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9 Small Ways to Have a Better Day at Work

9 Small Ways to Have a Better Day at Work

For many of us, work comprises a big chunk of our days. So when you’re in a bad mood, that day can feel especially long and laborious. Plus, your stressed-out state, whether job-related or not, can hamper your productivity and performance.

The good news is you can take small actions to improve your day. This way you not only feel better, but you’re also able to focus on your work.

Below, Jude Bijou, MFT, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Santa Barbara, Calif., shared her strategies on how to have a better day at work.

1. Identify your murky mood.

People often experience a bad day at work because they’re holding onto unexpressed emotions, such as sadness, fear or anger, Bijou said. When you’re in a bad mood, ask yourself which one of these emotions you’re experiencing.

2. Release that energy.

After you identify the emotion, take several minutes to release it in a safe place, Bijou said. For instance, if you’re sad, go to the bathroom or your car, and allow yourself to cry, she said.

If you’re anxious, shake out the anxiety. Allow yourself to shake, shiver, shimmy and even make silly noises for several seconds or several minutes, she said. These kinds of physical reactions are actually our body’s natural way of releasing fearful energy, she said.

If you’re angry, stomp around. “Go into the bathroom, grab the door of the stall, and shake it back and forth.” Or go outside, and push against the wall of the building, she said.

Give yourself permission to move that energy out of your body. Holding onto these emotions only leads to compensating, Bijou said. We compensate by thinking bad thoughts, making mistakes at work or being abrupt with coworkers, she said.

3. Take a gratitude break.  

Take several minutes to think about something or someone you really love, such as your family, pet or home, said Bijou, also author of the book Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. “This helps to shift your reality a little bit.”

4. Spot the negative chatter.

My boss sucks. He’s giving me too much work. My coworkers are so annoying. I’ll never get this done.

Before you even realize it, your brain is abuzz with negative thoughts, which fuels frustrated feelings and worsens your day.

Pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself, Bijou said. “Then find the contradiction that’s true.”

For instance, if you’re thinking, “I”ll never get all of this done,” consider contradictory statements that will support you. You might say, “I’ll do what I can. One step at a time.”

5. Repeat this mantra.

You might wish that things were different at work. You might think your boss or coworkers should be a certain way. Instead, according to Bijou, remember: “People and things are the way they are, not the way I want them to be.”

For instance, rather than hyper-focusing on “How could they do that to me?” accept the person or situation. Then consider what you want to do about it, she said. This way you’re taking appropriate action, not behaving from an emotionally reactive place.

6. Communicate effectively.

If you’re going to have a discussion with your supervisor or colleagues, stick to the specific topic, such as “I’d like to discuss what happened at yesterday’s meeting,” Bijou said. And focus on what’s true for you, such as “This is what happened, and this is how I feel about it,” she said.

7. Pinpoint the trigger.

A specific event no doubt sparked how you’re feeling. So identify exactly what derailed your mood, and then handle that one thing, Bijou said.

8. Refocus.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, refocus by making a list of everything on your plate for the day, Bijou said. Next ask yourself, “What’s the most important thing I need to do right now?” Then take small steps to accomplish that task, she said.

9. Reach out.

When you’re having a bad day, it’s easy to stay inside your head, Bijou said. Instead, reach out to a coworker, and ask them how you can help. Also, express your appreciation, or compliment them, such as: “I appreciate that you’re always early,” or “I love what you’re wearing.”

Frustrated feelings don’t have to turn into a bad day at work. Fortunately, by taking small steps, you can transform your mood, minimize your stress and refocus on your projects.

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The Forty-Two Precepts of the Buddha


The Sayings of the Buddha in Forty-Two Sections

by Kasyapa Matanga and Gobharana

Human nature is designed in such a way that, without proper guidance it is attracted to the wrong aspects rather than the right. That is why there is a need for such a thing which can tell man how to live and explain the concept of good and bad.

The specialty of Buddha quotes is that they are like food for the analytical part of our brain. All of the Buddhist sayings are not like rules which should be followed. They are put down in a poetic manner with simple similes and metaphors so that people can think about it and understand it, rather than just following it blindly. This is the reason why these sayings have the ability to affect any person in a positive manner.

Thus, the famous Buddha Quotes are like the perennial spring of wisdom, from which people can learn and understand the various truths of life.

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Introduction:

This text was said to be the first official Buddhist literature which was composed for the Chinese by two early Indian missionaries, Kashyapa Matanga and Gobharana, during the reign of Emperor Ming of the Later Han Dynasty. The translators extracted all the passages from different Buddhism scriptures which they brought along for their missionary purposes. It was complied after the fashion of the Confucian Analects to suit the Chinese and therefore each section begins with “The Buddha said” which corresponds to the Confucian “Confucius said”. It was therefore specially prepared for the Chinese Buddhists and it contains a good collection of moral and religious sayings of the Buddha.

The main text:

When the World-Honoured One had become Enlightened, he reflected thus, “To be free from the passions and to be calm, this is the most excellent Way.” He was absorbed in Great Meditation, subdued all evil ones and later in the Deer Park caused to turn the Wheel of Dharma, which consisted of the Four Noble Truths:


1. Life is Suffering.
2. Ignorance is the cause of Suffering.
3. The Cessation of Suffering which is the goal of life as it transcends pains and pleasure.
4. The Way to Cessation of Suffering is the Noble Eightfold Path which consists of:
(1) Right Understanding
(2) Right Thoughts
(3) Right Speech
(4) Right Action
(5) Right Livelihood
(6) Right Effort
(7) Right Mindfulness
(8) Right Concentration.

He converted the five bhikshus, Kaudinya and the others, inducing them to attain Enlightenment.

Again, there were other bhikshus who implored the Buddha to remove their doubts which they had concerning his doctrine. The World-Honoured One illuminated all their minds through his authoritative teachings. The bhikshus, joining their hands reverentially prostrating, following his sacred instructions.

1. The Buddha said, “Those who, taking leave of their families and adopting the life of renunciation, understand the mind, reach the source, and comprehend the immaterial, are called Sramanas.

Those who observe the two hundred and fifty precepts of morality, who are pure and spotless in their behaviours, and who exert themselves for the attainment of the stages of progress, are called Arhats. The Arhat is able to fly through space and assume different forms; his life is eternal, and there are times when he causes heaven and earth to quake.

Below them is the Anagamin who, at the end of a long life, ascend in spirit to the nineteenth heaven and obtains Arhatship.

Next come the Skridagamin who ascends to the heavens (after his death), comes back to the earth once more, and then attains Arhatship.

Then come the Srotaapanna who cannot become Arhat until he has passed seven more rounds of birth and death. By the severance of the passions is meant that like the limbs severed they are never again made use of.”

2. The Buddha said, “The renunciate Sramana cuts off the passions, frees himself of attachments, understands the source of his own mind, penetrates the deepest doctrine of Buddha, and comprehends the Dharma which is immaterial. He has no prejudice in his heart, he has nothing to hanker after. He is not hampered by the thought of the Way, nor is he entangled in karma. No prejudice, no compulsion, so discipline, no enlightenment, and no going up through the grades, and yet in possession of all honours in itself – this is what is meant by the Way.”

3. The Buddha said, “Those who shaving their heads and faces and becomes Sramanas and have accepted the Doctrine of the Way, should surrender all worldly possessions and be contented with whatever they obtain by begging. Only one meal a day and loding under a tree, he desires nothing else. For what makes one stupid and irrational is attachments and passions.”

4. The Buddha said, “There are ten things considered good by all beings, and ten things evil. What are they? Three of them depend upon the body, four upon the mouth, and three upon the mind.

The three evil deeds depending upon the body are: killing, stealing and unchaste deeds. The four depending upon the mouth are: slendering, cursing, lying and flattery. The three depending upon the mind are: jealousy, hatred and ignorance. All these things are not in keeping with the Holy Way, and are therefore evil. When these evils are not done, they are ten good deeds.”

5. The Buddha said, “If a man who has committed many sins, does not repent and purify his heart of evil, retribution will come upon his person as sure as the streams runs into the ocean which becomes ever deeper and wider. If a man who has committed sins, come to the knowledge of it, reforms himself, and practises goodness, the force of retribution will gradually exhaust itself as a disease gradually loses its baneful influence when the patient perspires.”

6. The Buddha said, “When an evil-man, seeing you practise goodness, comes and maticiously insults you, you should patiently endure it and not feel angry with him, for the evil-man is insulting himself by trying to insult you.”

7. The Buddha said, “Once a man came unto me and denounced me on account of my observing the Way and practicing great loving-kindness. But I kept silent and did not answer him. The denunciation ceased. Then I asked him. ‘If you bring a present to your neighbour and he accepts it not; does the present come back to you?’ He replied, ‘It will.’ I said, ‘You denounce me now, but as I accept it not, you must take the wrong deed back on your own person. It is like echo succeeding sound, it is like shadow following object; you never escape the effect of your own evil deeds. Be therefore mindful, and cease from doing evil.”

8. The Buddha said, “Evil-doers who denounce the wise resemble a person who spits against the sky; the spittle will never reach the sky; but comes down on himself. Evil-doers again resemble a man who stirs the dust against the wind, the dust is never raised without doing him injury. Thus, the wise will never be hurt but the curse is sure to destroy the evil-doers themselves.”

9. The Buddha said, “If you endeavour to embrace the Way through much learning, the Way will not understood. If you observe the Way with simplicity of heart, great indeed is this Way.”

10. The Buddha said, “Those who rejoice in seeing others observe the Way will obtain great blessing.” A Sramana asked the Buddha, “Would this blessing be destroyed?” The Buddha replied, “It is like a lighted torch whose flame can be distributed to ever so many others torches which flame can be distributed to ever so many other torches which people may bring along; and therewith they will cook food and dispel darkness, while the original torch itself remains burning ever the same. It is even so with the bliss of the Way.”

11. The Buddha said, “It is better to feed a good man than one hundred bad men. It is better to feed one who observe the Five Precepts of the Buddha than to feed one thousand good men. It is better to feed one Srotaapanna (Stream-enteree) than to feed ten thousands of those who observe the Five Precepts of Buddha. It is better to feed one Skriddagamin than to feed one million Srotaapanna. It is better to feed one Anagamin than to feed one Arhat than to feed one hundred millions of Anagamins. It is better to feed one Pratyekabuddha than to feed one billion of Arhats. It is better to feed one of the Buddha, either of the present, or of the past, or of the future, than to feed ten billions of Pratyekabuddhas. It is better to feed one who is above knowledge, one-sidedness, discipline, and enlightenment than to feed one hundred billions of Buddhas of the past, present, or future.

12. The Buddha said, “There are twenty difficult things to attain in this world:


1. It is hard for the poor to practice charity.
2. It is hard for the strong and rich to observe the Way.
3. It is hard to disregard life and go to certain death.
4. It is only a favoured few that get acquainted with a Buddhist sutra.
5. It is hard to be born in the age of the Buddha.
6. It is hard to conquer the passions, to suppress selfish desires.
7. It is hard not to hanker after that which is agreeable.
8. It is hard not to get into a passion when slighted.
9. It is hard not to abuse one’s authority.
10. It is hard to be even-minded and simple hearted in all one’s dealings with others.
11. It is hard to be thorough in learning and exhaustive in investigation.
12. It is hard to subdue selfish pride.
13. It is hard not to feel contempt toward the unlearned.
14. It is hard to be one in knowledge and practice.
15. It is hard not to express an opinion about others.
16. It is by rare opportunity that one is introduced to a true spiritual teacher.
17. It is hard to gain an insight into the nature of being and to practice the Way.
18. It is hard to follow the way of a saviour.
19. It is hard to be always the master of oneself.
20. It is hard to understand thoroughly the Ways of Buddha.”

13. A monk asked the Buddha, “Under what conditions is it possible to come to the knowledge of the past and to understand the most supreme Way?” The Buddha answered, “Those who are pure in heart and single in purpose are able to understand the most supreme Way. It is like polishing a mirror, which becomes bright when the dust is removed. Remove your passions, and have no hankering, and the past will be revealed to you.”

14. A monk asked the Buddha, “What is good, and what is great?” The Buddha replied, “Good is to practice the Way and to follow the truth. Great is the heart that is in accord with the Way.”

15. A monk asked the Buddha, “What is most powerful, and what is most illuminating?” The Buddha replied, “Meekness is most powerful, for it harbours no evil thoughts, and, moreover, it is restful and full of strength. as it is free from evils, it is sure to be honoured by all.

The most illuminating is a mind that is thoroughly cleansed of dirt, and which, remaining pure, retains no blemishes. From the time when there was yet no heaven and earth till the present day, there is nothing in the ten quarters which is not seen, or known, or heard by such a mind, for it has gained all-knowledge, and for that reason it is called ‘illuminating’.”

16. The Buddha said, “Those who have passions are never able to preceive the Way; for it is like stirring up clear water with hands; people may come there wishing to find a reflection of their faces, which, however, they will never see. A mind troubled and vexed with the passions is impure, and on that account it never sees the Way. O monks, do away with passions. When the dirt of passion is removed the Way will manifest itself.”

17. The Buddha said, “Seeing the Way is like going into a dark room with a torch; the darkness instantly departs, while the light alone remains. When the Way is attained and the truth is seen, ignorance vanishes and enlightenment abides forever.”

18. The Buddha said, “My doctrine is to think the thought that is unthinkable, to practise the deed that is non-doing, to speak the speech that is inexpressible, and to be trained in the discipline that is deyond discipline. Those who understand this are near, those who are confused are far. The Way is beyond words and expressions, is bound by nothing earthly. Lose sight of it to an inch, or miss it for a moment, and we are away from it forever more.”

19. The Buddha said, “Look up to heaven and down on earth, and they will remind you of their impermanency. Look about the world, and it will remind you of its impermanency. But when you gain spiritual enlightenment, you shall then find wisdom. The knowledge thus attained leads you quickly to the Way.”

20. The Buddha said, “You should think of the four elements of which the body is exposed. Each of them has its own name, and there is no such thing there known as ego. As there is really no ego, it is like unto a mirage.”

21. The Buddha said, “Moved by their selfish desires, people seek after fame and glory. But when they have acquired it, they are already strikened in years. If you hanker after wordly fame and practise not the Way, your labours are wrongfully applied and your energy is wasted. It is like unto burning an incense stick.”

22. The Buddha said, “People cleave to their worldly possessions and selfish passions so blindly as to sacrifice their own lives for them. They are like a child who tries to eat a little honey smeared on the edge of a knife. The amount is by no means sufficient to appease his appetite, but he runs the risk of wounding the tongue.”

23. The Buddha said, “Men are tied up to their famililes and possessions more helplessly than in a prison. There is an occassion for the prisoner to be released, but the housholders entertain no desire to be relieved from the ties of family. Even into the paws of a tiger, he will jump. Those who are thus drowned in the filth of passion are called the ignorant. Those who are able to overcome it are saintly Arhats.”

24. The Buddha said, “There is nothing like lust. Lust may be said to be the most powerful passion. Fortunately, we have but one thing which is more powerful. If the thirst for truth were weaker than passion, how many of us in the world will be able to follow the way of righteousness?”

25. The Buddha said, “Men who are addicted to the passions are like the torch-carrier running against the wind; his hands are sure to be burned.”

26. The Lord of Heaven offered a beautiful fairy to the Buddha, desiring to tempt him to the evil path. But the Buddha said, “Be gone. What use have I for the leather bag filled with filth which you brought to me?” Then, the god reverently bowed and asked the Buddha about the essence of the Way, in which having been instructed by the buddha, it is said he attained the fruit of Srotaapanna.”

27. The Buddha said, “Those who are following the Way should behave like a piece of timber which is drifting along a stream. If the log is neither held by the banks, nor seized by men, nor obstructed by the gods, nor kept in the whirlpool, nor itself goes to decay, I assure you that this log will finally reach the ocean. If monks waling on the Way are neither tempted by the passions, nor led astray by some evil influences; but steadily pursue their course of Nirvana, I assure you that these monks will finally attain enlightenment.”

28. The Buddha said, “Rely not upon your own will. It is not trustworthy. Guard yourself against sensualism, for it surely leads to the path of evil. Your own will becoomes trustworthy only when you have attained Arhatship.”

29. The Buddha said, “O monks, you should not see women. (If you have to see them), refrain from talking to them. (If you have to talk to them), you should reflect in a right spirit: ‘I am now a homeless mendicant. In the world of sin, I must behave myself like unto the lotus flower whose purity is not defiled by the mud. Old ones I will treat as my mother; elderly ones as elder sisters; younger ones as younger sisters; and little ones as daughters.’ And in all this you should habour no evil thoughts, but think of salvation.”

30. The Buddha said, “Those who walk the Way should avoid sensualism as those who carry hay would avoid coming near the fire.”

31. The Buddha said, “There was once a man who, being in despair over his inability to control his passions, wished to multilate himself.” The Buddha said to Him, “Better destroy your own evil thoughts than do harm to your own person. The mind is lord. When the lord himself is claimed the servant will themselves be yielding. If your mind is purified of evil passions, what avails it to multilate yourself?” Thereupon, the Buddha recited the gatha:
“Passions grow from the will,
The will grows from thought and imagination.
When both are calmed,
There is neither sensualism nor transmigration.”

The Buddha said that this gatha was taught by Kashyapa Buddha.

32. The Buddha said, “From the passions arise worry, and from worry arises fear. Away with passions, and no fear, no worry.”

33. The Buddha said, “Those who follow the Way are like unto warriors who fight single-handed with a multitude of foes. They may al go out of the fort in full armour; but among them are some who are faint-hearted, and some who go halfway and beat a retreat, and some who are killed in the affray, and some who come home victorious.

O monks! If you desire to attain enlightenment, you should steadily walk in your Way, with a resolute heart, with courage, and should be fearless in whatever environment you may happen to be, and destroy every evil influence that you may across for thus you shall reach the goal.”

34. One night a monk was reciting a sutra, bequeathed by Kashyapa Buddha. His tone was so mournful and his voice was so fainting, as if he was going out of existence. The Buddha asked him, “What was your occupation before you become a homeless monk?” The monk replied, “I was very fond of playing a stringed instrument.” The Buddha said, “How did you find it when the strings were too loose?” “No sound is possible.” was the reply. “How did you find it when the strings were too tight?” “They will break.” “How did you find when they were neither too tight nor too loose?” “Every note sounds in its proper tone.”

35. The Buddha then said to the monk, “Religious discipline is also like unto playing such a stringed instrument. When the mind is properly adjusted and quietly applied, the Way is attainable. But when you are too feverntly bent on it, your body grows tired, and when your body is tired, your spirit becomes weary, your discipline will relax, and with the relaxation of discipline there follows many an evil. Therefore, be calm and pure, and the Way will be gained.”

36. The Buddha said, “Even if one escapes from the evil creations, it is one’s rare fortune to be born as a human being. Even if one is born as a human, it is one’s rare fortune to be born as a man and not a woman. Even if one is born as a man, it is one’s rare fortune to be perfected in all the six senses. Even if he is perfected in all the six senses, it is his rare fortune to be born in the middle kingdom. Even if he is born in the middle kingdom, it is rare fortune to be born in the time of a Buddha. Even if he is born in the time of a Buddha, it is rare fortunate to see the Enlightened One. Even if he is able to see the Enlightened One, it is his rare fortune to have his heart awakened in faith. Even if he has faith, it is his rare fortune to awaken the heart of wisdom. Even if he awakens the heart of wisdom, it is his rare fortune to realise a spiritual state which is above discipline and attainment.”

37. The Buddha said, “O Sons of the Buddha! You are away from me ever so many miles, but if you remember and think of my precepts, you shall surely gain the fruit of enlightenment. You may standing by my side, see me always, but if you observe not my precepts, you shall never gain enlightenment.”

38. The Buddha asked another monk, “How do you measure the length of a man’s life?” He answered, “By days.” The Buddha said, “You do not understand the Way.” The Buddha asked another monk, “How do you measure the length of a man’s life?” The monk answered, “By the time that passes during a meal.” The Buddha said, “You do not understand the Way.” The Buddha asked the third monk, “How do you measure the length of a man’s life?” The monk answered, “By the breadth.” The Buddha said, “Very well, you know the Way.”

39. The Buddha said, “Those who study the doctrine of the Buddhas will do well to believe and observe all that is taught by them. It is like unto honey; it is sweet within, it is sweet without, it is sweet throughout; so is the Buddhas’ teaching.”

40. The Buddha said, “O monks, you must not walk on the way as the ox is attached to the wheel. His body moves, but his heart is not willing. But when your hearts are in accord with the Way, there is no need of troubling yourselves about your outward demeanor.”

41. The Buddha said, “Those who practice the Way might well follow the example of an ox that marches through the deep mire carrying a heavy load. He is tired, but he is steadily gazed, looking forward. Will never relax until he comes out of the mire, and it is only then that he takes a respite. O monks, remember that passions and sins are more than filthy mire, and that you can escape misery only by earnestly and steadily thinking of the Way.”

42. The Buddha said, “I consider the dignities of kings and lords as a particle of dust that floats in the sunbeam. I consider the treasure of precious metals and stones as bricks and pebbles. I consider the gaudy dress of silk and brocades as a worn-out rag. I consider this universe as small as the holila fruit. I consider thelake of Anavatapa as a drop of oil which one smears the feet. I consider the various methods of salvation taught by the Buddhas as a treasure created by imagination. I consider the profound doctrine of the Buddhas as precious metal or priceless fabric seen in a dream. I consider the teaching of the Buddhas as a flower before my eyes. I consider the practice of Dhyana as a pillar supporting the Mount Sumeru. I consider Nirvana as awakening from a day dream or nightmare. I consider the struggle between the heterdox and orthodox as the antics of the six (mythical) dragons. I consider the doctrine of equality as the absolute ground of reality. I consider all the religious works done for universal salvation as like the plants in the four seasons.”

Sarva Mangalam


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Today is Just One of Those of the Days

Today was one of those mornings where I woke up and my mind was instantly bombarded with all the endless things I had to accomplish today. There are always lots of things to do, but some days the list can just seem more overwhelming than others…and today was one of those.

I knew I immediately had to make a decision about what I was going to choose to think about because if I didn’t, my mind would have spiraled out of control, and my heart would have imploded under the weight of all that was before me.

Do you ever have days like that, or am I the only one?

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Murphy’s law: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong

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Sometimes you just have one of those days, where things happen to you over and over again, as if someone up above is testing to see if you really want to have a good day. Unfortunately, 95% of us give in and decide that it’s just going to be one of those days.

What if one of those days really meant the happiest day of your life, despite the fact unfortunate events temporarily plague your existence?

A few weeks ago, a highway patrolman took pity on me because I was having one of those days.

It all started with a trip to the accountant. After spending a decent amount of time procrastinating on finding an accountant to dive into my complex taxes (freelancer, two businesses, consultant, full-time job, multi-state), I was finally behind the wheel hopeful for a decent return as I drove myself to a small town an hour away because of a terrific referral from a friend.

Rushed as normal due to an extended, discipline-extinct session on Facebook, I didn’t notice that the address I entered into GPS was not actually where I wanted to go.

(Note: Whenever dealing with directional streets, make sure your GPS doesn’t drop the actual name of the street and decide to take you to 109 West Street instead of 109 West Main.)

Because I was listening to a business podcast, trying to multitask instead of wasting precious time in my day, I didn’t notice my final destination was a dirt road in the middle of a ranch until I actually arrived there. Now I was lost and very late.

I called the accountant’s office for directions, mad at myself for not realizing earlier that something was not right. Because I had no idea where I was, the accountant’s office couldn’t tell me where to go. I begrudgingly re-trusted my GPS, extra careful to double-check that the directions were taking me to the real address.

Operating with a faint trace of panic in the pit of my stomach, I pulled back out onto the highway from the dirt road, only to find myself in between an oversized truck and his escort car.

The truck driver was not pleased that I broke his chain, and passed me a little too zealously. While I don’t think he intended to run me off the road, he did lack a basic understanding of how oversized his load actually was and off the road I went to save my car (and my life) from damage.

Slightly annoyed, I pulled back onto the road, knowing I would now be a little later than I already was—except this time I was in between the oversized truck and his exterior escort. Not wanting to be a part of this relationship any longer, I decided to pass all of them. At 85 mph…on a 75mph highway.

Enter the state patrol. At this point, I laughed. I really just wanted to get my taxes prepared; I wasn’t expecting getting lost on a dirt road in the middle of a ranch, getting run off the road by a wide-load truck, and getting pulled over by the highway patrol. It gets better.

Obviously unhappy, the highway patrolman brusquely let me know that I was breaking the law and he would have none of that on his watch.

He requested my driver’s license as standard procedure. As I rummaged through my oversized purse, I tried to explain that I was lost, late, and had just been run off the road by that wide-load truck in front of us, and I was just trying to get out of the way. My wallet was missing.

With a smile, I politely informed the patrolmen that I didn’t have my driver’s license. It was at this point that he chalked up the events of the previous hour to one of those days.

I nodded and proceeded to produce every form of document I had to help him find me in their “system.”

We eventually found it, though it took a good ten minutes (hint: provide your full name, including middle initial if you’re ever in a situation where a police officer needs to find you in his “system”).

I luckily got off with a warning, and went on my way. Miraculously, I arrived at the accountant’s office only thirty minutes late for my appointment.

The meeting was easy because my rudimentary organization for filing my income and expenses was apparently all that the accountant needed. In less than fifteen minutes I was headed home.

It was at this point that I realized how nutty the past hour and a half had been. It was only 11:00am. I had a full day ahead of me. It’s also at this moment when 95% of the population would have chosen to let these events define their day. I had too much to accomplish to let that happen.

The secret to making it out of those days with a sense of peace and calm? A sense of humor, deep breaths, and an appreciation for the story.

The thing is, I was able to understand that I am not my stories. I have good ones, but they don’t define me. They make others laugh and they make great blog posts and Facebook fodder, but they do not define me. I am more than my stories, my body, and my mind. I am better than that.

Give yourself more power than your stories. Rewrite them, edit them, trash them, and rearrange the plot. Allow what comes to come as it may, and then take what works and let go of the rest.

My story is a battle scar, but I cleansed my mind to allow the wound to heal quickly. I didn’t hold on, hold grudges, or hold back. I experienced it all—the panic, the fear, the laughter, the despair. And I moved on.

The rest of my day was not bad at all, but it was funny to watch the reactions on Facebook. To the commenter who observed, “What a day,” I simply replied, “That was only the morning.”

Don’t be so quick to bundle your unfortunate moments with your entire day. Think of all the moments you’re missing out on if you pre-assign them to the same fortune that found you in the past.

P.S. It was worth it. My tax return will pay for a plane ticket to Europe!


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10 Ways to Turn a Bad Day Around in 10 Easy Steps

“Peace begins with a smile.” ~Mother Theresa

stress

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Minor things can trigger bad days, whether it’s a having a tiff with your roommate, getting stuck in traffic, or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

As a fitness instructor, I’ve found that one negative comment from a member in a class can completely derail an otherwise happy day.

Someone in one of my fitness classes once griped about my music selection after what I thought was an amazing class. It almost drained my entire high, but after hearing from the other 99.9% of the class that was sweaty and happy—people who’d enjoyed my class—I brushed the comment aside.

This has happened to me quite often, and I have to remember not to let one measly comment tarnish an otherwise great day.

This is the good news: You can turn around a bad day just as quickly as it started.

The first thing you need to do is get some positive juices flowing. Once you’ve started to feel good inside, it’s much easier to change your perspective on the day and let the pity parade pass you by.

If a bad day’s got you down, try one of these 10 ways to turn it around in 10 minutes or less:

1. Listen to a favorite song and sing a long.

Studies have shown that listening to music you like can alter your mood and even alleviate depression.

In your iPod, make a “Feel Better” playlist that includes songs that work for you. Try to choose positive, uplifting songs that you can sing along to. “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz works for me every time.

2. Take a shower.

I’m not sure what it is about taking a shower, but I feel that it metaphorically helps “clean” the negativity. Taking a quick shower, especially one that alternates cold and hot water, can help increase circulation and rid negative energy.

Start with a warm shower and then slowly turn the temperature of the water as cold as you can stand for 20 seconds. Then bring the temperature back up again. Alternate this cycle for 3−5 minutes to start until you can slowly start to tolerate longer durations.

3. Watch a funny YouTube video.

In a study performed at the University of Western Ontario, participants who listened to an upbeat piece of music and watched a funny YouTube video were more productive and better able to solve problems than groups who listened to depressing music and video clips.

In theory, watching funny YouTube video can actually boost productivity. (Try telling that to your boss.)

Watch this video and tell me your day didn’t just get 10 times better.

4. Pet an animal.

Petting an animal can dramatically improve your mood. It can have such positive effects that behavioral therapists use animals to help with healing—with equine therapy, for example. Even though owning a pet has been shown to improve self-esteem and well-being, you don’t have to have one to reap the benefits.

You may not be at a farm, but chances are, someone in your neighborhood or building owns a pet. Also, animal shelters are always looking for volunteers. Animals need us as much as we need them!

5. Give and get a hug.

We often overlook human touch as a form of therapy. Health providers actually use therapeutic touch as a form of energy healing in hospitals and hospices to help patients recover from surgery.

The next time you’re feeling a little wonky, reach out to your partner, a close friend, or a family member and share a quick embrace.

6. Practice deep breathing.

Deep breathing has a naturally therapeutic, stress-reducing quality that can help you quell the rush of stress hormones that a bad day can bring about.

Take a few moments to close your eyes. Practice inhaling deeply through your nose for a two-second count, pausing for two seconds, and then exhaling for another two seconds. This will help stimulate your parasympathetic nervous system, thus quieting down your stress response.

7. Write about what’s bothering you and then write something you are grateful for.

Journaling is a great way to release stress and anxiety since it helps you get things off your chest in a safe way. Even if no one is going to read it, the fact that you wrote it down will make dealing with the stress a little easier.

Write in a journal exactly what’s bothering you and how you’re feeling about it. Then write a few things that you are grateful for. This will help bring you into a positive frame of mind, which will help get you out of your slump.

8. Do some light bodyweight exercises.

Even though you may not feel like it, getting up and moving your body will help stimulate blood flow and the release of endorphins, the well-known “feel good” hormone.

Luckily for you, you don’t have to tie your laces and head out for a three-mile run to get the benefits of exercise; even a five-minute routine that you can do right next to your desk can do the trick.

Perform a simple routine of light squats, push-ups, and easy stretches. This not only gets you out of the chair, it also stimulates happy hormone production, increases blood flow, and boosts your mood.

9. Sign out of Facebook.

Social media has done many positive things to bring people together, but there is a dark side.

Many studies have shown that checking social media can actually trigger depression because we often compare ourselves to our peers, creating feelings of inadequacy and doubt.

Heavily limit your exposure to your Facebook or Twitter feed. At work, check them only if you have to. Keep in mind that most people are always going to put their best foot forward, so don’t compare your insides to somebody else’s outsides.

10. Walk barefoot in the grass.

Being stuck inside all day without direct exposure from the sun, and without connecting to the energy of nature, can actually made a bad day even worse.

Grounding is the practice of exposing yourself to the ground, usually with your bare feet to help stimulate energy, improve immune function, and boost happiness.

The theory states that the earth’s magnetic field can lower stress hormones.

During your lunch break, find a grassy space where you can sit and relax for a few minutes, allowing your feet to rest in the grass. Enjoy your lunch or just sit and read a book for several minutes, letting your heart rate and stress levels go down.

These are just a few ideas to turn a bad day around. What helps you get out of a funk when you’re feeling down?

Photo by Fah Rojvithee


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Personal Goal Setting

Planning to Live Your Life Your Way

Set powerful goals with James Manktelow & Amy Carlson

Many people feel as if they’re adrift in the world. They work hard, but they don’t seem to get anywhere worthwhile.

A key reason that they feel this way is that they haven’t spent enough time thinking about what they want from life, and haven’t set themselves formal goals. After all, would you set out on a major journey with no real idea of your destination? Probably not!

Goal-setting

Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality.

The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life. By knowing precisely what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. You’ll also quickly spot the distractions that can, so easily, lead you astray.

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“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Warning: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

By Tania Kostos

Comparing yourself to others can be the most self-limiting and pointless thing you can do. Comparing yourself is the main source of your biggest insecurities and prevents the kind of self worth and self esteem that is at the back of all real success. That dreaded feeling of “not being good enough” has its roots in comparing yourself and stands in the way of your success from the outset. Even if you manage to achieve outwardly success in spite of comparing yourself, it can never be accompanied by the inner peace that comes with an unshakeable sense of self, free of any need for comparison.

comparing

A Brief History of Comparing Yourself to Others: Comparing yourself is really just a bad habit that is likely to have started as far back as your school days. Things like school grades, appearance and sporting achievements often determine a child’s popularity and hence his or her self worth. As adults, such outward appearances are simply replaced by “grown-up” equivalents like money, material possessions and so on. Ironically, the most popular kids on the block are likely to be the ones who have the biggest need to compare themselves as adults, because they came to depend on the good opinion of others and on the ego-boost of being “first” or “the best”, from a very young age.

Comparing Yourself is a Roller-Coaster Ride: Comparing yourself to others traps you in a roller-coaster ride, on which you self worth is flung around by the opinion, words and actions of others. Even when you do feel better than others by comparison, the strength you gain is a temporary ego-boost disguising itself as authentic inner power. Once the ego-boost begins to fade (as it will), so your insecurities re-surface, thereby re-triggering your need for outside reassurance that sends you on a futile search for inner strength in the one place you will never find it – outside of yourself – and so the ride starts again.

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