Category: Self-Help

Overcoming Loneliness: Ways to Stay Balanced and Optimistic About the Future

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been numerous studies and conversations surrounding the epidemic of loneliness. Even before covid, people were becoming increasingly isolated due to social media, technology, cellphones (texting instead of talking), depression, grief, and other reasons.

Post-pandemic, a lot of people are really feeling the struggle when it comes to being alone almost all the time, including those who have found no other choice than to quarantine and avoid meeting up with others. Experts have revealed that loneliness could have numerous effects on people, including physical and mental health issues, if this lifestyle isn’t managed properly.

We can forge better relationships with friends and family so that we increase the possibilities of having meaningful social interactions now and in the future. At the same time, unfortunately, we can’t force people to spend more time with us to “cure” our loneliness. But we can learn how to get more comfortable with being alone and enjoying our own company over time. Here are a few tips for how we can overcome feelings of loneliness and sadness, and think more optimistically for the future.

Maintain High Standards for Yourself

I talk about this in my book Sing While You’re Single. No matter how low, alone, or sad you may feel, strive to maintain a certain standard for yourself (personal hygiene and looks) and the place where you live (keeping it tidy, organized, and smelling good). Even if it’s just brushing and flossing your teeth meticulously each day or wiping down your kitchen counter so that it gleams. Just do it, it’s for you. You might feel lonely every now and again, but at least you can look good and feel good in your home—make it your Oasis.

Be Good to the Good People You Still Have in Your Life

Nearly a decade ago I was angry and resentful of pretty much everyone in my life because I felt that they abandoned me in my time of need.

Well, you know what? I had to get over that because it was making me increasingly isolated and even more angry at life and people. That approach wasn’t working. So, I began to study Universal principles and listen to motivational speakers and authors. It calmed me and gave me some sense of hope. I worked on myself and forgave whoever I thought wronged me. Truth be told, most people do not care if you are mad at them. Some don’t even know. There is no point hanging onto negative feelings about others—instead, focus on the decent people you know or encounter and build better relationships with them.

Be About Your Business

It is difficult to feel lonely, unhappy, and caught up in negative thoughts when you are busy with something that you are passionate about. Get busy doing something that you love, whether it is working on a plan to generate extra income, studying your craft to become a high-end expert, or working on your artwork.

Remember though: everything in moderation. Avoid becoming a workaholic to the point where you lose yourself or get distracted from other aspects of living well, such as preparing healthy meals, getting exercise, and staying in touch with loved ones.

Continue to Actively Participate in the World

Feelings of loneliness are exacerbated when you start to isolate yourself in your home and not actively participate in the world. Make efforts to go outside as much as possible and stay active. You can take a walk in a park with an ice-cold Snapple or smoothie, go to a shopping center even just to window shop, or just go outside your house and have a short conversation with a neighbor.

Just make every effort to go outside and interact with the world in some way. Breathe in the fresh air. Regular exercise outdoors is renewing and invigorating. See if there may be an outdoor fitness class you can join that allows for proper social distancing or find a quiet, safe place where you can practice yoga stretches.

Recognize When You’re Talking to Your Higher Power

When you feel like you may be talking to yourself, it might really be that you’re talking to your Higher Power, a guardian angel, or maybe a loved one who passed. I don’t think you are really alone if you believe that. Deep down you know that someone who cares about you is listening. Be comforted by that when you are feeling lonely.

It Takes Time to Get Used to Being with Yourself

It can take months or years before you finally become comfortable with just being alone with yourself, whether it’s at home cooking, going to an outdoor restaurant by yourself for a special meal, or just going for a walk on the beach. But there’s a good chance that you might learn to like it: the peace of not having to entertain other people’s personalities or proclivities and just do whatever YOU want.

Sometimes when I am with others, I look forward to getting back to my solitude, peace, and calm. I love myself, I like myself, and I enjoy spending time alone. But that took time.

Despite a number of personal tragedies that were out of my control, I am still optimistic that things can get better. You may be able to relate. This “epidemic of loneliness” does not have to become our new normal. I believe that we can return to having stronger connections with others while also being safe and responsible. We take things day by day, step by step, show genuine care for ourselves and our loved ones, and focus on positive thoughts for the future.

Love Lynn

The Benefits of an Organized Mind

A little while back, I decided to clean my refrigerator and do it meticulously. Making the decision to dedicate my time to that simple task turned out to be very therapeutic and rewarding. To this day, my refrigerator is still organized and much easier to navigate. I posted about it here at LifeLoveLynn.com .

So I decided to implement this idea one more time –- this time to my garage. Now, my garage is like a place of forgotten thoughts, events and dreams. It is stacked with books, yard supplies, sports equipment, tools, barbecue stuff, pantry items, supplies and countless knickknacks. Everything has been mixed together in piles that are sometimes as high as the ceiling.

I decided that this week I was going to organize this garage. All by myself. The first thing I did was conceive of the plan in my head. Napoleon Hill talked about the importance of taking at least a few minutes to an hour planning things out in your mind before you take any action.

I put my mini television in the garage, put on one of my favorite shows and got to work. I took my time and stayed positive. Just two hours later it looked like a completely different place. Two hours.

This was a reminder to me that I need to organize my mind before I can successfully organize my life. For months, probably years I have looked upon that mess when it could’ve been resolved in just TWO HOURS after thinking things through.

So what do you have in your life right now that needs to be organized? Whatever that may be, the first step is to organize your mind. Get a plan together and just do it. You might be surprised by how quickly the job gets done and how rewarding it is for you.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is an author and blogger. Her new book You Matter encourages women to know and understand their worth. She is also the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

3 Simple Ways to Defeat Anger

The famous author Mark Twain said, “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” In other words, your anger is hurting you more than anything or anyone. Explore these three simple ways that you can go about defeating your anger and finally move forward with your life in a productive manner.

Determine the Source of Your Anger

Understand that in many cases you’re not really angry at the situation that is right in front of you — you’re angry about something else in your life. Maybe you just broke up with your girlfriend or your boss is nagging you at work. Once you accept what you’re really angry at in your life, it seems silly to keep taking it out on innocent people. Apologize to the innocent people around you and treat them with the respect that they deserve. You can then take steps to remedy or release the source of your issues.

Laugh

Whenever you feel like you’re about to have an epic meltdown, stop, close your eyes and try to think of something funny. If you want, think about what you want to do to the other person in your mind — make it over the top and ridiculous, then laugh about it heartily. It may take a few moments but when you have that memory or thought placed clearly in your mind’s eye, laughing about it can completely change your state.

Change Your Scenery

Sometimes the humdrum nature of life can be too much to bear. You may start to feel as if you’re running on a hamster wheel, seeing the same people, places and things day in and out. That alone can make you angry and put you on edge, especially when those people, places and things annoy you. Try changing your scenery — go somewhere new and different today, even if it’s just the park. Changing your surroundings can help give you a different perspective on your situation and relax you both physically and mentally.

You are the only one who can control your anger. Use these tips as a starting point on the road to a more peaceful and relaxed existence. Don’t let anger eat your “vessel” up from the inside out — you have to let it go.

Love Lynn

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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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Do You Want to Be a Weed or a Plant?

When I’m out tending to my garden all types of ideas and revelations come to me. One issue that I find to be most time consuming is the act of pulling weeds.

I have no idea where these weeds come from. They just sort of appear out of nowhere. In some cases they pop up overnight. Weeds sometimes grow when there’s no sun or water. Some varieties spread their seeds liberally as a way of trying to "take over." They are almost like parasites, taking resources (sun, fertilizer, water, nutrients in the soil) but never really giving much back to the world.

On the other hand you have plants. Plants get their name because they were specifically seeded by a farmer or gardener. They are needed and wanted. They take resources but they also give something back to the world, in the form of healthy food, beautiful smells or colorful flowers.

So the thought that came to my mind on this particular day was how some people are like weeds and others are beautiful plants. What type of people do you have around you? And which one would you want to be?

Weeds…
Weeds spread and propagate on their own. No one (except agricultural experts) really knows where they come from. They blow with the wind and land where they may. When they do settle into a spot, they dig in and get comfortable, not caring who the land belongs to or if they’re welcome. They just grow and grow, take and take, without much of a purpose or benefit to the landscape. Some theorize that they help protect soul by covering the ground, but they don’t seem to care if that ground is already occupied with plants or grass. They can impede the growth of plants. I liken them to an unwelcome distant relative coming into someone’s living room and putting their muddy boots up on the brand new couch.

Plants
Plants, like vegetables or flowers, have a clear purpose for being. They flourish and grow so that they can be a blessing to others. They stand tall and confidently, basking in the sunlight. They feed people with healthy nutrition (and bees with nectar).

Yes, plants are used up, and they will eventually wither away, but they leave behind valuable seeds that regrow and flourish year after year. The fruit and seeds that they produce are valued and cherished indefinitely into the future. They help people become and feel healthy, and have even been known to heal diseases. People will pay a pretty penny for a good piece of fruit or a beautiful flower.

So do you get the analogy? Unlike vegetation, we humans are blessed with the choice to be more like a weed or like a plant. We can be a blessing to the world instead of being a burden.

We have the choice to take the seed that God planted in each of us and let it flourish, so that it can be a blessing to the world.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Programming Your Life & Mental Programming

When the producer of a show starts to develop the programming, there are a few crucial elements needed:

– she has to develop a relationship with a director
– she needs a cast of characters
– she needs a script, theme or storyline to follow

Without these things, there’s no program and the quality of each of these things determines how good or successful the show will be.

Well I submit to you that programming a television show is a lot like programming your life. You, as the producer, have total control of how your life “show” will turn out.

For instance, if you don’t have a good, strong, communicative relationship with your Director (God, Divine Providence, Higher Power) then the whole production lacks direction.

If you choose a cast of characters (think of them as your friends and associates) who are problematic and hard to get along with, your program will run into all sorts of roadblocks and obstacles. You’ll likely spend most of your time fighting or breaking up arguments.

And finally, the script is the most important part of the show. How have you chosen to write the story of your life? Is it a sad, pitiful and low energy story line that doesn’t have a clear purpose? Or is it an exciting drama full of climaxes and new experiences that educate and enlighten you along the way, illuminating an important and useful message to others?

There’s also another crucial factor in how successful your production will be … YOUR belief in it as the producer. In fact, a good program can’t even come to fruition unless and *until* you program your mind to think positively about it in the first place. You must first envision your life’s program for it to then become a reality.

If you could equate your life with a movie or television program, what would be the title and plot summary? If your program isn’t a 5-star production yet, what can you do to improve it starting today?

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Going Against the Grain or Going Along to Get Along?

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
– Mark Twain

Have you ever gone along with something, whether it was an idea, an action or a joke just because most of your friends or family members agree with it?

Yet something deep down inside tells you that something’s not quite right. That is your intuition talking to you, but unfortunately sometimes we ignore that voice. We choose the path of least resistance and just go along to get along.

Going against the grain (a euphemism for going one way when everyone else is going the other way) seems too difficult a task at first. You may have to deal with ridicule or judgment for your choices. Wouldn’t it just be easier to just agree with everyone and go with the crowd?

But there is SO much freedom in going against the grain when it’s warranted. For one, your conscience is FREE, because you know deep down that you’re doing the right thing. And you’re also freeing yourself from the mental slavery that comes with “group think.” The more people who go along with a certain belief, thought, obsession or action, the tougher it is to resist joining the ranks.

When I first decided that I would work for myself and own my own business, many of the people around me laughed and judged me. I frequently heard “why don’t you just go get a *real* job?” Today many of those same people struggle in careers they don’t really like. I decided to go against the grain, and I love what I do. It’s not always easy work being an entrepreneur, but I earn, have freedom AND I’m able to express my creativity every day.

People are always trying to impose their views and opinions on others — you have the free will and right to not agree if you wish. Exercise that free will at every and any opportunity!

Don’t ever be afraid to go against the grain when necessary. Your skin might get “prickled” a little along the way, but you may look up soon enough to clearly see that you chose the right path for YOU.

Love Lynn

Now Available at Amazon & Audible.com!

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Is It Really a Good Idea to Have a Plan A B and C?

Throughout much of my adult life I lived by the belief that it’s always good to have a plan A B or C in case your initial idea doesn’t pan out. In my mind, the plans after “A” would have been settling into a permanent job; plan B is a good job I like, “C” is not as good of a job and so forth down the alphabet.

But that conflicts with the teachings of my mentors who say that if you have a major goal, nothing should distract you from it. Many say that having a “backup plan” is a bit like predicting the failure of your first goal.

Now I feel the need to adjust the line of thinking that I’ve always clung to about having a backup plan. Now I think that it’s important to have a plan A B C D through Z that specifically moves you toward your ultimate goal or dream of choice.

I agree with my mentors, like Les Brown, who say that if you have a dream you want to achieve you hang onto it like a mad dog with a bone. At the same time it’s still a good idea to have a plan A B and C for pursuing that dream. That’s the key.

There could be many roads that lead you to your ultimate goal — some are smooth, “safe” and curved while others are more “tricky” or risky but they might get you there faster. Each of those roads to your goal are labeled plans ABC. The more backup plans you have the better in this case — if you believe in your dream, you will do what is necessary to achieve it.

Even if you do decide to put your plans on pause for a moment, that doesn’t mean that your “trip” is over. For instance, if you decide to pause a business venture and get a job, let that be a time to regroup, save some money and get refocused on your business plan. In this case, getting a job isn’t plan B for your LIFE… it’s just PART of plan B for achieving your ultimate goal.

Avoid negative people who try to discourage you. Keep learning and growing. And stay focused on your dreams and goals — they help give your life meaning and purpose.

“Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner.”
– Les Brown

Watch this motivational video by Les Brown: http://youtu.be/KlUMrzwmbyo

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Success Rarely Happens Overnight (Don’t Stomp on Your Sprouts)

Say one day you decide to plant a sunflower. After 2 weeks, there’s a tiny sprout. After 3 weeks there’s even more of a sprout but not quite a sunflower yet.

Do you give up on your sunflower, yell at the sun, stomp on the dirt and pour antifreeze over the sprout because it hasn’t become a full grown flower yet?

Or are you encouraged by the small bit of progress, and continue to water and feed your soon-to-be flower?

Choosing the first option sounds RIDICULOUS doesn’t it? Yet people do that all the time to their goals, dreams and pursuits of success. You make a bit of progress, but it’s not enough, so you abandon the whole thing after a short while. You don’t see the “fruit” from your efforts quickly enough, so you pour antifreeze all over your plans and scream at the sky.

One of the questions in my book Why Doesn’t He Love Me? is “Why do good things take so long to happen for me?”

We tend to be very impatient about progress. We want results now, or even better YESTERDAY.

Well a fact of life is that success takes time — it rarely happens overnight!

Pursuing a goal is like planting a seed in the ground. You water it, feed it and let the sun bless it. It grows slowly and perfectly until one day there’s a beautiful flower in the dirt.

And each seed has its own timeline. Some will be ready for harvest in just a few weeks, while others (like bushes and trees) take years to fully mature.

How many times have you given up on a new workout or nutrition plan, just because you didn’t see flatter abs and less pounds on the scale in 2 or 3 weeks? (Sometimes days!) It takes months and years for a shift in your diet and exercise plan to show significant results, and consistency is key.

Have you ever tried to learn a new skill, like dancing, playing an instrument, or painting and after a short time gave up because you didn’t think you were good enough?

Do me a favor right now and look up the early/first paintings of iconic artists like Salvadore Dali, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. Many famous artists didn’t start off painting “perfect” masterpieces. There was a progression in their art that came with time, practice and inspiration. The same is true for many of your favorite musicians and entertainers.

Then there are the trials of starting your own business. You opened the business and no one flooded through your doors the first week. That doesn’t mean you and your business idea is a failure! It means that more time is needed, more new ideas or maybe even a slight shift in your business plan. Steve Jobs didn’t turn Apple into a multibillion dollar corporation overnight — it took many years for him to finally get his footing.

And sometimes, some seeds just don’t ever turn into flowers for any number of reasons. Maybe the seed didn’t get enough water or the weather wasn’t warm enough. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you or that you’re a failure — it simply means that you have to plant more seeds until you start to see some sprouts coming in. The soil’s still good! So keep planting.

“If you really believe in what you’re doing, work hard, take nothing personally and if something blocks one route, find another. Never give up.”
– Laurie Notaro

Don’t Stomp on Your Sprouts
If you are the type of person who gives up on your goals and dreams quickly, keep these words in mind:

Don’t stomp on your sprouts. Keep watering, watching over them and loving them instead — they need time and plenty of love to flourish.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a book of life and love advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me? and a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU.

Guidance vs Pushing Opinions on Others

I recently watched the Lifetime biopic Whitney, about the life of one of my favorite entertainers of all time — Whitney Houston. It centered around the romantic relationship she had with her ex-husband Bobby Brown.

In one scene, Whitney announces to her family that she is getting married to Bobby and her family flips their collective lids! In the movie, her mother warns her that he will bring her down, but she defiantly stayed by his side. In the end, her mother was right and they eventually divorced. He seemed to love her, but the energy that he shared with Whitney did ultimately contribute to her fall from "grace" in the public eye, as her mother advised.

What is the difference between giving someone guidance and forcing your will on them? I think there can be a fine line.

On one hand, you can’t tell someone how to live her life. She is ultimately the person who will decide the direction it will take.

On the other hand, if you know something that another person doesn’t know, isn’t it irresponsible not to try to warn them?

Sometimes I feel that some segments of our culture have been on the decline because so many people are insistent on living a totally "free" life where they just go where the wind blows. They don’t want to hear the opinions of others because they find it too "oppressive." But how can you learn and grow in a productive way if you refuse to accept well-intentioned guidance from others? Values, mores and standards help keep us all level-headed.

I think that the difference between guidance and forcing your will on others is the source. If people trust you and value your opinion, your advice is more likely to be considered valuable guidance. If you are considered a "messy" and judgmental person who doesn’t practice what you preach, your opinion is more likely to be considered an oppression or intrusion — even if it does hold some value.

A Little Guidance on Accepting Guidance 🙂
Live your life the way that you want to live it AND also be open to positive guidance from others from time to time. An opinion from another person is not always meant to be judgment or oppression — sometimes it is a blessing. You never know if one small piece of advice from someone can save you from unnecessary, long-term stress and strife.

Love Lynn

Lynn Gilliard is a writer and transformational blogger. She is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOUand an upcoming book of life advice for women entitled Why Doesn’t He Love Me?