Category Archives: be self-aware

This Summer, Get Your Life Back Together

This summer is all about big and scary changes for me. What about you? What areas in your life — mental, financial, relationships with siblings or spouses, diet, etc. — need the most improvement? What makes you frustrated or unhappy is the area that needs the most work. Let summer 2013 be all about making healthy steps forward, not backward.

1. Mental Health 

Do you wish you had someone to talk to in confidence? Do you feel depressed, angry, hopeless or frustrated and not sure how to get out of this mess? Gather up your courage and locate a mental health professional. Focus on practical methods of therapy that will help you to focus immediately on the major issues and he or she will guide you to make the necessary changes in life.

  • Find a therapist at therapists.psychologytoday.com and enter your zip code.
  • Choose someone that specializes in areas you need work on (eg: anxiety or substance abuse, marriage counseling) and that accepts your insurance or offers a sliding fee scale — one of the most common reasons for putting off seeing a therapist is the thought that one cannot afford it — not true!
  • Make an appointment for next week.

2. Physical Health

Feel sluggish all the time, tired, and winded going up a few flights of stairs? Recently gained weight? Never exercise? It’s time to change.

  • Start small — 3 times a week for about 30 minutes.
  • Make it easy — take a walk after dinner. No purchases required to get fit.
  • Make it fun — involve your friends/family. Play tennis, play tag with kids, go to the beach and walk along the shore, go swimming, take Zumba, etc. Find something you like.
  • Make it last — attach the habit of exercising with something you already do everyday. Drive past a gym on the way home from work? Keep your gym clothes in your car and head there immediately before going home. Need to watch a certain show every night? Exercise during that program.

3. Spiritual Health

  • If you are religious and have been slacking on going to your church/temple/place of worship, it’s time to recommit. It’s a great place to feel a sense of community and faith like nowhere else and feel like you’re part of a bigger whole, which is comforting. Also, start reading your passages and reflecting silently, too. How can you be a better Christian/Jewish/Buddhist/etc. person today? Can you volunteer, help someone, read a new passage, pray, be closer to nature?
  • If not religious, you can still work on your spiritual health. Practice saying a mantra everyday that makes you feel empowered. Or go to a quiet place of nature and reflect silently.Take steps everyday to remain positive in your life and believe in the magick/karma/The Secret. Meditate. Do yoga. Feel more in tune with your body & soul. Align yourself — become more balanced.

4. Diet/Nutrition

  • This is an important step. Diet has a profound impact on the way we feel, think, and our ability to perform/function in our daily lives. Take this summer to practice eating habits that make you feel better. Journal what you eat, at what time, and how hungry you were. Note how it makes you feel after eating and what emotion you were feeling. Note trends in how you feel hours later or the next day, too — especially if you eat a lot of carbs (sluggish, tired, bloated). Change your habits one meal at a time and become more conscious of the calories you consume — though you don’t have to count them, it’s a good idea if you want to lose weight.
  • Eat cleaner, local, organic foods — search for local farmers markets in your area.
  • Eat more vegetables. Every meal. And try a new veggie once a week or so.
  • Drink water, not calories. An easy way to lose weight and feel better is to drink more water and replace sodas/juices/etc. with water.

5. Social Life/Happiness/Relationships

This is an important one to work on. Ask yourself honestly: How can you be a better…daughter, mother, son, father, wife, husband, friend, relative?

  • What relationships in your life are fading and need TLC? Who can you call that will brighten their face? Catch up with old friends.
  • Ditch the toxic people in your life, as well. If you feel negative when you’re around, make bad decisions like drink/smoke, or if they treat you badly, ditch them. Life is too short to hang around with awful friends. You can always make new friends that align with your goals. Seek them out.
  • Do something that makes you happy everyday. Even if it’s a little bit selfish. If you are not happy everyday, than what is the point of living — seek help if you are feeling depressed, and seek ways to bring happiness into your life on a constant basis.
  • Make an effort to be social, friendly, and confident — even if you don’t feel like it, fake it. It will get easier, I promise.

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If this article helped or inspired you in any way please let me know what you will be working on this summer. I have my own list and I’d like to see what you will be up to.

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Birthdays & Their Yearly Reminder

My birthday was June 4, making me 24 years of age, smack dab in the middle of the confusing, mind-boggling and epic world of the 20-somethings.

It also left me feeling bereft of something.

It also left me feeling panic-stricken, paralyzed that basically one quarter of my life is gone.

My Facebook timeline alerts me daily in real time: of acquaintances, ex-classmates and old friends dealing with weddings, births, moving, leaving the state/country, buying houses, and death. Life is short.

It also lerosft me feeling like the perfect time to really think about what footprint I want to leave on this world, what impact I will have. Because damnit, I want to make one.

But first, I have to start small. Little things in life are the best: my husband buying me roses and cooking me birthday dinner, a small group of friends choosing to spend time with me on my birthday, my mom leaving me a birthday voicemail and having my little brother sing happy birthday to me in the phone (I hit 9 on that one, to save forever).

Birthdays are an intense, quiet struggle of the mind. It faces the grim reality of the loss of one year of life and the gain of another. That chattering chasm in-between the minute you are 23 and the minute you are not. any. more. you are hyper-extended, teeter-tottering on the edge of time, a delicate balance.

The fresh textured white of a canvas, ready to throw paint on its stretched surface, ready for anything.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
― Nelson Mandela

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
― Ghandi

4 Motivational Playlists for Working Out or Working Hard

There’s no question that amazing music lifts you up and transcends your thoughts and emotions into a new place. Here are my favorite 4 motivational playlists found for free on Youtube and for the tech-savvy, free to convert to mp3 for your iPod/listening device (like this one). Enjoy!

Get psyched!


or view on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmVZT05ySfE
Good 30-40min mix of mostly rock tracks from the likes of rise against, breaking benjamin, and even eminem plus key movie soundtracks.


or view on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmfpHP5Upx8
one hour of dance tracks with powerful hits from avicii, david guetta, and more.


or view on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYZDKRQf4ZI
one hour of mixed electro/house hits.


or view on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZuH-TNeGYk
great opening speech “Pain is Temporary” by Eric Thomas followed by an hour of rock/rap mixes (such as: the game, 50 cent, hollywood undead, and body head bangerz)

have any favorites? Post the links in the comments! I love hearing new playlists for my work outs and for general GSD!

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3 Quick Life Hacker Tips: Sunday Edition

  • It’s important to be consistent in healthy and creative habits.
  • Remain positive even if you have to force yourself: adjust your attitude.
  • Put your goals in your view everyday, all the time — write them down, think about them, be a little bit obsessed — it’s how you become great.

check this out for great positive images on Pinterest.

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That Moment When You Realize How Much You Already Have in Life

from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc4HGQHgeFE/

Sometimes it’s hard to think of everything you have to be grateful in life, and instead think about what you dont have, or think about the person you’ve yet to become, the lifestyle you endlessly desire.

Until you see a video like this.

Inspired and moved to tears..

For more see Nick’s channel. http://www.youtube.com/user/NickVujicicTV

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3 Quick Tips I’ve Learned This Week

Sunrise
source

1. I’ve been working on my new site for the past week and it’s going swimmingly. Really I just dove in after thinking about a basic plan (basic keyword research, basic content plan, ideas for monetization and promotion). Once I saw a great keyword-optimized domain name, I decided to jump in and start. Is there something that you are waiting for the opportune moment, that perfect time to do it? Well, I’m here to let you know that there is none. Tip: stop waiting, and just do it. The worse that could happen is that you could succeed.

2. Sometimes the best motivation you can get is by talking with an older and wiser friend. Our conversation far exceeded normal conversation and felt more like a one on one therapy session with a success coach. I hung up my phone with a renewed sense of clarity and focus for my goals. Tip: who is able to help you, even if all they offer is their listening ears?

3. I’ve definitely been working long hours on my new website. It’s in a niche I’m excited in, and I wasn’t going to launch officially yet until I was completed with everything. But I said, Oh, what the hell (see tip #1) and started a double-prong attack of a)creating original content and b)building organic traffic. These take time, but when you do it right, you only have to do it once. I wouldn’t feel right having others write my articles or scraping unoriginal content from the internet (which oh hey, is also plagiarizing). Tip: if you’re going to do it at all, do it right. Don’t half-ass anything.

I’m excited about the future, but I also know that I can’t do it all. I’ve suspended my Fiverr gigs so I can focus on being on the other side of the internet marketing biz. I already have a list of 3-4 other niche ideas that I need to research the market on to find the exact micro niche possibilities that will prove to be profitable, and I have a huge learning curve ahead of me for getting traffic to my sites, but I love it all. Everything about it. Even “working for free” as I spend time writing my content and ebooks.

What brings you excitement this week? Make sure you spend time working on your goals everyday.

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2 Life Fulfilling Activities To Do Right Now

Many people search for ways to find their life’s true purpose or help to discover what to do with their life. They are lost, scared, confused, unsure, and stuck. Does this sound like you? Then it is time to take control.

1. Set aside 10 minutes each morning to write in a journal. But you don’t have to wait — do it now. Preferably with real paper and a real pen. Pick your favorite pen, one that writes smooth. This process is relaxing and lets you get your worries and goals on paper. Note what you are a)grateful for, b) working on and c) worried about in your journal everyday. Don’t worry about the mechanics, grammar, spelling, or aesthetics of your writing. I don’t care if you throw the paper away when you’re done. Just get it out. That is the important part. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day; the key is to make this a daily habit, but even if you do this 3-4 times per week you can still benefit greatly. Results are immediate and begin with the first day.

2. Set aside one hour each day — START TODAY — for doing something pertaining to your true passion. If you don’t know what that is yet, start by finding something that you enjoy doing. If you have an idea, start learning about it — immerse yourself in websites, books (library or purchase), conversations with friends and strangers, watch movies about it, etc. Take notes, and learn from what you read/watch/see/hear. Generally, your hour should be spent learning about the thing and/or doing that thing that makes you squeal, feel excited, etc.

I’m currently immersing myself in learning everything there is to know on copywriting and the psychology of advertising/communication. I’m taking notes on The Copywriter’s Handbook by the legend Bob Bly, and I have Ca$hvertising by Drew Whitman in queue. I have a wishlist on Amazon right now full of books about internet marketing and copywriting. I feel excited when I write down my future plans 🙂 and you should, too! Most importantly, you should be PLANNING & writing.

Thoughts on this article? Inspired by this piece? Let me know in the comments below.

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The “Better Life” Epic Brainstorm List

My previous post has me thinking about how I want to be looking back at my life 5 years from NOW. I want to be leaps and bounds away from where I’m at currently, in multiple areas of my life, physically and mentally.

So here’s how I’m going to do that: epic brainstorming sesh.

I’m going to uninhibitedly thing of anything and everything that I want my life 5 years from now to consist of, include, become, do, have, and think. because in order to change, you must first write it down. so do it with me.

i will be 100-120 pounds thinner. i will eat a low-carb paleo-inspired diet rich in greens, healthy proteins, and whole foods. i will regularly engage in exercise, and become someone who likes running. i will participate in 5Ks regularly for the fun of it, especially the Color Me Rad event. my brain won’t be foggy and it will be easy to concentrate and focus. my mind won’t wander; mostly, because i will be eating the right foods and giving my body vitamins and nutrients. i will drink plenty of water, and almost never soda. i will learn to love coffee with either  splenda, truvia, or drink it black. i will drink tea mostly, unsweetened, if i desire a caffeine boost. i will have protein shakes for breakfast and make delicious smoothies. i will walk to places that are close by. i will play tennis at the park. i will go hiking for fun, and explore nature around me. i will take a jog by the beach at sunrise. i will take hard boot camp classes and kickboxing and feel healthy and strong like a woman should.

i will have an office space in my next apartment that is solely for me; with inspiring notes, pictures, and words of wisdom. i will have a bookshelf or kindle with the best books on it and read my favorites and discover new authors that i love. i will make a good amount of money writing; i will have increased my rates to one i feel comfortable working for, and my clients love my work. i get new exciting projects all the time and more people recognize my work online. i will have finished a novel and will mostly self-publish online as an ebook. i will be working on other novels and projects all the time; always many projects half-finished. but i am a productive worker, i get things done when i need to and i don’t have a hard time concentrating or focusing. i make enough money online through freelancing and website projects that i do not have to have a job, but i do anyway because i like working. i have enough money saved for an entire year of emergency income, and i am never late on bill payments. my husband and i have a one-bedroom in a southern state because i hate the snow, and he is going to grad school. our love life is amazing and we go stronger and closer everyday. i have a good circle of friends and i talk to out of state friends regularly online. i am networking with other bloggers and freelancers.  i am taking online web design classes and paying off student loans from my bachelor’s degree. my part time job utilizes my love of psych to help children, adolescents, or mentally disabled kids in some way. i am thinking of going to grad school for a teaching degree before we start a family. i am contacting agents to realize an important dream of mine, to become an offline published author, with a real physical book with my name on it.

just writing this out makes it sound a little more do-able. i am excited for my future, for tomorrow, next week, and to see how the next five years will pan out for me.

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Who I Was 5 Years Ago, Plus LinkLove

coolthingnotext

I am a super self-improvement nerd, reader and collector of all things self-help, psychological, inspirational, motivational, and ass-kicking.  =) So I think it’s about time I compile what I’ve been reading on the interwebz as of late.

Lately when I find it difficult to concentrate, or if I am feeling like I cannot accomplish my goals, I turn to any of these links and I am met with sparkling inspirational abundance. Each of the people behind these links transcends my goal-setting into overdrive as I can only wish that someday I can be a fraction as inspiring and awesome as they are…

These have become part of a massive list of great blogs I have on my Evernote.

Jessica Mullen ESPECIALLY School of Life Design
Get Rich Slowly
I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Lifehacker
Pick the Brain
Zen Habits
As always, Steve Pavlina but ESPECIALLY this, this,, and this

And my good friend allyssa‘s new blog just oozes amazingness. She inspired me to write about this:

Me, 5 Years Ago…Vs. Today

Five years ago, in 2008,  I was 19 years old. I was a second-semester freshman at Southern CT State University. I had just graduated high school, and I was excited to be going to college. I didn’t get a room so I was using multiple modes of transportation to get to school. It was exhausting, and I was also working part-time at a local drive-in (fast food joint). My major was Psychology. I had been going out with my boyfriend for 3 years now. Gosh, it’s hard to think so far back in time. It feels like forever ago. I barely remember my classes taken at SCSU. I was drinking pretty regularly and just experiencing going to night clubs, but it was hard to make friends at the college since I was only there for classes. I weighed a lot less than I do now, mostly due to walking everywhere, and I still lived at home. I mostly went to Burt’s house to see him, though.

My parents got divorced, and in 2009, my mom remarried and got pregnant. She kicked me out of the house and I had nowhere to go, but Burt’s family let me live with him. I was stressed and poor and I ended up dropping out of SCSU to avoid failing all of my classes that I never went to. I never, ever thought I would do this. Little did I know that I would transfer colleges twice (attending 3 institutions), and drop out of college twice…

I began to gain weight since I didn’t care, and we always ate out. Soon I was extremely overweight. I was working a lot but I felt like something was missing. I decided to attend community college, which was in the same city I lived, so commuting was easier. I also managed to afford another car, so it made driving easier. I also got another job. I got my Associate’s in 2010, and felt pretty good, besides my weight.

Which brings me to where I am today, in the cusp of 2013. I am now 23, turning 24 in June, and happily married to the boyfriend I’ve loved since 2005. I have went from unhappily attending SCSU, dropping out, transferring to community college, receiving my AS in General Studies, and transferring to CCSU, another state university. We moved to our first apartment, and out of a destructive environment. Probably due to the depression that keeps coming back, I became unhappy at CCSU and didn’t see the point in anything. Actually I  almost dropped out of CCSU, but I took a leave of absence instead (with the coaxing of the registrar guy) to withdraw from last semester and am now happily enrolled full time this semester. My GPA took a huge hit due to failing classes and bad attendance, but I’m determined to finish my Bachelor’s Degree. I’ll be the first in my family to get one.

so what has changed in five years? Sometimes I still feel like the lost teenager, crippled with depression and anxiety that makes it nearly impossible to go to class. My weight and health is poor, and I’ve quit cigarettes 5 times (going on 3 months right now cig-free again). My weight is at an all-time high, but I’m actively making changes to lose weight again.

I’ve definitely matured in five years, though in the midst of depression I don’t feel like I have. I feel like I am less depressed but my anxiety is much worse. I am trying to solve this without the need for pills. I still feel like a lot of things would be easier when I lose weight.

I still feel like I have a lot of things to work on in my life. My mind changes constantly, and I love trying new things. But I still love reading and writing. In November I reached 35,000 words in my NaNoWriMo novel, and I’m determined to finish it. I truly want to be a writer.

And that is pretty much the only thing I’ve figured out, even though I knew it all along. But now I have clearer paths to become that writer I’ve always wanted. I’m making money with it online, and I write for fun in this blog of mine and offline, as well as working on the novel. I also occasionally write poetry, but that was more my thing during the depressed years.

So my epic goal for 2013 and beyond? I will become a writer, and I will define personally what that means for me in terms of success.

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Experimenting with Brain Waves

brainwavesI’ve been writing pretty exclusively on Fiverr and I get to write about the most interesting things sometimes. One of them is a couple articles about brainwave entrainment. Me being a Psychology major, I dig stuff like this, so I enjoyed researching. Soon, I found myself intrigued, and I looked at YouTube to try listening to some binaural beats myself.

Supposedly, brainwave entrainment is supposed to train your brain to sync to a lower frequency. The lower frequencies, called deta, theta, and alpha, allow you to get into a higher mental state through meditation and relaxation. Each frequency corresponds to a state of consciousness; deta is actually the brainwave dominant when sleeping or unconscious. Theta and alpha are the goal brainwaves for inspiring relaxation and getting away from beta, which at a higher frequency, promotes anxiety and high-strung behaviors.

There are a number of programs to buy, but I like sticking with free for now, so I found a couple that actually help me to focus. There’s a few different choices that have different effects like monaural, binaural, and isochronic. I just listen to different ones and see what effect they have on me, and if I can handle the sound. It helps to sit or lay comfortably, and focus on breathing like any other meditation. Instead, you are listening to specific patterns with headphones that help you to focus. On the mind level, it promotes theta or alpha brainwave frequencies.

People say that it helps to inspire focus, creativity, a better meditation experience, more relaxed lifestyle, and some even attribute it to letting go of negative thoughts and actions. I find that even if it is just another way to help me to relax, it is a good thing to try. I lay down, close my eyes, and think about a word or a thought that I want to think positively about.

Here are some videos I dig:

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