.

Instead of stepping up to lead every once in a while, the Excuse Maker finds himself taking a backseat to avoid accountability. They prefer to let others make decisions for them avoiding personal responsibility.

Such people are terrified of having the finger pointed in their direction. Therefore they always look for someone or something to blame for why they can’t do something.

Are you the Excuse Maker?

You can consider yourself as the Excuse Maker if you:

  • tend to shift blame and avoid responsibility;
  • get nervous at the idea of being in charge;
  • feel uncomfortable with making a final decision, for fear of being blamed for an unfavorable outcome;
  • are prone to blame any current struggles on other people or circumstances.
  • often have an explanation for why you are not able to do something.

What can you do?

  • start with setting small daily goals and stick with them;
  • try the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goal model to help create measurable and realistic goals;
  • break down each of your goals – then you will be able to bring structure and trackability to them.

Fear Archetype #7: The Pessimist

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This fear archetype struggles with the fear of adversity and hardship. Such people often feel victimized due to past or current trauma or difficulties. They can tend to look at hardships as stop signs or a reason to give up.

This fear archetype struggles most with the fear of adversity, which often manifests itself as the fear of pain.

Pessimists are easily waylaid by any challenging circumstances that come their way. This is due to the fact that they are very afraid of adversity and hardship. In difficult situations, they feel like they lack control over them.

In any challenging situation, the Pessimist only sees obstacles and troubles but never sees the opportunities for growth and perseverance. Any problem they face in life is a legitimate reason to give up or to not try at all.

Are you the Pessimist?

You can consider yourself as the Pessimist if you:

  • get stuck in bitterness toward other people or unfair circumstances;
  • struggle to face your circumstances head-on instead of preferring to hide to avoid additional pain;
  • fear of adversity and hardship;
  • tend to feel like there is no real solution for your problem and therefore would rather not try to solve it at all;
  • tend to look at hardships as stop signs or a reason to give up.

What can you do?

  • learn to look at hardships as stepping stones or lessons, instead of roadblocks;
  • see obstacles as an opportunity for growth and perseverance;
  • stop hiding trying to avoid pain;
  • get rid of victim mentality;
  • when something tough gets thrown your way, take a moment to step back and evaluate the situation;
  • when facing a challenge or problem, think about the lesson it might be teaching you, or how you can make the outcome more favorable.

The Bottom Line

Each of us can manifest all these archetypes, but some of them you may find particularly pronounced.

Did you recognize yourself in these fear archetypes? Well… Identifying the type of fear is the first step to overcoming it!


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Personal Development

8 Easy Ways to Stop Negative Internal Dialogue

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Negative Internal Dialogue Image

Have you noticed that anytime you are in a decisive, learning, or any other thought process, there is a persistent internal dialogue going on in your mind? This inner speech comes naturally, enabling us to reason so that we make decisions based on the current situation. However, it mostly refers to our past failures and successes as stored in our subconscious mind.

For example, a tough past can provoke a negative internal dialogue that affects our moods. In addition, sometimes this inner speech works to beat ourselves up with unhappy thoughts and negative language. For example, it reinforces anxiety when we are worried.

Nevertheless, did you know that you could manage your internal dialogue to safeguard your mental wellbeing? Yes, you can stop a negative internal dialogue and replace it with a positive one. Here is how.

Self-Awareness

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First, can you effortlessly tune in to your internal dialogue? Are you aware of when and why it happens? You can only stop negative thoughts if you know what brings them in the first place.

Meditation

We live in a world that bombards us with lots of stimuli. Think of kids who need your attention, the TV, social media scrutinizing our lives, and multiple cell phone messages and calls. Plus, we all work so hard to succeed in our careers, finances, and family.

These stimuli and aspirations rarely allow us time for silence and reflection. If you are living a fast-paced life, meditation can help you focus on your thoughts. For example, practicing Inner Smile meditation quiets the mind of all the negative thoughts, even for a few minutes.

And, if the traditional meditation techniques are a no-no to you, you can: –

  • Enjoy a forest bath in the public park
  • Spare some minutes each day to tend to your garden
  • Listen to guided sleep meditation each night
  • Take deep breaths

 Mindful Thinking

If you are new to meditation, you can practice mindful thinking throughout the day. It will help you understand what is lingering in your mind at different times. That way, you can identify the sequence of activities that lead you to think the way you do.

Meditation and mindful thinking will help you to stop negative internal dialogue by: –

  • Knowing if and when you have dominant-negative or positive thoughts. What occupies your mind?
  • Pin-pointing your dominant time orientation. Do you think more about the past, future, or present?
  • Identifying to what extent these thoughts affect your moods. How far does your internal dialogue go if left unattended?
  • Determining your source of motivation especially if you desire to improve yourself.

Replacing Negative Internal Dialogue with a Positive One

Positive Internal Dialogue Image

Practice Positive Affirmations

Is your mind drifting into a negative internal dialogue? First, say stop. Then, start reading or reciting positive affirmations. Positive affirmations are powerful in arresting fears and worries that affect our thought process. These affirmations allow us to live our lives in the present and accept our current stages in life.

To practice positive affirmations, it requires lots of repetition. Here are some tips: –

  • Use present tense when affirming yourself
  • State the feelings you want and your subconscious mind will own them
  • Pin the affirmations in the kitchen, dressing table, and walkways. Listen to them before you sleep, when driving to work, or when relaxing on a Sunday afternoon

Create a Confidence Boost

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Negative internal dialogue dampens our self-confidence. When this happens, we struggle to stay motivated and productive. To deal with this challenge, come up with an awesome list. This list is your confidence boost whenever your internal dialogue makes you beat yourself up. Here are things you can include in your Awesome list: –

Maintain a Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is similar to an awesome list, only that you use it to remind yourself of what you have achieved so far. For example, you can list the top 10 things that you are thankful for. Refer to this list at least once or twice a week. Write or read this journal as part of your existing habit. Read and update your journal when taking your coffee, riding the bus, or preparing to sleep. By making it a habit, you can stay consistent in acknowledging your achievements.

Be Your Friend

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Negative internal dialogue is like an enemy within you that you struggle to control. We often put ourselves down using powerful thoughts that we would never use on someone else. For example, when you look in the mirror, the internal dialogue may shame your body using a harsh description of your flaws. Yet, you wouldn’t critic a friend in the same way if you were to describe them.

Then, why not start looking at this inner speech as your friend? When you do so, you will make it a habit to look for positives in your life.

Live in the Present

Do you struggle to live in the present? Are you finding it hard to let go of your past, or are too anxious to get into the future? You could be going through a difficult phase of life that makes it hard to live in the present. Because of that, your internal dialogue keeps reminding you of a time when things were better. Likewise, you could be struggling with a tough past. You need to change your view of today. Believe that each moment you have is a gift. Learn to forgive and let go.

Have a Support Network

Sometimes, our negative self-talk can overwhelm us to the point of harming us. Think of the times when you want to improve your skills and apply for a promotion, but your internal dialogue tells you that you’ve never achieved anything. Create a support network of family and friends who will be on the lookout for any negative behavior changes in you. This support system will help you get through anxiety, depression, or get you back to reality.

The Bottom Line

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Note that our thoughts and feelings are not always reality. And, 85% of what we worry about never happens. Then, the best approach to stop internal dialogue is by attacking it through meditation and mindful thinking. Once you identify it, you can change your thought process through positive affirmations, maintaining confidence boosters, and gratitude journals. Still, a support network of friends or family can help you get back to reality when your thought process drifts you into self-harm.


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