Monday, 28 August 2017

Understanding Yourself

Understanding other people has its complications however sometimes understanding yourself and the way that you think or feel can be even more frustrating. Has there ever been a time where you have been confused or angry about the way that you feel? Feeling this can then make you more upset and bring you down but it is good to remember that this is completely normal. By understanding the way that you feel and think you will be able to have more control over your state of mind and also the way that you portray yourself to others.

One of the first things to consider is doubt. You may find yourself doubting your abilities and comparing yourself to others that you may consider better than you, this needs to stop. When you doubt yourself you completely underestimate your abilities and can even achieve less than you are capable of. Yes, there may be someone that is more qualified than you or someone that you just constantly compare yourself to but this should not stop you from working hard and achieving. Looking up to someone as a role model is a great way to motivate yourself or make you feel more confident however do not allow that to consume you to the point of constant comparrisons and doubting. Look up to someone as motivation or inspiration, not as a chance for self criticism. 

When you compare yourself to other people you will tend to put yourself down, however there are many things that you can do that someone else can't do and you need to remember this when you are feeling self critical as it will stop you from slowing yourself down and encourage you to continue working hard towards your goals. When you think about the things you are good at you will automatically find ways to work those strengths into the tasks you are undertaking. This could be a logical or creative solution but it will make the tasks more personal to you and further encourage you to fight for them. Don't focus on how someone else does something, simply focus on your capabilities and eventually you will realise that you are equal to the people that you once looked up to.

One of the most important parts of understanding yourself is trust. You need to trust in your decisions and know that what you are feeling or thinking is nothing to be ashamed of. When you trust the way that you are feeling you will find that you are more comfortable with dealing with emotions and problems which overall can greatly improve your state of mind. Know that what you are going through may be confusing, but don't tell yourself that it's "not right" just say that it "is right now" and this will begin to put everything into perspective. Even if something is not going the way you initially wanted, some things can't be changed and you might need to just ride it out, by telling yourself that it "is right now" it will assure you that what you are going through isn't necessarily permanent and there are decisions you can make in the future that can completely change your path. It is just knowing what you want when the opportunity arrives and preparing yourself for change.

When you open yourself up to trust, other people will also begin to trust you more. They will trust in your decisions and your authority whilst you are trusting your own abilities. This will greatly improve your confidence and others confidence in your capabilities. Remember that you could be someone's role model without even realising it, people might look up to you for your strength, personality and abilities, so your confidence and positivity can greatly impact on someone else's life. 

Now, lets talk about the importance of you. There are extraordinary things about you that you may not even realise, you are unique, but most of all you are a 1 in 100 million chance. The chance of you existing is so slim that it shouldn't be possible and yet here you are! You have dreams, ambitions, drive and many more things that make you the person you are. You are so unique that one decision from you can completely change your life as well as someone else's and yet sometimes it is so easy to forget the importance and unlikeliness of you. When you are feeling stuck or confused remember that you are so important that every decision you make leads to something, just like every decision your parents made lead to you. Granted this doesn't mean that you should worry about how every decision is going to effect your life and give things more weight than they should have, however it does mean that you are more important than you could have ever imagined and you should embrace your uniqueness because sometimes that can be your defining feature. 

For more information and insight into the unlikeliness of you please view Emma Blackery (Feel Good 101: The Unlikeliness of You) -

Monday, 21 August 2017

Find The Courage To Do What You Want

Are you as confident or courageous as you would like to be? If you have answered "NO" to this question then you do not need to worry, what you are feeling is completely normal and low confidence or fear of something is incredibly common. Feeling confident can be something that is difficult to achieve on your own however there are some tips and tricks that can boost your confidence and over time can greatly improve your confidence overall. You are not born with confidence, leadership or public speaking abilities, these are things that are learned and developed over time, therefore being shy and cautious is a completely natural thing and should not be looked at in a negative light. Knowing this can already begin to make an improvement on your confidence. 

For more information on Confidence please view the previous post titled "Build Your Confidence".

Courage and confidence go hand in hand. When you feel confident you will be able to tackle things that normally you would not have the courage to do. So first, understanding your confidence, and after the courage will be easy to discover. One of the most well known forms of courage is stepping out of your comfort zone and standing up for something you believe is right, Rosa Parks, Dr. Martin Luther King, Gandhi, each one of these individuals are known for this type of courage and have changed the way that many people act and think. You do not need to change the world to be more courageous, the simple act of stepping up to the plate when the moments present themselves and not letting an opportunity pass you by, this only gets easier with practice on smaller matters first and slowly developing the courage with experience. 

One of the starting points to help build your courage is to become more confident about what you are saying and speak from a place of conviction, simply practice saying what you think and feel about small subjects and move up to things that you are more passionate about, say these things politely and pleasantly however remain firm. If this is something that you are scared to do then consider the other things that you have done that you have been afraid to do in the past. Eventually you will start to realise that you do these things all the time and there is not much that you cannot do, and speaking with conviction to others is not something to be feared.

Do you ever notice yourself being able to be more courageous on behalf of others than for yourself? This is very common. Standing up for others is usually much easier to do as it is a kind act that can improve someone else's state of mind as well as build positive relationships with others. Showing courage and standing up for yourself however can be a difficult thing as it has more of an effect on you and sometimes what others think of you. Start standing up for yourself and what you are passionate about in the way that you would stand up for others, think of yourself as someone else in situations like this and this will build up your confidence and your courage.

Negativity is something that is more noticeable than positivity a lot of the time, when you are speaking publicly it can be very common to focus on the more negative people and let them drag you down however, one of the best ways to build your confidence with speaking is to focus on the people that are showing a more positive influence. Focusing on the positive is a great way to train your mind to associate courage and positivity rather than fearing a negative response. 

For more information about positivity please visit the posts titled "The Power of Positive Thinking" and "Think Yourself Positive".

To encourage some of these courageous traits you should surround yourself with people that show positivity and courage. A role model can be a constant reminder of what you can grow in to and the type of person you can be. It is completely natural to feel discouraged sometimes, at times like this it is good to channel your role model until it feels natural and their traits become part of your personality. Over time you will not feel the need to look up to someone for their confidence and courage and instead you will be able to look in the mirror and see the person you want to be.

Finally, you need to trust yourself. You have made it this far and you have tackled problems with courage and conviction in the past, trusting in your abilities is such an important part of building confidence and courage. Standing up for what you value, speaking out for others, taking action when you know you can and feeling capable of helping yourself are all forms of courage that cannot only helping yourself but the people that you love and possibly others that you may not even know yet. 

You are braver than you think.

Monday, 14 August 2017

What Your Body Language Says About You

Body language is often thought of and referred to being a way to show someone that you are attracted to them or to figure out if they are attracted to you, however the way that you hold yourself is more than for physical attraction. It is employability, confidence, comfort and many more things in your everyday life that you would not initially expect your body language to effect.

The way that you hold and present yourself to others can completely change what they think of you, you can seem more professional, more comedic, more relaxed. Your body language can say whatever you want about you and it is always an asset to know what you are revealing to others. When used appropriately strong body language can make you more approachable to others, more employable and can even help to motivate yourself and others.

Your body language can have a large effect on your life, in both business and personal life it is very important to consider your body language. We spend our lives learning how to understand other peoples behaviour but never our own body language. When you want to show other people how you are feeling in a more subtle way than speech then the use of body language can be a very positive and social practice when used appropriately, this isn't always easy to do, especially if you are not a particularly emotive person however this is an easier way to express the way you feel without oversharing or can even be a way to further emphasise something that you are discussing. 

  • Head

One of the most well known forms of body language is eye contact. It shows others when you are interested and focused as well as being able to show so many other emotions. When having a conversation with someone eye contact is very important because it can reveal your interest or disinterest in the topic you are discussing. Too much eye contact however can make the other person feel uncomfortable because extended or forced eye contact is considered an overcompensation of interest, however too little and you will seem disinterested also, it is all about finding a balance. 

Excessive blinking is normally considered a sign of lying, however it can also mean that you feel uncomfortable, nervous or worried. When talking to someone, try to focus on their facial features, look at their expression and you will find yourself distracted from your own nervousness whilst still remaining engaged in conversation. Smiling can also help with this as it will make you seem much more welcoming and confident so that overtime the nerves and worry will not be part of your focus. When you are truly smiling your eye muscles are engaged, therefore you will not blink as much or as fast. On the other hand, smiling with only the lips can be a very recognisable sign that the smile is insincere and can also be considered a sign of lying as it is a forced and compensational expression.

When you are having a conversation with someone have you ever noticed yourself touching your hair? This is a combination of nerves and flirtation, it brings attention to your facial features and neck which highlights the feeling of attraction. Touching the face is similar to the nerves associated with touching the hair however it also represents a heightened activity of the mind and shows interest in the subject, this can be applied to both professional and personal situations. Touching your nose is a very different form of body language in comparison to touching the face because it is an indication of lying. When someone is lying they produce more adrenaline and a side effect of this is an itching sensation in the nose, this does not mean that every time someone scratches their nose they are lying but it is the action that is mostly associated with not being truthful.

Showing interest with head movements is a very popular form of body language that is universal. Tilting your head is a very common sign of being considerate and counselling someone however the real reason why it is such a popular sign is because with the movement you are angling your ear towards the person you are talking to and this makes you appear much more attentive. Raising or furrowing your eyebrows can be both positive and negative as it is a true expression of peaked interest as well as confusion, when talking to someone you will often see their eyebrows raise which shows curiosity and interest in what you are saying whereas lowered eyebrows indicate fear, concern and confusion. Usually if you are not interested in a subject your face will remain unanimated and still. 

Nodding is another head movement that is understood by most people and can be used to communicate with others. Surprisingly the amount you nod shows how engaged you are, for example, if you nod in clusters of three it shows that you are interested and eager and will encourage more from the speaker, however if you nod only once it shows that you are relatively uninterested and this could cause the conversation to slow. Nodding once and averting eye contact shows either an understanding that a mistake has been made or that there is a complete lack of interest in the conversation, if it is a response to a mistake then it is normally considered a guilty response when lowering your gaze as it shows a vulnerability that is often seen with children and it usually encourages a parental response from others.

  • Body

Facial expressions aren't the only way to show emotions. The way you stand and the way you move your body can show off your personality and make a lot of changes to the way that you feel about yourself. Standing straight with your head up shows confidence and power, when you stand straight you are making yourself taller and more dominant which will give you an air of leadership. A development on this is standing with your legs apart which shows the same confidence however it also signals determination and is normally a form of body language that is used during an argument as a way to literally stand your ground. 

Sitting with your legs tightly crossed presents to others a closed view of yourself, as though you do not want to interact with others and would prefer to remain isolated. However this does not mean that you should slouch and splay your legs out carelessly in front of you as it will tell others that you are lazy and not capable of being professional. The goal is to find a balance, sit comfortably with your back straight and allow for your legs to relax so that you do not look too stiff, by sitting like this you will appear professional whilst still being approachable and friendly. 

When you stand do you often find yourself shifting your weight from one leg to another? If so this is normally a sign of being anxious or upset, the swaying motion is a way to comfort the anxious feelings and is a reflection of the mind shifting between thoughts. Crossed arms are normally paired with this stance as they usually represent anxiety, boredom or anger. One of the many ways to overcome this is to stand with your arms relaxed by your side or sit with your hands on your lap, you can replace the weight shift with crossing the ankles.

Slouching is one of the most well known negative parts of body language, it shows insecurity and a complete lack of confidence. When you slouch, you can look uncomfortable and in a bad state of mind which could cause people around you to show concern even if you feel fine. If you stand straight with your shoulders back then you will give the impression of being confident and in control. A constant sagging of the body tells others that you don't feel very good about yourself and could cause health problems with curving of the shoulders and problems with the disks and vertebrae in the spine. A good posture doesn't just make you more approachable now, it makes you more comfortable in the future. Leaning however, is not the same as slouching, you lean towards the people you like and pull away from those you don't, you can maintain an air of confidence when leaning in comparison to slouching that is unflattering overall.

  • Hands/Feet

Your hands and feet can reveal a lot about how you are feeling because they are usually the parts of our bodies that we fidget. When you shake or tap your feet it shows that you are anxious to leave, you want someones attention or you are in a hurry but you don't want to seem rude. It is a way of signalling that you are feeling pressured without yelling or engaging in conflict. Tapping your fingernails also represents this but a lot of people also use fingernail tapping as a way to concentrate on something which eventually becomes a habit that can go unnoticed. 

When thinking about body language hands are not always the first thing to come to mind, moving your hands whilst talking is very common and is simply a way to further express the subject that you are discussing however the way that you position your hands can give others a subconscious impression of you. Open your hands, this symbolises trust and being open to new ideas whereas closed hands or palms down shows that you are not flexible and can be very closed off. Hiding your hands by placing them in your pockets or holding them behind your back indicate signs of deceit and mistrust, instead use hand gestures when talking to someone as it shows energy and warmth as well as an interest in the conversation.

Picking at fingernails or messing with fingers is a sign on low confidence and timidity. Picking makes someone seem very nervous and vulnerable which is not something that most people want to advertise. Try holding your hands in a different position or holding something to keep yourself from picking, this will also help to make you appear more self assured.

Your body's actions, consciously and unconsciously, reflect your mental state and learning to control your body language can be very effective on your life and the ways that other people view you. It is always good to remember that during this time you do not need to make yourself feel worse about your body language, you can just work on finding ways to control it.

Every gesture, from a head tilt to a smile, tells a story. It is your turn to decide what you want to say.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Motivation Part 2

Previously I spoke about the different types of motivation and the importance of remaining motivated. This week I will be discussing different methods for motivation and ways to encourage constructive behaviour. Stress and anxiety are a controlling force in todays society which can cause a complete lack of motivation as well as confidence. The aim of this post is to not only encourage motivation but also to promote confidence and positivity which will further enhance the motivational thoughts.

To recap, there are four main types of motivation, all of which can be catered to different scenarios in life.

  • Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation - Turning energy into performance.
  • Motivational Confidence - Reinforcing your motivation with confidence building strategies.
  • Motivating People - Motivating others using creative language techniques.
  • Motivation and Reward - Keeping yourself and your team focused on the goal.

As well as the four types of motivation, there are also methods to help to encourage and maintain motivation that fall into the categories listed above. Some of which are small things that can be quickly incorporated into everyday life however some are methods that could take longer to take effect. Although some of the methods can show positive results quite fast, there is not always a quick fix, this will all take time and will need extended exposure to the methods to have lasting effects on everyday life.

  • Visualise yourself achieving your goals:

One of the best ways to motivate yourself in preparation for tasks or goals is to visualise yourself completing the goals. By picturing yourself achieving what you are aiming for it will help to push you further towards that end result and also allow for a slight sense of achievement before the goals have been accomplished that will motivate you further.

  • Plenty of sleep:

A good amount of sleep and a good diet can make a drastic change not only to your health but to your mind. When you are tired and hungry you will feel much less motivated and more sluggish, however with a decent sleep and a healthy diet you will feel much more refreshed during the day and open to more ideas, when you are feeling like this you may find yourself completing tasks quicker and feeling much more motivated and positive overall.

  • One step at a time:

Do not rush into things. Take one step at a time. You do not have to immediately immerse yourself in a project, take it slow and handle one small part at a time. When trying to rush through a task or rush towards a goal you can become overwhelmed and your mind can become cluttered. Focus on small tasks and know that with every completed task you are moving closer and closer to achieving your goals.

  • Reward yourself:

Another way to motivate yourself is to reward yourself for the things you have done. If you set yourself tasks to complete over a certain time frame then once they are completed you can treat yourself to further motivate you to complete future tasks. Another benefit to this is that you will have the choice of the rewards and these can be made larger or smaller depending on the size of the task but they will be personalised to you. 

  • Don't be self critical:

You are your own worst critic. It is one thing thinking about what you could have done better or giving yourself constructive criticism but it is another to doubt your abilities and negatively criticise yourself. Putting yourself down will discourage motivation and can be one of the hardest things not to do however by making a conscious effort to say "i could have done better and i will next time" in replacement to "i was awful at that" or "i could never do that" you will be able to think more positively about your abilities and feel much more motivated to complete tasks in the future.

  • Set yourself a deadline:

An easy way to motivate yourself is to give yourself some deadlines for your tasks. Do not be unreasonable with this, pair this with the smaller tasks that are easier to complete and the sense of achievement that you will feel can be very positive. Knowing that there is a deadline usually encourages time keeping, organisation and hard work, all of which are skills associated with motivation.

  • Clear your mind and focus only on the task:

A cluttered mind can be overwhelming and cause you to lose motivation completely due to stress and confusion. Spend some time clearing your mind so that you can focus on one task and complete that task much more effectively and efficiently. Drop the multitasking and just do one thing at a time. (for more information on clearing your mind please view the post about Decluttering the Mind)

  • Declutter your environment:

To clear your mind you must first clear your environment. When you are working in a clear space you allow more room for clear thinking, you won't be sat there thinking about the mess around you and can instead completely focus on the task in front of you. When working in a decluttered environment you will feel like you can get more done and this will further motivate you.

  • Allow for others to motivate you:

When you feel as though you are losing motivation, talk to someone. At times when you cannot motivate yourself you can open yourself up to motivation from others and allow for yourself to be encouraged by the people around you. When someone else is feeling down you are there to support them, this is a similar concept however rather then trying to improve your mood others will help to magnify your passion for the goals that you want to achieve.

  • Take a break:

Sometimes taking a break can be one of the best ways to get your motivation back. Stepping away from your tasks for a moment to re-evaluate and re-consider your plan of action can greatly improve your ability to complete the tasks in a more efficient manner. Stepping away from a goal does not mean that you are quitting or failing, it just means that you need some time away before throwing yourself back into the tasks.

  • Have realistic expectations:

Unrealistic expectations can completely discourage you from completing a task. You need to go into a task knowing what you are capable of and how far you are willing to push yourself. If you set yourself unrealistic expectations then you will bring on more stress and confusion than needed and will eventually need to either discard the goal or complete it to an undesirable standard. Another part of this is not comparing yourself to others, everyone has different capabilities and standards and you should only work to your own limits, do not try to compare or criticise yourself based on other peoples achievements. 

  • Don't be discouraged if things go wrong:

Things go wrong, it's the way of life, do not allow for yourself to be discouraged by a mistake. When something doesn't go as planned just work on resolving the issue in a calm and professional manner and continue, if it is beyond repair then take a break and start again. At times this can seem tedious however it is better to resolve the issues and progress than to give up and wish you hadn't. 

  • Affirmations:

Reading yourself affirmations can greatly improve a variety of things in your life, from positive thinking to motivation. Looking into a mirror and reading out positive things about your self, goals for the day and things you want to change can help to set all of them into motion because they act as a pep talk and hearing something can usually be digested better than simply just reading something, even if it is your own voice.

  • Reflect:

Think about a goal that you have tried to achieve in the past, have you succeeded? Or did you lose motivation? If the latter is the correct answer then reflect on the time that you lost this motivation, think about what caused it, think about how you would change that now. We are constantly changing as people and the way that we work and think changes with us. The way that you would have handled something 5 years ago, a few months ago even a week ago is always different in hindsight, go back to it and work on it the way you wish you had and picture the sense of achievement that you will feel when you finally finish this goal.

Motivation can be a difficult thing to achieve and an easy thing to lose however the act of working to keep your motivation surprisingly can encourage motivation, it is a strange thing but so incredibly effective. Positive thinking can have a massive effect on you motivated you feel so please give The Power of Positive Thinking post a read to help improve your motivation as well as your mind in general. 

It is always good to remember that it is completely normal to lose motivation occasionally, just don't let that consume you or damage your want to take on new tasks.