positively present picks : april 29, 2016

Lemons

Quote-of-the-week

"When you look at life through the eyes of gratitude, 
the world becomes a magical and amazing place." 

Jennifer Gayle
 

Links-I-Love   

Beyoncé's Lemonade : inspired me (and the illustration above!)

Every Day Matters 2017 : just got my proof in the mail. hooray! 

Stay or Leave a Relationship? : very thought-provoking video

How to Handle Difficult Times : excellent advice via Zen Habits

The Happiness Narrative : an interesting video on happiness

Mother's Day Poem Generator : what a clever idea! use this for your mom

Sivana Spirit Interview : loved the questions for this interview

How to Turn Negative Experiences into Positive Life Lessons : yes! 

You Are Your Only Limit : incredibly true + beautifully written

33 Powerful Ways to Overcome Fear : don't let fear hold you back

Start the Morning Right : 10 powerful, simple things to do 

Rewire Your Thinking + Kick Fear in the Face! : motivating, for sure!

8 Reasons to Unplug : we all benefit from the great outdoors

What Type of Introvert Are You? : my result was so accurate

Break the Ice : clothing designed to help people date IRL! 

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Third Eye" — Florence + the Machine
"Meridian" — Zola Blood
"Oracle" — Chymes
"Wolves" — August and After
"7 Years" (Cover) — Jasmine Thompson
"A Change of Heart"— The 1975
"Break Every Chain" — Paxton Ingram
"Get Used to It" — Justin Bieber
"Marceline" — Vista Kicks
"Spiral" — Rebecca Clements

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

The Good House: A Novel
Ann Leary 

It Didn't Start with You:
How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes
Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

Mark Wolynn
  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


the top 6 benefits of having an open mind

Open mind

 

Even if you consider yourself a well-rounded, nonjudgmental person, being open-minded can be a challenge at times. When we’re young, we’re taught a set of beliefs and values and, throughout our lives, we tend to surround ourselves with people who share the same values and beliefs. This presents a challenge when we're faced with ideas that conflict with our own and, though we may wish to be open-minded, we may struggle with actually doing it from time to time.

Having strong beliefs can be a wonderful thing, and it’s important to stay true to your values, but having strong beliefs doesn't have to mean closing your mind to what others have to say. In fact, closing your mind to others’ beliefs is a sure sign that you don’t feel confident enough in your own. An open mind can mean standing firm on what you believe in, but also being willing to hear what others have to say. It means knowing what you value while appreciating what others value as well.

When your mind is open, you have the opportunity to reap many rewards ¾ new perspectives, new experiences, and even new friends. There is much to be gained from opening the door to your mind and letting new ideas and beliefs in. Here are just a few of the benefits you can experience when you choose open-mindedness:

 

FREEDOM FROM CONTROL

An open mind frees you from having to be in complete control of everything you experience. By allowing for new points of view and new experiences, you open yourself up to new thoughts, and you challenge the beliefs you currently have. While this might sound a bit unnerving (particularly if you feel very strongly about your beliefs), it’s actually quite liberating to experience the world with an open mind.

 

NEW, LIBERATING EXPERIENCES

Keeping your mind open to new ideas almost always keeps your heart open to new experiences. This doesn’t mean you’re going to engage in acts that counter your current beliefs, but it does mean you’re likely to experience things you’ve never encountered before, and these new experiences will either help shift your current beliefs or remind you why those values are so essential to who you are.

 

VALUABLE VULENRABILITY

Vulnerability sounds intimidating, but it’s actually one of the greatest things you can experience -- and it’s often the result of having an open mind. By opening your mind to the world around you (and others’ points of view), you’re admitting that there are possibilities you may not have considered before. This admission -- while terrifying at times -- is liberating and exhilarating.

 

FRESH MISTAKES

Mistakes probably sound like something you don’t want to have more of in your life, but they’re, in fact, a wonderful side effect of opening your mind. Striving to see life from others' perspectives allows you to not only recognize potential mistakes you’ve made in the past, but also to be open to the idea that you may make more mistakes in the future. Mistakes are part of life, and the acceptance of them is one of the greatest benefits of open-mindedness.

 

INNER STRENGTH

An open mind provides a platform on which you can build, piling new idea on top of old. It allows you to learn and experience new things, and these experiences can build on (and enhance) old believes. Every experience you have strengthens who you are and what you believe in, but it’s very difficult to experience novel things if you don’t keep an open mind.

 

STUNNING CONFIDENCE

Those who are open-minded have the greatest confidence. Why? Because they possess a strong sense of self. They are not confined by their own believes, but, instead, are open to their own values, as well as those of others. And the more open-minded they continue to be, the more they come to understand themselves and the world around them. If you want to be confident, stay open-minded.

 

Even with the knowledge of these brilliant benefits, keeping an open mind can be a challenge. For some, it comes as effortlessly as breathing. For others, it may be something they have to work hard to attain. This often has a lot to do with how you were raised (as well as what your personality type is), but regardless of your background or personal traits, don’t give up on open-minded thinking. There are so many advantages to living life with an open mind, and the effort it takes to cultivate open-mindedness will be well worth the rewards you will reap.

  

Finding-Self-Cover

Open-mindedness towards others starts with having an open mind toward yourself. If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks : april 22, 2016

Where-you-need-to-be

Quote-of-the-week

"Oh, what we could be if we stopped carrying
around the remains of who we were."

Tyler Knott Gregson
 

Links-I-Love   

Career Day Speech! : read the speech I gave at my high school :)

Entrepreneur on Fire Interview : so honored to be a guest on this podcast

How to Pay Attention : wonderful tips for more mindful living

5 Ways Your Phone Can Enhance Your Productivity : great tips!

Feminism Is Consciousness : amazing video by Danielle LaPorte

Want to Positively Influence Others? : then you need to read this

Make Time for Self-Love : why you absolutely need to make time

Feel Overwhelmed? : read up on 5 ways to turn stress into joy

Be the Lighthouse : love this article about sending out your light

Why Moms Are the Best : they really are amazing, aren't they?

How to Set Boundaries : be generous (without being a doormat!)

Snapchat! : I'm loving it so much ;) screenshot this + add me!

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"New Romantics" — Taylor Swift
"A Praise Chorus" — Jimmy Eat World
"Sinking Islands" —Sun.Set.Ships
"Just Like Fire" — P!nk
"Amerika" — Young the Giant
"U-Turn"— Tegan and Sara
"You Don't Own Me" — Grace ft. G-Eazy
"Heart of a Dog" — The Kills
"Dreamland" — Wild Belle
"Spring / Sun / Winter / Dread" — Everything Everything

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

You Can Understand Your Dreams:
Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life

David Fontana

A Man Called Ove: A Novel
Fredrik Backman

It Didn't Start with You:
How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes
Who We Are and How to End the Cycle

Mark Wolynn
  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


5 reasons to nix the negativity in your life

Negativity-is-Boring
 

Note: I'm writing today's post in honor of my mom, whose birthday is tomorrow and who is one of the most positive people I know. Happy birthday, Mama Bear! I love you to the sky and back! 

 

Obviously I strive my hardest not to be negative and to remove negativity from my life, but even I can't deny that negativity is oddly alluring sometimes. Negativity can come in many forms -- from a critical thought about yourself to an energy-draining individual to something as seemingly harmless as a joke -- and it's not always as easy to identify (or resist!) as you might think.

Negativity is sneaky. It creeps up on you when you're feeling down; it tries its hardest to pull you away from the positive when you're feeling good. And sometimes it even comes in the form of disguise, such as some kinds of humor. (Just because it makes you laugh doesn't mean it's positive!) We all battle negativity (both internally and externally) from time to time, but one of the best ways I've found to combat that sneak little devil is to remind myself of why negativity does absolutely no good. 

We all know that, generally speaking, negativity is bad. We cannot control others' negativity or negative situations, but we can control our own negative thoughts and reactions. Of course, this is often easier said than done. To combat negative thinking, I've found that  that reflecting on why negativity is so unhealthy and unproductive actually helps me keep the negative thoughts at bay. When negative thoughts, people, or situations try to plague me, I reflect on these five important truths about negativity: 

  

NEGATIVITY IS BORING. 

Unfortunately, for a lot of people, it's easier to be negative than to be positive. It's very tempting give into (and even embrace) negativity, particularly with so much negativity surrounding us in the media (and sometimes in other people). And particularly because other people will often join in on negative commentary. (Just think of how often you've heard someone at work moan, "How is it only Monday!?") Negativity it commonplace. It's boring. It's the easy thing to do -- whining about the bad weather or complaining that you're stressed -- and giving into it can feel like a quick fix. It gives you a little rush to vent or whine, but it negativity is so common that focusing it not only makes you less happy, but it also makes you incredibly average. You're better than average and you know it! 

 

NEGATIVITY IS UNATTRACTIVE. 

Though people do sometimes feed off one another's negativity, people (especially the kind you want to be around!) are also drawn to happy people. Positivity, while not the same as happiness, generally makes you happier and more enjoyable to be around. Think about this: would you rather be around someone who is grumpy and moping and complaining, or would you rather spend time with someone who is always looking for the good in a situation? You aren't attracted to negative people and positive people certainly won't be attracted to you if you're negative. It's cliche but true: you attract what you are. If you want to attract positivity, you have to be positive. 

 

NEGATIVITY IS POINTLESS. 

Much like that old saying worrying, negativity is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but it gets you nowhere. (Erma Bombeck thought of this great analogy!) While it's fine to prepare unpleasant outcomes (i.e., backing up your computer files in the event that your computer dies), there's nothing to be gained from dwelling in negativity. For example, if your computer were to breakdown, it does no good to complain about it, moaning, "Everything always goes wrong! That thing was a complete waste of money!" What would do good is focusing on the positive (a chance to get a new computer or, if that's not possible, an opportunity to spend time with a friend while you borrow theirs). Positive thinking won't fix negative situations, but it will help you make the most of them. (Unlike negativity, which adds nothing of value to any situation!)

 

NEGATIVITY IS TIRING. 

Think about something that makes you happy. Now think about the last sad thing you saw. Which thought was more draining? Negativity is emotionally and physically draining. The more you do it, the more of a toll it takes on your mind and body. While it sometimes feels easier to go with the first thought that comes to mind ("ugh, it's raining again!"), the quick-fix negative thought will ultimately cause more harm than good, particularly if you start out with negativity as you begin your day. You invite one negative thought in and it takes it as an open invitation to bring all its friends ("it's rainy," "I'm so tired," "I have so much to do today," "I'll never get it all done," etc.) One negative thought can lead to another and before you know it, you are emotionally drained from thinking thoughts that make you upset, sad, or angry.

 

NEGATIVITY IS TIME-CONSUMING. 

Because negativity is so emotionally (and physically!) draining, it takes much more of our time than positivity does -- even if positive thoughts are sometimes more difficult to conjure up than negative ones. Also, if you allow yourself to think about what might go wrong in a situation, it's very likely your mind will wander to all of the other possible aspects of life in which something could go wrong. You'll then begin to worry about those scenarios and your mind won't be able to help trying to come up with solutions to those nonexistent problems. Before you know it, you'll have spend loads of time stressing out and analyzing a situation that might never happen! Negativity not only wastes time and emotional energy, but it also often causes you to live in the future, a place that is completely fictional!

 

Clearly there a lot of reasons not to be negative, but what do you do if you find yourself experiencing negative thoughts? One of the best tactics for preventing negativity from dominating your mind is simply being aware of your thoughts. Often we think without thinking (sounds weird, but consider how much you've thought about today without really thinking about it!). Thinking-without-thinking can cause your mind to dwell on certain (often negative) things. Pay attention to your thoughts and, without judging them, try to nudge them in a more positive direction. This will take time, effort, and practice so don't be hard on yourself if it's not easy to do. I still struggle with this all the time, and I write about positivity for a living! Whenever you're struggling to stay positive, try to remember the five reasons why negativity is so not worth it, and you'll find that it's just a bit easier to direct your thoughts in a more positive direction. 

 

 

Loving-Your-Self

Nixing negativity and focusing on the positive is an amazing act of self-love. Want to empower yourself with some more serious self-love and acceptance? Start loving yourself (or increase the love you already have for yourself!) with the inspiration and motivation found in Loving Your Self: An Empowering Workbook for Increasing Self-LoveFilled with uplifting encouragement, thought-provoking questions, and engaging exercises, Loving Your Self is an essential tool for mastering the art of self-love. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks : april 15, 2016

Dumbledore-Quote


Quote-of-the-week

“We become what we think about all day long.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

Links-I-Love   

A Mini-Guide to Mastering Pinterest : my tips on using one of my favorite tools!

8 Forgotten Truths about Happiness : #2 is absolutely, positively vital for a positive life

Stop Waiting for Tomorrow : today is the only day that's guaranteed

Join the FREE Your Most Radiant Live Ever Summit & get tips from 40+ experts! 

21 Timeless Strategies to Lower Everyday Stress : less stress, more happiness

5 Reasons to Forgive Yourself : carrying around blame never helps anyone

Alcohol-Free Ways to Cope with Social Anxiety : such great, mindful tips

Busy Bee Gift Baskets : love these cute baskets (perfect for Mother's Day!)

Self-Love Tips for Relationships : loving yourself changes all your relationships

Use Your Wings : need some uplifting inspiration? read this great post

3 Reasons to Embrace Solitude : alone time can be really good for you

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Boyfriend" — Tegan and Sara
"Remember" — Sutherland
"Castle" — Halsey
"Get to Heaven" — Everything Everything
"All About You" — MYYRA
"Nothing Where Something..."— Vanessa Carlton
"Lush Life" — Zara Larsson
"Black Water" — Of Monsters and Men
"I Want You" — Marian Hill
"So Alive" — Goo Goo Dolls

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

Midwives
Chris Bohjalian

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
J. K. Rowling
  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


8 tips for creating a positive career

 Positively-Present-Career-Advice

Download the Career Advice PDF here!

 

This coming Friday I have the honor of being the keynote speaker at my high school's Career Day! To be honest, I've put off writing my speech for weeks because I'm quite nervous. I've spoken in front of plenty of adult-filled rooms before, but something about this feels different. After thinking about it for a bit, I realized the big difference between this speaking event and others is: I really want to positively impact these girls -- and think I have an opportunity to do so more than I would with adults. I remember how I was at that age and, even though I often came off as couldn't-care-less, too-cool-for-this, high school was a time of great learning and change, and the things I did, read, and experienced had a big impact on me. 

As most adults do, I wish I could tell my younger self all the things I know now (and have her actually listen to my advice!). This speaking opportunity is, in some small way, a chance to share what I've learned with young women who will be sitting just where I once was. I'm grateful that I'll have a chance to speak to these girls, to tell them what I know, especially about building a career that brings fulfillment to my life. I'm sure some of them will roll their eyes or zone out (I know I might have), but I'm hoping some of them will tune in and feel inspired by what I have to say. Though I still haven't figured out exactly what my speech will sound like, I've narrowed my focus to eight key ideas, which I thought I'd share with you in case you're (a) a teenage girl reading this and wondering what to do with her or life, or (b) a regular ol' adult who longs for a career that's inspiring and fulfilling. 

 

1. FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU LIKE

The first (and most important!) step to creating a career you'll actually enjoy is figuring out what you like. This sounds kind of obvious, but most of us aren't taught to pay close attention to what we enjoy doing. We're asked what our favorite subject is, but not necessarily encouraged to dig deeper. Let's say your favorite subject is English. Why? Because you like to write? Because it's one of the few courses where you can be creative? Because you enjoy reading? Understanding why you like something is so important to carving out a career path because it gives you guidelines but doesn't limit you to only one path. Imagine your ideal career. Why do you feel drawn to that? What about it is most appealing (i.e., freedom, ability to travel, creativity, income, etc.)? It's important to know what things interest you, but also why they interest you.

 

2. TAKE YOUR TIME

And this is where step number two comes in: taking your time. Whether you're a high schooler or a middle-aged adult, it's important to take your time when reflecting on what you want in a career. (And, yes, adults can change careers! It's never too late!) It's okay to take time to figure out exactly what you want to do (and why you want to do it). In fact, it's a good idea not to rush into one thing, assuming it's going to be perfect for you. Until you really get into something (a career, a relationship, etc.), you don't know exactly what it will be like. So go slow. And pay attention. Pay attention to how you feel when you're doing something (for work and for fun). Are you truly enjoying yourself? Are you unaware of how much time has passed? Are you bored or wishing you we somewhere else? Taking your time allows you to take note of how certain activities make you feel. Very few people have the "perfect" career right off the bat; most successful people take time to explore what will really work for them.

 

TRY NEW THINGS

Hand-in-hand with taking your time is the next step: trying new things. People of any age can (and should!) try new things, but this is especially true when you're in high school and college. Those are some of the best times to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with different activities, groups of people, and interests. Schools are such great resources for information and opportunities, and it's a great idea to take advantage of all they have to offer while you can. Sign up for random clubs, try out for a play, volunteer with classmates, sit with a different crowd at lunch -- do whatever you can to have new experiences as often as possible. You probably won't love all of them, but you'll learn something about yourself. And the better you know yourself, the better equipped you are to choose a path that's best for you.

 

MAKE MISTAKES

While I won't advise you actively go looking for mistakes to make, I will recommend being open enough to new experiences and situations to risk making a mistake or two. After all, I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't taken the big risk of leaving my regular job to do what I love! The worst thing you can do when trying to create an inspiring career is avoid taking any risks. When you get out of your comfort zone and try different things, you're bound to make mistakes. But making mistakes is how you learn, and from the errors you make come endless insights into what does and doesn't work for you. For example, you might take a job in an industry you're not sure you'll love. After awhile, you might grow to dislike the job. Rather than think to yourself, What a mistake. I never should have accepted this job! consider what you've learned and take those lessons with you when you move on to a new job.

 

NEVER STOP LEARNING

Continual learning is absolutely vital for creating an amazing, positive career. Even if you've found your dream job and you love what you do, keep learning -- about your industry, about other industries, about life in general. The more you know, the more you'll be able to create a more ideal career situation for yourself. And, you might discover that there are other things you might enjoy doing as well. When I left my full-time job to pursue Positively Present, I had absolutely no idea I would end up launching my own graphic design business! And the only reason this happened was because I signed up for a few classes to see if I could improve some of the design on my site. As soon as I mastered the basics, I realized how much I loved graphic design and illustrating and now it's a huge part of what I do. You never know what will happen when you open yourself up to learning new things, and there are so many great online resources to keep learning even if you're no longer in school. 

 

LOVE WHO YOU ARE

Cultivating self-love is more general life advice than it is career advice, but self-love actually plays a big role in creating a great career. For one, the more you love and respect yourself, the less likely you are to settle for a career path that's only ho-hum. Self-love tunes you in to your unique talents and abilities and makes you confident enough to want to share these with others through your work. Additionally, a strong love for yourself will prevent you from ever settling for poor treatment at the workplace (or anywhere!). You teach others how to treat you, and if you treat yourself with love and respect, you'll form more positive relationships at work, and those will always help you (even if you don't love your current job). Self-love also discourages you from comparing where you are to where others are, which can sometimes be a problem in the workplace. With a loving attitude toward yourself, you'll focus on your own work and you won't waste time comparing yourself to others.  

 

WRITE YOUR OWN STORY

When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I always envisioned myself working for Vogue or writing novels. I never, in a million years, imagined I'd write on my own site (blogs were barely a thing back then!), publish a book filled with my own (positive!) advice, or have the opportunity to be creative through graphic design. No one ever said to me, "You can be a writer and a graphic designer," but, here I am, doing both. We all have the power to write our own stories -- in our careers and in life in general -- and you don't have to do what everyone else is doing or do it the same way others do it. Look to those who have careers you admire and use them as inspiration, but don't feel you have to do just what they do. Remember: you're the author of your own career, and you can write your own unique story, even if it's a tale that's never been written before. 

 

LOOK FOR THE GOOD

Looking for the good is another piece of advice that applies to life as well as work. No matter what situation you find yourself in career-wise, strive to make the best of it while you're there. Unless you're extremely lucky, you'll probably have some jobs you don't love. And that's okay. Try to enjoy them the best you can while you're there and use them as opportunities to learn what you do and don't like. Even if you're fortunate enough to do what you love (and I hope you are!), you'll have to do things you don't enjoy, and there will be days you feel drained of all energy and inspiration. These are the times you'll need to look hard for the good, but an optimistic outlook is always worth the effort. Whether it's at work or in life, the only thing you have 100% control over at all times is your attitude. It sounds cliche, but choosing a positive attitude can be transform the way you see your career -- and the way you see the world.  

 

Whether you're thinking about a future career or you're looking to make a career change, I hope these tips inspire you to do some soul-searching and figure out what you really want. It's hard not to get caught up in what you "should" be doing (or what everyone else is doing), but never forget that your career is yours and you have the power to spend your days working in an environment that makes you feel inspired, fulfilled, and happy.  

 

 

  

Finding-Self-Cover

Knowing who you are and what you want is key to creating a positive career. If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.


positively present picks : april 8, 2016

Self-care
 

Quote-of-the-week

"Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly.
It’s your masterpiece after all."

Nathan W. Morris
 

Links-I-Love   

10 Things Happy People Don't Do :  my latest Live Happy piece!

Confidence Journal for Career Women : so happy to have design this cover :)  

Your Most Radiant Life Ever Summit : FREE online event with 40+ experts. sign up! 

21 Quotes to Launch You Out of Bed : nothing like inspiring words, right?

How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do : so important for happiness

The Soul Jar : so excited to have participated in this interview 

Just Get Out : this inspired me to get up + get out + get going

The Joy of Doing Less : superb advice for reclaiming your time 

3 Ways to Get Super Inspired : 'cause inspiration is everything

Fear Is Why We Have Too Much Stuff : wow. this is so true. 

9 Tips to Turn a Bad Day Around : excellent advice from this piece

The Key To Breaking Unhealthy Relationship Patterns : very powerful

Affirmational Madlibs : absolutely love this idea from Gala Darling 

 

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Better Days" — Old Sea Brigade
"Kiss It Better" — Rihanna
"Visions" — Jon Bryant
"I'm Not Right" — XY&O
"What We Live For" — American Authors
"Paper Blood"— Van T
"Big Ideas" — The Boxer Rebellion
"U Up" — Soft Lit
"Company" — Justin Bieber
"All the Ways" — Wet

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

Midwives
Chris Bohjalian

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets
J. K. Rowling
  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


keep calm: 5 tips for preventing panic

Calm
 

As you may have read in previous posts, anxiety is something I struggle with from time to time. Sometimes it's not so bad -- just a bit of a tickling annoyance at the back of my mind -- and other times it's drive-me-mad frustrating, keeping me from doing things I want to do and preventing me from living the positive, present life I spend so much time writing about. There are a lot of unpleasant aspects of anxiety, but one of the worst parts is feeling panicky.

Even if you don't have anxiety on a regular basis, you've probably experienced panic at some point in your life -- those moments when your heart is pounding and your mind is racing with ideas (some completely irrational) about what's happening. It's not a pleasant experience and, even if there's something legitimate to feel panicked about, panicking never helps make a situation better. It only heightens anxious feelings and makes it more difficult to take positive, productive action.  

Once panicky feelings start, however, they can be tough to get control over, which is why it's important to try your best prevent the panic before it begins. Of course, sometimes this isn't possible, like if you're sudden, dangerous, actually-life-threatening situation. But, more often than not, things we panic about are a result of the way we're seeing a situation, and don't necessarily reflect what's actually happening.

Because tomorrow is the second annual International Day of Calm, I wanted to spend some time reflecting on how to keep calm on a regular basis. This way, if you are presented with a situation that makes you feel panicky, you'll be better equipped to cope with it. Here are five of my best tips for preventing panic...

(And stay tuned for two awesome keep-calm goodies mentioned at the end of the post!)

 

TRY TO FIND CALM DAILY. 

We usually hear the phrases "keep calm" or "calm down" only when there's already an anxiety-inducing situation right in front of us, but if you want to reduce panicky feelings in the future, it helps to practice calm on a daily basis. Creating calming routines for yourself (especially at the beginning and end of your day) can be really helpful. Also, taking advantage of calming resources: books like Calm or Stay Positive and apps like Calm are great places to start. Anything you can incorporate into your life on a daily basis to make you feel more peaceful will help add to your state of calm whenever you feel panicky. 

 

RECOGNIZE YOUR REACTIONS. 

When it comes to preventing full-blown panic, one essential step is to recognize how you're reacting to a situation so you can understand (and rein in) your emotions before they get to an irrational place. One of the best ways to do this is to pay close attention to your body. Is your heart beating faster? Are your palms sweaty? Are your muscles tensing? Is your breath coming more quickly? When you're aware of what's happening to you physically, you can put yourself in a better mindset to avoid panic. You can remove yourself from a situation or ask someone else to talk you through what you're experiencing. 

 

CENTER YOURSELF IN REALITY. 

One of the most vital steps for preventing panic is to ask yourself, What's actually happening? So much of panic is a result of what we think is going to happen, not what's factually right in front of us. For example, let's say you're going through a breakup. It's common to start in with panicky thoughts like, I'm going to be alone forever. Oh god, no one is going to date me now. I'm never going to find love again. Those thoughts are all based on the future -- and a very dismal future at that. In the present moment, the only thing that's happening is you're suffering from heartbreak, which you will recover from. Bring your focus to the present and it becomes much more difficult to launch into panic mode. 

 

ACCEPT WHAT'S HAPPENING. 

Part of panicking is detaching yourself from reality, allowing your mind to spiral into a maze of irrational thoughts. As unsettling as these thoughts are (usually of the all-or-nothing variety, like, Everything is ruined! No one will ever want me! Nothing will ever be the same!), we often use the panicky thoughts to distract ourselves from the real pain right in front of us: the heartache, the loss, the realization that we've done something wrong. It's hard to do, but acceptance of the actual situation is key for redirecting panic into a more productive outlet. Yes, you might have lost your job, but thinking, no one will ever hire me now is certainly not going to get you a new one. What will is accepting the loss and striving to move positively forward by taking action in the present (going to a job fair, applying for new jobs online, etc.). 

 

FIND A SELF-SOOTHING TECHNIQUE. 

Acceptance is hard, but once you do that, you're in a much better place to prevent panic. Still, it can creep up on you sometimes, like a stealthy little snake in the grass, and when that happens, it's a good idea to have a self-soothing technique that helps to take your mind to a calmer place. Your self-soothing technique can be anything from taking a few deep breaths to using a mantra (like "keep calm" or, my personal favorite, "you're okay") to calling up a calming friend for a quick chat. Whatever your calming weapon of choice, make sure it's something you can always have in your holster -- an easily accessible tool that you can whip out whenever you might feel a bit panic-stricken. 

 

*KEEP CALM GOODIES!* 

Calm-book-meta

For the second annual International Day of Calm (April 5, 2016), I've partnered with Calm, a popular meditation app and book, to provide you with some keep-calm goodies!

  1. Get 25% off a yearlong subscription to the Calm app by visiting Calm.com/PositivelyPresent.
  2. Pop on over to my Instagram account for details on how you can win a copy of Calm the book!  

 


PPGTL-Get-the-Book
Want to explore how to have even more calm in your life? Pick up your very own copy of my book, The Positively Present Guide to Life. The book is all about how to stay positive and present in various areas of life including: at home, at work, in love, in relationships, and during change. I've turned back to it often this year as I've gone through major changes and it's been tremendously helpful. The book is filled with inspiring images that make it even easier to stay positive and present. You can learn more about the book and find out where to buy a copy here. (You can also get a sneak peek at the book, access a free download, and watch the book trailer!)


positively present picks : april 1, 2016

Be still
 

Quote-of-the-week

"Pull away from what doesn't push you forward."

Amber Ibarreche
 

Links-I-Love   

Snapchat! : I'm obsessed with it! follow me (positivepresent)

Making a Difference : my interview on The High Heeled Paper Girl

Feng Shui Magic : loved reading this great interview! 

7 Ways to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed : and get some stuff done

Why Strong Relationships Stem from Self-Love : self-love is vital

75 Simple Life Rules : these are all so simple but essential

Emoji Slippers! : how adorable are these little guys?!

12 Strategies for Outsmarting Stress : love #11 in particular

  

Listening

Listen to this playlist on YouTube.

"Hotline Bling" — Mila J
"Here's to Us" — Ellie Goulding
"Don't Wait for Me" — Flawes
"All Along" — Mirror Signal
"Rock Bottom" — Hailee Steinfeld
"Kaleidoscope"— Brookfield
"Back to You" — WILD
"Want You" — Bearson ft. Cal
"Deep End" — Birdy
"Oh" — Mt. Si

 

Reading

Check out my reading list on GoodReads.
 

The Conditions of Love
Dale M. Kushner

The Happiness Equation:
Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything

Neil Pasricha
  

I write books too! Check it out...

The Positively Present Guide to Life
Dani DiPirro

Stay Positive: Daily Reminders
from Positively Present
Dani DiPirro


work + rest: how to find a perfect balance

Work Rest
 

Work and rest. Two things we must all do, and two things we often struggle with. For some, working comes easily -- we're always on the go, always doing something that makes us feel productive. For others, it's the rest that comes without struggle -- we're content to lie on the couch all day, ignoring the ever-lengthening to-do list.

Those who fall on the work end of the spectrum often long for rest, but even when they're offered a day off or try to have a lazy Sunday, they always find themselves restless and work-focused. Those on the other end of the spectrum also struggle; though they might have the benefit of lots of rest and relaxation, they find it challenging to get things done and often feel anxious about the lack of work they've accomplished. Many are lucky to fall somewhere in the middle of the work/rest spectrum, but for those who aren't, every day can be a test of willpower and motivation.  

Regardless of whether you're generally better at working or better at resting (or somewhere in between), you've probably found yourself with different strengths at different times in your life. For example, if you're doing work you love, you might find yourself always wanting to work (and doing very little resting). Or, if you've recently suffered emotional or physical pain, you might find it hard to find motivation to work and may be spending more time than you'd like on the couch or in bed. Life is filled with ups and downs, of course, and there is a time for resting and a time for working, but if you find yourself doing one much more than you'd like, here are some tips for creating more work/rest balance... 

 

IF YOU FEEL YOU WORK TOO MUCH... 


Ask for help. 

One of the best things you can do if yourself overwhelmed with working more than you should is ask for help. If you're a do-it-yourself kind of person (I can relate!) sometimes it might not even occur to you that someone else could help you out with part of your job. Outsourcing, asking a coworker for assistance, or saying no to new projects when you already have a ton on your plate are just some ways you can ask for help. And pay attention to all the jobs you have, too. Being a parent, a friend, a mentor, etc. -- those are also jobs. If you're struggling to balance them all and aren't getting enough rest, speak up and ask those around you to lend a hand.  

 

Take a day off. 

For hardcore worker bees, the idea of a day off might sound like a disaster -- the perfect opportunity for things to pile up on your desk and for emails to overwhelm your inbox. But remember this: the more rested and relaxed you are, the better you'll be at your job. And often the best way to rest is to take a day off work -- and I'm talking about a real day off. No emails. No "just checking in." And honest-to-god, no-work-whatsoever day off. This also shouldn't be an actual vacation because those often come with different kinds of travel-related stress. Take a day of just to stay at home and do nothing but relax. 

 

Change locations. 

When you find yourself working all of the time, it's usually because work is all around you. You're either at the office all the time or in front of your computer or phone. If you want to have a true break, it helps to get yourself out of your working routine and go somewhere different, even if it's just for a short period of time. Take a walk around your office building or grab a snack in the break room. Try your best to physically change where you are as often as you can during a day, preferably making sure some of those locations involve the outdoors. (It's much easier to relax when you're surrounded by nature!)

 

Put the phone down.

If you really want some quality rest, the most important thing you can do for yourself is put down your phone. It's one of the strongest ties to work (checking email is such a temptation!) so when you're really trying to relax, put your phone away. If this is hard for you (I know it is for me!), ask someone else to take it from you for an hour or so, or tuck it on a high shelf that's really annoying to access to make it harder for you to "just check one thing..." If you're dedicated to your work, putting the phone down will be challenging, but it's vital for true and meaningful rest. 

 

IF YOU FEEL YOU REST TOO MUCH... 


Get up (and dressed). 

Is your environment and lifestyle encouraging you to spend too much time resting? If you spend all day in your sweatpants, lying in bed with the TV on or your phone in your hand, it's going to be very difficult to get motivated. (As someone who works from home, this is one of my biggest struggles.) Your environment (and your attire) shape how you feel. If you're dressed for lounging, you're going to want to lounge. When you're feeling uninspired and struggling to get in a work mindset, start with your environment and your outfit. Put on something that makes you feel professional and put together and you'll be a lot less likely to spend all day vegging out. 

 

Break it down. 

One of the hardest things about getting to work when you're in an unmotivated mindset is thinking about how hard it will be get everything done. Instead of aiming to work all day, start out small. Tell yourself you'll tackle just one thing on your list, or you'll work on a big project for just 15-20 minutes. Breaking it down in this way makes it much easier to manage (making it more likely you'll actually attempt it). I've also found that once you start working on something (or complete one small task), you want to do more and before you know it, 15 minutes will have turned into an hour! 

 

Find a partner.  

We all have times in our lives when we feel less motivated and inspired. One way to perk yourself up (and get your buns in gear!) is by having a buddy that will help you stay on track. Find someone else who is struggling just like you and check in with each other daily (or more frequently) to see how much progress is being made. Or, find someone you really admire for their work ethic and ask him/her to hold you accountable for work tasks. Accountability is a huge element of an effective work environment and if you don't already have it built in (if you work for yourself or have a disinterested boss), create it for yourself by finding a partner. 

 

Put the phone down. 

Just as putting your phone down is vital for getting rest, it's also vital for getting work done. One of the greatest distractions in the world today is technology. Don't get me wrong -- I love it -- but it can be a huge time suck, draining you of attention and energy when you have a lot to accomplish. If you want to get work done, take your phone (or whatever other distraction you have) and put it away where you won't be tempted to look at it. I've found it to be 100% true that the less time I spend with my phone, the more work I get done. If this is a struggle for you, just put it away for 30 minutes at a time, or allow yourself set times of the day when you will check it. 

 

 

One final tip that works for both "workers" and "resters" is looking at the big picture. Pause for a moment and think about how you want to feel at the end of your life. What do you want to look back and see? There's no right or wrong answer to this -- we all have unique dreams and goals -- but, regardless of your individual desires, you probably don't want to look back on your life and see that you spent all of your time working or lazing about. You'll probably want to see that you did good work at times, that you relaxed at times, and that you had a nice work/rest balance. So, whenever you find yourself leaning to far toward one side of the spectrum, ask yourself: what will I think of myself when I look back at this moment years from now? That big-picture perspective can be just the reminder you need to take a break or break out of a work-too-much rut.  

  

Finding-Self-Cover

You know where else you can find balance? In yourself! If you're looking for some more soul-searching inspiration, check out the Finding Yourself workbook. Discover more about yourself, and uncover what you want most by downloading a copy of the e-book Finding Yourself: A Soul-Searching Workbook for Surprising Self Discovery. Filled with inspiration, questions, and activities to get you thinking about what it means to be you, Finding Yourself is a must for learning more about who you are and about what matters most to you. Learn more about the workbook here and purchase your own copy here.