PDX.edu REALMS OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

REALMS OF POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY

Positive psychology is founded on the idea that people want to lead meaningful lives by living up to the best versions of themselves in order to strengthen the life they live.  This field is important because through its implementation, individuals and communities are able to prosper, thus contributing to a more satisfactory life. This can be attained through the incorporation of the following factors:

SELF-ACCEPTANCE

When individuals are satisfied and happy with themselves, self-acceptance is present. This helps us recognize our weaknesses while not letting it stand against who and what we are.  When this is obtained, a sense of freedom is felt, fear of failure subsides, self-esteem grows, the struggle to win approval from others diminishes, independency increases, and life is lived to please oneself rather than others (McQuillan, 2014). Self-acceptance can be achieved by:

  • Celebrating your strengths
  • Distancing yourselves from people who bring you down
  • Forgiving yourselves from past regrets and moving on

Don’t know how to fully accept yourself? Read “The Path to Unconditional Self-Acceptance” by Dr. Seltzer.  Here’s the link:https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/200809/the-path-….

GRATITUDE

Gratitude is recognized as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness. It has been shown that those who reflect on things they’re grateful for experience a greater level of positive emotions, feel more lively, portray more compassion and kindness, and strengthen immune systems (Carpenter, n.d.).  You can practice this by:

  • Simply jotting down three things that you’re thankful for
  • Keeping tallies of kindness as your go about your day (need more encouragement to do this? People believe that this practice can lead to a better mood).
  • Write a gratitude letter to someone you’re thankful for

For more information on gratitude, check out this link: http://my.happify.com/hd/the-science-behind-gratitude

KINDNESS, COMPASSION, ALTRUISM

The ties between kindness, compassion, and altruism are similar as they all incorporate a considerate and helpful outlook for others.  This leads to happiness since it helps promote connection with others, helps us feel grateful for our own fortune, boosts our self-image as we use our strengths in a meaningful way, and can initiate a chain of positivity (Lyubormirsky, n.d.).  You can gain these benefits by:

  • Volunteering in your community, non-profit organization, etc.
  • Doing a random act of kindness, such as holding the door open for someone else
  • Donating money

Watch this Ted Talk by Hannah Brencher titled, “Love Letters to Strangers” for another idea on how to practice these factors.  https://www.ted.com/talks/hannah_brencher_love_letters_to_strangers?lang…

SIMPLICITY

Simplicity stands as something that is plain, natural, or easy to understand.  By incorporating this into our lifestyle, we make room for what is important by determining what it is that makes us happy, and the things that give our lives meaning and value (“Why Simple Living Needs Positive Psychology”, 2015).  This type of lifestyle improves environmental sustainability, and increases mental and physical health (Miller, 2014).  To incorporate simplicity into your life, take some of these steps:

  • De-materialze
  • Rest and relax
  • Be active
  • Eat for health

If you know all too well what being an overwhelmed college student is like, and need some more advice on living a simpler life, read this article: http://thinksimplenow.com/clarity/the-simple-life/?utm_source=feedburner…(Think+Simple+Now)

AUTHENTICITY

The term authentic means not false or copied; genuine; real. Therefore, this relates to us being ourselves, as opposed to what others want us to be or pretend to be.  This is accompanied by many benefits such as responding to difficulties with effective coping strategies, obtaining satisfactory relationships, enjoying a strong sense of self-worth and purpose, and maintaining the ability to pursue goals (Wright, 2014).  Dr. Jantz lists four ways to being a more authentic person:

  • Be keenly self-aware: observe yourself, and find where you feel yourself to be most comfortable
  • Find genuine connections: seek to understand the people around you. When you do this, you are more likely feel genuine and authentic yourself.
  • Don’t be perfect: embrace your imperfection because perfection cannot be attained
  • Be present: be an active listener and give others your full attention

Eager to learn more about how to be more authentic? Read “Authentic Self”–http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/authenticself.htm

SELF-EXPRESSION

Self-expression is the expression of one’s own personality through conversation and behavior, and means such as poetry and painting.  Through this state, we can express our fears, anxieties, or other negative feelings in a productive manner, which gives us control over our emotions (Kane, 2013). It is important to note that our expressions, no matter what they are, have the ability to touch others.  To practice this, here are a few simple ideas that have a great deal of benefits:

  • Draw
  • Sing
  • Write
  • Dance
  • Start a blog

To learn about the benefits of art therapy, read: https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200705/art-therapy-the-healing-…

CREATIVITY

Creativity is the ability to produce new ideas. Creativity steps outside the bounds of art, as we may have to get creative to adapt to new environments, complete projects, etc.  There is no “best” way of being creative, as everyone has their own way of displaying this concept.  Benefits of being creative include: creating balance and order, giving sense of control over the external world, making something positive out of a loss, resolving conflicts, and making thoughts and feelings clear (Minarik, 2013). To become more creative, consider 6 suggestions listed by Dr. Thagard (2010):

  • Make new connections- broaden yourself to more than one field
  • Expect the unexpected- learn from failures
  • Be persistent- focus on key problems
  • Get excited- pursue fun projects
  • Be sociable- communicate work to others
  • Use the world- seek inspiration in nature

Being creative as a kid can be easy, as we are less inclined to have self-doubt and fear of failure.  Facing this challenge in adulthood can diminish creativity, but through watching the attached video, hopefully you’ll be encouraged to try something new. Here it is:https://youtu.be/0JUFjTOM32g

SOCIAL CONNECTION

As humans, we are wired to love, be loved, and belong.  Therefore, we thrive off of connecting with others.  When we are socially connected, our immune system strengthens, rates of anxiety and depression decrease, self-esteem is enhanced, and empathy is developed. You can gain these benefits by practicing the following habits:

  • Focus on quality over quantity when building relationships
  • Prioritize face-to-face interactions
  • Share with others
  • Listen to others
  • Ask questions
  • See past differences
  • Don’t worry about rejection

To learn more about social connections, check out this short article written by a teacher who employed the positive impacts of this realm of positive psychology: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susie-wolbe/social-connections-and-th_b_61…

MINDFULNESS, PRESENT MOMENT AWARENESS

Mindfulness, present moment awareness is a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present.  This allows individuals to experience current thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgement.  Mindfulness practices are beneficial as they present more cognitive flexibility, better control over attention, emotions and impulses, aides in stress and anxiety relief, and produces greater brain integration (Greenburg, n.d.). This state of mind can be produced by:

  • Focusing on your breathing
  • Becoming aware of physical tension
  • Paying attention to sensations as you go about your daily routine

When you need some relief, you may consider taking a breather and coloring one of the sheets found on this website:https://wellness.uchicago.edu/sites/wellness.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/…

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness means to grant a pardon to a person.  This act helps let go of negative emotions, thus allowing more positive feelings to be found.  From this, benefits such as improved relationships, decreased anxiety and stress, lowered blood pressure, and greater immune and heart health can be noticed (Zheng, Fehr, Tai, Narayanan & Gelfand, 2014).  As forgiveness is not always easy, you may consider using Everett Washington’s REACH strategy:

  • Recall the hurt
  • Empathize with the person who hurt you
  • offer an Altruistic gift of forgiveness
  • Commit to forgive
  • Hold onto that forgiveness

To see how forgiveness is something you do for yourself, watch “The Science of Happiness- Forgive and Forget”:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8o9_TlZyB_Y

FLOW, BEING “IN THE ZONE”

To be involved in an activity for its own sake means to have achieved a state of flow, which helps us get “in the zone” of the moment.  This can lead to improved performance in realms such as teaching, learning, athletics, and artistic activities.  Secondly, it can lead to further learning and skill development since new challenges must be sought in order to maintain this state.  Psychology expert Kendra Cherry lists that flow can be achieved through the following factors:

  1. Matching your skills to the task
  2. Striving for something that challenges your existing skills
  3. Have clear goals
  4. Avoid interruptions
  5. Focus on the present and not the end state

For further reading, you may consider picking up Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, Finding flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life.

OPTIMISM

Optimism contributes to the tendency to look more on the favorable side of events or conditions.  People who have optimistic outlooks tend to see the glass half full, or make lemonade out of lemons.  Optimists seem to do better in school, work and extracurricular activities, have better overall health, and may live longer (Carter, 2012).  If you are seeking ways to have a more positive outlook, you can:

  • Spend time at the end of your day writing down positive experiences
  • Reframe negative thoughts into positive ones
  • Spend time with positive people
  • Focus on what you can control, and let go of what you can’t
  • Reduce negative language from your vocabulary

To convert from pessimistic to optimistic, read Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

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PDX.edu recommendations for health

1) SLEPT FOR 7+ HOURS PER NIGHT, EVERY NIGHT THIS WEEK.

Want to be more alert, less anxious or depressed, improve your heart health, and help the body repair faster from the stress of daily life? Making sure to get enough sleep can put you on the fast track to major health improvements. Sleeping for more than seven hours most nights is beneficial to let your body repair itself in bolstering your immune system, memory, metabolism, and mood.
And quality counts as much as quantity: nine hours of restless or interrupted sleep can benefit you less than seven hours of deep, uninterrupted zzzs! For a list of tips on how to get a better night’s sleep, visit the Wellness Today blog at:http://www.wellnesstoday.com/wake-up-to-the-importance-of-a-good-nights-…
http://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/content/multimedia/abp4955.htm…

2) TOOK 5 MINUTES EACH MORNING AFTER YOU WOKE UP TO STRETCH YOUR BODY AND WAKE UP YOUR MUSCLES.

Stretching in the morning helps with blood circulation dramatically. Your heart rate is the slowest when you first wake up, by stretching, you’re helping your blood move faster and circulating it to the muscles. Stretching also helps to reduce tension and stress. Help your body start the day off on a positive feeling. Try out these 3 gentle wake up stretches, from livestrong:
http://www.livestrong.com/article/14392-3-wake-up-stretches-to-do-in-bed/

http://richardbejah.com/why-you-should-stretch-the-minute-you-get-out-of…

3) MADE AN INTENTIONAL EFFORT TO MAINTAIN PROPER STRUCTURE, INCLUDING STANDING AND SITTING UP STRAIGHT, EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

When sitting for prolonged periods of time, it can affect our workflow as well as our health. The longer we sit, the harder it is to concentrate, we get tired, distracted, etc. Getting up and taking a break every hour can help us reset to maintain an effective workflow. Also sitting for too long can lead to high cholesterol levels and an increased waist circumference, to name a few.  Sitting or standing with poor posture can also create muscle imbalances that contribute to lower back pain and decreased ability to perform activities of daily living.

4) SPENT AT LEAST 30 MINUTES OUTSIDE EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

Don’t just get up to become more active, also try to get out! According to a Harvard study, spending time outdoors can boost your mood, improve your concentration, encourage more activity, and even help your body heal faster after an injury. Although weather can be a limiting factor, even the winter months can provide plenty of opportunity to enjoy yourself alfresco with a little strategic layering and waterproofing!
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/a-prescription-for-bett…
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100603172219.htm

5) ATE A HEALTHY BREAKFAST THAT INCLUDED SOME PROTEIN EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

Eating a form of protein in the morning is a great way to stay full longer, regulate energy, and maintain muscle mass. Your body will feel the difference when filled with nutrient dense foods. Instead of a muffin, try yogurt with berries, nuts or seeds to satisfy that morning crave.
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/08/21/433239573/rethinking-brea…
http://www.uhc.com/health-and-wellness/nutrition/power-up-protein-at-bre…

6) REPLACED SWEETS (CANDY, ICE CREAM, COOKIES, CAKE, PIE, ETC.) WITH A HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVE (FRUIT, NUTS, TEA ETC.) 5 TIMES THIS WEEK.

Most of us enjoy sweets such as cookies, candy, ice cream, cake, and pie that contain high amounts of sugar and are considered “empty calories” with little nutritional value. These goodies are okay to enjoy in moderation, 1-2 days a week. Cut your cravings for sugar by drinking plenty of water, eating enough healthy foods that fill you up and give you energy, and savoring alternatives such as fruit or even root vegetables (they’re called “sweet potatoes” for a reason!) instead of indulging in your usual treats.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3198517/

7) ATE 5 OR MORE SERVINGS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

As recommended by the USDA’s MyPlate Guidelines, increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables is one of the best ways to improve your diet. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and dense in nutrients; the more colorful your plate, the higher the variety of vitamins and minerals you consume.  Visit www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.

8) DRANK 6 OR MORE 8-OZ. SERVINGS OF WATER EVERY DAY THIS WEEK OR REPLACED SODA AND/OR OTHER SWEETENED BEVERAGE WITH WATER.

Drinking plenty of water flushes toxins from the body and can reduce cravings for other, less healthy beverages & snacks. Keeping a refillable water bottle with you at all times is a great way to ensure that you can sip all day long. More information on the health benefits of consuming the recommended amount of water above can be found at: www.mayoclinic.com/health/water/NU00283

Whenever the urge to drink a soda strikes, have a glass of water instead and avoid all those unhealthy, empty calories from high fructose corn syrup. Cutting soda out is one of the easiest ways to improve your diet and your health.  Even though diet sodas don’t contain calories or sugar, they still come with risks: artificial sweeteners are associated with kidney problems, tooth decay (due to higher acidity than other sodas), cell damage, and even obesity! The chemicals in artificial sweeteners confuse the body’s metabolism, making it harder to control weight, even when you’re exercising more and eating healthy foods. Time to put down the can!

9) WROTE DOWN 3-5 THINGS FOR WHICH YOU ARE GRATEFUL, AT LEAST 5 DAYS THIS WEEK.

Perspective is all in the attitude.  Being thankful can have an impact on your attitude, helping to change it from negative and complaining to content and positive. Having positive thoughts gives way to a healthier outlook and healing of the mind and body.
http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/in-praise-of-gratitude

10) CONDUCTED AT LEAST ONE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS FOR OTHERS AND AT LEAST ONE ACT OF KINDNESS FOR YOURSELF THIS WEEK.

Random acts of kindness are a great way to be generous with time, knowledge and resources. Beyond being kind, the benefits for one’s emotions are impactful in lowering stress levels and releasing endorphins giving rise of happiness and relief. Conducting a random act of kindness can also help us to be better connected to our community and the people around us, whether we personally know them or not. Sometimes getting a random compliment or receiving a free cup of coffee from the person in front of you is all it takes to brighten up your day.
http://www.personalsafetynets.org/sites/default/files/Download%20-%20Act…

11) PRACTICED SOME FORM OF SELF-COMPASSION OR SELF-ACCEPTANCE EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

Do you accept yourself as you are? It’s a simple question that many people find extremely hard to answer. Practice some form of self-compassion or self-acceptance every day of this week. It can be so easy sometimes to compare ourselves to others, rating who we are and categorizing the good and bad parts. Healthy U Wellness is encouraging you throughout these next 5 weeks to become more aware of your mindless habits. When you notice yourself comparing, judging, or criticizing, gently bring yourself back to self-acceptance. Let go of the judgement inside and remember that we are all made different but all have unique qualities and personalities. Everyone deserves to be fully seen and heard without judgement, even the bias and prejudice we so often put on ourselves. Don’t participate in this form of self-critique.

12) SPENT TWO HOURS THIS WEEK PARTICIPATING IN SOMETHING YOU GENUINELY ENJOY OR ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT.

While it might feel uncomfortable to step outside of the busyness of school or work and due dates and deadlines, keep in mind that your body and brain sometimes need a rest. Take part in something you’re passionate about; where you can unwind and express yourself. Maybe for you, it will be creative writing, painting, running, hiking, or even gardening. After you take a mental vacation indulging in something you’re passionate about, you’ll be amazed at how refreshed you might feel.

13) PRACTICED DEEP BREATHING AND/OR MEDITATED FOR AT LEAST 20 MINUTES, FIVE OR MORE DAYS THIS WEEK.

Actively practicing deep breathing/meditating/relaxing has numerous health benefits from lowering blood pressure, to increasing immunity, to giving rise to emotional balance. Additionally, research shows that the more often one engages in relaxation practices such as meditation and deep breathing, the more noticeable the benefits become.  We found these articles (which include a video of guided meditation) particularly informative:

http://foodmatters.tv/articles-1/7-health-benefits-of-meditation
http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath…

14) ATTENDED A SPIRITUAL EVENT AT LEAST ONCE THIS WEEK.

Attending a spiritual event gives amazing results for the immune system and mental state, in addition to lowering blood pressure. It’s also a great way to feel a sense of belonging to a group and to bolster confidence and make connections. The resulting sense of community and oneness can also reduce stress and anxiety.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2013/12/22/religion-is-good-f…
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/spirituality

15) MADE AN INTENTIONAL EFFORT TO BE FULLY ENGAGED IN THE PRESENT MOMENT EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.” Buddha
Being in the present can be hard, especially because our society is so future oriented and we are always looking forward.  Try every day this week, even a short while, to pause in your tasks, take notice of your surroundings as well the people you are around or the conversations you may be having, and find happiness and contentment in those small moments.

16) CONSCIOUSLY REFLECTED ON A QUOTE, EXCERPT, OR BOOK THAT INSPIRES YOUR PERSONAL DIRECTION AND PURPOSE FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR THIS WEEK.

Take advantage of the small free time you find through your week, and find an outlet for inspiration; that may be a certain book, a devotion, or a quote of the day.  Contemplate its true meaning and how you can apply it to your daily life to find motivation and meaning for your week!

17) PICKED UP AND THREW AWAY OR RECYCLED AT LEAST 7 PIECES OF LITTER THIS WEEK.

If everybody picked up even 1 piece of trash, the world would be a much cleaner place, even if it is something as little as a gum wrapper. Any trash that does not get disposed of properly can eventually end up in our water.
http://www.chintiminiwildlife.org/Education/LivingWithWild/Litter.htm

18) KEPT YOUR PERSONAL SPACES (HOME, WORK SPACE, CAR, ETC.) CLEAN AND ORGANIZED THIS WEEK.

Is your focus elsewhere when you try to work, study, or do other tasks around your house and/or office? Look around, is it a bit messy? This could be the source of unease and fidgeting; tidy and clean areas offer more clarity and less distraction from the true task at hand.  Give it a try this week and see if you notice your productivity and/or focus increase.
https://unclutterer.com/2011/03/29/scientists-find-physical-clutter-nega…

19) BIKED, WALKED, OR TOOK PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION INSTEAD OF A CAR TO GET AROUND AT LEAST 5 TIMES THIS WEEK.

We know biking and walking provide more exercise for the body compared to driving, and in general these choices, in addition to public transportation, are good for the environment.  What are other reasons for taking public transportation? In this source we can find several more reasons: http://www.fta.dot.gov/14504.htm

20) MADE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT AT LEAST ONCE THIS WEEK TO PURCHASE ONLY SUSTAINABLY-PRODUCED ITEMS, SUCH AS FAIR TRADE, LOCAL, ORGANIC, AND/OR MINIMALLY PACKAGED ITEMS AND TO MINIMIZE UNNECESSARY PURCHASES.

Need some ideas?! Try: saving your plastic bags or glass jars for re-use later; purchase food in bulk which requires less packaging; put some money towards buying a thermos or mug for your coffee or tea to reduce the amount of paper cups we throw away each week; etc. Read about “The Sad Demise of the Paper Coffee Cup,” within the link below to learn about the unnecessary environmental side effect of the coffee craving.
http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/storm-in-a-paper-cup

21) TRIED ONE NEW ACTIVITY, EVENT, OR BEHAVIOR THAT STRETCHES YOUR COMFORT ZONE THIS WEEK.

Stimulating your mental state by engaging in new activities and/or skills is great for the brain and can benefit other areas of work, school, and home. Trying something out of your comfort zone is a good practice to stretch the limits of your intellect, boosting neurons and sharpening memory. Ever wanted to learn to paint, sing, learn a foreign language or gain better skills in Microsoft Office? Now’s the time!
https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/why-learning-adult-can-in…

22) ENGAGED IN A CREATIVE OR ARTISTIC ACTIVITY (MUSIC, ART, WRITING, PHOTOGRAPHY, ETC.) FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS THIS WEEK.

Bring more happiness and confidence into your life by discovering what induces your “flow” state; a loss of self-consciousness when you are completely absorbed in an activity. Flow can be brought on by engaging in all kinds of activities, such as a beloved hobby, meaningful tasks, or fun challenges. “A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that flow is highly correlated with happiness, both SWB (Subjective well-being) and PWB (Psychological well-being).  Furthermore, it has been found that people who experience a lot of flow in their daily lives also develop other positive traits, such as high concentration, high self-esteem, and greater health.” (http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/getting-in-the-…)

23) AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH WEEK, DEVOTED AT LEAST 1 HOUR TO REFLECT ON WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU AND PRIORITIZING HOW YOU WILL USE YOUR TIME IN THE COMING WEEK.

To begin to maximize your time, you must learn how to manage yourself. The key to being successful is knowing how to properly prioritize your responsibilities and engagements. A great resource is your PSU planner or your PSU Google calendar; both of which include important dates and deadlines for the term. Create a to-do list, written in order of importance, to help you determine how much time to set aside for your most important tasks.  Don’t forget about time for yourself and your health!

24) LIMITED YOUR RECREATIONAL SCREEN TIME (FACEBOOK, TV, INSTAGRAM, ETC.) TO NO MORE THAN AN AVERAGE OF 1 HOUR PER DAY THIS WEEK.

“We’re born, we live for a brief instant, and we die. It’s been happening for a long time. Technology is not changing it much – if at all.” —Steve Jobs
Technology has some wonderful benefits. That being said, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our world is developing an unhealthy attachment to it. Joshua Becker, the enthusiast for living a minimalist and intentional life, seen on NPR and Wall Street Journal states in one of his articles, “7 Important Reasons to Unplug and Find Space,” powering-down helps remove unhealthy feelings of jealousy, envy, and loneliness. Researchers recently discovered that one in three people felt worse or more dissatisfied with their lives after visiting Facebook. Read more about the important reason for unplugging in his article: http://www.becomingminimalist.com/unplug-please/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2013/02/06/feeling-disconnected-5-reasons-to-unplug-from-technology-after-work/

25) LEARNED ABOUT ONE AREA OF FINANCIAL HEALTH THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU THIS WEEK (E.G. BY READING AN ARTICLE, ATTENDING A WORKSHOP, ETC.)

Are you interested in expanding your financial knowledge in retirement, portfolios, IRA’s, debt, or student loans? Learning about these to plan for the future and get a better idea of how to manage your finances will reduce stress, anxiety and/or insomnia, and give you a jumpstart to being confident in money matters.
https://njaes.rutgers.edu/healthfinance/health-behaviors.asp

26) USED AT LEAST ONE RESOURCE (WEEKLY SALES, COUPONS, ETC.) FOR SAVING ON GROCERIES, CLEANING SUPPLIES, OR OTHER ESSENTIALS THIS WEEK.

Saving money in certain areas, even in small amounts, can in turn go towards other important things in life. The money you save from using coupons at grocery stores can be put towards a trip, bills, project, or hobby. Sales and coupons are also a wonderful way to plan healthy meals for the week or month. Try to avoid dining out and instead bond over cooking a good meal with roommates, friends or family.
http://aroundtheplate.org/couponing-with-healthy-benefits/

27) DETERMINED AND COMPLETED AT LEAST ONE STEP TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER (ATTENDING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS, MEETING WITH A MENTOR, UPDATING YOUR RESUME, ETC.) THIS WEEK.

Visit Advising and Career Services at PSU and find out what next steps you need to take to advance your future goals. You can find great resources on their website to help answer questions about your major or the career you want to pursue, internships, graduate school, and more. http://www.pdx.edu/careers/for-students

28) CREATED A BUDGET AND STAYED WITHIN IT THIS WEEK.

It’s important to evaluate spending and set priorities. Success in saving is a matter of self-control, planning, and restraint. Be disciplined with your spending and set up a plan, leaving room to treat yourself every once and awhile.

29) SPENT QUALITY TIME WITH A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER AT LEAST ONE TIME THIS WEEK.

Physically spending time with somebody whom we are close to can have a positive reinforcement in our lives, especially if you know that person has that kind of influence. Being in good company can help improve moods and lower stress. This gives us time to slow down, live in the moment, and really engage ourselves with those we care about. One-on-one time is a tremendous opportunity for each person to be listened to and heard, especially in an age of immediate technology. The time we spend with each other speaks more than anything else in showing we care.

30) CONSCIOUSLY FOCUSED ON HELPING OTHERS (IN A NEW WAY THAN WHAT YOU TYPICALLY DO) FOR AT LEAST ONE HOUR THIS WEEK.

Great information and statistics about volunteerism, such as how Oregon compares to the rest of the United States, where we spend our time volunteering, and how many people volunteer in Portland can be viewed here:http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/OR/Portland
For help with finding volunteer opportunities check out volunteer.org, AllForGood.org, or United Way.

31) MADE A CONSCIOUS EFFORT TO FULLY LISTEN TO OTHERS WHILE THEY SPEAK EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

Take time out of your busy school and work schedule to have a conversation with somebody; really listen to that person; get to know them better. Step out of the rush of life and common small talk. Cambridge’s definition of listen is “to give attention to someone you can hear or to a person who is speaking”. Giving attention to a particular person is the act of directing the mind to understand what is being said; not just hearing people speak but attentively listening.
http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/6-benefits-speaking-less-…

32) MET OR TALKED TO A NEW PERSON THIS WEEK WHO YOU THINK YOU MAY CONNECT WELL WITH.

Reaching out may be intimidating and hard at first, but can reap massive rewards for both parties. Forming new relationships with neighbors, coworkers, or classmates can expand your network and forming new relationships improves confidence, self-worth, and encourages a healthy lifestyle.
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/friend…

What should I do with my life?

Answer by Chris Sylvester:

Live it

Elaboration was requested. Here are my thoughts:

Wake up every day. Breath. Shower. Make your bed. Get dressed. Have a light breakfast and cup of coffee. Read whatever piques your interest for 5-30 min.

Go do whatever job it is you do. Take an hour lunch, either with coworkers you like, your boss (even it he's an asshole), or on your own. If on your own, read something else that piques your interest. Do puzzles. Listen to music. Drive around. Relax and just don't do work on your break unless you have no choice or you work an irregular job. That's your time, don't give it to an employer.

Finish the rest of your day doing whatever your work is. Strive to do the job as well as you can every day. You don't need to worry about mastery unless your in love with your work. If you are, great. You're very lucky.  

Your job is what you do for money, not who you are.

After work, go home and relax for 5-15 minutes when you get off work. Hangout with friends or family at least a few nights a week. Have a nice dinner with them as often as you can, and have a couple of drinks.

If you don't have friends, you can find some. You honestly don't need many. One good friend who you enjoy and who enjoys you for nothing other than your company is invaluable. Explore your city/town with them. Go eat with them at restaurants you've never tried before as often as you can, and make sure you have at least one favorite spot where the waitstaff knows you by name. However, don't eat out every day. Learn to cook. Cook for people and they will love you.

If you don't have family, your friends can be a wonderful substitute.

If your single and wanting to date, find someone who will date you, but no pressure, you can get a dog too. If you have a girl/boyfriend, spend time with them, but make sure you have at least 3 nights a week for yourself. Realize that the best relationships come about when you don't make the other person responsible for your happiness and they don't make you responsible for theirs. People are frail and full of faults, so it's best to realize that you are the most important person in your life and are entirely responsible for yourself.

If you're married, I hope it's a marriage that allows you and your partner to be exactly who you are with no expectations. Enjoy time with your significant other. If you have kids, play with them, help with homework, read with them; hug them. They should be your passion project. If you don't have kids, get a dog, a cat, a fish tank, or a turtle.

Practice a hobby. Listen to music, new and old. Hone professional skills as often as there is time. Read a book. Watch your favorite tv show. Go to art galleries and museums. When the weather is nice, sit somewhere outside by yourself for 5 min to 1 hour every day. Look up at the sky at night.

Once a week, go over your finances and budget. Also run errands once or twice a week, or more if you need to. Don't buy too much crap you don't need. Don't use credit cards too often and make sure you never carry a balance more than 20% of your credit limit. Pay your bills on time, but put money aside for you that you don't touch.

Plan a trip to the most exotic place you can afford to go 6 months from now. Aside from travel expenses, you'll be surprised to find how easy it is to find awesome cheap food and great people almost everywhere. Hostels are cheap and exciting if you can't afford a hotel. Go alone or with someone you get along with exceedingly well.

Find a creative endeavor and pursue it for you and you alone. 10 min to 10 hours a day. Doesn't matter, but try to master what you love. If you don't know what that is, keep playing until you find something. Could be writing Quora posts, poetry, essays, or novels. Or it could be photography, drawing, sculpting, painting, building furniture, chess, collecting grass specimens, composing music or collecting records. Could be calculus, or cartography. Could be anything. You're free pursue as many creative outlets as you like. It's ok if you never land on a single one.

Don't try to predict your future. Try not to put more emphasis on the western ideal of success than is required to secure an income that suits your lifestyle. You'll know what lifestyle you enjoy when you find yourself content just being alone wherever you are. This feeling seems to come and go though. I'm about to turn 30, and at least it has for me. That's generally how I know when it's time to do something else and what I think will drive the next two to three decades, until I become wise.

What should I do with my life?

What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?

Answer by A Quora admin:

  1. Keep a diary
  2. Write down the key points of what you did for the day. This may be trivial, but it will show how you spend your day.
  3. Write down thoughts you have for doing even simple things like buying something. This will show where your money goes.
  4. At the end of every month do a summary of what you have done, and mark out things you have achieved for the month, or failed to achieve. This includes your income, health, buying items, fixing things.
  5. Put a value on your time. If you assess your time as being worth $20 an hour then assess everything you do at that rate. So if writing and posting a letter takes half an hour, then it costs $10.
  6. Give yourself short term goals. Write down what you hope to achieve in the next month. Then assess how well you did it. If you failed then write down why.
  7. You need to plan your personal life like you would plan a company. Put a value on what you do, who you know, how much you pay for anything, and how much your possessions and actions further your goals.
  8. Get rid of excess baggage. This covers items you don't need, habits that are distractions, friends who you will not miss, hobbies that absorb your resources.
  9. Mix with people who have similar goals to yourself.
  10. Do not assume you will ever have time to do things you can't do now or soon.
  11. Learn the difference between Urgent and Important
  12. Don't rely on others to solve your problems. Try to solve all your own problems even if they can be solved with money or help. Learning how to fix a tap washer may seem needless, but it gives an insight into problem solving.
  13. Find out how other people solved their problems or failed to.
  14. Take an interest  in people. Success comes from knowing how people work, not how things work.

What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?

What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?

Answer by A Quora admin:

Living in a manner to successfully avoid these regrets: Top five regrets of the dying

  1. Be honest to yourself and start living a life true to yourself, not the life others expect of you. Do it NOW. Wherever you are with whatever you have. No excuses.
  2. Be physically fit NO MATTER WHAT. That you don't have enough time to hit the gym coz you work 14 hours a day should not be an excuse. Focus on your health the way you focus on love or your career. Give up junk food, smoking and other unhealthy habits. And get health insurance.
  3. Forge valuable relationships – not PR or facebook friendships – Stay in touch with real friends who care about you and who you care about. Remember, happiness is best shared.
  4. Travel. Not having enough money or time are the most common excuses. Travel while you are young. It will change you in ways no other experience can. Not to mention there are some things you can do only when you are young. Read this article: Why you should travel young
  5. Learn to live within your means. Try not to borrow. Seriously. 
  6. SAVE. You know you can. Begin with saving a small amount periodically but do remember to increase it with time. Read articles, talk to people who earn as much as you do and their saving plans. Also, invest.
  7. Express your true feelings – Feeling hesitant in asking someone out who is wayyy out of your league? Or telling your dad how much you love him? Muster the courage to do it. Now. It might be too late before you realize. Now is the time to say the sorries and the 'I-really-like-you's' that you've always wanted to say. I am an introvert but mustered the courage to ask out every single guy I really really liked and though some turned me down, the sheer liberation of asking them out was indescribable.
  8. Do that thing that you really want but are really afraid to do it.
  9. Know the difference between being courageous and being foolhardy. Think before you act.
  10. Introspect and work on becoming a better person. Listen to your critics and true friends. Consciously work on giving up self-defeating or narcissistic behaviors.You know if you are too selfish, easily angered or too judgmental. You know if you don't give your 100% while studying. Change that. BE THE KIND OF PERSON YOU WANT TO MEET.
  11. Read the newspaper everyday. Back to back. And not on the internet. Try to read the hardcopy everyday.
  12. Read (in general). And not only so that you can talk about Murakami or the foreign policy at high-end parties or to impress someone.
  13. Do not give up your hobbies.
  14. Keep LEARNING new things. This is one of the most undrerrated virtues and a prerequisite for mental health. And it doesn't have to be a new language, or a musical instrument, if you don't have the time. New words, games. ideas, philosophies etc. Reading a random wiki page everyday, solving crossword or sudoku can be equally refreshing for the brain.
  15. Laugh for 5 minutes every morning.
  16. Meditate. Preferably every morning. If you can't do that at least ensure that you quieten your mind for 10 mins during the day. Don't think about anything. Just listen to yourself breathe. And BE.
  17. CONSCIOUSLY TEACH YOURSELF TO LOOK AT THE BRIGHTER SIDE OF THINGS. AND NO, you are not fooling yourself / lying to yourself when you do that. Be grateful for what you have. So what if you worked hard and yet didn't get the marks / credit you deserved? Or the love of your life passed away in an accident? Or were fired during the recession? You don't have cancer or a tumor in your brain. If you have it, your probably have access to the medical care required to treat it. THE VERY FACT THAT YOU ARE READING THIS ANSWER ON THE SCREEN OF A COMP / LAPTOP / PHONE is the proof that you are luckier than millions. It is okay to feel bad when life deals you an unfair blow but please, stop complaining and taking things for granted. This is the first step towards happiness. Watch 'Life is Beautiful'.
  18. Try new things. Also, Experiment. Step out of your comfort zone. And at regular intervals.
  19. Know when to say no. When to give up and when to hang on. Try try till you succeed but know when to stop trying.
  20. Be prepared for the unexpected. Life is what happens when we are busy making other plans. It may not necessarily be unpleasant or bad but even if it is, try to handle it in the best possible manner. Be prepared for the possibility of having twins (or triplets) when you plan a baby, or being fired if your organization is downsizing, moving to a city you dislike if your wife gets an opportunity too good to be true there etc.
  21. Regret but do not let it consume you. Don't ever think that impact of a decision, however bad or stupid, is final even if it is irreversible. So you were returning from a party and thanks to drunk driving, you met with an accident and lost a limb. It is sad and yes you would probably always regret it. But know that life goes on. And time heals. It really does.
  22. Do not hold grudges. I struggle with that everyday and fail but I don't stop trying. Think more about ideas and things to do, and less about people.
  23. Study logic. I know it sounds weird but the way we reason out things can be so wrong. And we do it so often.Check out these examples: 'I am unlucky because my mom died when I was 13 and I met with an accident next year and got mugged after that.' 'Most men are jerks.'  'I cheated on you because you cheated on me.' Always question your views and opinions. Not everything is or should be subjective. Most rigid people are so sure of themselves and illogical in their reasoning, it creeps me out. What if you are like that and don't even know it?
  24. Strive for balance in life and in everything you do. Do not let anything – love, faith, work; consume you.
  25. Be disciplined. Try to have a good routine. Routine is the housekeeper of inspiration (quote by Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
  26. VOTE. The first step to becoming a good citizen. And always throw trash in the dustbin.
  27. Stop swearing so much. EVEN (rather ESPECIALLY) INSIDE YOUR HEAD.
  28. Do something for the environment. We live so indifferently to the problems around us. Degradation of the environment is one of the greatest problems ruining our world and will most definitely be the reason for our extinction; if we do not do anything about it. We are all victims of consumerism but I insist that we should all try to do whatever we can for the environment. Take baby steps but begin. And the time is now.
  29. This one is personal to me (hence last on the list) I think it is supremely underrated and very very important. Wake up at dawn and be calm. The world is so beautiful and serene at that time. There is something about early morning that fills you with positivity. I have noticed that I get the best ideas and the most positive thoughts during dawn and this habit ensures that my entire day goes well.  Here's a Forbes article on advantages of waking up early: Benefits Of Early Risers – In Photos: Top 10 Advantages Of Waking Up Early As Rumi says, "The breeze at dawn has secrets to share with you. Don't go back to sleep"
  30. Waste less time. Life comprises of days and days, of hours. Every minute you waste, costs you a part of your life. Remember that.

    Happy living 🙂

What can I start doing now that will help me a lot in about five years?

What should everyone know about Buddhism?

Answer by Kevin Johnsrude:

Buddhism can be a religion but it doesn't have to be. Buddhism is a set of principles and practices that demonstrably improve your life.  No faith is necessary.  You can believe in another religion or be an atheist and it still works.

The Four Noble Truths

1. Life means suffering
2. The origin of suffering is attachment
3. It is possible to end suffering through…
4. …The Eightfold Path

The Eightfold Path

1. Right View (The Four Noble Truths)

2. Right Intention
   a. Renunciation:
      Resistance to desire
   b. Goodwill:
      Resistance to anger and aversion
   c. Harmlessness:
      Compassion,
      Don't think or act cruelly, violently or aggressively

3. Right Speech
   a. Tell the truth
   b. Don't gossip
   c. Don't use offensive or hurtful language
  
4. Right Action (The Precepts)
   a. Don't harm other living beings
   b. Don't take things not freely given
   c. Don't engage in sexual misconduct
   d. Don't engage in false speech
   e. Don't abuse drugs or alcohol
  
5. Right Livelihood
    Don't work in a job that violates The Precepts
   
6. Right Effort
   a. Create, preserve and increase healthy states
   b. Prevent, eliminate or decrease harmful states
  
7. Right Mindfulness
   See things clearly
  
8. Right Concentration
   a. Meditation
   b. Concentration on healthy thoughts and actions
  
Buddhist Virtues (The Four Immeasurables)

1. Compassion: The intention and capacity to relieve the suffering of oneself and all other living beings.

2. Loving Kindness:  The intention and capacity to bring joy and happiness to oneself and all other living beings.

3. Empathetic Joy: Rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of another living being

4. Equanimity: Accepting loss or gain, praise or blame, success or failure with detachment.  Regarding all living beings equally. Being clear-minded and tranquil but not dull.

The Three Poisons (The Roots of All Suffering)

  • Anger/Aversion/Hatred
  • Craving/Attachment/Greed
  • Delusion/Ignorance

The Three Jewels (The Credo of Buddhism)

  • Buddha: Mindfulness, your highest spiritual potential
  • Dharma: The teachings of the Buddha and the practice of those teachings
  • Sangha: The community that supports that practice

I take refuge in the Buddha,

the one who shows me the way in this life

I take refuge in the Dharma,

the way of understanding and love

I take refuge in the Sangha,

the community that lives in harmony and awareness

— "For a Future to be Possible: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life", Thich Nhat Hanh

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What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

Answer by Deepak Mehta:

  1. You spend too much time with your friends. Spend some more.

    Because:

  2. You worry too much. Don't.
  3. You sleep too much and read too less. Do the opposite.

  4. You make a lot of mistakes. But don't worry –  they are the most valuable life lessons.
  5. You underestimate yourself. Don't.
  6. You plan too ahead into the future. Don't. Better utilize that time working on your strengths and weaknesses.
    Plans more than 2-3 years down the line rarely materialize.
  7. Click more photographs. But don't let that come into the way of you enjoying your holidays.
  8. Do the things you love, not the things you have to.
  9. Be a little more pro-active during school and college days.
  10. Try new things. Everyday, if possible.
    Do not give up even without trying.

(Image sources:
Who Are Our True Friends – Calvin and Hobbes?
Dr. Seuss '"More you read, more you'll know more you learn, more places you'll go.")

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