4 Ways to Diffuse Everyday Anxiety

It’s the fear that things won’t work out like you’d hoped they will. It’s the panic you get when plans change. Or when anything changes.

It’s the wired exhaustion that comes from an addiction to busyness.


It fuels the perfectionism in your projects and tasks.

It’s everyday anxiety, that can distract us from the magic of the present moment. In our society, this type of stress has become a habit. One that I witness wreak havoc on progress towards a happier and healthier life in my clients, friends, family and even myself.

Here are the mindset hacks I have used to diffuse everyday anxiety and restore peace:

1. Find the Path of Least Resistance


I consider this to be the one most sacred rule of which I live my life. Life wasn’t meant to be hard. It’s a playground to create what we want and should allow us to experience massive amounts of joy and peace.

Peace isn’t something you find one day and never struggle to hold onto.

Should you find you have a task to complete or a new goal to achieve, find the path of least resistance. If one way of achieving it is met with massive resistance, stop, and be open to another way, one that feels better to you. This one practice alone can be instantly calming.

2. Train Your Muscles for Relaxation


Systematic muscle relaxation training is a strategy used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to reduce anxiety.

You can do this on your own – very simply – by choosing a specific muscle, or set of muscles, (such as your upper legs, abdomen or neck muscles) and purposefully tensing them for seven seconds followed by purposeful relaxation of them for fifteen seconds.

Online guided meditations with muscle relaxation are a great tool for this.

3. Schedule “Worry Time”


Scheduling in ‘worry time’ is a classic intervention in CBT used to help you gain control over anxiety and worry.

Here’s how it works:

Find a quiet space all to yourself. Set a timer, for no longer than 45 minutes (less is better) to journal and think rationally about the anxiety-producing thoughts. Two extremely helpful questions I use with clients in my practice are:

How can I see this differently?

How can I feel better about this?

After your timer goes off, ‘worry time’ is over. End your session with a meditation or muscle relaxation. When fear, worry or anxiety creeps in – outside of ‘worry time’, try to ‘save it’ for your next scheduled session.

4. Don’t get Caught in the Fear Storm


Fear storms: when your deepest worries come to life

Fear is all-encompassing. Anxiety takes over. You create problems that aren’t really there. You find new levels of pain, overwhelm and frustration to exist in.

I’ve learned there is a quiet and calm eye to the storm, waiting for us all along. You can find this place by recognizing when in your thoughts are spiraling out of control and attempting to loosen your grip on those thought patterns. Whether it’s through finding a positive distraction, reciting affirmations or by recognizing that you cannot solve the problem in this very moment – consciously pulling yourself out of the storm is often the fastest way to calm your nerves.

Peace isn’t something you find one day and never struggle to hold onto. It is every day work and it is challenging. The good news? We are all capable and deserving of it.

Cheers to finding your peace!

*I am not a psychologist and the mind hacks I shared above are based on my personal experience and the people who need my help,  I, fondly, refer them as my “clients”

5 Brutal Truths About Emotional Intelligence


Ever since Daniel Goleman’s international best-seller Emotional Intelligence was released in 1995, interest in this quality has risen dramatically. Many psychologists and other experts claim that higher emotional intelligence (also known as EI or EQ) leads to better performance, better pay, and overall success. But is emotional intelligence really all that it’s cracked up to be?

Here are five brutal truths I’ve discovered about emotional intelligence.

1. It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s real.

Some claim that emotional intelligence doesn’t really exist, that it’s a myth. The study of EI as a science is relatively new, and many psychologists disagree on its application. But the general idea of EI has been around as long as we have. To boil it down to basics, ask yourself:

  • Do emotions influence your thinking and decision making?
  • Can awareness and deliberate efforts to control emotional reactions make a difference in behavior and outcomes?

The resounding answer to both these questions is yes.

2. There’s no quick way to develop it.

When it comes to emotional intelligence, there’s no microwave way to success. Like any skill or ability, developing EI takes time and dedicated effort.

3. It has a direct effect on your physical health.

Doctors and scientists have proved that stress can cause a variety of health problems, including headaches, muscle pain, stomach problems, and fatigue. It can even increase the risk of heart attack and other serious diseases. This is all the more reason you should learn how to manage stress properly.

4. It can save your relationship.

Think about the last argument you had with your significant other. Where did things go wrong?

Emotional intelligence can help you:

Using EI to deal with disagreements turns potentially destructive conversations into opportunities to learn–and will help you and your partner discover new ways of working together.

5. It can be used for evil.

It’s important to know that emotional intelligence can be used both ethically and unethically. Every day, certain politicians, colleagues, and even supposed friends use emotionally intelligent skills to manipulate others.

Of course, this is just one more reason why you should work at raising your own EI, to protect yourself.

8 Misconceptions About Strong Women


Confident women are amazing, brave, independent, strong and assertive. They know what they want and get it by all means. Before judging confident women, remember these 8 misconceptions about strong girls.

1. They are not sensitive


Many believe confident women are totally selfish and self-centered. In fact, confident women have weak moments too. They can be as sensitive as any other person can be.

2. They don’t like compliments


Any woman – be she strong or weak – loves praises and compliments. Confident women want to be praised and they deserve beautiful words.

3. They know absolutely everything


Yes, confident women are smart and intelligent but they there are something they don’t know about. No matter how hard you try, you can’t know everything. Confident women are not afraid to accept their mistakes. They learn from them and don’t make them twice. Reading is one of their best hobbies but it doesn’t mean they are nerds. They are fun and interesting to hang out with.

4. They’re not afraid of anything


Fear doesn’t choose whom to strike. It strikes everyone. Confident women dread to become weak or broken. When a confident woman faces a challenge or a failure, though, she becomes stronger and her faith helps her move mountains and become more successful.

5. They don’t care about other people’s opinions


There’s a difference between worrying about what others will think or say about you and paying attention to other people’s opinions. Confident women do whatever they want to do because they don’t let others prevent them from being who they are. Girls with weak willpower, on the contrary, let others control their actions.

6. They never get hurt


Strong women get hurt too. They feel pain – they are not cold. They all have kind hearts. Whether it’s someone’s death, a breakup or a discharge, they feel it all. They feel lost, frustrated, and depressed.

7. They can’t love


Even though strong women have trouble expressing their true feelings, they can love. They love animals, people, nature and job. They love life. They deserve to be loved. Instead of moaning and judging, boost your own confidence.

8. They are self absorbed


Just because confident women walk with their heads high and believe in their strength and abilities doesn’t mean they are self-absorbed. Strong women respect others and try to help and inspire them to live a better life.

7 Ways To Train Your Brain To Be Happy

Three Walks


Pennsylvania State researchers reported in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology that the more physically active people are, the greater their general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm. Researcher Amanda Hyde reports, “We found that people who are more physically active have more pleasant-activated feelings than people who are less active, and we also found that people have more pleasant-activated feelings on days when they are more physically active than usual.” It doesn’t take much: Half an hour of brisk walking three times a week improves happiness. The American Psychosomatic Society published a study showing how Michael Babyak and a team of doctors found that three thirty-minute brisk walks or jogs even improve recovery from clinical depression. Yes, clinical depression. Results were stronger than those from studies using medication or studies using exercise and medication combined.

The 20-Minute Replay


Writing for twenty minutes about a positive experience dramatically improves happiness. Why? Because you actually relive the experience as you’re writing it and then relive it every time you read it. Your brain sends you back. In a University of Texas study called “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Words”, researchers Richard Slatcher and James Pennebaker had one member of a couple write about their relationship for twenty minutes three times a day. Compared to the test group, the couple was more likely to engage in intimate dialogue afterward, and the relationship was more likely to last.

Random Acts of Kindness


Carrying out five random acts of kindness a week dramatically improves your happiness. We don’t naturally think about paying for someone’s coffee, mowing our neighbor’s lawn, or writing a thank-you note to our apartment building security guard at Christmas. But Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, did a study asking Stanford students to perform five random acts of kindness over a week. Not surprisingly, they reported much higher happiness levels than the test group. Why? They felt good about themselves! People appreciated them. In his book Flourish, Professor Martin Seligman says that “we scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.”

A Complete Unplug


“The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal,” say Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz in The Power of Full Engagement. And a Kansas State University study found that complete downtime after work helps us recharge for the next day.

Hit Flow


Get into a groove. Be in the zone. Find your flow. However you characterize it, when you’re completely absorbed with what you’re doing, it means you’re being challenged and demonstrating skill at the same time. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes this moment as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

2-Minute Meditations


A research team from Massachusetts General Hospital looked at brain scans of people before and after they participated in a course on mindfulness meditation and published the results in Psychiatry Research. What happened? After the course, parts of the brain associated with compassion and self-awareness grew while parts associated with stress shrank. Studies report that meditation can “permanently rewire” your brain to raise levels of happiness.

Five Gratitudes


If you can be happy with simple things, then it will be simple to be happy. Find a book or a journal, or start a website, and write down three to five things you’re grateful for from the past week. I wrote five a week on 1000awesomethings.com. Some people write in a notebook by their bedside. Back in 2003, researchers Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough asked groups of students to write down five gratitudes, five hassles, or five events that happened over the past week for ten straight weeks. Guess what happened? The students who wrote five gratitudes were happier and physically healthier. Charles Dickens puts this well: “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

Why do we dream?

The human brain is a mysterious little ball of gray matter. After all these years, researchers are still baffled by many aspects of how and why it operates like it does. Scientists have been performing sleep and dream studies for decades now, and we still aren’t 100 percent sure about the function of sleep, or exactly how and why we dream. We do know that our dream cycle is typically most abundant and best remembered during the REM stage of sleep. It’s also pretty commonly accepted among the scientific community that we all dream, though the frequency in which dreams are remembered varies from person to person.

The question of whether dreams actually have a physiological, biological or psychological function has yet to be answered. But that hasn’t stopped scientists from researching and speculating. There are several theories as to why we dream. One is that dreams work hand in hand with sleep to help the brain sort through everything it collects during the waking hours. Your brain is met with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of inputs each day. Some are minor sensory details like the color of a passing car, while others are far more complex, like the big presentation you’re putting together for your job. During sleep, the brain works to plow through all of this information to decide what to hang on to and what to forget. Some researchers feel like dreams play a role in this process.


It’s not just a stab in the dark though — there is some research to back up the ideas that dreams are tied to how we form memories. Studies indicate that as we’re learning new things in our waking hours, dreams increase while we sleep. Participants in a dream study who were taking a language course showed more dream activity than those who were not. In light of such studies, the idea that we use our dreams to sort through and convert short-term memories into long-term memories has gained some momentum in recent years.

Another theory is that dreams typically reflect our emotions. During the day, our brains are working hard to make connections to achieve certain functions. When posed with a tough math problem, your brain is incredibly focused on that one thing. And the brain doesn’t only serve mental functions. If you’re building a bench, your brain is focused on making the right connections to allow your hands to work in concert with a saw and some wood to make an exact cut. The same goes for simple tasks like hitting a nail with a hammer. Have you ever lost focus and smashed your finger because your mind was elsewhere?

Some have proposed that at night everything slows down. We aren’t required to focus on anything during sleep, so our brains make very loose connections. It’s during sleep that the emotions of the day battle it out in our dream cycle. If something is weighing heavily on your mind during the day, chances are you might dream about it either specifically, or through obvious imagery. For instance, if you’re worried about losing your job to company downsizing, you may dream you’re a shrunken person living in a world of giants, or you’re wandering aimlessly through a great desert abyss.

There’s also a theory, definitely the least intriguing of the bunch, that dreams don’t really serve any function at all, that they’re just a pointless byproduct of the brain firing while we slumber. We know that the rear portion of our brain gets pretty active during REM sleep, when most dreaming occurs. Some think that it’s just the brain winding down for the night and that dreams are random and meaningless firings of the brain that we don’t have when we’re awake. The truth is, as long as the brain remains such a mystery, we probably won’t be able to pinpoint with absolute certainty exactly why we dream.