Change can be big, scary, and overwhelming… but the same goes for routine. When we do the same things long enough, passion goes out the window and repetition begins to affect our creativity, energy, and passion. So it can be important to mix things up – and sometimes even jump into completely new situations to find our real footing.

With great risk comes great reward; with that in mind, here are some mind-opening thoughts about being brave, being daring, and quite simply, taking chances every chance we get.

1. Small changes build momentum.

When looking to create big changes in life, even small steps taken now can lead to new horizons.
What you do today can improve all your tomorrows – Ralph Marston

2. Great ideas stick around until we act on them.

So when we risk, and step away from our comfort zone, these ideas turn into reality.
If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk – Paulo Coelho

3. Change is a positive thing.

We worry a lot about losing what we know, what we feel safe with – not realizing that these feelings are holding us back from becoming something greater.
If you do nothing unexpected, nothing unexpected happens – Fay Weldon

4. From the other side, risk looks a lot like opportunity.

Only when we reflect on how much we had to change do we realize how far we have progressed.
Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing – Denis Waitley

5. Change begins from within.

Before trying a new environment, we have to try a new mindset – one that is open to possibility and potential.
Our lives improve only when we take chances and the first and most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves – Walter Anderson

6. The what-ifs are the enemy.

If you sit around and doubt yourself long enough, than of course any idea will sound too crazy. But f you capture the spark and run with what your imagination is giving you, you’ll be amazed at the results.
Excellence can be obtained if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, expect more than others think is possible – Unknown

No matter where we live, we all want to enjoy happiness and health in daily life. Check out this short list of proverbs about healing and wellness, collected from diverse cultures around the world:

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. (Arabic Proverb)

Since antiquity humans have recognized that health is not just about the body – our wellness is also directly related to the quality of our thoughts.

Fresh air impoverishes the doctor. (Danish Proverb)

Traditional European wisdom emphasizes our need for sunlight and fresh air over modern medicines for healing and preventing disease.

He who enjoys good health is rich, though he knows it not. (Italian Proverb)

This Italian saying has a simple message – good health is above wealth, and gratitude every day can go a long way in making us feel well.

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.  (Irish Proverb)

This Celtic quip suggests happiness as a way of approaching wellness instead of the other way around; our good humor and our good health go hand in hand.

The appearance of a disease is swift as an arrow; its disappearance slow, like a thread. (Chinese Proverb)

This thoughtful metaphor illustrates the nature of the human mind – the smallest disturbances become emergencies, yet when they fade away we hardly notice them.

Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours. (Swedish Proverb)

The Swedish maintain that a positive outlook can conquer thoughts of gloom and doom. Worry does more damage to our bodies than any disease.

If you want to live healthy, be old early. (Spanish Proverb)

This poetic Spanish philosophy encourages us to practice moderation and thoughtfulness in everything that we do to encourage a long and healthy life.

We love soaking in diverse cultural wisdom. What’s your story? Do you have a unique cultural proverb or traditional family saying you’d like to add to our list? Please share with us below!

 

Whether you hit the gym, grab the meditation cushion, or hold the hand of a friend, you are exercising your personal strength. Want to know how? Here are three quotes illustrating the differences and common misperceptions about “strong” people!
 

1. Physical Strength

“If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” -Bruce Lee

You don’t have to be the biggest person to be strong (Bruce Lee was a small guy!) Physical strength is more about agility, balance and flexibility. In a greater sense, physical strength means keeping your body in balance, being able to adapt and adjust to changing circumstances.
 

2. Spiritual Strength

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” -Gandhi

Spiritual strength is about finding peace within, in order to create peace in the world. Only strong people can only show compassion, forgiveness, kindness and love, because they possess these qualities within themselves. You can build this sort of strength through meditation, mindfulness, and compassionate action towards all beings.
 

3. Emotional Strength

“Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

Emotional strength is not only finding the courage to pursue your dreams in the face of adversity, it is about helping others to find that same courage within themselves. Emotional strength cannot be measured on a scale, it can only be measured by the goodness one person spreads to the people around them.

Strength exists in many forms- these are just three of them. What other kind qualities belong to truly “strong” people? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

Many of us yearn for more self-control, whether it’s the restraint needed to resist sweets or the willpower required to finish a project. Either way, self-control is a primary ingredient for meeting our goals. 

Psychologists who study self-control, or as they refer to it, self-regulation, have made some interesting observations. While many of us tend to think of self-control and willpower as inherent character traits, they’re actually a little bit more complicated than that.  

We All Have a Limited Amount of Willpower

Exerting self-control takes willpower, and willpower takes up energy. Unfortunately, that energy depletes the more we use it. For example, in one study, individuals were presented with freshly-baked cookies and then asked to take a test. In a second group, participants were presented with cookies, but were told to resist them and eat radishes instead. Those who were allowed cookies were able to test for longer than those who were told to resist. In short, the second group had already used up their willpower avoiding the treats.   

Willpower Depletes Throughout the Day

We have more focus and energy earlier in the day, which means we tend to have better self-control during that time. This explains why we’re more likely to cave on our diet or lose patience with loved ones at night, especially if we’ve had a long and stressful day. Be mindful and don’t overestimate how much energy you’ll have to a complete a task later on.   

Making Decisions Affects Will Power 

The same energy used to exert self-control is the same energy used to make decisions. This means that making lots of tough decisions can lead us to have less control later on. The reverse is true as well: exerting too much willpower means we tend to make simplistic decisions afterwards. In your daily life, consider how much time you spend making small or unimportant decisions. All those choices might be taking away much needed energy! 

…And So Does Wellness  

Not surprisingly, hunger levels, stress, and sleep can all affect our willpower. The hungrier and more fatigued we are, the less likely we are to exhibit self-control. Giving yourself proper meals and proper rest will help you keep up the energy you need to regulate your behavior.   

Self-Control Might Be Related To Empathy

Scientists have discovered that the same parts of the brain used to exhibit empathy and selflessness are the same ones used to exercise restraint. Some have proposed that exerting self-control might be a form of exercising empathy for yourself: present-you shows restraint in the moment because it anticipates how future-you will feel. 

Some of these discoveries might be a little discouraging, but there’s no need to be discouraged! While willpower is considered a limited resource, scientists also liken it to a muscle: it can be strengthened with exercise. Stay tuned to learn how you can have more self-control.  

Further Reading: 
http://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/01/self-control.aspx
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuronarrative/201312/19-reasons-why-willpower-fails-you-and-what-do-about-it
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/12/self-control-is-just-empathy-with-a-future-you/509726/

When we place too much focus on one goal, our path can seem narrow and full of closed doors. But if we can learn to let go and truly open ourselves to the unexpected, we may find possibilities we didn’t know existed.

We miss so much when we live closed off to the world. Think of your fist – when you shut it tight you can carry a handful of sand for a distance. But if you spread your hands wide, the entire desert can pass through your fingers.

Being open means you are receptive to the universe and changing circumstances that can affect your daily experiences. You are not abandoning your goals, or desire for success; you are simply creating more room for improvisation if the first path does not work out.

How open do you view yourself? Is your life a series of narrow passes that you must squeeze through, exhausted when you reach the other side? Or do you feel that each new challenge is a wide archway that you walk beneath comfortably?

Visual imagery can be a great tool for meditation, inspiring you to look at your thoughts in new ways. Here are some more ways to visualize openness, which may inspire you to create and contemplate your own imagery:

  • A satellite dish: open to all the signals of the universe
  • A sapling: stretching to reach the sun and rain
  • A whale: huge mouth open, swimming through the krill
  • A magnet: attracting that which is opposite to you
  • The child version of yourself: knowing that everything is possible

Being open is hard when we spend life rushing from one serious task to the next. Breathe, slow down just a little bit, and don’t forget to smile.

Visual imagery meditation from the book Quiet Mind: One Minute Retreats from a Busy World.

Our lives consist of countless journeys. Some are easier to travel than others. Some are more difficult to finish. But whether we are undertaking challenges physically, mentally, or spiritually, the most difficult part can be just getting started.

Think of any creative project like writing, drawing, etc. When staring at the blank page or canvas, the correct first move seems invisible to the eye, and our minds tell us that no matter where we start, it will be the wrong place – tricky, right?

This perception applies to many areas of our lives – afraid of failure and disappointment; we remain frozen at the beginning of the road. However, as often is the case, all it takes to break out of this uncertainty is one small step forward.

Consider this quote from philosopher Lao Tzu:

The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.

These words, nearly 2,500 years old, still resonate with crystal clarity today. The reason is because it connects to a fundamental fact of human existence – we are meant to move forward in life, rather than idle in one place permanently.

Sure, Lao Tzu’s quote can refer to any worldly travel, or might even help you begin that new exercise or yoga routine. But the concept can also apply to complex emotional challenges, the start of new relationships, undertaking creative projects, or overcoming fears of social anxiety, for example.

Interestingly, Lao Tzu’s quote can also be translated (depending on who you ask) to this alternate interpretation:

The journey of 1,000 miles begins beneath one’s feet.

In this sense, the philosopher’s words remind us that we are in control of our destiny, and that the ability and courage required to complete all journeys resides within ourselves – not in the outside world.

Once we understand that our lives are ours to control, all that remains is for each of us is to step forward, and begin walking.   

Life is a gift. So how should we spend it? It’s a question that humans have been trying to answer since, well, forever. 

Each of us has to determine what brings us personal meaning and fulfillment. But no matter what our individual paths looks like, there are a few things all of us can do to make the most of this crazy journey we’re on!  

Don’t Wait To Start

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” Barack Obama

Is there something you’ve been waiting to make happen? Don’t wait any longer, because there is no perfect time to create change or pursue our dreams. If you don’t start now, you might never. 

Take Risks

“Living with fear stops us from taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit.” -Sarah Parish

Going outside of our comfort zone is how we open ourselves up to amazing opportunities. Exploring and trying new things means you learn more, discover more, grow more.

Live In The Present

“When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.” -Osho

Our minds are often stuck in the past or worrying about the future. Meanwhile, we miss out on everything the present moment has to offer. Be here now, because the now is beautiful! 

Be Spontaneous

“The essence of pleasure is spontaneity.” –Germaine Greer

While routines maintain good habits and ensure stability, spontaneity helps us to take initiative and find joy in the unpredictable. 

Connect With Others

“Deep human connection is…the purpose and the result of a meaningful life – and it will inspire the most amazing acts of love, generosity, and humanity.” -Melinda Gates

What makes us human if it’s not the connections we share? Love and friendship are some of the greatest sources of joy we can ever know. Put time and effort into others and you’ll find the rewards are boundless. 

Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand – and melting like a snowflake. – Francis Bacon Sr.

Sometimes we wait in life for the perfect opportunity to come our way, the perfect moment to tell someone how we feel, or the perfect conditions to begin an important project. But wait too long, and we miss our chance to shine in the present moment.

Start now.

It doesn’t matter if the blueprints are perfect yet. Even a vague direction is better than staying in one place.

Live in present.

The past and the future may influence us – but they do not determine our ultimate destiny. The only time we have for certain is right now. Do something with it.

Do what you can.

Make progress one step at a time. If you can’t get everything done, get one thing done. If you can’t help every person, help one person.

The courage we need to get started living already exists within us. Bring it forth.

Each of us is on a journey, the exact shape of which we can never really know. But we’re all traveling, and it never hurts to stop and see where we are on our paths. By assessing where we are, and where we want to be, we can make more deliberate choices going forward in order to live an intentional life. 

Try setting a chunk of time aside to sit down and ask yourself the following:

Where Have You Been? 

Where has life brought you up to now? For this, you may want to draw a timeline. Include major life changes or any event that feels important to you. Sit back and take in what you see. Notice patterns, habits, or major themes. 

And then? Write down, “You did it!” Or say it out loud. Yes, literally. Because no matter where we are in life, we’ve all had to work and grow in order to get where we are. No stride we’ve made is too small or insignificant. 

Where Are You Now? 

Now we come to the present. Think about relationships, jobs, habits, hobbies, and finances. We suggest listing each as a category. What are the parts you feel positive about? And the negative? Where are your strengths? Your weaknesses?  

There are likely areas of your life you feel good about. And that’s great. Give yourself a pat on the back (again, literally). You may also notice some parts of your life that feel lacking somehow. That’s okay. These might feel like obstacles, but they’re actually opportunities. 

Where Would You Like to Go? 

So you’ve sat down and noticed some areas for growth. Maybe you need a regular exercise routine or be better about spending. Perhaps you’re wanting more quality time with family or feeling like you need to change jobs. For these areas, set goals for yourself. 

Goal-Setting Tips

  • Think in terms of small steps 
  • Schedule deadlines for each step
  • Share your goals with others 
  • Read and research as much as you can
  • Be honest about any fears or hesitations 

Write your goals down and post them somewhere visible. Look at them every day. Go little by little, and congratulate yourself when you’ve crossed off a step. Always keep traveling, and remember, the work is the ultimate reward. 

“Going Green” can mean different things to different people as well as different things in different settings. The one thing that “Going Green” always means is reducing the impact one has on the Earth’s resources.

There are numerous ways to go green, many of which can be easily incorporated into everyday life. Consider paper use. How much wasteful paper use occurs daily in the typical home? As an example taken from kitchens across the country, many singles and families alike routinely use paper towels, paper napkins and even paper plates. Adding in a few newspaper or magazine subscriptions and a pile of junk mail equals a lot of wasted paper per household each year.

For “Going Green” beginners, just combating paper waste can significantly reduce the impact an individual or family has on the environment. As most paper comes from trees, reducing paper use will save trees from needless harvest. Put the following ideas into practice today!

Paper Products

Stop using paper products unnecessarily. Commit to using real plates, even for snacks. Make or purchase cloth napkins to be used at meals. Keep paper towels for use only during those times when a dishcloth or sponge may not be appropriate, such as for clean up of poultry blood or other potential bacterial contaminants during food preparation. Follow Grandpa’s example and keep a handkerchief handy rather than reaching for a tissue. Be sure to purchase toilet paper made from post consumer content rather than virgin fibers.

Go Paperless

Switch to paperless billing wherever possible and sign up for online banking to pay monthly bills. Read the news or magazines online through digital subscriptions and opt for paperless book club or other memberships. Reduce the amount of other junk mail by signing up with a reputable mail preference service.

Reuse and Recycle Paper

Save gift-wrap, tissue paper and gift bags to reuse on another occasion. Recycle greeting cards into postcards or gift tags. Donate magazines to libraries, senior centers or medical facilities and use catalogs for children’s crafts. Take old phone books or newspapers to the local recycling center or to make compostable starter pots for seedlings.

Bring Less Paper Home

Make or buy a reusable cloth shopping bag and significantly cut down on both paper and plastic bag usage. Buy products in bulk when possible to minimize wasteful packaging. When given the option, consider whether a receipt is really needed, for instance, at the coffee shop, grocery store or gas pump.

Share green ideas at work, at school and in the community. Encourage neighbors to get involved. Join, or even organize, green community activities. Take care of the Earth and she will return the favor!