” Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”
Progress is progress. This has to be one of my favourite mottos ever, and as we start another new year, I thought it was important to remind everyone.
No matter your current circumstance, no matter your destination, a step forward is a step forward. It doesn’t matter how small because it’s still a step. You are closer to your goal.
Situations in which this rule can help you will vary. It could be something as simple as exercising. If you ran out of time for a half-hour run, do a five-minute one. Every single time your legs move, you still progress further. A more difficult situation can be overcoming an illness, whether it’s cancer or anxiety, but every time you smile or feel better just for an instant, you’re improving.
Do NOT get caught up in making massive steps. If you’re trying to lose weight, it usually takes a while. If you start dropping off heaps of weight quickly, that can be very unhealthy, especially if you’re starving yourself to make it happen. Take it slow and have fun doing it. Exercise when you have time and eat right when you want to. There’s no rule that says you absolutely have to weigh sixty kilos before February. Take it easy. You’re the only one who will be disappointed if you don’t get there, and you can forgive yourself in a split second.
Appreciate the steps, too. Finish the day and say to yourself: “I have gained from today. I am proud.”
A quote that goes hand in hand is: “Sooner begun is sooner done.” This encourages us to just get started. You don’t need regular commitment. Just whenever you can, spot the small things you can do to benefit yourself, and do it. Don’t worry if you don’t have time to keep it up. One step here and there is still going to affect you in the most subtle way. You’ll be much better off and not even know it.
Another thing: You don’t need a beginning of a year to make resolutions. You can be sitting in your bed on a Tuesday morning in August and think, “I’m going to follow that dream,” or, “I want to improve myself,” and you can jump straight on that. This whole “New Year, New Me” thing is unnecessary. It’s not the last day on Earth; it’s a day like any other. So why wait? And why rush?
To summarize, this year, take your resolutions with a pinch of salt. If you want to work hard toward them, do it. But remember: If you slack off, it’s okay. Every bit of effort toward your goals is a step in the right direction. Take it easy. Be kind to yourself. You are doing great. Keep it up.
Imagine an apple floating in front of you. Now see if you can rotate it around in your mind. Look at it from the top, bottom – does it have any blemishes? How clearly can you see it?
Some people see the apple perfectly, like watching a movie, while others have a very poor wavering image. Although it might be hard to believe, a small proportion of otherwise healthy people report having no visual experience at all. In other words, their minds are completely blind – no matter how hard they try they don’t seem to see the apple.
In fact, such individuals are often startled to find that people are not speaking in metaphors when they say, “I picture it in my mind’s eye.” This phenomenon of mind blindness has only recently been given a proper name – congenital aphantasia.
One of the creators of the Firefox internet browser, Blake Ross, realised his experience of visual imagery was vastly different from most people when he read about a man who lost his ability to imagine after surgery. In a Facebook post, Ross said:
What do you mean ‘lost’ his ability? […] Shouldn’t we be amazed he ever had that ability?
We’ve heard from many people who have experienced a similar epiphany to Ross. They too were astonished to discover that their complete lack of ability to picture visual imagery was different from the norm.
Visual imagery is involved in many everyday tasks, such as remembering the past, navigation and facial recognition, to name a few. Anecdotal reports from our aphantasic participants indicate that while they are able to remember things from their past, they don’t experience these memories in the same way as someone with strong imagery. They often describe them as a conceptual list of things that occurred rather than a movie reel playing in their mind.
As Ross describes it, he can ruminate on the “concept” of a beach. He knows there are sand and water and other facts about beaches. But he can’t conjure up beaches he’s visited in his mind, nor does he have any capacity to create a mental image of a beach.
Some people have no ability to visually imagine.The idea some people are born wholly unable to imagine is not new. In the late 1800s, British scientist Sir Francis Galton conducted research asking colleagues and the general population to describe the quality of their internal imagery. These studies, however, relied on self-reports, which are subjective in nature. They depend on a person’s ability to assess their own mental processes – called introspection.
But how can I know that what you see in your mind is different to what I see? Perhaps we see the same thing but describe it differently. Perhaps we see different things but describe them the same.
Some researchers have suggested aphantasia may actually be a case of poor introspection; that aphantasics are in fact creating the same images in their mind as perhaps you and I, but it is their description of them that differs. Another idea is that aphantasics create internal images just like everyone else, but are not conscious of them. This means it’s not that their minds are blind, but they lack an internal consciousness of such images.
In a recent study we set out to investigate whether aphantasics are really “blind in the mind” or if they have difficulty introspecting reliably.
To assess visual imagery objectively, without having to rely on someone’s ability to describe what they imagine, we used a technique known as a binocular rivalry – where perception alternates between different images presented one to each eye. To induce this, participants wear 3D red-green glasses, where one eye sees a red image and the other eye a green one. When images are superimposed onto the glasses, we can’t see both images at once, so our brain is constantly switching from the green to the red image.
But we can influence which of the coloured images someone will see in the binocular rivalry display. One way is by getting them to imagine one of the two images beforehand. For example, if I asked you to imagine a green image, you will be more likely to see the green image once you’ve put on 3D glasses. And the stronger your imagery is the more frequently you will see the image you imagine.
We use how often a person sees the image they imagine as a measure of objective visual imagery. Because we’re not relying on the participant rating the vividness of the image in their mind, but on what they physically see in the binocular rivalry display, it removes the need for subjective introspection.
In our study, we asked self-described aphantasics to imagine either a red circle with horizontal lines or a green circle with vertical lines for six seconds before being presented with a binocular rivalry display while wearing the glasses. They then indicated which image they saw. They repeated this for close to 100 trials.
We found that when the aphantasics tried to form a mental image, their attempted imagined picture had no effect on what they saw in the binocular rivalry illusion. This suggests they don’t have a problem with introspection, but appear to have no visual imagery.
Why some people are mind blind
Research in the general population shows that visual imagery involves a network of brain activity spanning from the frontal cortex all the way to the visual areas at the back of the brain.
Some people can’t see, but still think they can: here’s how the brain controls our vision
Current theories propose that when we imagine something, we try to reactivate the same pattern of activity in our brain as when we saw the image before. And the better we are able to do this, the stronger our visual imagery is. It might be that aphantasic individuals are not able to reactivate these traces enough to experience visual imagery, or that they use a completely different network when they try to complete tasks that involve visual imagery.
But there may be a silver lining to not being able to imagine visually. Overactive visual imagery is thought to play a role in addiction and cravings, as well as the development of anxiety disorders such as PTSD. It may be that the inability to visualise might anchor people in the present and allow them to live more fully in the moment.
Understanding why some people are unable to create these images in mind might allow us to increase their ability to imagine, and also possibly help us to tone down imagery in those for whom it has become overactive.
“ Stay focused on whatever you want to do and don’t doubt yourself.”
“I wish I could get back into writing. I haven’t written in so long.”
Just to give you a little background to this story, we’re old friends who first bonded over our mutual love for writing.
My friend tells me that she wants to get back into writing, but the stress that comes with her Job and the lack of time really gets to her. She doesn’t think she can get back into it after not writing for so long.
This post is for any writer who hasn’t written in a long time and wants to get back into it.
As you may already know, I’ve been writing for over a year. This doesn’t mean that I’ve been writing every single day.
I honestly don’t want to tell this story – a story where I’m painting the picture of the writer who’s had more failures than successes.
In fact, I once went a year without writing because the stress of workload combined with a job was taking a toll on me, forcing me to stop writing.
But if this helps even one person, especially my friend, to get back to writing, I’ll continue to write this even if I don’t want to.
Last year, I had been writing every day – continuously for three months and had even achieved more than I’d set out to accomplish.
I then decided to take a break to work on a side project and go on vacation.
This break from writing was supposed to last three weeks but it ended up lasting 6 weeks.
Because when I tried to return to the habit of writing, I was failing.
I’m sure it’s the same feeling you might’ve experienced at one point – where you sit in your chair, your fingers poised in the air as you try to get the ink to form the words in your head and onto the paper.
But you can’t. You just can’t get back into Writing.
There was a fear stopping me, just like I’m sure there’s a fear stopping you.
The fear the no matter what I wrote, it would somehow be the worst thing ever written.
That my writing would be worse than I was writing before I took that break.
The fear that no matter how much I write, I’ll never be published.
I would, in fact, sit down at my table every single day for three weeks, only to come away with no words written down.
”Don’t Ever Let Fear Turn You Against Your Playful Heart.”
Each one of us has something to contribute. That’s the truth. But many times we don’t feel that way. We are told we are not enough, that we’re not ready, and that we lack what is needed, by others. And even by ourselves. The lies we are told can hold us back from the gifts we were made to give.
At younger ages, it can easier to be faithful to our creativity and our dreaming than to our security. That seems to flip as we get older. But it doesn’t have to. There are steps each of us can take today to use those inspired parts of ourselves and use them. It could be singing, teaching, serving or learning, what is it that you long to contribute? Don’t let fear turn you against your playful heart. Let yourself be inspired again. You might be surprised at the impact it has–on you, and on those around you.
“There is only one happiness in life: to love and be loved.” – George Sand
Valentine’s Day is a time when people show feelings of love, affection, and friendship. It is celebrated in many ways worldwide and falls on February 14 each year.
What Do People Do?
Many people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing appreciation for the people they love or adore. Some people take their loved ones for a romantic dinner at a restaurant while others may choose this day to propose or get married. Many people give greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry or flowers, particularly roses, to their partners or admirers on Valentine’s Day.
It is also a time to appreciate friends in some social circles and cultures. For example, Valentine’s Day in Finland refers to “Friend’s day”, which is more about remembering all friends rather than focusing solely on romance. Valentine’s Day in Guatemala is known as Day of Love and Friendship). It is similar to Valentine’s Day customs and traditions countries such as the United States but it is also a time for many to show their appreciation for their friends.
Things You Don’t Know;
Valentine’s Day is a beautiful day to celebrate the divine love you have for your partner or your better half. However, the origins of Valentine’s day are murky and there are only a few historical facts that support the lore. Yeah, Valentine’s day isn’t the day that how we celebrate it nowadays. It was something different back then and has a historical significance attached to it. Valentine’s day is called Saint Valentine’s day or the feast of St. Valentine. It is celebrated annually on 14th February in the honor of Saint Valentinus and since then this day is known for its culture, religious and romantic values. Many stories reflect the martyrdom of Saint Valentine for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. According to a legend, during his imprisonment, he restored the eyesight to the judge’s blind daughter and left her a letter signed ‘Your Valentine’ as a farewell.
Ever since that day, 14th February is associated with romantic love and the tradition of courtly love flourished. Later in the 18th century in England, this day evolved as an occasion where lovers can express their love for each other by offering their partners flowers, confectionary items, greeting cards and more. However, there are various misconceptions that go around with valentine’s day and it has kind of polluted the essence of love and romance for this day.
It’s not just ‘any’ day where you get a date or a fling, have a romantic evening and the next day its over. Valentine’s day is a special day for people who are true, madly and deeply in love. Nowadays, this day has become just a mere day where the need for a partner arises only on this day or during this Valentine week. Guys and girls, men and women, Valentine’s day is not a one-day celebration where you spend an evening. It’s the day where you celebrate the love that you had for your partner for other 364 days in a year.
The trend of tinder days has made this valentine’s day as a show off for people. You get a date for this day to gain popularity in the college or amongst colleagues, become a person who is talked about for days after valentine’s day and then its all over. It’s not necessary that you should have a date on Valentine’s day. You should have a date or a person with you on all 364 days with whom you feel protected, special, safe and respected.
Hope you all have great Valentine’s day this year…
“I’m not sad about any of my life. It’s so unconventional. It doesn’t look anything like I thought it would.” ~Edie Falco.
I’ve realized that it’s not my responsibility to reassure people that I’m normal even though I’m single. I am normal. I’m just not married.
Some people lead their best, most authentic, most fulfilling, and meaningful lives by living single. I call these people “single at heart.” They embrace singlehood and live their single lives fully, joyfully, and unapologetically. There may also be people who do not quite make it into the “single at heart” category but who, all things considered, would still live a better life by living single than getting married.
Deciding whether to stay single is no small thing: Getting married is no royal road to health and happiness, despite all the claims you may have heard to the contrary. And there are important ways in which single people fare better than married people, personally and interpersonally. But legal marriage does grant automatic access to an array of more than 1,000 federal benefits and protections. It also offers instant status, credibility, privilege, and respect. Even though more people than ever are living single. People spend more years of their adult lives not married than married, we are still a nation of matrimaniacs.
But marriage is also risky. A substantial number of people who get married end up getting divorced, often at a great emotional and financial cost. People who divorce also end up, on the average, less happy than they were when they were single. And staying married is no guarantee of emotional or financial well-being either.
So how can you know if you are one of those individuals who would live a better life as a single person than a married person?
Keep reading we will continue with this topic in my coming article.
“Life is a balance between what we can control and what we cannot. I am learning to live between effort and surrender.” ~Danielle Orner
Life unfolds in the present. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush past unobserved and unseized, and squandering the precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future and ruminate about what’s past. “We’re living in a world that contributes in a major way to mental fragmentation, disintegration, distraction, decoherence. We’re always doing something, and we allow little time to practice stillness and calm.
When we’re at work, we fantasize about being on vacation; on vacation, we worry about the work piling up on our desks. We dwell on intrusive memories of the past or fret about what may or may not happen in the future. We don’t appreciate the living present because our “monkey minds,” as Buddhists call them, vault from thought to thought like monkeys swinging from tree to tree.
Most of us don’t undertake our thoughts in awareness. Rather, our thoughts control us. “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall,”, In order to feel more in control of our minds and our lives, to find the sense of balance that eludes us, we need to step out of this current, to pause, and, as to “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being.”
We need to live more at the moment. Living in the moment—also called mindfulness—is a state of active, open, intentional attention on the present. When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. Instead of letting your life go by without living it, you awaken to experience.
Cultivating a nonjudgmental awareness of the present bestows a host of benefits. Mindfulness reduces stress, boosts immune functioning, reduces chronic pain, lowers blood pressure, and helps patients cope with cancer. By alleviating stress, spending a few minutes a day actively focusing on living in the moment reduces the risk of heart disease. Mindfulness may even slow the progression of HIV.
Mindful people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses. Anchoring awareness in the here and now reduces the kinds of impulsivity and reactivity that underlie depression, binge eating, and attention problems. Mindful people can hear negative feedback without feeling threatened. They fight less with their romantic partners and are more accommodating and less defensive. As a result, mindful couples have more satisfying relationships.
Mindfulness is at the root of Buddhism, Taoism, and many Native-American traditions, not to mention yoga.
“Everyone agrees it’s important to live in the moment, but the problem is how,” says Ellen Langer, a psychologist at Harvard and author of Mindfulness. “When people are not in the moment, they’re not there to know that they’re not there.” Overriding the distraction reflex and awakening to the present takes intentionality and practice.
Living in the moment involves a profound paradox: You can’t pursue it for its benefits. That’s because the expectation of reward launches a future-oriented mindset, which subverts the entire process. Instead, you just have to trust that the rewards will come. There are many paths to mindfulness—and at the core of each is a paradox. Ironically, letting go of what you want is the only way to get it.
”Grief is never something you get over. You don’t wake up one morning and say, ‘I’ve conquered that; now I’m moving on.’ It’s something that walks beside you every day. And if you can learn how to manage it and honor the person that you miss, you can take something that is incredibly sad and have some form of positivity.”
The irony is, when you are in the throws of grief you may really struggle to find the beauty and the joy in life and it may be quite unlikely that you would stop and admire the beauty of a rainbow or the vastness of an ocean. Those who cannot relate to these images begin to worry, what’s wrong with me that I don’t have such a Zen perspective? The inability to derive joy from things that were once pleasurable can feel a lot like depression and it can be frightening.
Don’t worry you’re still not crazy. These are normal feelings. I know because I’ve experienced my own grief and I know because I’ve heard hundreds of other grievers talk about the same types of experiences. (If you’re worried that you are actually experiencing a psychological disorder like depression, anxiety, or PTSD.
You’ve probably heard people say, ‘the first year is the hardest’, this is sometimes true. Quite often, the second year is no picnic either, but at some point, things should get easier. The intense and unrelenting distress of acute grief will be replaced by less frequent moments of sadness, anger, and frustration. You will still have bad days, but you will know things are getting better when those days are outnumbered by ‘okay’ days.
This does not mean you are ‘getting over it’, moving on, or forgetting. An important part of healing is discovering the role your loved one will play in your life after their death. Of course at first, you hold on very tight, afraid if you let go your loved one will disappear completely. You hold on to items (not crazy), you leave rooms untouched (not crazy), you pay their cell phone bill so you can continue to hear their voice on their voicemail (not crazy). These things are not crazy and you may continue to do some of them forever, but some you will eventually let go of as your grip slowly loosens and you realize that nothing short of amnesia could make you really let go.
And slowly…slowly…the faded colors of life become more vibrant. The world unthaws and you start to find beauty peeking through in places you would never have expected it. Your season of grief has left you weary but stronger. You know you will never be the same and you begin to accept that you must integrate your loved one and your experiences and continue to live…a little bit wary, a little bit wise, and a little bit crazy.
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