Learning to Relax ……..

Sometimes I have to pause for a moment and think, “why the heck am I rushing right now?” I designed my life so that I work from home and set my own schedule, but still I find myself constantly feeling as if I’m under some kind of pressure to do everything and do it fast.

Oftentimes I have three or four things going on at any one time, which is why I often feel overwhelmed. What I’ve found us that the things to do don’t stop until I choose to stop doing them. Sometimes I have to force myself to just RELAX.

We Learn How to Worry and Live in a Continuing State of Tension from a Young Age…

When you’re in first grade, you’re taught that if you don’t draw inside the lines there may be a problem.

By the time you’re in sixth grade you’re taught that if you don’t have a group of friends there’s a problem.

By the time you’re in 10th grade you’re told that if you don’t fill out 50 college applications your future is in jeopardy.

When you’re a high school senior you’re pressured to find a prom date or else you’ll miss a once in a lifetime chance.

In college you’re pressured to be the best at everything and compete with your peers fiercely.

At your first job you’re expected to work your way up the corporate ladder.

And women, let’s not even talk about the pressure of being 29 years old and not married or not even having a boyfriend (“girl, your biological clock is ticking!”).

It’s clear that an inability to truly relax is built into many of us over the course of many years. When you’ve been taught so long to stress, worry and be concerned about every little thing that’s going on in your world, it seems almost impossible to just enjoy the present.

Relaxing Starts in Your Mind
The real reason why so many people find it so difficult to relax is that they haven’t mastered how to relax their minds. No matter how comfortable your body may be in a seat, if your mind is active and stressed you can’t get the rest that you truly need.

Here’s an example. I’m going to give you a simple command:

Sit down and relax every muscle in your body, from your toes to your forehead. Relax them completely.

A moment ago you probably didn’t even realize that there were parts of your body that were on “alert” either flexing or tensing. But when something told your mind to relax, you actually did.

Try this at night when you’re trying to fall asleep quickly and think of a place where you’d like to be. You may be surprised by how quickly you drift off into a nice dream.

Set Aside 1 Hour Each Day Just for You
When your schedule is full of things to do, including work projects, chores and daily routines, it’s essential that you take at least an hour each day to truly relax. Set aside a clear cut block of time in your day to do exactly what makes you happy, whether it’s a power nap, watching your favorite program or taking a walk in the mall. Be unapologetic about this time that’s just for you.

As I say in my new book YOU MATTER, you do not have to answer every time that you’re called. So turn off your phone ringer. Put on some soothing music. Take this time to reflect and let ideas in. Relaxation has healing properties and can give you extra energy to finish your day strong.

Relaxation Is Healing
Here comes a cliche that I think we all take for granted from time to time: “stop and smell the roses.” You don’t have to run and gun every moment of your day. Take time for yourself. Take care of yourself. You matter.

Love Lynn

Lynn is the author of several motivational books, including You Matter: 11 Ways that You Matter Even When the Worlds Seems to Tell You Otherwise.

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How Can I Be a Mentor if I Don’t Even Have My OWN Life Together Yet?

In my early twenties I signed up for Big Brothers Big Sisters and quickly became a mentor of a young shy 11 year old girl.

As time went on in the mentoring process, I started to second guess myself.

What could I possibly teach this girl? What do I have to offer her?

At the time I was starting off in my career as a freelance writer and designer so money came here and there. It was a struggle to pay my bills. I was still driving the same car that I bought in college–it shook and quivered with age and I felt embarrassed picking her up in it. I could barely afford to buy my young mentee a slice of pizza when we hung out together. I was struggling. I felt like such a failure.

Every time I thought to call my mentee for a visit this question nagged at me: why would she want to grow up and be anything like me?

So eventually my visits with my mentee lessened. When she reached the age of 14 her family decided to move away, so the BBBS relationship expired. I have to admit that while I was sad that I’d probably never see her again I was a little relieved that I no longer had to fight with myself over my significance and impact on her young life.

Years later, I look back and feel a little foolish for allowing those self-defeating thoughts to affect my mentoring relationship. I did have a chance to see her again recently and found that she turned out to be a beautiful, confident and ambitious teenager. She is on her way to great things, and I like to think I played a small role in that.

I am speaking to anyone who is thinking about becoming a mentor or is currently a mentor who doubts your ability to positively influence your mentee. It’s not so much about getting her to admire you or to be just like you. It’s about the attention and love you’re giving the child which she may not be getting enough of at home.

Much like adults, kids just want to feel special, listened to, attended to and understood. If you can give them that, you have done your job as a mentor.

So just because you don’t quite have life figured out yet doesn’t mean that you arent a good candidate for mentorship. Some young person out there needs exactly what you have to offer. Just give her the attention, love and positive guidance that YOU wish you had received more of as a child.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive?and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Women, If You Could Have 2 Questions Answered About Life…

I am in the process of writing a new book on the questions that we women torture ourselves with throughout our lives.

My question to you: if you could have 2 questions answered about your life (as a woman) what would those 2 questions be?

Submit your response below — your question may be featured in the book!

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful response.
Love Lynn

Out of 250 Million Sperm …

Whenever I’m feeling a bit unsure or confused about life I like to think about the fact that out of 250 million sperm I was the chosen one. This is true for every human being on the planet — in other words, WE MADE IT.

To fully understand how important this point is, let’s have a quick biology lesson about how fetuses form.

During the process of conception, approximately 250 million sperm are competing to fertilize an egg. For a sperm to succeed at this goal it has to overcome a number of challenges:

– The acidic environment of the vagina kills some off quickly before they can reach the cervix.

– They have to navigate their way to the egg’s location without GPS. Some of them wander off in the wrong direction

– They’re swimming in competition with millions of other sperm with the same goal.

– The egg has to actually be there when it arrives (ovulation). If the sperm gets there too early or too late, it’s a no go.

– There are two Fallopian tubes — if the sperm gets to the wrong one, well that’s that.

– If the egg is there the sperm has to be the FIRST to push its head into the resilient exterior of the egg. Hundreds of other strong sperm are trying to do the same thing.

– Once the sperm does make it inside, it has to still be energetic enough to activate its cells with the egg’s and create a person.

That sperm is me. That sperm is you. That sperm is a fighter and a winner.

We are not mistakes. We are not losers by any stretch of the imagination. Our outer environment (the media, peers, family members, teachers) may tell us that we are “not enough” in one way or another, but it’s just a lie.

We were put here for a reason. Each of us came here to do something amazing. Why the heck else would our “stock” (the sperm we were formed from) be so strong and resilient in the face of so much adversity?

So keep that “250 million” thought handy whenever you’re feeling insecure or unsure about yourself. Keep it handy whenever you’re feeling worthless or useless. Keep it handy when you’re wondering what your purpose is here and if you even have a purpose.

You beat out 250 million other living entities and came out on top. That means you and I are really special and powerful, so I think it’s time we start acting like it.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

What Causes Depression (My Theory)

For the most part, doctors and experts are confused about what causes depression in people. Some believe it is something that is hereditary while others believe it comes from external factors, like environmental pollution and poor diet.

Here’s one other theory — the theory that I personally believe.

I believe that depression comes from having a “song” unsung inside of you. A song that’s desperately trying to get out into the world, but you suppress it time and time again.

By song I mean anything that would make your heart sing. That might be writing something special, creating something, growing something, learning something, pursuing a certain career or just speaking your mind.

A lot of people bottle up resentment for others instead of letting it out. Those poisonous feelings grow inside and can create a physical imbalance.

Some people are depressed because they never told that ONE person who hurt them deeply exactly how they feel.

Maybe you feel that someone or a group of someone’s has wronged you in some way, but you don’t have the courage to tell them about themselves.

Maybe you want to try something brand new in your life (like write music, write a story, be a fashionista or sky dive from a plane), but you don’t because you lack confidence or someone is telling you that you can’t.

Watching celebrities and other people on TV “live their dreams” while you are not can unknowingly be a major source of depression.

My Bouts with Depression
I believe the bouts of depression I experienced in my life came from a number of situations where I left my “songs unsung” so to speak:

– allowing myself to be teased as a young child and not standing up for myself more

– showing unrequited love and support to family members / friends who thought it was fine to treat me a certain way (and not expressing my true feelings about it to them)

– a failed business venture early in my life that left me feeling devastated, useless and stupid

– allowing men to come into and out of my life, using me up, without telling them exactly how much they hurt me

All of these experiences and more allowed years of pain, anger, resentment and guilt to build up within me until the bubble finally “popped” and it came out in an unhealthy way. To overcome severe depression I had to recognize the source of the issue and release it to God. And yes, in some cases I had to tell a few people off, which felt great. Why spare the feelings of an insensitive person who has wronged you at the expense of your own health and wellness ?

I do believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance, but I don’t think it is something that’s *inherent* in you — it’s something that happens over time as you internalize negativity.

You shouldn’t put up with nonsense and negativity in your life.

Can you relate to any of this? If so, take a moment to write down the various people, situations and experiences that may have lead you to suffer from depression. It could help you to identify the source of the problem so that you can work on releasing it.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Review of Beyond Positive Thinking by Dr. Robert Anthony

When I look for self-help books I want someone who speaks to me with down to earth ideas that I can relate to and implement immediately. I found that in Beyond Positive Thinking by Dr. Robert Anthony. Here is my review of the book.

Being, Doing, Having
One of the most important nuggets I grabbed from this book was that most of us are confused about what it takes to be satisfied in life.

We believe of having, doing then being, so in other words we think that we have to have money/fame/success/material things first in order to finally be happy.

But if that were the truth, why are there so many unhappy, miserable people who have plenty of stuff?

America is one of the wealthiest countries in the world but is nowhere near the top of the happiness list.

Dr. Anthony instead says that we have to look at satisfaction in a different way: being, then doing and then having.

First you have to BE happy in order to be inspired to do something with your life that will ultimately lead to having everything you want.

Many of us complain about what we don’t have instead of being thankful for what we already do have: shelter, food, clean water, love from a family member or friend.

Our Lives Are Shaped by Our Beliefs
Another important point that Dr. Anthony makes in the book is that we act out our lives in accordance with our beliefs about ourselves. In many cases our beliefs about ourselves are formed because of what others have told us about ourselves — and we accepted it.

A young man who has always been told he is “stupid” accepts that characterization of himself and goes on to act out being “stupid” throughout his life. A girl who has always been told she is beautiful (even if she doesn’t meet society’s ideal of that) will live out her life as a beautiful woman as long as she accepts that belief.

So we have to accept better beliefs about ourselves first in order to change the course of our lives for the better.

Unhappiness Comes from Comparison
In the book Dr. Anthony says says that comparison is the root cause of unhappiness. When we constantly compare ourselves to others and think that we’re falling short, we become sad and depressed about our current lives.

I believe that one of the reasons why Americans are so unhappy as a nation is that we are obsessed with celebrity culture. We’re constantly inundated with messages, pictures and stories of people who we believe are doing so much better than us at life. The irony is that most of them are only creating an image for others to look at — they’re just as unhappy.

One More Good Point
Have you ever wondered how two children can grow up in the same home and turn out completely different? Well Dr. Anthony offers a theory that makes a lot of sense.

He says that the difference is due to each child’s interpretation of what is going on in his surroundings throughout his young life. So even in an abusive household one child might grow up and become abusive himself because he interprets that as normal behavior. Another child sees the side of the victim of the abuse, interprets it as wrong behavior and resolves to never put someone through that ever.

I really enjoyed Dr. Robert Anthony’s book Beyond Positive Thinking and highly recommend it for anyone looking for solid, clear-cut advice on how to break through to a more satisfying life.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

How to Be the Center of Your Own Universe

I was raised by older women who selflessly gave of themselves. Many of them gave up their happiness, dreams and in many cases their peace of mind for the sake of helping other people. Basically they came last in their own lives.

Some people will call this admirable, but I disagree. I don’t think that’s what God / The Universe / The Higher Power wants for us. We’re meant to care about and help others when we can but not to the point where it robs from our own life force.

Women tend to give so much of themselves to the point where they lose themselves — they lose their identities. Later on in life, they look back at their years spent focused on sacrificing themselves to find that there’s nothing really to show for playing the role of a “martyr.” There are countless divorced women who sacrificed their careers and aspirations for marriage and kids only to find themselves struggling alone and unappreciated later on in life.

On what planet and in what universe is that fair? All of us are important and all of us deserve the pursuit of personal happiness and fulfillment.

Unfortunately, for much of my life I followed in the footsteps of this learned tradition, selflessly giving of myself to help others. It’s not until something life-changing happened to me that I realized no one else I knew would stick their neck out for me the way that I was willing to do for them.

And you know what, that’s probably smart of them.

I believe that each of us should be the center of our own Universe. We shouldn’t feel obligated to give so much of ourselves that it hurts. If we do for others it should be because we genuinely want to — not out of a sense of obligation.

So instead of holding into resentment toward people who won’t sacrifice for you, I think it’s so much more useful to turn the situation around and look at yourself. Here are a few tips for how to make yourself the center of your own Universe so that you can be happy and at peace with yourself and your decisions.

1) Take 15-20 minutes right now to answer this question “what do I need right now?” What do you need for yourself right now that will give you a boost? Write it down point by point. For example:

– I need to take better care of my health / workout
– I need to take myself out for a nice dinner
– I need to save up money to reach an important goal (no more lending — my money is my money)
– I need a vacation / getaway
– I need a massage / spa day
– I need new clothes or a new pair of comfortable shoes
– I need to quietly read a book on my lunch break (instead of listening to my co-worker go on and on about her relationship for an hour)

Now prioritize checking off this list over anything else that is going on in your life. You’ll find that as you check those things off you start to feel more important and alive. For you to help anyone else you need to be okay first.

2) Don’t ever give an immediate answer to a favor request from someone. Tell the person that you’ll think about it and get back to them at a later time. If they try to pressure you for an immediate answer, say no.

3) Before agreeing to do something for another person, ask yourself “would this put an unnecessary strain on ME?” Yes me, because ME matters. “Can I afford to do this and still be okay?” Also, “would this person do the same for me?” One of the keys to a healthy relationship with another person is reciprocity.

4) Understand that your opinion of yourself is the only one that really matters in the grand scheme of things. If someone doesn’t like you because you said no, that’s 100% their problem!

5) Start living your life from the inside out instead of from the outside in. What does that mean? Do you ever feel like you’re observing your life, actions, decisions and conversations as a third party observer? That you’re constantly thinking about what that other person is thinking about you? That you’re behaving the way you believe THEY would want you to behave? Think about it.

Be confident in who you are as an individual. Instead of looking at your life from the outside views of others, look at you from WITHIN. Are YOU happy with how you’re living? What do you think about yourself? This is where self-love comes from.

6) Be perfectly imperfect and proud of it. A lot of us are striving for perfection, which can never be achieved. Not to mention, one person’s idea of perfection differs from another’s. Understand that your imperfections are perfectly okay. Embrace them and cherish them — they’re part of you.

If you feel lost or drained by life, it’s probably because you’re not putting yourself first. Implement these tips for how to become the center of your own Universe starting today.

YOU MATTER.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a self-help guide entitled Survive, Live or Thrive? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.