I think most of us want to be a better person – but if we think about it, being better sounds like this huge thing that we need to spend a lot of time on. Like, I might need to go on a ten day yoga retreat or something (that sounds terribly expensive to be honest). But that’s not the case. Recently I’ve made it a point to be mindful about the little ways that I’ve behaved, going just a little further. Here are a few things I’ve implemented in my life that truly – or at least I think so – have made me a better person.
Be punctual and prepared
This one is huge. If you’re the type of person who is always running late, you forget your stuff – haven’t read a file yet that you need for a meeting, aren’t prepared for class, etc – this is probably one of the first things you’ll want to work on. It’s a mentality difference really. Always being punctual and prepared will make you look so much more professional and put together. Not to mention it’s a great way to reduce stress.
Saying please and thank you go a long way. If you’re the type of person that dismisses others if they give you a compliment, think twice. Or may be your parents or partner always does something for you, and it’s kind of become a habit, make it a point to thank them for what they do for you. Making people feel appreciated is so important!
Choose to be kind
It’s a bit cliché, but you don’t know someone’s story. This is one I need to be very mindful of and to be honest, I still struggle with it sometimes. It’s not that I’m not kind to people, but sometimes I think not-so kind thoughts in my head or I get annoyed about very little things. I am now actively trying to be aware of this and instead, have more positive thoughts.
Don’t give advice if people don’t ask you for it
You know those people that give you unwanted advice when you tell them something? I know I’m not alone when I say those people get on my nerves. For me, it happens a lot with my back problems. People will tell me not to walk, or not to sit. Or to go for massages or hot yoga, not knowing what actually works for me. At the same time, I realize that they do this with the best intentions. People give advice because they want to help you. If you’re one of those people that gives out unwarranted advice, next time, try to think twice. Not everyone wants your advice, and you’re not always to most qualified person to give it. Continue reading
When I was a stubborn thirteen year old, my psychologist at the time said something to me that stuck with me forever. ”Would you treat your friends the same way you treat yourself?” Of course not, was my immediate reaction. They were my friends after all. And at the same time I realized something important that day: I was treating myself like shit.
Looking back, I know exactly why. Because I thought I was shit. That I wasn’t worth anything. That I didn’t belong. There was something wrong with me. I was broken, didn’t have talents, was unable to make my parents proud. Or at least I felt like that. If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’ve come a long way since then. And I can finally say that now, I am my own best friend.
The road to better self-esteem was anything but easy. And like anything worthwhile in life, it was hard work. But my life became much easier and much more enjoyable when I became my own friend. Continue reading
It’s funny to think of my sixteen year old self. I had just graduated high school, and I went to college for the exact same reason everyone else goes to college here: Because it’s the logical next step. It’s what everyone else does. Because where would you be without a college education?
So I went to college. Knowing that I had a knick of writing and at that point, had been published in a few (online) magazines, I went into journalism. Looking back, I loved my degree and the school I went to. I’m happy I chose to follow my degree at an art school, because my college was very open, creative, and we got lots of space to work on projects with students who were in completely different courses than we were.
I learned a lot about myself in those years, and I remember how proud I was (and am!) for getting that diploma at the very end. But I also remember myself thinking: now what? Continue reading
I’m turning 21 next week. And I have a confession to make.
I do not have my life figured out.
I do not know where I’ll end up in ten years. Or five years. Or even two years.
That’s something that was really hard for me to come to terms with, especially around the time of my birthday. Every year I feel like I’m supposed to be better than I am. Like I’m supposed to have my life figured out already. I’m turning 21 on the 24th of June, and I’m trying really hard not to feel like that this year.
I’m starting college again after the summer, and that was a really tough and scary decision to make. I don’t know if I’ll like it, I don’t know if I’ll finish it. I don’t know if I’ll even end up working in this field, because my previous degree is in a completely unrelated field. I’m switching from journalism to social work, and although that doesn’t mean I’ll quit working in journalism (I love it way too much), who even does that?
But I want to do what feels good. I want to do what feels right, what’s calling my name. It’s really hard for me to listen to that inner voice sometimes, because my conscious brain will tell me something else. I’m a very impulsive person and sometimes that scares me. I’m afraid that decisions that feel good in the moment will end up being a mistake later on. That fear is about much more than just the decision of going back to school. It trickles in my relationships, both in friendships and romantically, as well as my work, blog and YouTube channel. Continue reading
You’ve got songs about love, and you’ve got songs about love.
As someone who appreciates beautiful music even more if I can identify with the lyrics and meaning behind the songs, I want to share five of my favorite break-up albums with you. These songs have helped me through tears, heartbreak and hopelessness. But they’re also great if you’re just in the mood for something that will make you reach for a tissue while staring out of a window wistfully, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago (2007)
Singer-songwriter Justin Vernon released the debut album ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ independently in July of 2007. The album, known for its raw emotion and honest words, was created from the pain of two splits: Vernon’s breakup with his then-girlfriend and the end of DeYarmond Edison, a band Vernon had been playing in for several years. Vernon spent three months in a cabin in Wisconsin to write this album, and the melodic whistles and guitar riffs almost take you back to that very place.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977)
‘Rumours’ has been Fleetwood Mac’s most successful albums, but the break-up that inspired it was messy to say the least. Christine and John McVie went their own way after only six years of messy marriage, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham remained on and off and then Mick Fleetwood hopped into bed with Nicks for good measure. But hey, it made for some great music that will easily make you shed a few tears.
I’ve spent the better part of my life caring about what other people think of me. But not anymore. In this video I share the things that helped me to stop caring about what other people think of me, and I also share a little bit about my struggle throughout high school and college.
In school, I would try to change myself to try and fit in with the ‘’cooler crowd’’. I remember a few times where I would beg my mom to get me a specific type of shoe or jeans that was in style just because I thought that would help me to fit in better.
In college I came to the realization that I based my happiness around what I looked like, what I was doing and how ‘’successful’’ I was. My success was literally based around what other people thought of me. That needed to change.
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Sometimes it just feels like nothing is going right. Believe me, we’ve all been there. You accidentally overslept, spilled your coffee and now you have to rush out of the door, only to find out your car won’t start.
Whatever the reason is, bad moods happen to all of us. But what do you do when you’re in a bad mood? Do you feel sorry for yourself and act snippy the rest of the day? Do you let your day get ruined? I sure hope not.
Changing the way you deal with a bad mood can actually change your life. It certainly changed mine.
Going for a run might seem to be the least appealing thing right now, but I promise you’ll feel better after you’ve finished! John J. Ratey, M.D., author of the amazing book (that you really need to read) Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, argues that humans evolved to move, and the health of our brains—and the moods our brains experience—rely on physical activity to stay healthy.
Text a friend, call your mom (nothing to be ashamed about) or even chat to yourself in your head. Reflecting on a past situation and putting it into perspective can help tremendously to improve your mood, or talk about something completely unrelated to help you focus on the good out there. It’s a like a mini talk therapy session. Continue reading
Feeling unproductive? Here is how I organize my hectic and all-over-the-place life.
I don’t believe anyone is really born organized. You have to cultivate healthy habits and declutter the space around you to be a more productive and organized person. In this video I talk about why I love making lists, how I keep a schedule and the pomodoro technique (which is my new favorite thing).
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There are plenty of books, documentaries, podcasts and blog posts dedicated to building better habits. All of these have their own ways of developing these habits.
We all know that developing better habits is the key to a more successful and fulfilling life. The most well-known book about this subject is probably The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, if you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do!
In the book, Duhigg explains the science behind both destructive and pervasive behaviours. This book doesn’t only provide a ton of helpful information, it’s also motivating. It’s totally possible to break bad habits! Yes, even bad habits that you’ve been trying to break for years.
How habits are formed
Your brain cannot understand the difference between good and bad habits, in the sense that we process them the same way. In his book, Duhigg explains a particular neurological process that is called the habit loop. This is the force that powers all of our mindless (subconscious) behaviours.
The habit loop is made up of three components: a cue, a routine and a reward.
- The cue signals to the brain that certain behaviour or a certain action should take place. It’s that urge you feel to do something.
- The routine is the action you perform in response to the cue. If you feel the urge coming up of something you consider a bad habit, the routine will make the cue stronger next time.
- The reward is a positive feeling associated with the task performed (it sometimes feels like ‘giving in’ when you’re trying to break a bad habit).
If you keep performing this cycle over and over again, habits will get so ingrained in your brain that you perform them almost without realizing. Like biting your nails, mindlessly snacking in front of the tv or putting off paying your bills.
On the other hands, it means good habits can get just as ingrained in the mind as bad habits, but how can you use this to your advantage? Continue reading