Quitting.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Quitting

Quitting.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Quitting.

“You have not failed until you quit trying.”

― Gordon B. Hinckley

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”

― Muhammad Ali

“Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit.”

― Vince Lombardi Jr.

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

Advertisements

Happiness don’ts.

By David Joel Miller.

Don’t do these things if you want to be happy.

Falling down

When you fall get backup.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Some things add to your happiness, and others detract from it. While it may take some time to build up positive things in your life make sure you are not of reducing that happiness by any of these negative behaviors.

Learn from your mistakes, if you fall down, get back up. Try these tips for more happiness.

Don’t spend time thinking about the pain of the past.

The more time you spend thinking about the pain of the past, turning it over and over in your mind, the more impediments you create to be happy.  Make a strong effort to stop thinking about the past pain and focus instead on the opportunity’s in the present.  Learn the lessons from your life’s past events, but don’t continue to relive those events.

Don’t focus on what is missing.

Happiness comes from enjoying the things you have not focusing on the things that are missing.  Learn to be grateful for what you do have rather than focusing on the things that are absent.

Don’t avoid spending time alone.

Frantically seeking company rather than being willing to spend time alone will not increase your happiness.  Develop the skills of enjoying the time you have with yourself.  Happiness comes from achieving a balance between time spent with others and time spent alone.

Don’t stop growing.

Make your life a work in progress rather than a finished product.  Continuing to grow in life continues to enlarge your happiness.

Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Being hard on yourself or others is not a way to motivate someone to do better.  Learn to lighten up and accept that humans are fallible creatures.  People who can accept their mistakes have a much happier life.

Don’t forget why you’re doing things.

Some things we do because they’re important part because we choose to do them.  If you find you are just doing things out of habit, they are unlikely to be making you happy.

Don’t abuse your body.

Take good care of your body.  Pushing your body too hard results in an unhappy life. You only get one body in this life. Sometimes if your body gets damaged a good doctor can repair it, but a repaired vehicle is never as good as when it was new.

Don’t believe that things can make you happy.

Things come and go in your life.  Having nice things means you can enjoy them for a while.  But over the long-term things wear out and need to be fixed.  It’s not the things that will make you happy it is what you can do with them that leads to a happy life.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Constantly comparing yourself to others is a sure way to reduce your happiness.  There’ll always be people who have more than you.  It is also likely there will be people who have a lot less.  Constantly comparing ourselves to others interferes with your ability to enjoy who you are.

Don’t ruminate about what is wrong.

Dwelling on what’s wrong doesn’t result in fixing it.  Focus on what needs doing and what you can do.  No one hits a hundred per cent.  Recognize that to accomplish anything you must do a lot of things.  Not everything you try it will be perfect.  If you stay focused on the mistakes, you don’t leave room for doing the new things that could make you happy.

Don’t fear change.

Change is an inevitable part of life. Fearing and trying to avoid change keeps you stuck in the past. To maximize your happiness embrace change. Look at the process of change is your opportunity to experience new things. Fearing change keeps you stuck where you are.

Don’t blame others.

The matter what others may or may not have done, you are responsible for your happiness. If you are unhappy, begin by working on yourself. The easiest thing to change is your attitude, the way you view life. The second thing you can change is your actions. Don’t like where your life is? Begin by taking small steps and these was will add up to large changes.

Don’t lose your curiosity.

Curiosity keeps life fun and exciting. Little children can become happy over the littlest things. When you see each day, and everything in it has new life takes on more meaning. Practice using your childlike mind and seek each day to learn something new.

Don’t put things off until tomorrow.

Don’t delay; life is lived in today. Make today the happiest day possible. While you may plan for tomorrow everything you will do will be done today. Make sure you don’t wait to do anything until the opportunity has passed.

Don’t worry about things that are out of your control.

It’s easy to worry about things in other people’s houses and other places. Lots of people today are caught up in worrying about what’s going on in Washington DC or, in their states capital. What you are likely to discover is the things that happen in your house are for far more likely to affect your happiness than things in far-off places. Look for things over which you have control and put your focus there.

Don’t forget your family and friends.

Happy people develop positive support systems. Try to improve relationships with your family where possible. Invest time in your friendships. If your friendships don’t bring you positive results, consider investing some of today into creating new and better friendships. Having positive friends will make you happy

Don’t think that being alone means being lonely.

Lonely people find that they are lonely whether they are by themselves or in a crowd. Learn to be your best friend, enjoy your times of solitude. Being happy when you’re by yourself makes you even happier when you are with other positive people. People who were frantically looking for someone else to make them happy often end up disappointed. If you like you there will always be good company in your life.

 

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

 

Eight steps to clearer thinking.

By David Joel Miller.

Become a more efficient thinker.

PNG of brain.

Clear thinking.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

There are those people who are really clear, efficient thinkers.  Have you ever wished you were one of those efficient thinkers? There are ways that you can become a clearer more efficient thinker.  The skills needed to be an efficient thinker are not something people are born with.  Good thinking is a skill that you can develop. Start by getting your brain running at top efficiency.

Eat a healthy diet.

You brain consumes a significant portion of the calories you use each day.  By some estimates your brain uses 20 plus percent of the calories you burn each day.  To think well you need to fuel that brain.  Give your brain a healthy diet if you want to get good work out of it.  Not only do you need enough calories, but you need enough of all the basic nutrients.  Work on including healthy ingredients in your diet.

Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep will make you a groggy, fuzzy headed thinker.  Begin your day the night before by getting to bed at a reasonable hour.  Efficient thinkers have well-rested brains.  You can’t think at peak efficiency with a tired out brain.  During sleep your brain is cleansed of all the waste products from the thinking work you do each day.

Do healthy exercise.

To be a clear thinker you need a healthy body.  Keeping your body healthy requires a good balance between exercise and rest.  Improve your thinking clarity by getting up from your desk and moving around.  Include some standing, walking and other exercise in your daily routine.

Store information in multiple ways.

The brain stores information that comes in through different channels in different locations.  If you want to be a clear thinker you need to be able to find information stored in your brain.  One way to do that is to store it in multiple locations.  Listen carefully to what you hear.  Take the time to really look at things.  Writing things down helps you to store the memory in another part of your brain.  Some people find it useful to sing or convert things they want to remember into rhymes.

Become more mindful.

Mindfulness is a useful way to train your brain.  Mindfulness practice can help you learn to be less distracted and more focused on the thing that you are trying to concentrate on.  Mindfulness teaches you the skill of ignoring extraneous thoughts and staying on task with a really important thought.

Read to improve your thinking ability.

Reading expands your ability to think clearly.  We think in words and the more you read the more words you become familiar with.  Read widely and increase the number of ideas you are familiar with.

Excite your brain.

Do mentally stimulating things.  Seek out novelty.  An enthusiastic brain produces better results.  The majority of all learning is emotional not intellectual.  If you are interested in a topic, if it excites your mind, this thought becomes easier to remember and make use of.

Match your speed to the project.

Some projects require slow methodical thinking.  Other tasks benefit from a more rapid, creative approach.  If you’re working on a very detailed problem in mathematics or engineering, you need to slow down your speed to avoid errors.  If you need more creative thoughts, keep the flow moving.  Some of the most creative ideas come from brainstorming where you come up with as many ideas as rapidly as possible without censoring them.

Hope these ideas will help you improve that clarity of your thinking.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Life lessons you need to learn.

By David Joel Miller.

What life lessons do you need to learn?

Learning lifes lessons

Life lessons you need to learn.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

You probably went to school for a while or you wouldn’t be reading this. You learned your alphabet, reading and some math. Maybe a little history, very little history if you are typical. What most of us missed out on were the lessons about the required emotional skills. How you get through this life in one piece.

By life lessons I am not necessarily talking about how to cook a meal or wash some clothes, though those are useful skills. What I am talking about is how to go about really “living” this thing we call a life. What do you do to create a happy life out of the raw material that will be thrown at you?

Below are some of the life lessons you may not have gotten enough training in. There are things counselors work on with their clients all the time. If you see any of these life lessons you feel you need to work on, consider some therapy or a good book on self-improvement that covers the part you still need to learn.

Stress reduction will keep you from stressing out.

Life is stressful. There is good stress and bad stress. Much of this thing we call stress is the result of our anticipating what will happen, not the actual happening. In another post about stress I wrote about how people who are going through a really difficult time can be less stressed out than those who are afraid they will have to have that experience.  Accept that stress is a required part of living.  Learn to reduce the impact of that stress on your life.

Emotional Regulation is a skill that will keep you out of trouble.

It comes as a surprise to many people that they can regulate their emotions.  Most of us started out having feelings and then either getting in trouble for those feelings or being told we shouldn’t feel the way we were feeling.  Turns out that learning to regulate your emotions is an important life skill.

Many people end up having to take anger management classes where they learned that it is not other people who are “making them angry” but it is the way they view the situation that creates their anger.  Anger is not the only emotion you need to learn to regulate.  You will feel sadness and emotional pain. People who are good and regulating these emotions feel them but don’t get carried away.

Interpersonal communication is a make or break life skill.

Interpersonal communication is a skill that many people need to work on.  Some people get this skill wrong and develop the belief that interpersonal communication means learning how to tell other people things.  The biggest part of the interpersonal communications consists of learning how to accurately listen to others.  When you get a clear picture of what other people are saying you will discover that there are far fewer things you need to argue with.

Developing a support system isn’t always an easy skill to develop.

Having the support of people in your life makes life a whole lot easier.  For most people, friends were something that just happened.  In the early school grades anyone that you spend time with could easily become your friend.  As we get older it becomes harder and harder to make real lasting friends.

When you are too close to things you miss the big picture.

One important life skill that an adult may still need to develop is the ability to look at things from different perspectives.  Often when people are caught up in the moment things look a very set way.  Learning to step back and analyze situations from other perspectives can help you solve life’s problems.

You can’t be objective about you.

People often work with coaches. counselors and therapists, because they can’t see their own behavior.  Even when it’s painful, it can be really helpful to have someone who will give you an honest version of what they see about you and your behavior.

Encouragement helps you change.

To really grow and progress people need positive reinforcement.  Many people grew up experiencing mostly negative feedback.  The belief in the past was that in order to get people to do better it was necessary to point out every single one of their flaws.  We’ve since learned that if you never hear anything positive it is easy to become discouraged and give up trying.

You need to learn being real can be scary.

Really young kids find it easy to be real.  Young people find it easy to spot people who are being fake.  As we get older, more and more we are likely to hide our real selves.  Often it’s easier to present a false image to others in the hope of being liked.  People who are able to be real have to take risks.  While being real involves taking some scary risks it also results in people being a lot happier.

Are any of these life lessons that you still need to learn?

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Reasons you’re feeling lost in life.

By David Joel Miller.

Common reasons people feel they need to find themselves.

looking for directions.

Lost in Life.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Have you ever felt lost in life?   Are there times when you’re not sure where you’re going, how you’re going to get there or even what you should be doing?

There are a number of reasons why it may be feeling lost.  Take a look at this list and see how many of these issues are causing your lost feeling.

1.  You’re not clear on your values.

Are you one of those people who spends a lot of time trying to figure out if you can do something?  The more important question you should be asking yourself is not whether you can do it, but should you.  Get clear on your own values.  People who find themselves caught up in doing things that are inconsistent with their values often feel lost or confused.

2.  Your goals are fuzzy.

Having fuzzy goals makes it difficult to take action to actually accomplish those goals.  Get clear on your goals and you will have a better road map to where you’re going and how to get there.  Having a clear set of goals, consistent with your values, gives your life meaning and direction.

3.  You haven’t spent time getting to know yourself.

Failure to genuinely know yourself results in a lot of difficulties finding your way in life.  You spend more time with yourself than with any other person during your lifetime.  Invest some time in getting to know yourself.  Learn what you like and don’t like.  What makes you feel happy?  Avoid going along with others because you don’t know what you want. If you’ve never really gotten to know yourself, it’s easy to get confused about who you are.

4.  You’re living by someone else’s values.

If you’re living by someone else’s values, doing things to please them rather than to please yourself, you can easily lose yourself in the process.  Take time to examine the values you are living by and get clear on whether those are really your values or are you living to please someone else.

5.  You haven’t stretched your comfort zone.

People who spend a lot of time staying inside their comfort zones find that the comfort zone shrinks over time.  If you haven’t made a conscious effort to stretch your comfort zone, you’re likely to find yourself disoriented whenever you step slightly outside that zone.  You find yourself by trying on new behaviors and seeing what fits.

6.  You’re not doing enough good things.

Doing things, things you can be proud of, increases your self-esteem.  People who do very few things begin to doubt they’re ability to do anything well.  If you have reached a point in your life where you are feeling lost, it may be because you’re doing very little.  When you’re not sure, make a decision and head off in a direction.  You will learn who you are in the process of doing what you do.

7.  You don’t accept yourself the way you are.

Most people have a mental picture of what they should be like.  Far fewer people have a clear picture of what they would like to be.  The part of themselves that many people struggle with the most is getting an accurate picture of what they are really like.  It is easy to be critical of yourself because you fail to live up to that image of what you should be like you have in your head.  Reducing the discrepancies between these three selves, who you should be, who you want to be and who you are, is the road to self-acceptance.  Once you accept yourself the way you are, you will stop feeling lost and begin to know exactly where you are.

8.  You have let drugs; alcohol or other addictions control you.

Once you’ve given into drugs, alcohol or other addictions they’ve taken over control of your direction in life.  When someone or something else is controlling your directions in life you lose track of where you are and begin to feel lost.  To get back control of your life and that sense of knowing who you are get those addictions out of the driver seat.

9.  You have disconnected your feelings.

Feelings are not an inconvenience to be ignored.  Feelings provide you valuable information.  When you get into the habit of ignoring your feelings it disconnects your emotional compass.  Without those feelings to guide you it is easy to get lost.  Stop ignoring those feelings and get back on a course that is consistent.

10.  You make a habit of comparing up.

There is always someone who has done something larger, better or more important than what you did.  People who constantly compare up begin to feel bad about themselves.  Stop comparing yourself to others and become the unique individual that you were meant to be.  When you accept yourself the way you are you will have found yourself again.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

14 Ways to Become Your Own Best Friend.

By David Joel Miller.

Start healing by becoming your own best friend.

Friends

Best Friends.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Don’t like yourself, start by becoming your own best friend.  If you are plagued by low self-esteem, one of the things you need to do is become your own best friend.  Many people say that they are not able to love themselves.  You will spend more time with yourself than with any other person on earth.  Work on getting to like yourself.  Think about the things that you do with friends and how those relationships develop overtime.  Start feeling better about yourself by becoming your own best friend.  Here are 14 ways to become your own best friend and improve your self-esteem.

1. Don’t beat yourself up.

It’s OK to make mistakes.  Mistakes are improvement opportunities.  Think about how you act with a friend.  If you consistently criticize them and put them down you’re not likely to maintain that friendship.  Make sure you’re not beating yourself up.  It’s OK to make mistakes.  The only people who don’t make mistakes are people who never try to do anything.

2. Don’t insist on perfection.

We don’t expect our friends to be perfect.  You shouldn’t expect to be perfect yourself.  Some tasks may require your very best effort, but many other things in life simply need to be good enough.  Be gentle with yourself and embrace you, flaws and all.

3. Celebrate your successes.

Make sure to stop and recognize the things that you have done well.  Give yourself a round of applause when you succeed at something.  Not recognizing your successes will make the next effort that much harder.

4. Nurture yourself.

You can’t make a plant grow by beating it.  You don’t develop friendships by being harsh and critical.  Develop the relationship with yourself by taking good care of you.  Look for ways in which you can be kind and gentle to yourself.

5. Enjoy being with you.

Being alone should not mean being lonely.  When life gets hectic we often wish we could take a break.  When you do get that break from other people learn to savor and enjoy it.  That alone time should be a time to rest and recoup.

6. Make “you time” an adventure.

In the early stages of developing a friendship we do a lot of new, novel things with that potential friend.  To nurture the friendship that you have with yourself make sure that you do innovative things.  Make your time with you exciting.

7. Want the best for yourself.

Learn to picture what a perfect life would look like.  Want that best of all possible lives for yourself?  Practice believing that you deserve the best in life.  Best does not necessarily mean the most expensive or the latest fashion.  It does mean that you want those things that will make you truly happy.  Don’t settle for a second-rate life.  Focus your efforts on creating the life of your dreams.

8. Stop judging yourself.

You don’t need to judge yourself.  There are plenty of people willing to judge you.  When you have a good friend you accept them just the way they are even when you know their faults.  Do the same for yourself.  However you are is perfectly OK.  Accept yourself just the way you are.

9. Let things go.

Holding onto the past keeps you stuck in the pain.  Keep your eyes on the present and the future.  Avoid rehashing old injuries.  Let bygones be bygones.  The less baggage that you have to carry from your past the more you can live in the present.

10. Surround yourself with things that make you happy.

Make the place that you spend the bulk of your time your place.  Have a few little mementos that will make you smile close by.  The isn’t time or space in your life the things that don’t add to your happiness.

11. Please yourself.

Make sure that you are living your life to please you.  A life that is lived trying to please others often pleases no one.  In friendships we often do things because we know it will make our friends happy.  Do those little things to make yourself happy.

12. Live in the now, plan for the future.

Good friends don’t spend a lot of time rehashing the difficulties from the past.  They enjoy the present and look forward to the things they will do together in the future.  As your own best friend spend the bulk of your time looking forward to what you want to do in the future.

13. Can the negativity.

It’s not much fun being around a friend who is constantly negative.  To be happier cut the negative people out of your life.  To be happier with yourself cut out the negativity that is coming from you.

14. Embrace your differences.

We know our friends are different and we liked than because of those differences.  Learn to celebrate the ways in which you are different from others.  Stop wishing you were just like everyone else.  Improve the things you can, accept the things you can’t.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

Whatever happened to self-control?

By David Joel Miller.

Is self-control a lost art?

Controler

Self-Control.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Self-control is not something you’re automatically born with.  The ability to control yourself is something that develops over time.  As often as we hear about a lack of Self-control you would think that the growing and development of Self-control was a lost art.

Newborn infants are remarkable for their lack of self-control.  Babies cry whenever they want something, and they are totally irresponsible when it comes to eliminating their waste products.  What does it take for these infants to grow into people who have some amount of Self-control?

Parents are the best teachers of self-control.

In the early stages of life, parents have to provide the control that children are lacking within themselves.  Parents who do not make an effort to control their children teach that child they cannot be controlled. If the child cannot be controlled by the parents, then how could they possible control themselves?

Increasingly we see young people, and even those into middle life, who have somehow concluded that Self-control was something you were either born with or will never have.  They have convinced themselves that they cannot control themselves.

How is that related to addiction whose hallmark is loss of control.

Can you see how all people who lack self-control in the small, day-to-day items would be at an extra risk of developing an addiction?  People who find it difficult to resist the urge for more food, to spend more money or to behave in responsible ways, are likely to find drugs and alcohol impossible to control.

Those who are low in Self-control give the job of Self-control up to someone or something that can readily control them.  Addictions like to control their victims.  People with poor impulse control frequently get convicted of a crime.  If you can’t control yourself often the state is willing to appoint a probation officer or parole agent who will take over the job of controlling you.

Which is in control – the mind or the body?

Some people struggle to determine where their lack of control resides.  Should their mind and their thoughts control them?  Or is it the body that is in control?  This false dichotomy, that there are two parts to us, the mind, and the body, makes it difficult to learn Self-control.

Our mind, those things we are thinking about, has a huge impact on how our body feels those things.  Our body, those physical sensations of hunger, thirst and being tired, strongly influence how our mind thinks.

Willpower is a skill that you can grow and exercise.

Willpower is not some separate thing that you have or do not have.  If you feel you’re short on willpower don’t blame your genes and at this point, it’s too late to blame your parents.  Begin the process of growing your own willpower.

Willpower comes from our feelings and our thinking.

For more on this topic, willpower, and it’s closely related cousin won’t-power, check out the other posts on willpower at counselorssoapbox.com

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books