How to Banish Negative Thoughts

Who doesn’t have negative thoughts now and then? But what if you had a negative thought which was pervasive and constant? Would you know how to get rid of it? Fortunately, there are many methods available to get rid of incessant negative chatter in our heads.

Here is an effective step-by-step process that will work if you use it regularly. As our ongoing example in this process, we’ll use the negative thought, “I’m too dumb to do anything right.”

  1. Turn the thought into a mental image. Imagine looking and acting completely silly. Create the most exaggerated image of yourself you can. Start by envisioning yourself in ridiculous clothes that don’t match.
    • Maybe you’re also banging your head against the wall or doing other foolish things. You could also be shouting silly phrases that don’t make any sense. The image should be clearly visible on your mental screen. Include sounds, smells, and physical sensations as well. Keep at this until the original thought brings up this new image.
  2. Choose an alternative thought. For our example, a good replacement thought would be, “I’m so intelligent I can do anything.”Choose something that is the opposite of the original negative thought. Select a phrase that feels right to you, through your whole body.
  3. Turn the new, positive thought into a mental image.You might imagine yourself dressed like Albert Einstein, shouting, “I’m brilliant. I can do anything.” Again, make the image outrageous. Keep at it until the positive thought automatically brings up that image.
  4. Link the two images together. Now, imagine a way to get from your negative image to your positive image. This is almost like you’re the director of a movie; you want to find a way to connect the opening and the closing scenes.
  • Perhaps in the first scene, you could imagine the image of the “dumb” version of yourself being struck by lightning and catching on fire. Then the new, Albert Einstein version of you rises from the ashes and goes into his “I’m brilliant. I can do anything”routine.
  • Keep practicing until you run the entire scene in your mind quickly, with no hitches. This should take fewer than 2 seconds from start to finish.
  • Test out your new mental connections. When you think the original negative thought, the entire scene should flash through your mind. Your mental process should end with the moment where you’re thinking, “I’m so brilliant. I can do anything.” If you’re not there yet, repeat Step 4 until you are.

Although this may seem silly to you, this is a common mnemonic technique. The imagery must be outrageous. This makes your memory’s work much easier.

Also, play around with the perspective. Most people find it helpful to view everything in the third person, as if they were spectators watching themselves in a movie. But you may prefer imagining things from a first-person perspective, in which everything happens to you, as it would in everyday life. Try both perspectives to determine which works better for you.

If you systematically deal with all your negative thoughts, you’ll eventually find that you have very few left. Imagine how your life could change! What might you do that you’ve always been too afraid to try? Now you’ll have the courage to do just that.

10 Easy Ways to Build Self-Confidence

You probably know someone who just exudes confidence. You might even have wondered, “What’s his secret? How can he be so positive about himself?”

The good news is that you, too, could be that confident. Yes, you could be the one that everyone envies and wonders about!

Surprisingly, self-confidence comes not from some inner gift, but from the things you do. For many, those actions occur naturally or have become ingrained in them. Because such people have done these things a lot in the past, they habitually do them now. By practicing these same actions, you’ll be taking the steps necessary to build your own self-confidence.

Use these strategies to become more self-assured:

  1. Take care with your appearance. How you feel about yourself is reflected in your appearance. Ensure your hair is styled and your clothes are well-fitting when you go out. When you know you look great, you feel great about yourself as well.
  2. Smile and look people in the eye. When you smile and make eye contact, it shows that you have a certain ease about you. People see this and respond positively toward you, giving you a lift as well!
  3. Give genuine compliments to others. Complimenting others shows that you feel good enough about yourself to give positive feedback to others.
  4. Know your strengths. Focus on doing whatever you’re best at. You’ll feel like an expert and know without a doubt that you excel in that area.
  5. Accept your imperfections. Letting go of the need to be perfect means you’re comfortable enough with yourself to admit your imperfections. After all, we all have them. Imperfections only show that you’re human – not that you’re flawed!
  6. Be prepared. Practicing this motto isn’t only for Boy Scouts. Preparedness will show you that you can be successful at whatever you set out to do. Being prepared increases confidence because you know what you’re doing. You’ve practiced in advance to perform whatever needs to be done.
  7. Have goals and work to achieve them. When your life has direction, you know where you’re going. You’ll be consistently working toward accomplishing your aspirations. Because you have goals, you’ll see the progress you’re making, and you’ll feel certain you’ll eventually accomplish them.
  8. Embrace whatever it is you love. Making time to do what you love makes you happy, content, and excited about your own life. It also makes you feel more in control of your life, which adds to your self-confidence.
  9. Excel at work. No matter what kind of work you do, you can strive to be the best at it. Developing a reputation at work as the “go to” person who can always get the job done is a fabulous confidence-builder.
  10. Forget about your ego. When you give up the need to prove something, you’ll be free of feeling compelled to put on airs and impress people. Instead, you’ll become more authentic and real with yourself. Prove to yourself instead of to others that you’re competent and confident and others will see it anyway.

Building your self-confidence takes time, focus and effort. However, your faith in yourself will grow with every small step you take. Start today and begin living as the person you always dreamed you’d be.

Organize Your Home Today

A clutter-free and organized house is an admirable goal!

You can successfully manage your belongings and turn your home into the sanctuary you seek with these suggestions:
1. Gather three or four cardboard boxes to use as sorting containers. Then, grab a pen and paper and do a walkthrough of your home.
2. Focus on one room at a time. Right now, don’t concern yourself with the entire house – just the room you’re in.
3. Make notes. As you look around the room, make notes about areas needing better organization. You’re compiling a task list.
• For example, maybe you have clothing and books piled on a chair and want the chair to be clear of all items. Record this in your notebook.
• If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of straightening the entire room, focus on just one wall or corner of the room. Confidently tell yourself you’ll eventually get through the whole room. Right now, though, you only have to think about this wall or corner.

4. When can you start? Determine when you can begin the de-cluttering and re-organizing process. Ideally, start as soon as you complete your list. If that doesn’t fit with your schedule, find a block of time each day to tackle listed tasks.
• For example, if you have an extra thirty minutes before leaving for work, make that time count by completing one or two tasks on your task list.
5. Plan your process. Once you’ve scheduled the time to take action, you can decide how to go about organizing the room.
• The first method is to follow your list from top to bottom. Begin with the first item you noted and work on that particular task.
• Using the piled chair example, remove items and put them away until the chair is clear. Hang up clothes or place them in the laundry bin or in drawers. Put books on shelves or your desk. Then, go to the next item on the list.
• The second method is to prioritize the areas and tasks you listed by numbering them in the order of importance. Start your work with the task you prioritized as #1 and continue on down the list.
• Regardless of the method selected, take a garbage can or bag into the room before you start. You’ll no doubt find items you no longer need and wish to discard.
• Complete your listed tasks one by one. Don’t start on the next task until you’ve finished the one you’re on.
6. Keep at it. If you think you’ll become distracted, set a timer (on your watch or cell phone) and vow to continue organizing the room until the timer sounds.
7. A place for everything. You might notice some items that don’t have a specific storage spot. Designated storage places are important to being organized.
• Knowing the location of something is far more efficient than having to look all over the house or in every drawer.
• Place these belongings in a cardboard box labeled “Need a storage place.” You’ll get to these items later.
8. Label your boxes and begin sorting. Label one box “Donate” for items you want to give to your local charity. Designate another box “Unsure” for items you aren’t sure you want to keep. Use these sorting strategies to organize and dispose of belongings you no longer want.
9. When you’ve completed all listed tasks, the room is organized. It’s time to find storage solutions and space for the items in your “Need a storage place” box.
• Store similar items together.
• Feel free to place items no longer wanted into your “Donate” box.
• Throw away belongings you no longer need if they can’t be donated.
10. Follow through with every room. Now that you’ve organized the first room of the house, apply these steps for each room one at a time. Your goal is to find a place for all belongings and donate or throw away items you don’t want to keep.
• When your “Donate” box is full, take it to a local charity.
The path toward organizing your home leads you through many challenges. Following these steps will help you achieve your goal of having a clutter-free and organized home. When you’re done, you can relax and bask in the sanctuary you’ve created!

3 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Spring Clean

Spring cleaning is an annual task that almost everyone dreads. Fortunately, spring cleaning can be the perfect time to help your kids develop a good work ethic and enlist extra hands for the job.

Try these ideas to get your kids involved in your spring cleaning efforts and teach them the importance of hard work:

1. Play an Easter Game. It would be rather cruel to enlist the help of your kids on Easter Sunday. However, you can use the day prior to Easter or the day after Easter to entice them into spring cleaning by playing an Easter themed game.

  • Hide a few chocolate Easter eggs under piles of clothes and shoe boxes in their closets and tell them that if they can neatly pass folded clothes to you to put into the storage bins, they’ll find several Easter chocolates to munch on.
  • To your kids, it will be an Easter egg hunt. To you, it’ll simply be a way to start a new spring cleaning tradition while creating a mutually beneficial situation for both you and your children. Ensure that all the candy is accounted for, lest you have a surprise during next year’s cleaning.

2. Be honest. Older children, especially teens, won’t be tempted by a few pieces of chocolate. Rather than dressing the day up as an Easter egg hunt, be honest. Tell the older kids that you need help getting some spring cleaning done and offer a fun ending to your busy day of cleaning.

  • Offer to end the day by getting their choice of takeout and renting a movie of their choosing. Not only will this give your family time to bond, but you’ll also get some spring cleaning done. In all aspects, this is a winning situation!
  • Refrain from approaching your teens the day of your spring cleaning. They may already have plans. Approach them a few days in advance and set up a day that is convenient for everyone involved.
  • Older children can handle bigger tasks. It’s best to let them choose a task (from a list that you’ve created) and tackle it on their own. By doing so, they’ll feel as if they had a say in the task at hand.

3. Rewards. Kids of all ages respond well to rewards. As mentioned above, a piece of chocolate or a slice of pizza will help entice your kids into spring cleaning. However, a larger reward will have your kids jumping for joy on the day of your spring cleaning adventure.

  • Offer to purchase your child a game for their gaming system if they help you spring clean the house and keep their room clean for a month thereafter.
  • Sweeten the deal for yourself by offering them a subscription to GameFly, a game delivery service which operates much like Netflix. Offer the subscription in exchange for spring cleaning, and offer to keep the subscription active as long as their room is kept tidy and their chores are done.
  • A subscription to GameFly can cost as little as $5.95 per month. Younger kids may enjoy a subscription to Pogo.com (also $5.95 per month) or even a personal subscription to Netflix ($7.99 per month).

Remember, there’s a difference between bribing and incentivizing. Incentivizing consists of providing a reward as motivation for completing a safe and beneficial task.  In psychological talk, we call it contingency management.

Kids respond tremendously well to all types of rewards and only you can judge what rewards will properly motivate yours. Treat your kid to a reward and earn yourself an extra set of hands for spring cleaning.

Frugal Living – Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergent has a huge markup! A lot of what you’re paying for is water! Making your own detergent will not only save a significant amount of money, but it’s also a fun activity to do with the kids.

You should be able to find the ingredients at your neighborhood superstore. The recipe below will allow you to make great performing laundry detergent at 1/10th the cost of store-bought detergent. Let’s get busy!

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

•       6 cups of water

•       1/2 bar of inexpensive soap, grated (find a soap that smells good to you)

•       3/4 cup washing soda (not baking soda)

•       3/4 cup of Borax

•       10-gallon bucket for mixing

•       4 1/2 gallons of water

Pour 6 cups of of water in an appropriate size pot and heat on low. Mix in the grated soap and continue to heat until the soap has completely dissolved. Add 4 ½ gallons of water to the 10 gallon bucket. Add the soap and hot water mixture to the bucket. Now slowly add the Borax and washing soda while stirring. Continue stirring until the mixture thickens. All the work is done, just let the concoction sit for 24 hours and it’s ready to use.

There you have it, laundry detergent that costs about $0.02 per load. Yes, that’s 2 cents! The name-brand stuff from the store costs 10 times as much. Give it a try – it’s easy and fun! You and your clothes won’t know the difference.