Are You a Victim of Domestic Violence?

If one in every four women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in their lifetime, it is safe to assume that we all know of someone who has been affected.  Statistics (based on studies) regarding domestic violence are staggering.

Domestic violence can rob the victim of his/her identity, freedom, and self-esteem (self-worth, self-image, self-respect) and can crush the spirit.  It not only has an impact on the victim, it affects the children and other loved ones in the victim’s life.  But, there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.  The good news is.……if one becomes aware of the signs and discovers soon enough that he/she is a victim of domestic violence, and takes necessary action, there is a way out, hope for the future and a way to begin a new life.   

Many people aren’t sure what constitutes ‘domestic violence’ so they don’t know if they are victims of it.  The first step to ending this devastating epidemic is to be cognizant of the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence.  Awareness can turn into a solution.  The following are signs to help you determine whether or not you are a victim:


Warning Signs

  • A partner who puts their significant other down and says hurtful things
  • A partner who discourages one from having any close relationships with family or    friends
  • A partner who places blame and guilt  for their own mistakes
  • A partner who makes all the decisions in the relationship
  •  A partner who acts very jealous
  •  A partner who makes one feel worthless and helpless
  • A partner who throws objects
  • A partner who physically assaults, such as slapping, kicking, etc.
  • A partner who forbids independent activities such as work or school
  • A partner who physically abuses the pets or children when angry at other things
  • A partner who controls access to money, medication, or necessities
  •     A partner who demands sex or sexual activities that one does not feel comfortable with or agree to
  • A partner who sees one as an object
  • A partner who is constantly ‘checking up’

Symptoms

  • Physical signs such as bruises on the arms, wrist, or face
  • Attempting to cover up bruises with makeup or clothing
  • Being extremely apologetic or meek
  • Making up stories and excuses about clumsiness and being accident-prone, rather than telling the truth
  • Being very isolated from family and friends
  • Having very low self-esteem
  • Showing symptoms of depression
  • Having limited money, access to the phone or car, etc.
  • Problems with drugs or alcohol
  •  Exhibiting the warning signs of suicide


If you have been walking on eggshells, experiencing ongoing fear and abuse, identify yourself as a victim, are ready for a positive change, and interested in seeking counseling to help you get through this most difficult, fearful and lonely time of your life, I am here for you. You are not alone. Together, we can get through this and create a life of independence, healthy self-esteem, a sense of empowerment, and feeling safe, so you can move forward into the life you really want for yourself and your family.  I can help you transition from “victim” to “victor” status, and create the life you want.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of domestic abuse, please reach out for help immediately.  Colorado Crisis Line:  888-885-1222, National Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-7233.     

DO I HAVE PTSD?

Only a skilled and competent medical doctor specializing in psychiatry or a therapist trained in PTSD can definitively tell you if you suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). 

Any type of traumatic event can cause a person to suffer from symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress, although PTSD is prevalent among those who experience military combat. Rape, sexual molestation in childhood, a physical assault, witnessing a homicide or suicide, being a victim of a mass shooting or domestic violence, losing someone close to you and numerous other events can bring about PTSD. The symptoms are similar, no matter what incident caused the condition.

If, since returning from a combat deployment and sometimes many years after returning, you can answer yes to any of the following questions, you have some symptoms of PTSD:

  • Do you have prolonged memories of combat?
  • Do you dream about the country in which you saw combat?
  • Do you have nightmares or flashbacks?
  • Do you suffer from bouts of insomnia?
  • Do you ever seem to shut out the world?
  • Do you often feel drained of emotions or just numb?
  • Do you avoid things that remind you of combat experience?
  • Do you find that the anniversary dates of certain events in your combat experience make you feel uncomfortable?
  • Do you find it hard to make and keep friends?
  • Have you had multiple marriages?
  • Is your current marriage strained?
  • Have you abused alcohol or drugs to help you feel better?
  • Do you have no plans for the future or could you not care less about the future?
  • Are you irritable and prone to unexplained outbursts of anger?
  • Are you jumpy or over-reactive to things that fail to startle others?

Most people experience one or more of these symptoms in the normal course of life.  However, the more of these symptoms you have on a recurring basis, the more likely it is that you have PTSD. Wives of veterans can also suffer from PTSD if they have been a caregiver to their husbands who struggle with it. 

Preparing combatants psychologically for war is antithetical to helping them recover from its psychological trauma. To expect otherwise places an unreasonable expectation on our military. The military has made an extensive effort to help its personnel adjust to the stress of combat.  However, in the environment of a professional army, many active-duty personnel view psychiatric treatment as an admission of weakness or failure. 

Left untreated, PTSD only becomes more engrained and less responsive to treatment.  Failed relationships, career and employment problems, substance abuse, depression, suicide, homicide and other acts of violence can be the end result of untreated PTSD.

Make a Life List

If you knew with complete certainty that you were going to take your last breath tomorrow, what would you do? Would you call all of your loved ones? Would you travel the globe? Would you spend some time thinking about everything you wish you had done in your life? We all have dreams and visions of what we will do “someday”. But, what is “someday?” The fact is, that most of us have no idea exactly what tomorrow will bring. The past is in the past and so the only guarantee is the here and now. Why not take the time to list everything that you’ve ever dreamed of accomplishing in your life? Randy Pausch, who became famous after his “Last Lecture,” knew with certainty that his life was coming to an end. He lived his life more fully in his forty-seven years than most of us live in our lifetimes. He made his life list and actively engaged in achieving the majority of the items on his list. He didn’t have “someday” like the majority of us do. I want you to think big on this list. Have you ever dreamed of scaling a fourteener? What about sailing around the Mediterranean Seas? At some point, you need to stop wishing and start living. Take some time this week to put this list together and then take the next step of acting on some of your wishes.

ACTION STEPS FOR THE WEEK:

1. Make your list

    Throw away all of your old lists. It’s time to bring life to a new list. Create a new list of everything you intend to achieve in this lifetime. Have fun with this list—dream big! You are your biggest obstacle when it comes to making it happen. You are the only one who can plan, research, and, ultimately, follow through on your dreams. 

2. Break it down

    Looking at this list and determining where you are in your life right now, select a couple of items that you would love to accomplish this year. Highlight them, and then start detailing a month-by-month plan to make it happen. Creating a realistic timeline and breaking down your tasks into smaller accomplishments will allow you to feel less overwhelmed.

3. Enlist support

    It is critical to surround yourself with people and resources who will help you stick to your goals. Do your homework, research the details and then, ask for help making these dreams your reality. Use your friends and family as accountability partners who will check in on your progress.

“Attention Singles!”

Sometimes when someone comes to me seeking help in meeting someone, I give them opposite the advice they are expecting. I tell them while we are working together, at least initially, they should take a break from dating altogether. We need to take the focus off pursuing someone, and into attracting people to themselves. It’s important to reflect on why past relationships didn’t work, what their role was in the downfall of the relationship. It is also crucial to define what, exactly, you are looking for, while taking extreme self-care along the way. Once you turn your focus around and begin fine-tuning what you are looking for and what you are not looking for, things will begin to click. Here are some things to focus on:

1. Make room

If you truly want to attract someone into your life, you need to make room for it. Take a look at your life right now. Are you so busy with work and obligations, that you are sending a signal that you are not available for a relationship? Even if this is not a conscious choice, you need to adjust your life so that you have room to nurture a relationship. Make bringing someone into your life a priority. Cut back on responsibilities or tasks that don’t mean something to you.

2. Create your ideal mate

I have had many clients perform this exercise and create astonishing results. I would like you to get out a sheet of paper and write exactly what your perfect partner would look like. I am referring to personality traits, physical characteristics, values, and likes. Do not just write “tall, dark and handsome”. That is extremely general. Try to fill the paper with the attributes that are the most important to you. Most of my clients tuck this paper away or forget about it altogether until someone special comes into their life. Then they ‘happen’ to find the paper and are blown away by the comparisons. Some of my clients have attracted a partner that has every one of their requirements, minus one or two. They don’t realize that they attracted that person to themselves once they put that intention out there.

3. Get involved

Ok…you’ve made room and written your list, and he or she still has not magically appeared? Well, instead of “waiting” for this person to make their way into your life, get engaged in life and put it out of your mind. Sign up for activities you enjoy. Go to social engagements. Try new things that are a bit out of your comfort zone. By getting involved in activities that you enjoy, you are naturally going to surround yourself with like-minded individuals. You never know who will know someone, who will open doors for you, or what will happen when you begin to enjoy your life again.

7 Steps to Making Your Relationship Last

What makes love last a lifetime? Affection? Sure. Mutual trust and respect? Absolutely! But a great marriage is not just about what you have. It’s about what you do to make a relationship stronger, safer, more caring and committed. Here’s how to make your “forever” fantastic.

Marriage is a home, a refuge against the outside storms. And like any house, it requires a strong, lasting foundation. To build one, every couple needs to take certain steps that turn the two of you into not just you and me but we. You may not move through all the steps in order, and you may circle back to complete certain steps again (and again and again). But if you make it through them all, you’ll be well on your way toward creating a marriage that will be your shelter as long as you both shall live.

Step 1: Find a shared dream for your life together.

It’s easy to get caught up in the small stuff of married life: What’s for dinner tonight? Whose turn is it to clean the litter box? Did you pay the electric bill? But the best partners never lose sight of the fact that they’re working together to achieve the same big dreams. They have a shared vision, saying things like, ‘We want to plan to buy a house, we want to take a vacation to such-and-such a place, we like to do X, we think we want to start a family at Y time.

This kind of dream-sharing starts early. “Couples love to tell the story of how they met,” points out Julie Holland, M.D., a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City and a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the New York University School of Medicine. As you write and rewrite your love story (“our hardest challenge was X, our dream for retirement is Y”), you continually remind yourselves and each other that you’re a team with shared values and goals. And, when you share a dream, you’re a heck of a lot more likely to make that dream come true.

Step 2: Ignite (and reignite) a sexual connection.

In any good relationship, sex is much more than just a physical act. It’s crucial for the health of your emotional connection, too. It’s something only the two of you share.  It makes you both feel warm and loved.  It draws you back together when you’re drifting apart. And….it’s so much fun!

Striking up those sparks when you first meet is easy. The hard part is nurturing a strong, steady flame. When you’ve got a mortgage, a potbelly, and a decade or two of togetherness under your belts, it can be hard to muster up the fire you felt when you first got together. That’s when it’s even more important to protect your sex life and make it a priority. You have to keep working at creating fascination and seduction for each other or your sex life will become dull.

As the years go by, you’ll keep revisiting and reimagining the passion you have for each other. And if you keep at it, you’ll have a sex life that rises above your marriage’s lack of newness, the stresses of family and work, the physical changes that come with aging. Now that’s something worth holding on to.

Step 3: Choose each other as your first family.

For years, you were primarily a member of one family……..the one in which you grew up. Then, you got married, and, suddenly, you became the foundation of a new family….one in which husband and wife are the A-team. It can be tough to shift your identity like this, but it’s also an important part of building your self-image as a duo.

It’s important to learn to talk to each other when there are issues to resolve……not talk about each other to someone else in the family.  It’s about becoming a team in working things out or dealing with issues relating to the behavior of another family member. 

Whatever your challenges —- an overprotective mom, an overly critical father-in-law……..you have to outline together the boundaries between you and all of the families connected to you. Not only will you feel stronger as a united front, but when you stick to your shared rules, all that family baggage will weigh on you a lot less.

Step 4: Learn how to fight right.

“Fighting is a big problem every couple has to deal with. That’s because fights will always come up, so every couple needs to learn how to fight without tearing each other apart.”

Fighting right doesn’t just mean not throwing things…….it means staying focused on the issue at hand and respecting each other’s perspective. Couples who fight right also find ways to defuse the tension……often with humor.  “Whenever one of us wants the other to listen, we mime hitting the TV remote, a thumb pressing down on an invisible mute button,” says Nancy, 52, an event producer in San Francisco. “It cracks us up, in part, because it must look insane to others.” Even if you fight a lot, when you can find a way to turn fights toward the positive — with a smile, a quick apology, an expression of appreciation for the other person — the storm blows away fast, and that’s what matters.

Step 5: Find a balance between time for two and time for you.

When it comes to togetherness, every couple has its own unique sweet spot. “There are couples that are never apart and there are couples that see each other only on weekends. With the right balance, neither partner feels slighted or smothered. You have enough non-shared experiences to fire you up and help you maintain a sense of yourself outside the relationship….…as well as giving you something to talk about at the dinner table. But, you also have enough time together to feel your connection as a strong tie rather than as a loose thread.

Your togetherness needs will also change over time, so you’ll have to shift your balance accordingly. “My husband and I spend a lot of time together, but it’s almost all family time,” says Katie, 40, a mom of two in San Leandro, CA. “We realized a few months ago that we hadn’t had a conversation that didn’t involve the kids or our to-do lists in ages, so we committed to a weekly date. We were so happy just to go to the movies and hold hands, something we hadn’t done in ages. It felt like we were dating again!”

Step 6: Build the best friendship.

Think about the things that make your closest friendships irreplaceable: the trust that comes with true intimacy, the willingness to be vulnerable, the confidence that the friendship can withstand some conflict. Don’t those sound like good things to have in your marriage, too?

Happy couples are each other’s haven. They can count on the other person to listen and try to meet their needs.  When you’re true friends, you acknowledge and respect what the other person is…….you don’t try to control or change him/her. This creates a sense of safety and security when you’re together —- you know you’re valued for who you are and you see the value in your partner.”

Then, when you’ve been with someone awhile, you almost become a mind-reader. You have a shared history and inside jokes. Your guy knows what you’ll find funny, you forward him links to articles you know he’ll enjoy, and best of all, you two can make eye contact at a given moment and say volumes without opening your mouths. And, is there anything more pleasurable than sitting in companionable silence, absorbed in your respective newspaper reading, sipping coffee, occasionally reading something out loud, but mostly just spending time idly, happily together, communing without needing to speak?

Step 7: Face down a major challenge together.

You’re sailing along through life, and suddenly you hit a huge bump…….a serious illness, unemployment, the loss of a home, or a death in the family. How do you cope?

The truth is, you never know how strong your relationship is until it’s tested. All too often, the stress of a crisis can pull a couple apart. But, the good news is, when you do make it through in one piece, you might just find yourselves tighter than ever.

“What didn’t happen to us?” asks Diane, 28, a preschool teacher in Harrisburg, PA. “My husband lost his job and took a minimum-wage job he was way overqualified for just to make ends meet. He was offered a better job in a mountain town outside San Diego, so we moved. Then, during the California wildfires several years ago, our house burned down and we lost everything. We were living in a one-room, converted garage with no running water and a newborn baby. But, we found that this chaos somehow brought us even closer together. We took turns losing it. We really kept each other sane.”

Marriage is no roll in the hay. It is tough, real work. But, the reward, the edifice you build together that will shelter you through years of tough times, is more than worth the effort. The small, friendly home you build, decorated with your shared history and stories, filled with color and laughter — will be the warmest and safest retreat you can imagine.

Standing in Your Own Power: How to Handle Stress with Dignity and Grace

Stress isn’t always the bad guy that it’s made out to be. The hormones created by stress can actually strengthen neural connections in our brain, and can help us be more productive and focused. Furthermore, stress motivates us to succeed and makes us more resilient.  But when stress strikes, most of us don’t think about its positive side-effects. Instead, we think……this really sucks. Something that differentiates the mediocre from the extraordinary is strength and resilience, and the way we manage stress is a great indication of those two qualities. When I come upon a stressful situation, my goal is to be as intentional as possible with my thoughts, and the way I perceive and process the circumstances. I ask myself these three questions to help me stand in my own power and handle stress with dignity…and sometimes even with a little grace.

1. What can I control here? And the answer is never people or circumstances. You are only in control of your own actions and your own response to a circumstance. Others are responsible for their actions and responses.

2. What can you do to smooth out the situation? When you react to a stressful situation in a way that positively influences others, you have the power to turn chaos into a learning experience, for you and others. Act authentically and consider the personalities involved. How can you guide things to a place where the situation can be diffused or resolved? And if you can’t, don’t stress about it. Refer to question #1 about control.

3. Where can I find acceptance? Sometimes there’s simply nothing we can do to influence a stressful situation. That’s where grace comes into play. Being able to recognize when efforts are futile and take a step back from the situation altogether is a true sign of strength and resilience. It’s not easy, but once you hone your ability to accept situations that you can’t change, you’ll find the most amazing sense of serenity…even in a world of chaos.

There are self-care techniques that can help us be mindful and intentional during stressful situations. Some are fitness, meditation, getting plenty of rest, and eating a well-rounded, nutritious diet, and being authentic and true to ourselves. Those who manage stress are not only more effective leaders, but they are also happier, healthier, and more productive. Start adding self-care practices into your daily routine, and try to be more mindful the next time you’re in a high-stress situation by asking yourself the questions above. You’ll be surprised at the contrast between how you respond instinctively versus how you respond after a moment of thought!

8 Signs You’re in a Strong Relationship (even if it doesn’t feel like it)

1.  You know how to recover from a fight.

2.  You think about your partner often when you’re not together.

3.  You respond positively to each other’s good news.

4.  You spend time apart (do not look to your partner for all your existential

      needs. Find yourself in hobbies, friends, work.)

5.  You have a similar sense of humor. Having a private language with your partner

      (like nicknames and jokes that no one else would get) can facilitate bonding

      and often predicts relationship satisfaction.

6.  You split chores evenly.

7.  You try new things together.

8.  You don’t have a lot of extreme downturns in your relationship.


STRESS-REDUCING TIPS for SENIORS

Studies show that older adults are more prone to mental disorders than younger adults.

Usually, these include post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and specific phobia or generalized anxiety disorders. If you have reached your golden years, and feel that your stress exposure is higher than normal, try these steps to relieve your stress and anxiety.

Deep breathing meditation –  Meditation is one of the most effective ways to relieve stress and anxiety. Actually, it helps you relax your body and mind and manage any nail-biting situation that presents in your way.

On top of that, meditation exercises are so easy to perform. The main goal is to shift all your focus to your breathing, which can keep any negative energy and thoughts at bay.

All you have to do is sit comfortably with an erect back position, breathe in slowly through your nose, and breathe out through your mouth, as simple as that.

Food – It may come as a surprise that the food you eat plays an important role in your mood swings, as well as your stress level.

A healthy diet program can help your body cope with stress-induced physiological changes. Beyond that, your adrenaline level is triggered by your blood sugar levels. Therefore, a diet rich in sugar can result in abnormal stress.

Whenever you feel like reaching for a sugary snack, opt for plain foods with a high nutritional value, such as fruits and veggies. Incorporate more fish into your diet, as the high doses of omega 3 fatty acids can lower your stress level.

Music – If you feel anxious and stressed, take a moment to relax and listen to some music. Music is literally the food of the soul. It helps calm your nerves and reduces the level of cortisol – the body’s main stress hormone.

Furthermore, it can reduce your high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. To alleviate stress, try some relaxing nature sounds, like ocean waves, or the sound of a bird or tree. Close your eyes, relax every muscle in your body, and imagine you are sitting in a peaceful place where the beauty of nature surrounds you.

Social activities – senior citizens who do not take part in social activities could become more susceptible to isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Isolating yourself from your friends, family, and relatives can cause your stress level to soar and make you feel lonely and depressed. However, maintaining your social relationships, and participating in social events is likely to bolster your mental well-being.

In case you live in a retirement residence, join a book club, or a fitness class. This not only has various social advantages but can boost your physical health as well.

OPEN YOURSELF TO POSSIBILITIES

I believe it is basic human nature to want to grow as individuals. I believe, at some level, everyone wants to learn more about themselves, grow emotionally and continue to expand their beliefs. Through growth and change, sprouts fulfillment. Of course, the majority of us would like this all to happen overnight. Nothing ‘life-changing’ happens easily or without a long-term commitment to the process. What are you willing to do in order to become the person you want to become? What sacrifices are you willing to make? Would you be willing to observe yourself from an outside perspective? All you really need is the desire, openness, and consistency to move forward in your life. Sometimes just the recognition of feeling frustrated or stressed may be a sign to open yourself up to new possibilities.  A client of mine had a great life but was constantly unhappy. She was involved in a wonderful relationship, had a job she enjoyed, was very active outside of work, but she woke up every day preparing for the worst. Not until she stepped away from herself and really examined what role her attitude and behavior were playing, was she able to bring the joy back into her life. She needed to push aside beliefs that were holding her back and choose new ones that were more empowering. You can continue going through your life “settling”, or you can become your biggest advocate and take control of your life and the destination.

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ACTION STEPS TO TAKE:

1. Be open to new ways

    If you continue doing things, the same things that aren’t working, you will continue to get the same results. Don’t limit yourself to only one philosophy. Be willing to add a little variety to your routine. Drive to work a different way. Ask an unfamiliar colleague out to lunch. Sign up for a class that sparks your interest.

2. Take small actions

    To get what you want in life, you need to take small actions on a consistent basis. Break down your overwhelming goal into smaller, manageable steps. If you are seeking more “me” time, set aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at night. You can increase your time as you go. Be patient to this process. The end result is worth the initial work.

3. Incorporate gratitude 

   Set aside time every day to express gratitude in your life. Being grateful for what you do have, keeps you grounded and in the moment. The intention of gratitude will keep you focused on the larger picture. List 5 things daily that you were grateful for that day.

How to Build Confidence and Peace of Mind

Eight tips to help you push through the fear and self-doubt:

There are few of us who escape feelings of fear and self-doubt as we go about our life. Not to worry! We can all learn how to create within us a wonderful sense of confidence and peace of mind as we face all situations in our lives. The book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway is filled with very powerful tools to help us push through the fear and self-doubt in order to create a beautiful and satisfying life. Here is a taste of just a few of these tools…  

1. Build your sense of trust in yourself. Your first task is to build the trust that whatever happens in your life, you can handle it all. Right now, think of something about any area of your life that is bothering you and repeat to yourself ten times the important words, “Whatever happens, I’ll handle it.” I suspect you will immediately begin to feel a sense of peace within your being. These are important words to have when the “what if’s” come up. “What if I lose my job? I’ll handle it.” “What if I get sick? I’ll handle it.” “What if something happens to my marriage? I’ll handle it.” And what does “I’ll handle it” mean? It means, “I’ll learn from it. I’ll grow from it. I’ll make it a triumph!”

2. Do your very best, then let go of the outcome. To help you let go, develop the trust that “It’s all happening perfectly.” This calming affirmation is a shortened version of: “I’ve done my best, but even if things don’t go the way I want them to go, I will simply find a way to be enriched by whatever life brings me. I will learn and grow from it all. Therefore, it truly is all happening perfectly.” Repetition over and over again of this wonderful affirmation, will definitely quiet the negative chatter of the mind and help you let go of the outcome. Peace at last!

3. Stop complaining. Complaining is a big clue that you are not taking responsibility for your experience of life. Instead of seeing life’s obstacles as problems, see them as opportunities, opening the door to growth. When you can control your reactions to whatever life hands you, you have the upper hand. You now have a choice: You can create your own misery…or you can create your own sense of growth and wellbeing. That’s power! Every time you have the opportunity to stretch your capacity to handle the world around you, the more powerful and confident you will feel.

4. Yes, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Often we think, “I’ll do it when I am not so afraid.” But in reality, it works the other way round. The “doing it” comes before the fear goes away. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it. Action is the key. Once you have done something you have feared a number of times, guess what happens…the fear of that particular situation goes away. And it’s then time to further expand the comfort zone and move on to the next situation you fear. That’s what growth is all about. And as your confidence builds, it will become easier and easier to “feel the fear and do it anyway!”

5. When making decisions, adopt the “no-lose” philosophy. The “no-lose” philosophy tells us that “I can’t lose – regardless of the outcome of the decision I make. I look forward to the opportunities for learning and for growing that either choice gives me.” Remember, if you learn through your “mistakes,” there are no mistakes! In this way, the “no-lose” approach to decision-making guarantees that all your decisions will be the right decisions.

6. Know that you count. Know that your presence makes a difference. If you don’t understand this very important fact, act as if you do make a difference! Just keep asking yourself the “act-as-if” question in all areas of your life: “What would I be doing if I were really important here?” Make a list and then take action. Soon you will “live into” the realization that you really are important.

7. Commit 100% to all areas of your life. That means when you are at work or with your family and friends, or meeting new people, or volunteering in the community…or whatever…give it all you’ve got, holding nothing back. When you commit to giving 100%, your sense of focus, excitement, participation, enjoyment, fulfillment, and happiness come alive. What a glorious feeling that is!

8. Say “thank you” a lot. Saying “thank you” is a wonderful way to make important connections in all areas of your life. The words “thank you” can also help you appreciate and focus on all the good that is around you, thus helping you release any feelings of anger and resentment you may be holding. You can see why the words “thank you” are two of the most powerful words ever spoken.

If you, step by step, begin incorporating into your life these tips, your sense of confidence and peace of mind will grow and grow. Remember: there is plenty of time…but now is definitely the time to begin!