20 Ways to Overcome Shyness

Why Do We Experience Shyness?

We all experience shyness differently and on varying degrees. However, root cause can be boiled down to one of the following reasons:

1. Weak Self Image

This is especially true to our experiences in high school. We would believe in the fallacy that our unique qualities were not interesting, cool or worthy of anyone’s admiration.We would try to fit in with everyone else, resulting in us not feeling like ourselves.
  • Amanda: Looking back I’m not even sure I knew what my unique abilities were, I just knew that everybody else seemed to be a cooler, more interesting person than I was, so I tried to imitate them…poorly.:)
  • Tina: I thought of myself as cool, because I was loud, and worked very hard at keeping that image. It was of course, a false image that I worked hard to keep. It was exhausting and I was exceedingly self conscious. Even though people didn’t view me as shy, but I felt shy most of the time with a lot of built up anxiety. Turns out, the ‘cool’ kids themselves have weak self images and wanted to fit in with everyone else.

2. Pre-occupation with Self

When we’re around other people, we become extremely sensitive to what we’re doing, as if we’ve been put on center stage. This creates anxiety and makes us question our every move. Our focus centers around ourselves and particularly on “what I was doing wrong”. This can cause a downward spiral.
  • Amanda: Coupled with a weak self image,I didn’t thinkIwas doing anything right! And this would start a cycle that I couldn’t get out of. What I understand now is that is that most people are not looking at me with the detail thatI was looking at myself.
  • Tina: I too was very sensitive to my every move around other people. My senses were heightened to the way I talked, walked, laughed, etc. My focus was on how to not screw up in front of other people, and this made me very nervous. What I understand now is that everyone is so caught up with their own insecurities that they hardly notice yours.

3. Labeling

When we label ourselves as a shy person, we psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. We may say to ourselves, “I am a shy person, than it must be true that I am shy. This is how I am, and this is the way things are.” When we label something, that thing has the perception of being fixed and therefore we must live up to the expectations of the labeling.
  • Amanda: I was known by others as a shy person, or a quiet person, and this perception held me captive at times. People expected me to be a certain way and so I was. And knowing that other people regarded me as shy, in addition to my not wanting to be shy, resulted in great anxiety when I was with people. I really wanted to show myself to others when I was around them, but it was easy to simply go along with what others expected from me.
  • Tina: Deep down, I felt the anxieties from shyness often, yet, when I’m around people, I had to live up to the expectations that I wasn’t shy. My experiences with shyness would manifest in unusual ways, like when I’m ordering food, when I call someone on the phone, or speak to strangers. I would never let that side of myself show, but I do experience it. In those moments, I can hear myself say, ‘I am shy.’

How to Overcome Shyness

We’ve both experienced different variations of shyness, and through practice and increased awareness we have both overcome this. The following are tips that have helped us overcome this uncomfortable feeling.

1. Understand Your Shyness

Seek to understand your unique brand of shyness and how that manifests in your life. Understand what situation triggers this feeling? And what are you concerned with at that point?

2. Turning Self Consciousness into Self Awareness

Recognize that the world is not looking at you. Besides, most people are too busy looking at themselves. Instead of watching yourself as if you are other people, bring your awareness inwards. Armed with your understanding of what makes you shy, seek within yourself and become the observing presence of your thoughts. Self awareness is the first step towards any change or life improvement.

3. Find Your Strengths

We all have unique qualities and different ways of expressing ourselves. It’s important to know and fully accept the things we do well, even if they differ from the norm. If everyone was the same, the world would be a pretty boring place.
  • Find something you are good at and focus on doing it. An identifiable strength will boost your natural self esteem and your ego, helping you better identify with yourself. It is a short term fix, but will give you the confidence you need to break your self-imposed barrier of fear.
  • See how your unique strength gives you an advantage. For example, Amanda is a naturally quiet person who prefers to spend time alone. She learned that she listens better than others and notices things that others miss in conversations. She also discovered that her alone time has given her a better understanding of herself.

4. Learn to Like Yourself

Practice appreciating yourself and liking the unique expression that is you. Write a love letter to yourself, do things you enjoy, give gratitude for your body and its effortless functions, spend quality time getting to know yourself, go on a self-date.

5. Not Conforming

Trying to fit in like everyone else is exhausting and not very much fun. Understand that it is okay to be different. In fact, underlying popular kid’s public displays of coolness, they too are experiencing insecurities, self-consciousness, and awkwardness. Accept that you may not be perceived as the most popular social butterfly, and you may not want to be either. At the end of the day, being popular will not make you happy. Accepting your unique qualities can set you free.

6. Focus on Other People

Rather than focusing on your awkwardness in social situations, focus on other people and what they have to say. Become interested in learning about others, and probe them to talk about themselves. You can try pondering the question while interacting: What is it about this person that I like?

7. Releasing Anxiety through Breath

Anxiety and fear can feel overwhelming if you are practicing to become more assertive in order to overcome this fear.
  • One simple technique to calm this anxiety into manageable bites is taking deep breaths with your eyes closed, while concentrating on just your breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly while clearing out all thoughts.
  • Another technique is from yoga: counting as you inhale and then as you exhale. Slowly leveling out your inhale and exhale duration. Example, 4 count for in and 4 for out. Once your breaths are leveled, add an extra count during your exhale. This means slowing down your exhale by just a tad as compared to your inhale. Continue for a few minutes until you are comfortable, than add another count to your exhale. You can easily do this in the bathroom, or in a spare room of when you need it.

8. Releasing Anxiety through Movement

One way of viewing anxiety is that it is blocked energy that needs to be released. We can release this energy through physical movement.
  • Exercises like jogging or walking will help to re-channel some of the blocked energies, but also helps by pulling you out of the situation and shifts your state of mind. This refreshed state of mind will help by adding perspectives to things.
  • Another effective technique is a simple muscle meditation/exercise. Sit down or lie down. Bring awareness to every part of your body, starting from your toes and moving up your body to the top of your head. At every part of your body, tighten the muscles at the center of awareness for 3-5 seconds, and then relax. Repeat this until you get to the top of your head. Remember to breathe.

9. Visualization

Visualizing yourself in the situation as a confident and happy person helps to shape your perception of yourself when you are actually in the situation. Close your eyes, sit back somewhere relaxing, listen to some relaxing music, imagine yourself in a scene or situation and see yourself the way you would like to be. In this scene, how do you feel? What do you hear? Do you smell anything? Are you moving? What do you see? Get all your senses involved to make it real.

10. Affirmation

Words can carry incredible energy. What we repeatedly tell ourselves, gets heard by our unconscious mind, and it acts accordingly. If we repeatedly tell ourselves that we are incapable, and too shy to do anything, we will become increasingly aware of evidence to back up this ‘fact’, and our actions will always match what we tell ourselves. Similarly, if we repeatedly tell ourselves that we are capable, confident, and wonderful human beings, our unconscious mind will likely surface the awareness that gives evidence to this new ‘fact’. While, we can’t lie to ourselves, positive visualization and affirmation are helpful in placing us along the road of positive thought patterns.

11. Do Not Leave an Uncomfortable Situation

When we leave shy situations, what we are really doing is reinforcing our shyness. Instead, face the situation square in the face. Turn the fearful situation into a place of introspection and personal growth. Become the observer and dig into yourself, answer the questions: why do I feel this way? What caused me to feel this way? Can there be an alternative explanation to what is happening?

12. Accept Rejection

Accept the possibility that we can be rejected and learning to not take it personally. Remember, you are not alone and we all experience rejections. It is part of life and part of the learning process. The key lies in how you handle rejections when they come. It helps to be mentally prepared before they happen:
  • Never take it personally. It was not your fault. It just wasn’t meant to be. The scenario was not the best fit for you.
  • Find the lesson – what did you learn? There is a lesson ingrained in every situation. And through these life lessons lies the potential for you to become a better person, a stronger person. Nothing is lost if you can find the lesson. See these as the blessings in disguise.
  • Move on. Recognize that when you fall into self-pity, you are not moving forward. Nothing will be changed from your self-pity. When you start to recognize this, it becomes clear that only energy is wasted while we feed to our problem-seeking ego. Pick yourself up, dust off the dirt and move on to the next thing. Try again, try again, try again. It will pay off!

13. Relinquish Perfectionism

When we compare ourselves, we tend to compare ourselves with the most popular person in the room or we compare ourselves with celebrities we see on TV. We set excessive expectations by comparing ourselves unreasonably to people unlike ourselves and wonder “why can’t I be that?” We carry with us a vision of another’s perfection and expect ourselves to fit that exact mold. And when we don’t fit, we beat ourselves up for it, wondering why we are such failures. You see, the problem lies in our emphasis on fitting into a vision we have created in our minds, which is not us. Let go of this perfect image, create visions of yourself out of the Being from who you are, naturally; and let that expression flow, naturally.

14. Stop Labeling Yourself

Stop labeling yourself as a shy person. You are you, you are unique, and you are beautiful. Can’t we just leave it at that?

15. Practice Social Skills

Like any other skill, social skills can be cultivated through practice and experience. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it becomes next time. If you have a hard time knowing what to say, you can practice what to say ahead of time.

16. Practice Being in Uncomfortable Situations

Sometimes, it is not the social skills we lack, but rather the lack of self confidence that we may succeed, and a heightened fear that we will fail. Placing yourself in these uncomfortable situations will help to desensitize your fear towards the situation. The more you force yourself to face it, and to experience it completely, you will realize that it is not that bad after all. It may be hard for your ego to accept at first, but quickly you will find that you can just laugh and enjoy it.

17. The Three Questions

During social settings where you may experience nervousness, periodically ask yourself the following three questions. Doing so will distract yourself from more self-destructive thoughts. Make it your mantra:
  1. Am I breathing?
  2. Am I relaxed?
  3. Am I moving with grace?

18. What is Comfortable for You?

Going to bars and clubs isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay. Understand what feels comfortable for you, and find people, communities and activities which bring out the best in you. You can be just as equally social in settings that you connect with on a personal level, than the popular social settings. You don’t have to be doing what “everyone” else is doing. Besides, everyone else isn’t necessarily happy, despite your perception as such.

19. Focus on the Moment

Becoming mindful of what you’re doing, regardless of what you’re doing, will take focus away from the self. When you are having a conversation, forget about how you look, focus on the words, fall into the words, become absorbed in the words. The tones. The expression. Appreciate it and give gratitude for it.

20. Seek and Record Your Successes

As you overcome this condition we’ve been labeling as shyness, you will have many wins and realizations about yourself. You will gain insights into the truth behind social scenarios. You will start to view yourself differently and come to recognize that you can become comfortable and confident. When these wins and realizations happen, make sure to keep a notebook and write them down. Keeping a journal of your successes will not only boost self confidence, but also shift your focus towards something that can benefit you.

27 Major Differences Between BUDDHISM and Other Religions

1. There is no almighty God in Buddhism. There is no one to hand out rewards or punishments on a supposedly Judgement Day.

2. Buddhism is strictly not a religion in the context of being a faith and worship owing allegiance to a supernatural being.

3. No saviour concept in Buddhism. A Buddha is not a saviour who saves others by his personal salvation. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha as his incomparable guide who indicates the path of purity, he makes no servile surrender. A Buddhist does not think that he can gain purity merely by seeking refuge in the Buddha or by mere faith in Him. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others

4. A Buddha is not an incarnation of a god/God (as claimed by some Hindu followers). The relationship between a Buddha and his disciples and followers is that of a teacher and student.

5. The liberation of self is the responsibility of one's own self. Buddhism does not call for an unquestionable blind faith by all Buddhist followers. It places heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving.

6. Taking refuge in The Triple Gems i.e. the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha; does not mean self-surrender or total reliance on an external force or third party for help or salvation.

7. Dharma (the teachings in Buddhism) exists regardless whether there is a Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha (as the historical Buddha) discovered and shared the teachings/ universal truths with all sentient beings. He is neither the creator of such teachings nor the prophet of an almighty God to transmit such teachings to others.

8. Especially emphasized in Mahayana Buddhism, all sentient beings have Buddha Nature/ Essence. One can become a Buddha (a supreme enlightened being) in due course if one practices diligently and attains purity of mind (ie absolutely no delusions or afflictions).

9. In Buddhism, the ultimate objective of followers/practitioners is enlightenment and/or liberation from Samsara; rather than to go to a Heaven (or a deva realm in the context of Buddhist cosmology).

10. Karma and Karma Force are cornerstones in Buddhist doctrines. They are expounded very thoroughly in Buddhism. Karma refers to an important metaphysical concept concerned with action and its consequences. This law of karma explains the problem of sufferings, the mystery of the so-called fate and predestination of some religions, and above all the apparent inequality of mankind.

11. Rebirth is another key doctrine in Buddhism and it goes hand in hand with karma. There is a subtle difference between rebirth and reincarnation as expounded in Hinduism. Buddhism rejects the theory of a transmigrating permanent soul, whether created by a god or emanating from a divine essence.

12. Maitri or Metta in Pali (Loving Kindness) and Karuna (Compassion) to all living beings including animals. Buddhism strictly forbids animal sacrifice for whatever reason. Vegetarianism is recommended but not compulsory.

13. The importance of Non-attachment. Buddhism goes beyond doing good and being good. One must not be attached to good deeds or the idea of doing good; otherwise it is just another form of craving.

14. In Buddhism, there is consideration for all sentient beings (versus human beings, as in other religions). Buddhists acknowledge/accept the existence of animals and beings in other realms in Samsara.

15. No holy war concept in Buddhism. Killing is breaking a key moral precept in Buddhism. One is strictly forbidden to kill another person in the name of religion, a religious leader or whatsoever religious pretext or worldly excuse.

16. Suffering is another cornerstone in Buddhism. It is the first of the Four Noble Truths. Sufferings are very well analysed and explained in Buddhism.

17. The idea of sin or original sin has no place in Buddhism. Also, sin should not be equated to suffering.

18. Buddhist teachings expound no beginning and no end to one's existence or life. There is virtually no recognition of a first cause — e.g. how does human existence first come about?

19. The Dharma provides a very detailed explanation of the doctrine of anatman {anatta in Pali} or soullessness , i.e. there is no soul entity (whether in one life of many lives).

20. The Buddha is omniscient but he is not omnipotent. He is capable of innumerable feats but there are three things he cannot do. Also, a Buddha does not claim to be a creator of lives or the Universe.

21. Prajna [Panna in Pali] or Transcendent Wisdom occupies a paramount position in Buddhist teachings. Sakyamuni Buddha expounded Prajna concepts for some 20 years of his ministry. One is taught to balance compassion with prajna i.e.emotion (faith) with rationale (right understanding / truth / logic).

22. The tradition and practice of meditation in Buddhism are relatively important and strong. While all religions teach some forms or variations of stabilizing/single-pointedness meditation, only Buddhism emphasizes Vipassana (Insight) meditation as a powerful tool to assist one in seeking liberation/enlightenment.

23. The doctrine of Sunyata or Emptiness is unique to Buddhism and its many aspects are well expounded in advanced Buddhist teachings. Briefly, this doctrine asserts the transcendental nature of Ultimate Reality. It declares the phenomenal world to be void of all limitations of particularization and that all concepts of dualism are abolished.

24. Conditioned Arising [Paticcasamuppada in Pali] or Dependent Origination is another key doctrine in Buddhism. This doctrine explains that all psychological and physical phenomena constituting individual existence are interdependent and mutually condition each other; this at the same time describes what entangles sentient beings in samsara.

25. The concept of Hell(s) in Buddhism is very different from that of other religions. It is not a place for eternal damnation as viewed by 'almighty creator' religions. In Buddhism, it is just one of the six realms in Samsara [i.e. the worst of three undesirable realms]. Also, there are virtually unlimited number of hells in the Buddhist cosmology as there are infinite number of Buddha worlds.

26. The Buddhist cosmology (or universe) is distinctly different from that of other religions which usually recognise only this solar system (Earth) as the center of the Universe and the only planet with living beings. The Buddhist viewpoint of a Buddha world (also known as Three Thousand-Fold World System) is that of one billion solar systems. Besides, the Mahayana Buddhist doctrines expound that there are other contemporary Buddha worlds like Amitabha's Pure Land and Bhaisajyaguru's world system.

27. Samsara is a fundamental concept in Buddhism and it is simply the 'perpetual cycles of existence' or endless rounds of rebirth among the six realms of existence. This cyclical rebirth pattern will only end when a sentient being attains Nirvana, i.e. virtual exhaustion of karma, habitual traces, defilements and delusions. All other religions preach one heaven, one earth and one hell, but this perspective is very limited compared with Buddhist samsara where heaven is just one of the six realms of existence and it has 28 levels/planes.

 ~ Compiled by Tan Swee Eng ~

Remedy From Tibetean Monks For The Whole Body: Lemon And Garlic Make Miracles

This recipe was found in and ancient monastery in Tibet written on clay bricks.

It has been written more than 2000 years ago, and the medicine helps cholesterol, diabetes, cleans the blood, and strengthens the immune system. Also prevents tumor occurrence, betters the sight and rejuvenates the organism.
You need to chop 300 g garlic and mix it with 1 kg lemons, previously grinded in the meat machine.
Put the mixture on the stove and cover it with 1.5 l water and let it boil on a warm fire for about 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the stove and leave it to cool off.
Put the mixture in a glassed jar and cover it with aluminum foil.
Take one tablespoon every morning on an empty stomach for 25 days.
Take a 10 day break and then repeat the procedure.


Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California and widely regarded as one of the best bodybuilders of all time, recommends people work on cutting down and eliminating meat from their diet just as he is doing. His doctors recommend he eliminates meat for health reasons, and his friend James Cameron recommends eliminating meat due to it's severe and unsustainable environmental impact.
Image credits
Schwarzenegger states:
"The more I went to my physical (examinations) the more doctors started stressing: "Arnold you've got to get off meat", so I'm slowly getting off meat, and I can tell you, I feel fantastic!"
WildAid in partnership with the Chinese Nutrition Society created the footage of Schwarzenegger and Cameron to kick off a new campaign focused on reducing meat consumption in China, in line with the latest guidelines published by the Chinese government.

In reference to animal agriculture being the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (more than the entire worldwide transportation emissions combined) and therefore the leading cause of climate change, Arnold remarks:
"Less meat, less heat, more life." - Schwarzenegger
And Schwarzenegger again reiterated on the point he made last year: meat isn't necessary in the world of bodybuilding; it's possible to be a successful bodybuilder without consuming meat and that meat certainly isn't necessary to be strong. Arnold stated: 
"If they tell you to eat more meat to be strong, don't buy it." - Schwarzenegger
Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron on set to film a new PSA for WildAid (Credit: Vern Evans)
There are many reasons why doctors would have recommended Schwarzenegger should eliminate meat from his diet. Preventing disease in the first place is much better than having to try and treat disease after it's already occurred.
Amongst many notable doctors, Dr. Kim Williams, the President of the American College of Cardiology and Chief of Cardiology at Rush University, advocates a plant-based diet for heart disease prevention.
Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States, and elevated cholesterol appears to be a primary cause. It was proven decades ago that heart disease could be reversed with a plant-based diet. And yet hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to needlessly die.
Dr. Williams is crystal clear when he talks about diet and heart health. He says that to prevent heart disease, "the most important things are plant-based nutrition, exercise, and weight loss. Most people will succumb to heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension on the standard American diet, which is why heart disease is the biggest killer in America. The best primary prevention strategy is improved lifestyle."
When he speaks to patients, he tells them frankly that their health is in their own hands:
"If someone already has heart disease or plaque, I will always recommend dietary change and exercise. Heart disease has killed more people in the United States than any other disease since the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1920. I tell them they don’t have to be one of those statistics."
It's been 26 years since Dr. Dean Ornish’s landmark 1990 study showing that heart disease can be reversed without drugs and surgery[1]
So why aren't plant-based diets mainstream yet? Dr. Neal Bernard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) notes that the herd mentality in people is such that people will generally continue doing 'what the majority of other people are doing' - as they innately feel safer staying with the majority - even when what the majority is doing is not in their best interests. To redirect this herd mentality, Bernard suggests, 'the herd' consistently need pushes in the right direction.
The main body responsible for overall influencing people's dietary choices in the USA is the USDA - an organisation unfortunately also tasked with promoting the meat and dairy industries. Their dietary guidelines are released to the American public every five years, however due to their severe conflict of interest it's of no surprise they haven't made strong recommendations for plant-based diets as yet.
This silly situation isn't new  - 15 years ago Dr Caldwell B. Esselstyn noted that the USDA's American Dietary Guidelines are produced by the very same organisation also set up to promote the meat/dairy industry and results in a conflict of interest which was "in total violation of the moral imperative of our (medical) profession". [2]
And despite the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine bringing lawsuits against the USDA in 1999, 2010, 2011 and 2016 over the misleading dietary guidelines and conflicts of interest it still continues to this day.
So until the USDA is replaced by an impartial organisation, we have to rely on other thought-leaders such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and James Cameron to use their collective muscle to fight for changes that will result in improving the world's health. 
Since the release of Cowspiracy, a documentary executive produced by actor Leonardo Di Caprio, many people have come to realise the devastating effect animal agriculture has on our planet - and as our population increases that it's simply not sustainable.
Trillions of sentient animals suffer needlessly every year and in perpetuating the current unsustainable system we are wreaking havoc on the environment and our own health in the process. However more people than ever before are realising there's an easy solution that solves all of these problems: switching to a vegan lifestyle - and there is hope for the herd.

10 Most Important Ways to Simplify Your Life

Start simplifying, reducing and de-cluttering today and you’ll not only have room to breathe but more time to spend doing what’s most important to you.

The 10 Most Important Ways to Simplify Your Life:

(In no particular order)
  1. Simplify your finances

    First, put as many things on autopilot as possible. This means set your paycheck up on direct deposit (if it isn’t already) and set your bills up to automatically deduct from your account when they’re due.
    Also, set up a savings account and have it auto deduct every week when you get your deposit. If you can’t afford to save much right now that’s OK, just start by saving a few dollars a week. Whatever you can afford, what’s most important is that you establish the habit now.
    Second, reduce the number of accounts you have. Most importantly, take the shredder to your credit cards. They just waste your money and build bad spending habits. It’s too easy to miss a payment and have your interest rate skyrocket to something crazy and then you’re locked in debt and your credit score takes a hit. The one exception to this would be a prepaid credit card for the purpose of building your credit.
    If you’re neck-high in credit card debt and that isn’t an option then you can consolidate your credit. This will take all of your credit card accounts and combine them into one easy to manage monthly payment. It will also take all of those annoying phone calls and letters off your back.
    Third, examine your monthly bills. Look to see if there’s any you don’t actually use regularly. Maybe you haven’t watched much TV in the past few months. It could be something small like a TV service such as Netflix or Hulu (with membership) or something larger like your cable bill. I did this a while back and found nearly $120 (aside from reducing our number of monthly bills).
    Lastly, pay for weekly expenses with cash. This is something I’ve just started doing so I won’t say much about it. But, it seems to be working great and I’m really excited about it. By doing this you’ll avoid the confusion of trying to look at your online banking and match up what you spent with your available balance. This is a headache.

    Each week take out the amount that you’ve pre-decided for each weekly expense category (groceries, gas, diapers?!, fun) and separate them into stacks. You can hold them with money clips, in envelopes or any other way that works for you. This makes your weekly finances extremely clear and simple to work with.
  2. Simplify email

    If your email situation is anything like mine was, it can get out of hand without proper maintenance. About 90% of my emails go to one account now, but at one point, I had 5 or so email accounts and was checking my email some 10-15 times a day.
    Start by consolidating your email accounts. Closely examine exactly why you use each email account. By doing so you’ll probably find that a few of those are either useless or can be combined with another account.
    Next, unsubscribe from email lists you never use or gain any value from. This could be iTunes if you never gain any value from what is on the email list, Target if you don’t shop at Target enough to care what’s on their emails (or if you do and just don’t care to see their emails either way like me) or some other company which you never had any particular interest in receiving emails in the first place.
    I know for me there were quite a bit. This should help reduce the amount of emails you receive daily and leave the emails of greater importance.
    Lastly, now that you’ve simplified your email accounts, set up a system. Most importantly establish a schedule where you only check your email once or twice a day. Commit to yourself that you won’t open up your email outside of that block of time.
    If email is an important part of your day block out however much time you need and get to work. Focus on the high important emails first and get to however many others you can in the rest of that block of time. After that, move on. Don’t let email rule your life and don’t be scared of leaving emails unread.
  3. Reduce screen time

    This is a big one. Screens are a major force for distraction and mental dispersion in modern life as I mentioned earlier.
    First, reduce your TV time or stop watching it altogether. If you only reduce your TV time then at least watch online where there’s little to no commercials (depending on the platform you use). This will save you time, reduce your commercial exposure and put you in better control of your time. You might not have to catch your favorite show when it’s on anymore, maybe you can just record it, but this way you never even have to do that. And cable is far more expensive then even multiple online viewing platforms at once.
    Next, reduce the amount of time you’re on your smartphone. I’d suggest going through your smartphone and deleting any unused apps. When you have way too many possible distractions on your phone you tend to pick it up and look for things to distract yourself with. This is one of the more dangerous distractions in our everyday life because it’s always there with us. By drastically reducing the amount of times you pick your phone up in a given day you’ll notice you’ll have a calmer and less dispersed mind.
    I did a thorough check-up of my phone and found that I rarely used or had no need for roughly 70% of the apps I had downloaded. I reduced the number of apps on my phone to 1/2 of one page and put any rarely used or undelete-able  apps (iPhone…) into their own folder and threw them on the second page where I would never lay eyes on them. This drastically reduced the amount of time I’d waste each day playing around on my phone doing nothing particularly important.
  4. Giveaway unused / unnecessary material possessions

    Like most people, you probably have quite a few unused / unnecessary material items which are taking up space and cluttering your life. Most of us don’t notice the effect it has on us. But when you take the time to clear away the material clutter in your life you’ll find yourself with room to breath that you never knew you had. It’s pretty liberating to disconnect yourself from material items.
    Depending on whether or not you have kids (a big one), a significant other, a house (another big one), what you do for a living / enjoy doing on your off time and whether or not you’re a pack rat you can have varied amounts of clutter.
    I have known some pack rats in my life. Their emotional attachment to material items isn’t healthy. It just keeps you from finding that true, renewable and limitless happiness that exists when you find out that happiness doesn’t exist outside of you in material items. And the worst part is it’s so difficult to notice when you suffer from it.
    So how will you know what’s clutter and what isn’t? Use the same benchmark we’ve used for every other category so far: do you ever use it? does it provide any value? No? Trash it. Do you use it but it wastes your time and provides no positive value for you or anyone around you? Trash it. After that gather everything up and look at what’s most important. Then see if anything else comes to mind that’s unnecessary. What’s left are the essentials.
  5. Simplify your actions

    We try to handle so many things at once. Both men and women are pressured in different ways from society at large, but, both are expected to do so many things at once, do them all perfectly and all the while keeping a smile on their face. We don’t notice that this affects the way we act.
    But we don’t have to follow along with this agenda. In fact, keeping up with the Jones’ only sets you further behind from accomplishing your dreams and goals. In order to establish the life we want we need to be willing to be honest with ourselves and those around us. When necessary, you need to be able to tell yourself, and those around you, NO.
    In order to establish the life we want we also need to be able to focus. This is how I created measurable changes in my own life. I focused on one major thing at a time until my entire life had changed. And I’m still working on things today just the same way.
    You’ll still juggle from time to time, that’s an aspect of modern life that’s difficult to get around. But you can greatly reduce this. And, this doesn’t mean you can’t put extra attention towards one of those things. By simplifying your life at large it makes it that much easier to focus on one area and really create measurable improvements.
    The bottom line is don’t spread yourself thin. If you do, you won’t do a good job on any of the things you’re trying to do. Focus on one or a few tasks at a time and give 100% of yourself to them.
  6. Simplify your thoughts

    You might not generally consider your thoughts as an aspect of simple living, but it’s one of the most important areas you can simplify your life. Modern life is filled with distractions. These distractions over-complicate life as much as, if not more than, anything else.
    This is when we go back to the practice of mindfulness. The easiest way to do this and begin quieting your mind is to start practicing sitting meditation. Sitting meditation is the most concentrated form of mindfulness and therefore will have the greatest effect towards what we’re trying to achieve: a more quiet mind.
  7. Reduce social distractions

    Everyone is on social media these days. You might visit Facebook once a week, check Twitter every couple of days or use multiple social accounts on a daily basis. Whatever your frequency or preference it’s hard to escape the pull of digital socializing these days.
    But as great a resource as they can be for staying connected with friends, family, companies and any of your other favorite people, they can become a major distraction. They can, and will, keep you from enjoying life without you even knowing it.
    Making friends online is a lot easier to do then in person. And perhaps because of that there’s an addicting quality to it. I know people who have at certain points made it a habit to check their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts some 20, 30 or more times a day. Work on keeping your social time online to a minimum.
    Being social online isn’t bad though. As I mentioned it can be a very good thing. Just make sure you’re careful about what conversations you take part in.Don’t follow people or take part in conversations just for the sake of gossiping or talking negatively about something or someone. that won’t serve you and will just bring bad vibes your way. You don’t need that complicating your life.
  8. Stop multi-tasking

    Multi-tasking is a myth. There. I said it. OK, sometimes it’s possible. But it doesn’t get us the results we once thought it did. Multi-tasking only makes us -less- productive, more scattered and reduces the quality of our work.
    Multi-tasking also causes us stress and anxiety. We weren’t meant to take on 2-3 things at the same time. We’re most effective when we focus on one activity at a time and give 100% of ourselves to that activity.
    So don’t fool yourself. No matter how much more productive you think you are while attempting to multi-task, you’re not. You’re only hurting yourself and forcefully complicating your life.
  9. Pre-plan your meals

    When I say menu-fy meal times I’m really talking about simplifying meal time. Whether you’re single or have a family, figuring out what you’re going to eat (especially at dinner) can be a real headache. We live in an age where we’re provided with so many different options that just deciding what to eat for dinner can be a task in itself (and sometimes a debate!).
    Unless you’re a robot I’m assuming you eat every single day, probably a few times a day. So do yourself a favor: take some time to list out all the various dishes and foods you eat on a semi-regular basis. Separate this list based on meal time: breakfast, lunch, dinner and any other time you usually eat (after work out, for instance).
    Also list out some things under a snack category. If you take the time to think of some healthy snacks you’ll find yourself snacking on not-so-great things less often.
    Second, sub-separate those categories into two sections based on the meals you cook/prepare and restaurants/fast food locations you visit.
    Third, take this list and each week plan out your meals. We plan our meals on Sunday but you can do it whenever fits best for you. This method also helps reduce the amount of times you eat out each week. And you don’t have to be so specific. You can buy milk & cereal and some berries and figure you’ll have those on various days for breakfast without actually deciding which days specifically.
    Lastly, go to the store that same day and buy all of the ingredients you’ll need for the coming week. Let me tell you that from experience you’ll sometimes forget things and still have to run by the store, but it will reduce the amount of times you need to do so in a given week. Especially if you have kids…
    This method of pre-planning meals has greatly simplified the meal time process for me and my family. It reduces headache, cuts down on time, reduces grocery store runs and gives you that time back to enjoy with your loved ones.
  10. Become a conscious consumer

    So you’ve simplified your life in 9 major areas. You’re feeling pretty good. You have breathing room, less clutter, less distractions, less complications and life in general has just become more enjoyable. Overall, simple living has become a great source of peace and happiness for you.
    But you need to maintain this in order for it to continue. You need to become a conscious consumer. Let your mindfulness guide you here. When considering consuming or purchasing something, new ask yourself: “do I need this? Or can I live without it?”, “will this take time away from something else that’s important to me? Am I OK with that?” and “will this contribute to my life in a positive way?”

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