Five Ways to Enhance Your Relationship

Relationships can seem so easy at the beginning. Love comes naturally. But over time, other parts of life start to compete for your attention. Pretty soon, the relationship isn’t getting much focus. You and your partner both start to wonder where the good times went.

Considering the joy that can come from a healthy relationship and the potential challenges a failed relationship can present, you want to do your best to stay happy together. This is even truer if there are children involved.

Try these strategies to quickly put your relationship back on track:

  1. Make time for each other. Remember when you first fell in love? Your relationship was a huge priority. You made time for the other person. There wasn’t much you were going to let stand in your way. After a while, time together became the thing in your life that gets attention after everything else has been taken care of.
    • Setting aside time for a date night once a week or even every other week can be enormously helpful. If you have kids, maybe you can swap babysitting nights with another couple.
  2. Volunteer together. If contributing to others’ lives is important to both of you, this is a wonderful way to enhance your relationship. Sharing an experience that’s positive and meaningful can strengthen the bond you share. Time spent like this also allows each of you to view the other in a positive light.
  3. Play together. Find something you both enjoy and do it together. Intimacy is gained during those lighter and happier times, not just when life feels heavy and dramatic.
  4. Improve how you deal with conflict. When there’s conflict, are you good at working through this together? A good way to measure this is to consider whether the conflict is likely to happen again. There’s no reason to keep having the same conflict over and over again. If that happens, you didn’t really resolve anything.
    • Instead, focus on finding solutions. The fact that there is a conflict doesn’t suggest that someone is wrong. It simply means that there is a misunderstanding or a disagreement about something. Choose learning and happiness over the need to be right.
  5. Take responsibility for yourself. This may be the most important thing you can do for your relationship. Instead of expecting your partner to make you happy, find ways to take care of you own needs.
  • The other side of this is not spending all your energy trying to make your partner feel happy and secure. You can only contribute to their happiness, not create it.

After you’ve been together a while, your relationship will naturally start to take a backseat to other things. However, for your health as a couple, it’s important to find enjoyable and meaningful ways to spend your time together.

No relationship will sustain itself for long without tending. Our partnerships require care and attention, just like anything else worth having. And as is often true, the more you put in, the more you get out.

Try some of the tips above to devote some much-needed energy to your relationship. You’ll be amazed at how much joy a little attention to your partner will bring.

7 Tips to Beat Procrastination

Is procrastination a serious challenge in your life? Admittedly, it can be difficult to do things we don’t want to do.

Even when we know that waiting too long will create a lot of challenges, getting started can still seem impossible. Unfortunately, when procrastinating affects your job-related tasks, it can have a negative impact on your professional career as well.

So how can you kick this annoying tendency to put things off and start getting them done instead?

Try these strategies:

  1. Schedule when you’re going to do it. Make an appointment in your calendar for the day and time you’re going to work on the task. This is far more effective than just leaving everything up in the air until the right moment seems to present itself.
  2. Consider scheduling just enough time to get started. A long, unpleasant task can be very difficult to start. Think, “I’m going to work on this for 20 minutes.” That’s easy enough that you should be able to sit down and get busy. Interestingly, once you get started, you’ll probably spend a lot more than 20 minutes on it. Getting starting is the tough part.
    • Make it as easy to get started as you possibly can.
  3. Break the task into smaller parts. Larger tasks can seem overwhelming. By dividing the task into manageable parts, it will be psychologically easier to tackle the project. It’s easier to do 10 small things than one big thing.
    • For example, once you’ve done five small things, you know that you’ve completedfive things, instead of just starting on the one big thing without deriving any sense of accomplishment. So break that task down into smaller bites.
  4. Which part is the most dreaded part? Frequently, there is a small part of the task that is really holding you back. Is it possible to get someone else to take care of that part of the task for you? Can you outsource it? Many times, if someone else handles the part you dread, everything else will fall into place.
  5. Pick the best time to do it. We all have times of the day that we’re better at certain tasks. We have times when we’re better at concentrating, others when we’re more creative, and other times when we have more energy. What’s the proper time for you to tackle the task? Do you need quiet and privacy? Do you need access to certain people?
  6. Get what you need to complete it. Make a list of the tools, supplies, and resources that you’ll need to both begin and complete the task. It’s hard to get started when you know you can’t get finished.
  7. Reward yourself! Give yourself a reward for completing the task. You’ve earned it! It doesn’t have to be anything big, but we all like a little treat now and then. A little additional motivation never hurt anyone.

Imagine how much better your life would be if you could kick the procrastination habit out the door. Unfinished tasks have a profound effect on your sense of well-being and peace of mind. Living with the stress that procrastination can cause isn’t necessary. Start using the tips above and remove the challenge of procrastination from your life. You’ll be so glad you did!

Finding Your Life Purpose

Do you ever wonder why you’re here? After all, you were created with a unique set of passions and talents that no one else in the world can duplicate! Discovering your purpose in life lets you use your unique assortment of feelings and abilities to bring you greater self-fulfillment.

When you’re doing what you feel like you must have been born to do, you can create a life you enjoy through and through. Your goals will have more meaning to you and challenges will be naturally easier to overcome as you joyfully move toward achieving those goals.

This process for finding your life purpose enables you to tune in to your inner self and figure out what makes you tick. Take the time to find your purpose – your life will certainly change for the better!

Prepare Yourself

For this process, an open mind is optional, but helpful. It doesn’t matter if you don’t think this will work – it just means it might take a little longer. All you really must have are a piece of paper, something to write with, and approximately an hour of peace and quiet.

As you’re doing this exercise, try to empty your mind as much as possible. The clearer your mind is, the quicker and easier the process will be. Also, do this while you’re relaxed, alone, and unlikely to be disturbed.

The Process

1. Focus on your intention. Write at the top of your paper: “This is my life purpose.” This simple act sets your intention in your mind for the next hour.
2. Begin listing your thoughts – even doubts about this process. As you clear your mind and focus on this process, write whatever comes to mind, no matter what it is. If you think to yourself, “This isn’t going to work,” then you would write, “This isn’t going to work.”
3. Brainstorm. Answering these questions will get you started. Then keep writing your thoughts until you find your life purpose.

• What are your talents and abilities?
• Which talents would you like to develop further? Why?
• What are your passions?
• Do you get joy from helping others? Who?
• Have you always wanted to be a philanthropist?
• What activities do you enjoy?
• What have you always wanted to do, but you haven’t done it yet?
• Who do you most enjoy being around? Adults? Children? Why?
• Do you love animals?
• Do you like to travel?
• Do you want more excitement in your life?
• What are your favorite books or movies? Why?
• How do you feel about your relationships?
• Do you take an interest in politics or world matters?
• What is your most important priority in your life? Family? Work? Something else?

4. How will you know? You’ll just know. It will be the answer that fills you with the most emotion. You may even cry. The idea will resonate with you completely, and there won’t be any doubt. Just continue writing whatever comes into your mind until you reach that point.

• Commonly, answers will repeat themselves. A lot of unrelated nonsense is also likely to come out. Our brains can be a little cluttered, and this exercise will expose that fact. Don’t let anything you write distract you from your intentions; odd things quite frequently end up on the paper.

There will be several answers along the path that feel pretty good to you, but remember, you’re looking for the big one. When you see the ones that are good, but not “it,” this means you’re close, but not quite on target yet.

• You’re looking for that one idea that feels overwhelming to you. In this exercise, it’s common for your life purpose to reveal itself in less than 100 ideas, but it can take as many as 400. Keep writing.

How Can I Apply My Life Purpose to Benefit Me?

Now that you’ve discovered your purpose, always try to honor it. To do so, keep it in mind consistently. Ask yourself, “Is this in alignment with my ultimate purpose?” A life lived like this, with direction and intentionality, is a life you can truly enjoy.

 

So don’t wait any longer; schedule a time to do this when you know you’ll have some peace and quiet. Knowing the core reason you’re here is one of the greatest gifts you could ever give yourself.

Finding Hope in Your Life

How can you cultivate hope when things look bleak? In many ways, being happy is about having hope for the future.

Feeling like there is no hope is one of the most challenging emotions to manage. After all, why would someone even try when he believes there is no hope, and correspondingly, no possibility for things to improve?

Finding hope when it seems like there’s none to be found can be tricky, but it is possible.

It’s important to remember that no matter how hopeless things appear, there’s always the opportunity for things to get better. Even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time, things can change.

All of us have challenges at times, and we all have moments where there doesn’t appear to be a way out. Yet everyone who doesn’t give up seems to come out of his or her struggles okay.

When you’re feeling down, try these strategies to help bring back hope:

1. Consider all the miraculous things you’ve done in your life. You’ve probably learned how to walk, talk, and maybe even how to drive. Perhaps you’ve graduated from high school or college.

• Let’s think for a minute about learning how to talk. It doesn’t seem very miraculous; nearly everyone learns to do it. But consider how difficult it really is.
• Babies start out making unintelligible sounds. In a couple of years they can say a few things, though not very well. In a few more years, they can say a fair amount – though still struggle with pronunciation. This is all after years of daily effort.
So regardless of what you’re facing, remember your earlier miracles and know you’re entirely capable of working through it. For humans, the seemingly impossible is, in fact, possible.

2. Absorb optimism. Surely you’ve come across people who persistently see the bright side of things. They’re the ones that could stand in the middle of the worst thunderstorm the world has ever seen and say, “I think it’s starting to clear up.” 

Seek out these people and spend time with them. Their optimism will soon start to rub off on you. Talk to them about your challenges; they may have a perspective that can really give you a push in the right direction.

3. Think of activities that might inspire you. Use every tool at your disposal.

• Faith could be a source of inspiration.
• Simple joys, like watching children play on the playground, might bring you the spark you seek.
• Try reading books that chronicle the triumphs of others.

4. Spend time with those less fortunate. Volunteering to help the homeless or hospice patients can show you that things aren’t quite as challenging as you originally thought.

Sometimes when you observe firsthand how difficult things can be, you develop a different perspective about your own situation.

5. Also, spend some time with miraculous things. For many, nature’s bounty is awe-inspiring, from flowers and waterfalls to butterflies and spider webs. When you see what’s possible, you realize that you’re capable of remarkable things too.

6. Be courageous. Often, cultivating hope requires courage to take that first step forward. Give yourself the chance to find your way through your challenges.

If you want to find hope in your life, you always can! Although your search for hope might take some work, never give up. Just keep working through it and you’ll discover that you have plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

Another very good option is to seek the help of a trained professional. Regardless of your challenges, there are always ways through them.

How Does Getting Therapy Help?

Since therapy (also known as counseling) is a rather misunderstood concept, the suggestion that you see a counselor can be scary.

You may perceive getting therapy to mean that there’s something wrong with you. This isn’t the case! While it may not be for everyone, counseling can be beneficial to most people at challenging points in their lives.

Although it’s important to recognize that therapy is not a panacea, it makes a difference every day in thousands of lives across the world. If you find that you have uncomfortable feelings or “stuck” places in your life, you may very well benefit from this practice.

Consider these ways that therapy can help you:

1. Get an objective viewpoint. Counseling allows the opportunity to talk about your current challenges with someone who’s trained and objective. Open communication with your friends and loved ones is usually a good idea. However, there are times when you might find it more comforting and safe to share your feelings with a therapist.

2. Clarify your feelings. Many times, people begin therapy feeling confused and not really able to identify their emotions. A therapist can assist you in recognizing your feelings.

* The therapeutic process helps you explore particularly troubling emotions and resolve them.

3. Learn to appropriately communicate how you feel to others. Being able to share honest, genuine feelings using more effective communication can enrich your relationships and help you succeed in your endeavors.

* Once you learn to pay more attention to your feelings and share them with others, you’ll get more of what you want from life, whatever that may be.

* Plus, your life is more fulfilling when you live based on how you truly feel.

4. Getting therapy can be a freeing, stress-relieving experience. After all, how many times do you have an opportunity to say whatever you want however you want with no repercussions later?

* It’s possible to liberate yourself from psychological pain by talking with a therapist.

* Therapy is a safe place to vent your negative feelings. Whether you’re feeling scared, hurt, angry, lonely, or other negative emotions, you can share it with the therapist and take a load off your chest. For many, therapy is a sanctuary when they’re feeling overwhelmed with negativity in their life. This makes counseling a great stress reliever!

5. It’s all about you. When you go to therapy, the session is focused on your benefit. Your time with a counselor is all about you. You can say whatever you want.

* You don’t have to worry about being judged by the therapist, as they are trained to keep their personal feelings out of it.

6. Gain valuable insights. When you talk about yourself with someone who’s nonjudgmental and objective, you’re truly tuned in to the moment and what you’re saying.

* Therapy provides a chance for you to hear yourself talk and share your own personal struggles. It may sound unusual, but people in counseling frequently have “Aha” moments about something they shared.

* Your therapist will ask questions which encourage you to examine your current situation more thoroughly. After all, human difficulties are complex. Through this process, you can discover your motives and learn to understand yourself better.

* Developing insight and awareness into your feelings empowers you to set priorities about what’s most important to you and make choices that enable you to live the life you truly seek.

7.  Bring your strengths.  With therapy, you can develop or gain confidence in your capacity to live a healthy, fulfilling life.

Seeing a therapist can be one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself. Most likely, you’ll experience less stress and feel more satisfied and contented with your life after participating in counseling. If you find yourself struggling emotionally, remind yourself that therapy can help.