In Case You Forgot…

It is a beautiful day here on the blog today, don’t you think? But do you know what is even more beautiful? You! That’s right – you. Yes, you. No, not the person behind you. YOU.

It doesn’t matter what gender you are- you are beautiful! And DON’T let stupid false thoughts sneak in telling you any different! Now go think about how beautiful and amazing you are and how much you love yourself, and have a great day.

 

To you and your awesomeness,

Alex 🙂

:) How to Literally Smile Your Way Out of Negative Feelings & The Art of Body Language (w/ Pictures & Examples)

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Smile! It’s Friday 🙂

How often do you find yourself smiling? Next time you feel grumpy, stressed, or down, try forcing yourself to smile for 3 minutes. Doing this will noticeably increase your mood and your happiness.

On a more scientific level, what happens is this: When you smile, you are changing your physiology by partaking in positive body language. It turns out that your physiology directly affects your psychology (brain, thoughts, mood, etc.) and therefore, the positive body language of smiling sends messages to your brain that are in direct contradiction to your unhappy feelings. The reason to smile for a consecutive 3 minutes is to continue to strengthen this process happening in your brain until your negativity is overridden. 🙂

To double the strength of this exercise, smile for 3 minutes in front of a mirror. By doing this, we are activating one of our powerful senses: sight. When others smile at you, it brings on feelings of openness, warmth, and a greater sense of happiness. It is also very easy to smile back. By using a mirror, you are recieving all of these benefits from yourself while compounding your own efforts to efficiently boost your mood. So smile more, and enjoy a higher quality & more relaxing life! Oh and remember to spread the love and smile at other people too!!

To triple the strength of this exercise, practice more forms of positive body language while smiling. The more the merrier. Here are some examples of positive body language (these are all just free stock photos I found on the internet for examples):

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The boy in this photo has excellent positive body language going on. This particular pose (with both hands up in a “victory” type of stance) is scientifically proclaimed to be embedded in our subconscious brain as an action we do when we succeed at something great, or just feel really good.

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Great one to do while smiling at yourself in the mirror for 3 minutes straight like a crazy person. Might as well look even crazier, right? 🙂 This one will make you feel more important and more self-confident, but it only works in front of the mirror or if someone else is doing this action to you. 

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Hands on the hips helps you keep a good overall posture, regardless of whether you are standing or sitting during this exercise. Good posture is also good body language and therefore it will help you feel happier as well. 

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Arms outstretched and open to the world. Opens up your body and lungs to take deeper breaths (which is good for you, and is a topic for another post someday) and this pose helps you feel more relaxed thankful. 

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Hands on the head is a good one to feel more relaxed as well, along with more confident. 

 

 

Hre Are some examples of body language that leads to unhappy feelings (and what NOT to do during the smiling exercise):

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Curled up and closed off. This will make you feel worse than you already do if you are in a state of negativity. Bad.

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Bad posture, hunched over, looking down, not smiling, and looking small in the way that he is sitting – which in turn, of course, makes you feel smaller as well. Also bad.

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Better, as she is smiling, but crossed arms is a sign of defensive behavior and closing off from interaction. Unless you are cold, doing this pose is just going to make you feel more insecure and defensive toward others instead of open and relaxed. 

As you can see, smiling and positive body language is really important to your general happiness. Notice yourself slumping in your chair, or looking down a lot? Those types of body language poses will not help you feel better. Luckily, the body language you use everyday can be changed. It is just a bad habit, so all you need to do is change your habits and replace your bad body language habit with a good one! My Article on changing habits can help you with this.

So smile more and share this article with anyone you think would find value in it! The more we can get people to smile, the happier this world will be as a whole 🙂

 

To your highest quality life,

– Alex

What is happiness? Are You Happy?

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Here is a picture of me looking happy. Truth is that when this photo was taken, I had been fighting depression for about 7 months. I was feeling particularly down that day because I felt like I was making little progress toward defeating depression. It took me a while, but I did end up getting out of depression for good (and 100% naturally) by mid 2013. I can confidently say that I will never fall back into depression again. 🙂

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, The Truth About High School. Although I wrote this book for people in high school, there is a lot of valuable information in the book for anyone of any age. So without further ado, let’s get into it! 🙂


…What is happiness and are you happy?

Happiness is an “inside job” many people say. Which is true, of course. You don’t find lasting happiness in objects, places, or tons of friends. It all must start with you. Happiness is the end result of having positive emotions like inner peace, love, compassion, joy, etc. You come to these emotions by doing what fulfills you, what excites you, and what you are passionate about. You also can get these emotions from spending time with the people who are closest to you and who you really care about. These are the ones who will always be there for you no matter what. Who are these people in your life?

If you are unhappy or constantly negative it is time to reconnect with your happy and positive side. The happy life is one where positive emotions dominate. So by simply enhancing positive emotions, or experiencing them more frequently, you can become a happier person. BUT you need to get these frequent positive emotions through the things and people that fulfill you, or your happiness will be short lived and inauthentic.

Even life circumstances only contribute about 10% to your life’s happiness. This includes getting what you want in life, such as becoming a billionaire or getting married. So if getting what you want doesn’t give you that much lasting happiness, then what does? The answer: appreciating what you really have and being happy within yourself. If you want to be truly happy, a major part of happiness is gratitude and positivity. The happiest people:

  • feel and express gratitude even during tough times in life
  • stay in the moment as much as possible
  • enjoy the simple pleasures of life
  • don’t let unavoidable ups and downs disturb their inner peace

How happy are you? Stop right now and seriously ask yourself this question. If you aren’t sure how happy you are, don’t worry. Happiness is pretty tough to measure. It may help to rate your happiness level on a scale of 1 to 10. Try out this set of questions that can also help you determine how happy you are.

1. In general, I am:

Not happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very Happy

2. Compared to others, I am:

Less happy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 More Happy

3. Some people are generally happy regardless of what’s happening in life. To what extent does this describe you?   

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

4. Some people are generally not very happy. Although they aren’t depressed, they never seem to be as happy as they could be. To what extent does this describe you?

Not at all 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Totally

5. I smile:

Hardly ever 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very often

If you look at the numbers you circled, it will give you a very broad understanding of your happiness level. You could always average these numbers too if you want another way to look at it.

If you got a low score on these questions, then you may be depressed. Take this quiz to find out. This quiz was created by Carol Landau, who has a Ph.D. in Depression. I don’t know if I would have ever realized that I was depressed or gotten out of depression if I hadn’t stumbled upon this quiz during my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to include it in this book because I hope that it helps you like it helped me. Even if it only helps one person, I’ll be happy. So let’s take the quiz!

To be diagnosed with depression, you have to feel extremely sad or have lost interest in life, and you must experience 4 out of the 7 following symptoms every day and for at least two consecutive weeks:

– Increase or decrease in weight or appetite without conscious dieting

– Insomnia or excessive sleepiness

– Agitation or lethargy and difficulty getting out of bed

– Loss of energy and fatigue nearly every day

– Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt

– Difficulties concentrating, thinking or making decisions

– Recurrent thoughts of suicide.

Scientifically, if your mood is constant and lasts more than two weeks, that’s a sign that you might be slipping into depression.

According to Lifescript, which operates the leading website for healthy living, more warning signs for depression include:

  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite changes
  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or self blame
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide

Now, there is a difference between grief and depression. Mourning the death of someone close to you is an exception to the two-week rule. For the first month or two, it is typical to have symptoms similar to depression, such as unrelenting sadness, frequent crying, trouble sleeping, poor appetite, and weight loss. But if it continues for longer than this, with no signs of improvement, then the grieving may have turned into depression.

If you are depressed, or if you would like to know more about depression, don’t wait to get help. Your condition will only get worse. But be careful when getting help. It always amazes me how many people think they know what depression is, and that they can solve it for others when they haven’t even been through it themselves! If they haven’t gone through it personally, then they don’t understand. I promise you this. I learned this the hard way when I was getting out of depression myself. If you think you are depressed, even if you aren’t completely sure, please please please do not wait. It is important to take action and start getting out of depression as soon as possible. The sooner you realize it, the sooner you can get out of it!

Trust me, I have been there. It is a dark place, and it is very difficult to see the light. But when you get a glimpse of light, hold onto it and don’t let it go. Build on it until there is no more darkness. You can do it! If I can do it, then you can too. I believe in you. I know that you have what it takes to be happy again and to get out of depression for good. And, strangely enough, once you have completely overcome the challenge of depression for good, never to fall back into it again… your past depression becomes a gift. How? That is a discussion for another book which I am currently writing, so stay tuned. 🙂

If you would like to be happier, you must take time to consistently develop your inner qualities. Every minute you have a choice of where you focus your attention. The more you relax, try your best, and allow life to unfold, the more you will get out of life and the happier you will be. When your mind starts spiraling into negativity, stop yourself. The more you do this, the easier it will be and the more control you will have over your own thoughts. Eventually, you will be able to decide what you want to think about and what thoughts you want to let pass through your mind. Notice the good things in life. Pay attention to the positive things and be an optimist. Understand what makes you happy, and appreciate yourself. Choose to be happy!

“As long as there is a lack of the inner discipline that brings calmness of mind, external facilities or conditions will never give you the feeling of joy and happiness that you are seeking. On the other hand, if you possess this inner quality, a calmness of mind, a degree of stability within, then even if you lack various external facilities that you would normally consider necessary for happiness, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life. Achieving a genuine sense of happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook, your way of thinking, and this is not a simple matter. In taking care of your physical body, you need a variety of vitamins and nutrients, not just one or two. In the same way, in order to achieve happiness, you need a variety of approaches and methods to deal with and overcome the varied and complex negative mental states… It is not possible to accomplish that simply by adopting a particular thought or practicing a technique once or twice. Change takes time.”

–Dalai Lama

So, what about you…

How happy are you?

Did you just find out that you are depressed?

Do you have a success story?

Feel free to share in the comments. We are a community here and we support each other. 🙂

To your greatest happiness,

-Alex 🙂


Odds & Ends:

  • There is now an Instagram page for this blog’s lifestyle! If you would like to  surround yourself with happy, healthy, and wealthy aspects of your dream life then don’t hesitate to follow @lifetools_official  I promise it will be worth it! 🙂
  • If any of you would like to contact me directly there are two ways:
    • One: Leave a comment on this blog. I will see it 🙂
    • Two: Contact me via Instagram: @lifetools_official . 

What Would You Do?

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Last year I was part of a network marketing company.  There was one thing I really liked about the company’s procedures which really stood out. Whenever we talked to a new person to who was considering joining the company, we would first ask them:

“If time or money were not an issue, what would you do?”

People’s answers said a lot about them and their deeper wants, needs, or aspirations in life (or whether they had given it much thought at all). Whether I knew the person or not, asking this question was like turning on a flashlight in a dark room. I suddenly understood the person a lot better, and I felt like I could see a little bit of their true selves shining through. It made me feel like I was Kalina Silverman in the “Big Talk: Before I Die…” video.

Here are some of the answers I received:


#1. Insurance broker, male

“If time or money were not an issue, I would explore the world, because there is so much out there to see and experience. I would also buy back my family’s farm and have friends and family over often.”

#2. Recent CSU Chico college graduate, female

“If time or money was not an issue, I would like to help others in need.”

#3. Sophomore in community college, male

“If time or money were not an issue, I would Become a model. I would also be a machinist. I would also be a video photographer for film. I would also be a data analyzer for a company.”

#4. College freshman, female

“If money wasn’t an issue I would pay off school and housing before anything so that my parents wouldn’t be stressed out about getting it paid every month. Once that was taken care of as well as my family, I would give back. I would give back to my community and school and anyone else that was in need or anyone that ever helped me. I really wish money wasn’t an issue but unfortunately it is although I know one day it won’t be.”

#5. CSU Chico college freshman, female

“If time or money where not an issue for me, I would definitely dedicate my time to travel around the world. This is because, first of all, I love to travel, and another reason is that i love getting to know more about the individuality of every culture. In this scenario I would also take advantage that I am in different parts of the world to learn more languages. I would also dedicate myself to working out more often – and by working out i mean playing basketball. I love to play basketball. I have played since i was 6 years old and have continued to play until this year which is my freshman year at Chico State University. I would also like to travel with my fiancé.”

#6. High School Senior, male 

“If Time or money were not an issue I would be an artist- like drawing or writing. Probably mostly a writer of novels. I really enjoy it and I have realized lately that I like it. I would also go on a cross country road trip.”

#7. College Freshman, Baseball player, male

“I would hang out mostly- I probably wouldn’t do too much. I would also get a house so that I would have a place to live, and I’d also get my parents a house. I don’t really know what else.”

#8. High School Senior, female

“If time or money were not an issue, I would use it to do things that I have always wanted to do, such as travel around to certain places, and do more volunteer work at certain places and all around.”

#9. UC Santa Barbara, college freshman, female

“If time or money were not an issue, I would be a professional dancer, and I would spend every day hiking and doing stuff outside.”

#10. Father and husband from Twin Falls, Idaho 

“If time and money were not an issue, I would definitely spend as much time with my wife and kids, taking them wherever they want and watching them all grow up right before my eyes, cherishing every moment.”

#11 Community college student

“If time or money were not an issue, I’d probably be traveling. Where? All over Europe, Austrailia, places I’ve never been. I’d want to go with my mom. We get great deals too because she’s a flight attendant.  I’d also be buying cool cars, stuff like that. I’m a Ferrari guy.” 


Do you think that these people should go for their dreams?

“Of course!” you say.

But what about you? Should you go after your dreams? Why are you so hesitant to say yes for yourself, while you are so quick to say yes for others? You know yourself better than you know them, so why do you believe in their abilities while doubting your own?

Fear. We get inside our own heads. The root of your procrastination, doubts, and complaints (including convincing yourself that your dreams will never happen) are due to deeply rooted fear. Fear has been said to stand for “False Evidence Appearing Real” and I tend to agree with this definition. Most of the time, fear is unwarranted. You have to keep in mind that you are the only one who can make your dream life become a reality. No one else is going to do it for you. There are enough people and institutions trying to limit you already, so don’t willingly enslave yourself to your own fears. It is time to put your fears aside and Take The Leap into the unknown.

So, what about you?  If time or money were not an issue, what would you do?

Take your time imagining exactly what you would do, then write down your answer. With the right mindset, you are already halfway there.

To living your dreams,

-Alex 🙂