Looking for ways to reduce stress? Why not engaging in a hobby?

Stress is an unavoidable part of daily life for adults. Whether stress arises from work, finances, or relationships, it can be detrimental to your emotional and physical health. There are many ways to reduce stress, but studies show engaging in hobbies has a consistent and lasting effect on stress levels.

The Importance of Entertainment

The Mayo Clinic recognizes stress as a factor in many physical and mental ailments. While some concerns, such as a headache, are temporary, stress can also play a part in long-term concerns like heart disease. Finding ways to reduce stress can also reduce health issues.

2007 study from Indiana University stated: “leisure can help people to successfully manage their stress, thereby preventing illness.” Continued research has increased the understanding of the roles that hobbies can play in health. Study results published in The Society of Behavioral Medicine showed that participants reported feeling less stress and experienced a lower heart rate while engaging in a variety of leisure activities. Those health benefits continued for about an hour after each activity concluded. The study also showed that the stress-reduction benefits of recreation can be achieved whether you have fun with others or on your own – whatever form your downtime activity takes, you can enjoy less stress.

Engaging Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present time and your current actions, without allowing your mind to wander to the past or the future. Mindfulness has been linked to a multitude of positive mental, physical, and social health effects, with even the American Psychological Association touting its benefits. Stressful thoughts, such as worrying about a problem at work, can be cleared away by mindful focus.

Engaging mindfulness practices can be done at any time, as they don’t require any equipment or money. Although it takes practice to have a successful mindfulness experience, getting started is easy. Visual Meditation has a great video to help you to increase mindfulness.

Find the Right Hobby

A successful hobby is one you enjoy. Each person’s tastes and talents will affect the hobbies they can enjoy. Forcing yourself to participate in an activity you don’t enjoy can have the opposite of the desired stress-releasing effects.

Here are some ideas to help you discover the hobby that is right for you:

1. Stamp Collecting

Stamp collecting is a hobby that anyone can enjoy. There is almost no physical activity, making it great for all ages and ability levels. The cost to begin collecting is very low, there is very little special equipment required, and the weather has no effect on this hobby. The American Philatelic Society has all of the information required to start your own collection.

2. Knitting

Over the last decades, knitting has seen a resurgence in popularity. Many people are taking up needles and creating blankets, clothes, kitchen materials, and more. With so much demand for the craft, stores that carry knitting supplies, like Jo-Ann Fabrics, offer classes for beginners and more skilled crafters. Not only do these classes make learning easier, they’re a great way to make new friends. If you don’t feel like taking a class, YouTube has numerous tutorials to get you started.

3. Running

Exercise has been repeatedly shown to reduce stress, and it has the added benefit of helping you stay in shape. It may seem daunting to begin running, but apps like Couch to 5K can help you get started in a healthy and effective way.

4. Gardening

Gardening is often seen as an outdoor activity. You don’t need to own a home or even have a plot of land to have a green thumb! Plenty of plants can be grown indoors. Herbs, flowers, and small selections of fruits and vegetables can easily be grown in window boxes or indoor pots, and in the case of herbs or produce, your hobby can supply you with both relaxation and a meal.

5. Reading

Books can transport the reader to another world, away from their daily stressors. With the innumerable genres and authors to choose from, everyone can find a book they enjoy. Bookstore employees are quick to make suggestions for good books, and e-readers make nearly any book available in a manner of seconds. Reading can also be a free hobby thanks to public libraries; just be sure to return your books on time to avoid late fees.

Stress Release for Everyone

Hobbies are a simple way to reduce occasional and chronic stress. Whether you choose to participate in a solo hobby or get together with a group of friends, there are plenty of different pastimes for you to try out. Finding a hobby you enjoy and combining it with the practice of mindfulness will reduce stress, clear your mind, and have lasting effects on physical and mental health.

About the author:

Elliott Garrick is a passionate blogger and crafts addict. In her spare time, she likes to collect stamps and turn them into beautiful art. She is also a regular contributor to PostageStamps101.com.

What are the habits of people with high self-confidence?

Confidence can be described as a belief in one’s ability to succeed. Striking a healthy balance can be challenging. Too much of it and you can come off as cocky and stumble into unforeseen obstacles, but having too little can prevent you from taking risks and seizing opportunities—in school, at work, in your social life, and beyond.

Psychology Today

Have you ever met someone who mesmerized you only with his presence? In the way he speaks, stands, sits… Some people exude dazzling, glamorous qualities and features that attract others. Others may more or less, lack such perceptible qualities.

But when those shining people speak, they charm. When they talk, everyone is listening. There is a mutual connection -not always in an erotic way, which leaves us with the feeling of wanting more of them. You can call it as you like: self-confidence, charisma, charm, magnetism, elegance etc. But it is certain that those people have that “something” that others love to worship.

The following are the most common behaviors of people with high self-confidence:

1. Proper Body Language

These people expose and use this feature as they move around. This does not mean that they feel self-confident at all times and everywhere, but that they understand the importance of appearing in this way. In addition, they know that the right attitude, the way they are perceived, interacts with the very feeling -a connection between mind and body.

2. Honest Interest in Others

Many of us are trying to find an answer to give, while another person speaks to us. We do it because inaccurate silence is something we want to avoid and we feel unnatural -a by-product of social pressure that is surely inaccurate. True and real sincerity lies in overcoming the need to be listened as interesting persons and using this energy to deeply and truly invest in others.

3. Tendency for Exploration of Others

A one-sided conversation is not at all interesting and certainly not respected. People who understand that they all have a story and take this truth into account are more likely to attract others. So, encourage others to talk about themselves and don’t ignore the details of their life they want to share.

4. Sharing the Attention of Others

People with high self-confidence are not particularly worried if they are not the center of attention. Forget the image of the famous student in the corridors and the yard of the school; men and women with high self-confidence are the least selfish. They will generously share the attention of others; they will praise those who deserve it, and will often try to make others feel happy and motivate them.

5. Giving a Powerful Message

A strong message with a proper purpose. Their personal stories inspire us and reveal their humble and unselfish mood. So tell your story, but try framing it so that others can benefit from it.

6. Being Good Listeners

According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, the expression of interest and questions made participants more open to the idea of talking to the speaker and judging the conclusions of the conversation as more valid. In other words, talk less and listen more.

7. Not Feeling the Need to Be Always Right

In another study conducted by Emory University, the primitive response of the brain “fight or flight” was found to be triggered by the interest of the subject under discussion. Putting it simply, the need to be right lies deep in the human brain, especially if it’s related to our strong passions -and this is true regardless of scientific evidence or logic.

People with high self-confidence can manage their primitive feelings better; choosing to participate and really listen to a conversation regardless of the opposing points of view.

8. Starting With a Positive Mindset

Beginning our day with a positive attitude makes us navigating it easier. So, begin your conversations with a positive note, act with respect and honesty, and leave a positive aura wherever you go.

9. Not Hiding Vulnerability

Contrary to what most people believe, appearing vulnerable does not mean you are weak. This is a very human situation that is both charming and compelling. Being vulnerable without feeling bad about it makes it easier to establish trust and reveals a sense of self-confidence. It also gives a powerful message: that it is ok not to be perfect and that we don’t have to be tough with ourselves.

10. Smile More

Yes, that’s not surprising. People with high self- confidence are most of the times happier and cheerful than other, more insecure types of people. Even a slight smile will relax the atmosphere and make those around you more willing to hear what you have to say. They will also trust you more before they even hear you.

Based on the above, what do you think? Do you have high self-confidence? Do you have these features? If not, would you adopt them?

H/T: Power of Positivity

Are you seeking validation from others? I come across a statement that made me contemplate my role as a human being. I’ve always considered humans as independent creatures, able to do most anything for themselves without issues. But this statement turned my thinking in a new direction.

It said that humans were actually interdependent, not independent at all. Now, I am sure you’ve heard this before, considering this is not a new idea, but I usually learn on the tail-end of things, and it was new to me. With this new-to-me knowledge, I saw the human creature again as a baby, crying and seeking validation.

Afterward, I focused on that word, “validation”, and I knew where we all went wrong.

I examined validation. I read about how this simple word controls almost everything we do if we completely rely on its merits. On the other hand, validation is sometimes important, but just only in the right dosages. This was too much to take in without breaking it down into reasons – reasons for this and reasons for that, creating a somewhat normalized human being.

Why seeking validation is a sign of low self-worth and why we do it

When I was younger, I cared way too much about what people thought of me. I wanted to please everyone and to fit in with the crowd. I was always reluctant to speak up about things in school as well. I found myself molded according to the human model, almost like a clone of everyone else. The only differences between me and the others were my small secret eccentricities. I kept them all hidden, by the way.

I was seeking validation. I constantly asked opinions about what to wear and how to style my hair. I asked if I was fat or if I seemed smart. The questions all revolved around preparing myself to be good enough. But the question is, what were all the preparations for? Who was I trying to be good enough for?

The popular people

This validation was designed to please the popular crowds, the ones who also validated themselves from within and amongst themselves. These classmates were always comparing with each other and seeking validation. I even noticed some of the instructors seeking validation as well, at a mature age. Apparently, they had not analyzed validation yet and had not reached a certain maturation level in their lives.

The consensus was to feel wanted, needed and accepted to feel worthy. Validation was a ruler by which I measured my worth. Now that I look back, it seems horrific, and it all seems like an illusion. It’s almost as if validation was the only way that the human being could exist. Could it be this serious?

Family

Members of your family will also use validation to justify themselves in how they treat each other. They compare cousins with others and children with all the neighborhood lot. Competitiveness fuels this validation as well, creating a standard in which every child must meet its lofty requirements. To say this is unhealthy is an understatement.

How can we stop this?

I agree that seeking validation is damaging, but I can’t in good intention, eliminate the need for it. Healthy validation is the simple act of requiring a sounding board. It’s an echo, an arena in which to vent and it’s something that seems to build confidence when utilized correctly.

As far as sounding boards go, they are simply people who are there, willing to hear what you must say and offering opinions on the questions you ask. This doesn’t mean that what they say is the unadulterated truth, it only means that there is another human being willing to return your concerns.

But these validations should be kept to a minimum in favor of self-validation. A few doses of talking to yourself never really hurt anyone, to be honest. Statements like, “I am important”, “I am intelligent” and “I am beautiful”, are all healthy affirmations which fall into the category of validation.

As I contemplate the independent human being as opposed to validation, I come full circle. I guess we can be independent in a way if we don’t forget to praise ourselves in favor of the opinions of others. All in all, validation is dangerous, but sometimes, for just a moment, we need just a little bit of this concoction.

As a newly discovered interdependent human being, I say, “Give yourself some credit and choose your own opinions over the convoluted ideas of others.”

There are more important things to do than seeking validation.

References:

Improve your Self-Esteem, with Subliminal Meditation

Improve Your Self-Esteem Subliminal MeditationSelf-esteem is how much valuable and worthy you think you are. The thought patterns you’ve created over the years, dictate the opinion you have of yourself.

When you have low self-esteem, you have an inner feeling of low self-worth, doubts about yourself and your abilities, dependency on other’s attention and acceptance, and you are vulnerable to what others might think and say about you.

Instead, a healthy self-esteem is when you rely on yourself to give you validation and approval, and you have a natural, happy, feel-good, and self-assured personality.

So, how can you transform your view about yourself?

The video “Improve Your Self-Esteem” contains thousands of powerful subliminal messages that will make you regain your self-respect, change your thoughts and opinion about yourself, believe you are worthy and feel comfortable just being yourself, without the need to prove yourself to anyone. Try it here and build a renewed sense of self-love and self-worth

This article was originally created and published by Visual Meditation. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution (active link to this article) and author bio.

On the surface, forgiving your parents (or anyone for that matter) may seem insignificant but forgiving your mother or father is actually the best thing you can do for the quality of your life. Even low-grade parental blame and resentment perpetuate a cycle of emotional pain and suffering that can negatively affect your adult relationships, finances, and overall wellbeing, ultimately preventing the love, abundance and happiness you desire and deserve.

If you have no comparison, you might not notice the amount of energy it takes to hold onto an emotional wound or even a small grudge, but holding onto anger, resentment or any form of hostility requires a tremendous amount of life force energy and this energy is non-refundable. Decades of anger and resentment can cut years off your life, and you wouldn’t even know it. Think of it like throwing hundred dollar bills into the toilet each day, except life force energy is infinitely more valuable than all the money in the world.

The Cycle of Suffering

Without healing our childhood wounds and subsequently forgiving our parents, we stay emotionally stuck at the age of our earliest wounds, and because this causes us to repeat the cycle of suffering, we keep experiencing an adult version of our childhood wounds.

For instance, let’s say you haven’t forgiven your mom for missing your tenth birthday or healed the resulting feelings of abandonment; whenever this issue is triggered by a current day experience (ex: someone forgets to call you), the original emotional wound is activated and you drop into an unconscious reaction. For all intents and purposes, you become your wounded ten-year-old self, and because you feel the same pain you felt then, you react by lashing out or shutting down.

Because an emotional reaction is an automatic response to an unhealed wound, there is little or no control over emotions or behavior, and this dynamic can result in a series of current day relationship issues. Year after year, the cumulative effect of emotional reactions can destroy the quality of our most important relationships.

Law of Attraction

According to the Law of Attraction, we unconsciously attract people who trigger our emotional wounds, and this is why a person with abandonment issues attracts potential partners who have commitment fears; not as punishment or karma but rather because our higher selves want us to heal and will use every opportunity to bring our wounds to the forefront. Unfortunately, this means that unhealed emotional wounds can prevent you from meeting your ideal partner or soul mate, and even if you do find each other, the turbulent nature of emotional wounds is known to sabotage even the most ideal partnership.

Blame Perpetuates Pain

Blaming your parents not only keeps the wound alive, it also tells your subconscious mind that your parents currently have power over you or your life, and, therefore, blame programs you for disempowerment. Like a virus, this dynamic can spread to every facet of your life. Additionally, whenever we blame another, we become entangled with their energy and stay entangled until we let go, and, consequently, we cannot grow beyond the parent we blame.

Of course, it’s no big surprise that forgiveness is the key to emotional freedom, but, in most cases, forgiveness is easier said than done. But why?

Why is forgiveness so difficult?

First, you must realize that blame, anger, and various related emotions are defensive guards that protect you from future harm. Since true forgiveness requires you to release this defense, the very act of forgiveness creates emotional risk. Therefore, to forgive your parents, you must trust they won’t hurt you again, but, the hard truth is, you can never be certain – there is no way to control or predict another person’s behavior, and sometimes loving people do hurtful things.

If you are still vulnerable to being hurt, forgiveness could destroy the only defense you have, and, if this is the case, your protective ego will not allow you to forgive. Therefore, before you can forgive, you must eliminate the risk of emotional harm, and this inevitably means self-responsibility.

Responsibility Before Forgiveness

There’s no way around it, as long as you blame or shift responsibility in any regard, you give others the power to hurt you, and as long as you give others the power to hurt you, you’re going to be hurt. Therefore, the only way to prevent emotional harm is by releasing blame and taking full responsibility for every emotion you experience, but there is no point assuming responsibility if you don’t also uncover the dynamics behind your childhood issues. Therefore, to make yourself immune to emotional harm, you must pinpoint the hidden cause of your childhood wounds, and once you do, I will show you how to heal it now.

Understanding the True Nature of Emotional Wounds

We often confuse an emotional wound with the event or experience that caused the wound, but the actual wound is not the situation or circumstance. An emotional wound is the disempowering belief we adopted in response to the experience. Without needing to analyze the details, the core emotional wound is virtually always unworthiness, and, in fact, unworthiness (or conditional worthiness) is the core wound of every other emotional wound.

All children have emotional needs that must be met to feel worthy of love and life; these needs include approval, acceptance, appreciation, understanding, validation, respect, etcetera. Although children require all emotional needs to be fulfilled, one emotional need almost always stands out from the rest, and because this is usually the need least met, it is the emotional need most associated with worth, and, as a result, it becomes the child’s Primary Emotional Need (PEN).

Children naturally adopt beliefs that explain why one or both parents fail to provide this emotional need, so when a child doesn’t receive approval, for example, the child naturally believes she is unworthy of approval, or more likely, she believes she must meet certain conditions to prove she is worthy. Hypersensitive to this need being met, she automatically interprets approval as proof of worthiness and judgment as proof of unworthiness, and this is why judgment can cause intense emotional pain even in adulthood.

Here’s the thing: like every human being, you were born unconditionally worthy, and there is absolutely nothing you can do to prove, improve, or disprove worth. Therefore the emotional pain associated with believing you are unworthy is due to the fact it is completely untrue! Emotional pain is a warning system that alerts you to false beliefs.

Why do we need to be warned of false beliefs?

All disempowering beliefs, such as unworthiness, powerlessness, and victimhood, put us into survival mode, and over time can cause chronic and acute issues with serious repercussions, and, therefore, we need a warning system that alerts us to debilitating beliefs. This warning system is emotion, and, in fact, the purpose of emotional pain is to alert you to the fact you believe a falsehood. Just like physical pain alerts you the second you prick your finger with a knife, so you won’t cut your whole finger off, emotional pain alerts you to harmful beliefs so you can release them.

Without knowing that emotional pain is a sign of a false belief, most of us wrongly interpret this pain; so whenever we feel the emotional pain associated with unworthiness, the pain makes us believe the belief is true, thereby strengthening the belief and deepening the wound, and this perpetuates a cycle of emotional pain.

Furthermore, this internal warning system will stop at nothing to make you aware of a false belief, and, in fact, with increasing amplification, you will attract continuous opportunities that trigger emotional pain until you finally pay attention and release the false belief that is responsible for the pain. All emotional healing is releasing disempowering beliefs.

Entangled in the conscious or unconscious belief that worth depends on getting our parents to meet our emotional needs, we grow into adults, still expecting one or both parents to give us what we need to feel worthy. But, this just sets us up for more pain because it never works.

Why don’t parents meet their children’s emotional needs?

First of all, even the most well-intentioned parents often fail to meet their children’s emotional needs, and, in most cases, emotional wounds have nothing to do with parental love. Oftentimes, childhood emotional wounds are by-products of parenting style or our parent’s unhealed wounds or family issues, such as financial challenges, divorce, or a family member’s addiction, disease, mental illness or chronic depression.

Although parental judgment, criticism, and comparison to siblings or other children are the most common causes of the worthiness wound, almost any dynamic can set the stage, for instance, when a parent is over-protective or over-controlling, a child may feel disrespected and develop the belief he is unworthy of respect, and he may conclude he is untrustworthy, or when a child is told to be seen but not heard, she may develop the belief she is not worthy to speak, or she may believe she is not important.

In most cases, a child’s emotional wounds deepen over time, and as the child matures into adulthood, the wound matures accordingly; manifesting as problematic relationships, financial concerns, career challenges, and health issues, while also making it difficult to pursue one’s dreams and desires.

Many adult children protect themselves from parental judgment and manipulation by closing their hearts and putting up energetic barriers, but despite the defensive quality of anger and blame, it doesn’t protect us from emotional pain because the shield actually keeps the pain inside while it also prevents healing. Regardless of age, every time your parents fail to meet your Primary Emotional Need, feelings of disappointment feed unworthiness and often lead to powerlessness.

The Unworthiness Wound Causes Powerlessness

Do you still need parental approval, acceptance, validation or permission to feel worthy? If so, do you conceal behaviors that don’t meet your parent’s expectations?

This dynamic is quite common in most adults but there is a huge cost involved because whenever you suppress authentic expression in exchange for approval or acceptance, for example, you inadvertently give away your power. In fact, it is impossible to expect your parents to meet your emotional needs and make you feel worthy without giving them your power.

Consequently, the relationship is based on dysfunctional dynamics where you remain a powerless child who is vulnerable to being hurt. Not only does this make you susceptible to parental judgment and criticism, it also makes you vulnerable to manipulation through guilt and obligation.

Although blame is a natural response to powerlessness, it actually tells your subconscious mind that the parent you are blaming has power over you, and, therefore, blame perpetuates more powerlessness. Indeed, you won’t be able to heal your emotional wounds or forgive your parents as long as you blame them for making you feel powerless and unworthy. This is why self-responsibility is the cure, and, in fact, self-responsibility is the only thing that can solve your issues.

Self-responsibility means that you must own your unconditional worth and you must take back your power by releasing the expectation that your parents meet any of your emotional needs, and this also includes releasing the need for apology, acknowledge, or retribution.

Give to yourself what you need from your parents!

As you take responsibility for your life and your choices, you must stop seeking parental permission and emotional support, and, in fact, you don’t even need your parents to believe in you or your dreams. The same reasons your parents didn’t meet your needs in childhood are the same reasons they still don’t. So you can let them off the hook and release all expectations!

Finally, when you know your unconditional worth, and you own your intrinsic power, your parents can’t hurt you emotionally, and, consequently, forgiveness becomes possible.

As dysfunctional dynamics dissolve, it gives way to a new paradigm of relationship based on unconditional worth and self-empowerment. The foundation of this deeper connection is clear boundaries, and, in fact, boundaries can take you from a powerless child to an empowered adult in a heartbeat. Indeed, your personal power is only as strong as your boundaries.

Boundaries are Key!

As an adult-child, it is up to you to set boundaries with your parents. Initially, it might feel uncomfortable, but, over time, strong boundaries will strengthen the relationship and allow for a deeper connection. So, to create a positive adult relationship with your parents, what boundaries do you need as an empowered adult?

Keep in mind, a boundary of respect, for example, is vague and you probably need to define the parameters of respect, so clearly and specifically spell it out in terms of communication and interaction. In all likelihood, you will need to teach your parents how to treat you, speak to you, and behave in ways that reflect respect. It’s also a good idea to invite your mom and dad to establish their boundaries and do your very best to honor them, as well.

Boundaries are set through intention but established with attention!

Effective boundaries require integrity, and this means that you must back-up every boundary with proper and consistent attention. Therefore, don’t expect your parents to automatically know when they are encroaching on a boundary. When people are used to behaving in habitual ways, it takes time to recognize new boundaries and reorganize new behavior accordingly. This means that it’s your responsibility to protect your boundaries, and, therefore, confidentially give clear feedback; tell your mom or dad when they are crossing (or about to cross) a boundary.

However, if either parent doesn’t respect your boundaries, don’t be afraid to limit interactions accordingly, but let them know why, so they have the necessary information to change their behavior. Believe it or not, most parents will eventually learn to respect boundaries, but only if you consistently enforce them first.

Reaping the Rewards

No matter how it seems, childhood wounds always leverage hidden gifts, such as independence, wisdom, or compassion, and without emotional challenges, our best attributes might never be revealed. If you haven’t yet recognized the positive qualities that sprung from your childhood wounds, now would be a wonderful time to do so because the recognition itself can be extremely healing. Indeed, the point is to heal the wounds but keep the benefits!

Finally, always remember that forgiveness is never for the person being forgiven. Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself.

Originally posted at Wake up World.

Some relationships drain your energy systematically, both with overt and covert ways.

There are several types of people that exhaust you or pull you out of the way of your self-care, in order to feel better. These types include the following:

The Criticizer

This type of man constantly criticizes and blames you, like no other, for his own problems. People and situations have nothing else to do than creating disasters in the life of this man, who rather than taking charge of his life, prefers to drop the blame on others.

The Complainer

This man likes to whine. He constantly complains about what is not working in his life, but he doesn’t do anything about it. While your own energy is running out, he gets energy from his nagging, by throwing his problems on you.

The Whirlpool

It’s about the mentally needy man, who “sucks” your energy, constantly seeking guidance, support, advice, information or anything else he needs in order to feel better at that time. Because of his insecurity, the discussion almost always revolves around himself, and you can almost feel the draining of your energy during the conversation.

The Abaser

This man can be dangerous for your health. He interrupts you when you speak, he humiliates you, he snubs you or makes you and your ideas appear ridiculous in front of others. He often defies your limits and may try to convince you that the criticism is for your own good. It’s the kind of man that makes you doubt your own sanity before you doubt his own.

The Challenger

He is the man who lowers and denies you, whatever you say. He often has a strong need to be right and he may find fault in every point of view. It is exhausting to converse with a challenger; eventually, you give up and decide to just listen.

Related: Control Dramas: Roles we Play Unconsciously

The Gossiper

This person avoids the development of close relations by talking about others behind their backs. The gossiper gains power by spreading negative stories and views. By gossiping others, he creates a lack of security in his relationships, whether he realizes it or not. After all, if he speaks about others, he will surely speak about you.

As your self-care is the priority and criterion for life, you won’t tolerate any more relationships that drain your energy. Instead, you will be seeking people that add quality to your life in a positive way.

Do you think that you have people in your life who drain your energy and match the above types? Let us know in the comments below.

H/T: newagemama.com

Reference:

Take time for your life (Random House, 1998), Cheryl Richardson