Release Yourself from Expectations

The way we perceive the world is, in part, based upon our expectations. As we get older, we gain life experience and tend to expect certain behaviors, good or bad, from society.

I’ve learned through jobs, friendships, and intimate relationships that I cannot go into them bracing for impact or filled with excitement. I have to go in with zero expectations.

As I was researching essential oils and mental clarity, I discovered the term “shoshin.”

There is a concept in Zen Buddhism known as shoshin, which means “beginner’s mind.” Shoshin refers to the idea of letting go of your preconceptions and having an attitude of openness when studying a subject. When you are a true beginner, your mind is empty and open.

This is possibly one of the most important concepts to live by!

I constantly tell myself to go into every setting with an empty cup. If I go into a situation with a full cup, I won’t be present. I would have already walked in with a preconceived idea of what’s going to happen, how I’m going to react, and how things will end. My expectations would mentally prepare me to get rejected, not be heard, and to not get excited. Yes, this can be viewed as self-sabotage, but when you have these experiences multiple times, you brace for impact. There have been times when I’ve built positive expectations and thought of all of the wonderful possibilities only to have it get shot down because I was anticipating a better outcome.

With shoshin, you live your life with an openness which causes less anxiety. Whether you’re going on a date, you want a particular job, or something else you have a yen for, toss it into the universe and go with the flow. Conceive positive thoughts, but don’t fill your mind with the good or bad that may or may not happen. If it’s meant for you and you put the work in, it will come.

Keep your mind open, expect nothing, look for the good in each situation, but most importantly, keep your life moving.

10 Stress Busters to Live a Better Life

It’s hard to combat stress and anxiety in a world that can drive you insane. It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious about situations that make you feel frustrated, nervous and uneasy. When it starts interfering with your daily life, that may indicate a more serious issue.

How to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Eat a Well Balanced Diet
When it comes to appetite, stress and anxiety can either make you eat more or less. When I’m stressed, all I want to do is eat and sleep the day away. It may be difficult, but you have to continue to fuel your body with a well-balanced diet. Never skip a meal, eat energy-boosting foods and drink plenty of water.

Discover Your Triggers
Something in your life is triggering your stress or anxiety. Family, work, school, relationships, or friends may be the cause. Keep track of when you feel fine and when you become irritable, nervous or experience any other physical symptoms. Try to avoid stressors if possible. Writing in a diary and keeping track of your emotions will also help.

Exercise
Exercise helps increase the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Physical activity allows you to focus on getting through your workout which results in a better mood. For me, it is hard to feel motivated enough to work out, but once I force myself to get up and start moving, the workout takes over and I’m proud I did it.

Talk to Someone
Keeping in feelings is never a good thing. Open up to friends or family that you trust. Simply expressing yourself can relieve stress. Talking to someone can also lead to advice you can utilize. I find this difficult to do for myself because I feel like I’m going to be judged or my feelings will be tossed to the side. Choose who you talk to carefully. Don’t talk to those who are self-centered and wouldn’t care about your thoughts. Choose someone who is empathetic.

Sleep
Stress and anxiety are exhausting on the body. Getting at least eight hours of sleep is important for your body to properly get rest.

Time-Out
Listen to music, go to the movies, take a hot bath, meditate, do yoga or simply go for a walk alone. Do something for yourself! Step away from the stressful moment to mentally breathe and clear your head.

Limit Alcohol and Caffeine
Avoid the “I need a drink” mentality. Caffeine stimulates your nervous system. This can result in a rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure. Sipping on a little alcohol may seem nice, but alcohol stimulates the production of the same hormones that produce stress. A study at the University of Chicago revealed alcohol and stress feed each other.

Keep a Positive Mindset 
If the only thoughts running through your head are negative, your outlook on life will be negative. Our minds can generate so many negative thoughts and scenarios. Positive thinking just means approaching situations in a more positive and productive manner. Self-talk, the little voice in your head, is the most damaging of all. Learning how to shift your thoughts will allow you to cope with stressful situations.

Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Many times stress and anxiety are caused by an individual trying to be perfect or live up to certain expectations. Everyone is different and being perfect isn’t possible. We live in a social media world where everyone only shows the good in life causing a false image of their lifestyle. This causes envy or jealousy. Be the best you can be. Perfection doesn’t exist. Everyone is struggling with something regardless of how pretty that picture is.

You Can’t Control Everything
Being able to accept things that are out of your control will help you manage stress. There are times when you have to stop resisting and embrace the lesson. There are times when you can’t change things and that’s OK. It’s hard, but it needs to be done. Put things into perspective by asking yourself, is it as bad as it could be?

“Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps, an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings.” ~Arthur Rubinstein

Though you can use these tips for stress management on your own, if you feel as though your stress and anxiety is unmanageable, please seek professional help or ask others to help you find the support you need.

Utilize the helpful tips above to live a happy and stress-free life that you deserve.

Open Your Heart

We unknowingly go through life closed off to people, the environment, and social situations. Yes, we interact with people on a daily basis, but are you truly yourself 100 percent of the time?

Life is constantly tossing us challenges and the results will often change us, for the better or worse. Happiness is a state of mind and a choice. Regardless of what challenges you’ve had, it is time to choose happiness. Yes, it can be hard, but it starts with opening your heart.

Opening your heart starts from within. It will allow you to eliminate sadness and unforgiving thoughts of others and ourselves. Absorbing positivity will generate a sense of mental freedom and clarity.

Appreciate who you are and be yourself. Many people wander the earth without knowing who they are. Do you? Are you simply going through the paces of life like a robot? Stop and take a moment to discover your true self.

Be open to receiving anything and everything. It’s great to be independent, but even the most independent person needs help. Instead of rejecting help, take it. Take some of the weight off of your shoulders. Accepting help will not devalue your independence or strength.

Open your heart to past mistakes, accept them, learn from them and move into the future with newfound knowledge. The past can eat at us. Don’t lose sight of who you are now and how you can better yourself.

Do something you love every day. For me, it’s writing. It is sometimes hard for me to organize my thoughts because my brain is constantly churning. Writing helps me focus my thoughts and express myself. Sometimes, reading my own words is therapeutic. 

The Power of Sharing and Generosity

Sharing or generosity is an undervalued attribute in society. We live in a world where people feel as if sharing will minimize their opportunities, time or money. Some people will only give when the opportunity suits them or when they want something in return. What happened to genuinely wanting to share?

When you’re open to sharing, materialism will have less of a grip on your life. You will be able to shift your focus from yourself to the object of your generosity. You won’t be the center of attention for that moment and that’s OK. Even a meager dose of generosity can change someone’s life.

Studies have shown that people who are generous, feel happier, more fulfilled and confident. This psychological change helps people to discover their purpose and can lower their sense of selfishness.

The mindset of competition in everything we do is a false premise. If you are a successful artist, business person, musician, or any other form of expert and have the knowledge to help someone else, share it. People who are truly generous know that life is short and they only have a small amount of time to leave an imprint on this earth.

When you genuinely share, people will recognize you as a helpful resource. Let’s face it, this can be negative and positive. You do have to be careful with people who are grateful for your help but will try to take advantage of your generosity down the road. Hopefully, you’ll encounter more people who will never forget the generosity you provided and will be there for you in your time of need without asking.

This world needs more generous people! 

Do you consider yourself to be a generous person?