How To Find Your Purpose and Live Your Potential

I find that a major cause of anxiety and depression can be a result of feeling unfulfilled in our daily lives, which is often brought on by not living to our fullest potential because we are not fulfilling our true purpose. You may not not know what your purpose is or perhaps you do know, but are unable to put it into practice for a variety of reasons. 

We all need purpose. Even someone who has had a long, successful career and is now retired needs a purpose, which is often why retired people take up hobbies, volunteer or even return to work! Without it, we can feel numb, frustrated and depressed, with many people simply ‘making it through’ the working week and living for the weekend. This saddens me, as life should be about so much more than this and I truly believe that everyone was put on this earth for a reason and that we all have special gifts to give.

The popular book ‘The Alchemist’ tells the story of Santiago who goes in search of his ‘personal legend’, which is our destiny in life- the act of discovering our purpose and pursuing it. Within the book, he learns to follow his heart, listen to his intuition and be mindful of the omens that life provides us with. 

People often do not pursue their calling because of a variety of reasons that range from fear of failure, lack of financial stability, being unsure where to start or unable to identify what their calling is. The Alchemist teaches us to never stop believing that there is a greater plan out there and to believe in the power of pursuing our purpose. The book’s author, Paulo Coelho said that ‘people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of’ and I believe that is true. 

Here are some tips for finding your purpose:

  1. Ask yourself what you love and what comes easily to you

We all have passions and gifts. How can you merge the two? What interests and excites you? Start there, then go deeper. 

2. Listen to your instincts

We were all born with a strong inner compass that informs us of the things that bring us joy. Connect with that voice and honor what you love by allowing yourself to live it. 

3. Work with a life coach. 

Often it is hard to ‘see the wood for the trees’ and finding a place for our passion can be overwhelming. This is where a professional life coach can be really helpful in guiding us towards our purpose and helping us to set solid goals to bring them to life.

4. Do ‘The Passion Test’

The Passion Test was developed by Chris and Janet Atwood to help you find your passion in life. They are the authors of the book ‘The Passion Test – The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose’ and have helped people in more than 50 countries on their journey to fulfillment. 

5. Find your Ikigai

Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means ‘a reason for being’ and is usually used to indicate the things that make one’s life worthwhile. The term roughly means ‘the thing that you live for’ or ‘the reason for which you wake up in the morning.’ Read all about start-up founder Chris Myers’ journey to find his Ikigai here.

6. Take action!

Jack Canfield said ‘you have the power to achieve greatness and create anything you want in life – but you must take action!’ Taking action can be a scary thing, especially when you don’t necessarily know where to start, but nothing can change unless you do something about it. Surround yourself with like-minded people, give yourself deadlines, find ways that you can get inspired and set goals to hold yourself accountable. You’ll be amazed how things begin to happen once you just start. Remember that passion + action = a purposeful life.

You were born with a purpose and have your own unique gift(s) to share with the world. Whatever your calling, know that you are worthy of success and worthy of being happy on a daily basis, not just on the weekend or when you’re on vacation. Life is short, so go after your dreams and goals, and don’t stop until you get there.

Do you know what your purpose is? Are you living your purpose or do are you still trying to figure it out? Leave us a comment below.

With Love, Ione

Is Mindfulness The New Mathematics?

kids-in-school

Hundreds of schools in the UK introduce mindfulness as a new subject.

370 schools in Great Britain will be teaching Mindfulness to their students, as a part of a study that aims to combat mental health issues among youth today. This study brings the UK on board one of the largest trials in the world that explores what works to improve mental health and well-being in our society.

The government issued a statement via their website gov.uk stating that ‘hundreds of children and young people will learn how to use a range of innovative techniques to promote good mental health through one of the largest studies in the world of its kind.’ The statement also mentions that ‘children will benefit from mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques and breathing exercises to help them regulate their emotions, alongside pupil sessions with mental health experts. The study will run until 2021 and aims to give schools new, robust evidence about what works best for their students’ mental health and wellbeing.’

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds said that ‘as a society, we are much more open about our mental health than ever before, but the modern world has brought new pressures for children, while potentially making others worse.’ Mental health issues among children and young adults today are unfortunately on the rise, with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) claiming that 7.1% of children in the US aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety and 1.9 million children in the US have diagnosed depression.

Mindfulness is a brilliant tool for managing mental health issues by encouraging awareness of our emotions so that we are able to manage them in a more insightful, rational way, as well as encouraging us to return to the present moment which is often difficult to do when we are plagued with anxiety. Mindfulness has been proven to promote increased activity in the pre-frontal cortex (the area of the brain associated with positive emotion) and there is evidence showing that mindfulness reduces anxiety and depression as well as boosts overall wellbeing.

According to a 2015 article on The Huffington Post, mindfulness is revolutionizing mental health care and we are only just beginning to understand its benefits. It works on a neurological level by facilitating neuroplasticity – the creation of new connections and neural pathways in the brain, which has a long-term impact on our brains. This reaffirms the importance of teaching such an important subject to children and young adults in an attempt to implement the practice at a young age. The curriculum in schools has been long overdue an update and this seems like a wonderful step forwards. If you are a parent, I’d love to hear from you about whether you teach mindfulness to your children and if so, how do you go about it? Are you a teacher who teaches the technique in a school and if so, how do your students respond?

www.mindfulschools.org has some fascinating information and tips for introducing mindfulness within your school and also credits mindfulness with ‘the development of heartfulness’, which is ‘the intentional nurturing of positive mind states such as kindness and compassion’. I think this is something all the world could benefit from and it’s fantastic to instill this within the next generation during such formative years of their lives. I strongly believe that the world can only benefit from everyone having a mindfulness practice and I hope other countries follow suit!

Meditation and Mindfulness: How Often Are You Fully Present?

Mediation

Do you meditate? Do you want to but don’t know how or don’t have the time? Meditation is widely-regarded as being an essential daily practice for maintaining a state of presence, calming the mind, controlling anxiety and having awareness of what we are feeling and what is going on around us. Presence allows us to fully be in the moment and meditation is a great way to achieve presence and remain in that place throughout the day. Those who meditate on a regular basis cannot speak highly enough about the incredible benefits and notice a huge difference when they fall out of the practice. I have dipped in and out of meditation for years and although I don’t have a consistent practice, I always come back to it when I feel depression and anxiety arising, and it really does help.

According to meditation app Headspace, ‘meditation isn’t about becoming a different person, a new person, or even a better person. It’s about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective. You’re not trying to turn off your thoughts or feelings. You’re learning to observe them without judgment. And eventually, you may start to better understand them as well.’ 


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This practice is also known as ‘mindfulness’, which is essentially a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment. We can practice mindfulness at any moment in life by simply being aware of what is going on around us. This is something that is becoming increasingly harder to do these days, especially with the rising addiction we all have to our smartphones which provide endless entertainment and distraction, removing us from the present moment. Watch a small child or an animal and regard how hyper-present they are. They hear every sound, watch every thing and are curious about what is going around them. As a result, their senses are sharp and they are living fully in each moment. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? More than that, it is our birthright. However, daily stresses and worries can remove us from the present moment and mean that we aren’t fully experiencing life. How often are you fully present? Check in with yourself now by taking a moment to breathe. Feel your breath. Listen to the noises around you. What can you hear? What can you see? Taking a second to reconnect can be incredibly grounding.

So, how we can make mindfulness a practice?

It is fair to say that not all of us have time to sit and meditate each morning but remember that meditation can happen at any moment. All you need to do is put your attention on your breath and that will automatically return you to the present moment.

A great app for helping with this is the Breathe app which focuses on resonant breathing, something that ‘induces a state of restful alertness and mental clarity.’ You notice a benefit simply by inhaling as the ball on your screen goes from small to large, and exhaling as it does the reverse. Something so simple really does help. Headspace teaches you how to meditate and holds you accountable each day, while also gently reminding you that it’s okay for your mind to wander and to struggle at first. You can even start by simply doing one minute meditations and tailor the experience to you. The app can also send daily mindfulness reminders to your phone, one of which is to simply ‘remember that blue sky’. Calm is another popular app, which offers meditation for sleep and stress reduction. The benefits of meditation really are endless and there are so many ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.

To get started, here is a basic meditation from www.mindful.org

The first thing to clarify: what we’re doing here is aiming for mindfulness, not some process that magically wipes your mind clear of the countless and endless thoughts that erupt and ping constantly in our brains. We’re just practicing bringing our attention to our breath, and then back to the breath when we notice our attention has wandered.

  1. Get comfortable and prepare to sit still for a few minutes. After you stop reading this, you’re going to simply focus on your own natural inhaling and exhaling of breath.
  2. Focus on your breath. Where do you feel your breath most? In your belly? In your nose? Try to keep your attention on your inhale and exhale.
  3. Follow your breath for two minutes. You can imagine the breath ball—inhaling as the ball expands, exhaling when the ball contracts.

For more meditation tips, check out https://www.headspace.com/meditation/tips

If you are interested in learning more about a meditation practice, research meditation studios or classes that may be located near you as this is also a great way to incorporate meditation into your weekly routine and meet new people. Classes are a wonderful way to discover the type of meditation that works for you and they are lead by an instructor who will guide you through the session. I attend meditation classes in LA at The Den Meditation and Unplug Meditation as then I commit to meditating for the 45 minutes that I’m there, and I always leave having taken something positive from the experience. Alternatively, YouTube is a great resource and there are many online courses which are often free and provide you with a guided meditation. Deepak Chopra offers a 21-day meditation experience with Oprah, which is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in a meditation experience, hold yourself accountable and maintain a meditation practice.

Whatever your lifestyle, know that there is a way you can incorporate meditation and mindfulness into your daily life, as it really does only take a few seconds to feel your breath and reconnect to the present moment, yet the benefits are truly endless. I always remind myself that simply being aware of everything going on around me, having my senses engaged, breathing deeply and living fully in that moment is a form of mindfulness. It also helps us to feel more grounded and gain mental clarity, which is crucial for handling situations with rationality and being able to truly appreciate all of the little things around us. I am making a pledge to be more mindful in my every day life and I’d love you to join me!

Therapy: How To Get It When You Need It

Let’s face it- we could all benefit from counseling. Sure, there may be times when we feel as though we ‘need’ it more than others, but therapy is something that we have probably all thought of taking up at some point in our lives. Not only is it a wonderful, healthy way to process our experiences, but it helps us to heal and understand them too. Many people credit therapy as the very thing that gave them the confidence and clarity to make a huge life change, with countless people continuing counseling throughout their lives to maintain a healthy frame of mind. As many of you know, I have battled with depression throughout my life and I haven’t always sought help in those darker times, so we wanted to share this post for anyone who is struggling to remind you there are many options of help out there. 

We all know the immense benefits of speaking to a professional on a regular basis, yet so many of those seeking or needing counseling never actually start for a variety of reasons. I am fascinated and in awe of the amount of great resources out there for people needing support, so I wanted to share some of those with you by looking at the reasons people often avoid counseling and what you can do to overcome those issues.

1. Financial Hardship

Counseling services are known to be costly- however, you can still receive wonderful care at a low price or often even for free. There are many donation-based counseling centers around the world who can calculate a low per-session fee based on your income and pair you with the therapist they feel will be the best fit for you. Many of these centers also offer weekly support groups and drop-in sessions, so research your local counseling center for more information. In America, you can also dial 211 from any phone for a full directory of your local mental health and counseling services, as well as giving Mental Health America a call at 1-800-273-TALK. There is also an incredible global platform called IAMAlive, which is an online crisis network where all of its volunteers are professionally supervised, trained to help you in almost any situation and can help you find additional in-person resources as well. Volunteers come from and operate around the globe, and their online chat is just one click away, and there whenever you need it.

Alternatively, if you have health insurance, give your provider a call to find out whether mental health treatment is covered within your plan. If you live in a country that offers free healthcare, speak to your doctor about the mental healthcare options which may be available to you.

There is a great online counseling platform called 7Cups, which provides affordable online therapy from $33 a week at www.7Cups.com.

2. Lack of time

If you struggle to make it to a weekly or even monthly session, there are amazing online counseling services where you can speak to a trained therapist at your convenience, whenever and wherever suits you, simply by calling on your phone or from your laptop.

Some great websites are:

www.betterhelp.com

Better Help’s mission is to make counseling more affordable and accessible by providing licensed, trained and experienced therapists on the world’s largest e-counseling platform.

www.blahtherapy.com

Blah Therapy gives you the option to chat to people all around the world who may be going through something similar. Think of it as an anonymous, global support group at your fingertips.

www.talkspace.com

Talkspace matches you with a therapist who you can speak to anytime, anywhere using their Smartphone app or from your web browser.

www.regain.com

Regain is an online relationship counseling platform which provides convenient, discreet and affordable access to a licensed therapist.

3. Shame or fear

Although counseling is now much more common within our society, so many people often feel a sense of shame or embarrassment around the subject. If you can relate to this, know that all sessions are completely confidential unless the therapist feels you are in danger of hurting yourself or others. Counseling is a safe space for you and therefore only you need to know that you’re going. However, remind yourself that it is a courageous thing to start and you should feel a sense of pride for being brave enough to do it. You WILL reap the benefits.

If you need the reminder that it’s okay to get help, ReachOut (www.reachout.life) is a free social network that you can access on your smartphone, which provides a support network full of people who are struggling with similar issues. ReachOut offers communal options to talk to others about your problems or thoughts, as well as more urgent options to talk to someone. This is a great way to heal through community and realize you are not alone.

You may not find the right therapist right away, but definitely stick with it and know it’s okay to find someone else. I don’t have therapy all the time but I know that when I feel depression coming on, I ensure I get the help I need. If you or a loved one needs immediate professional help, there are countless helplines where you can speak to a professional at any time. This is a link to a great article with information on helplines you can call wherever you are in the world, so please know that support is always available and you are absolutely not alone.

Mental Health Hotlines Worldwide

Here are the numbers for some helplines in the US:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line

Text CONNECT to 741741

The Trevor Project

Call: 1-866-488-7386

Text: 1-202-304-1200

Social Media: TrevorSpace

National Alliance on Mental Illness Helpline

1-800-950-6264

You are not alone. You are loved. There is help and support out there for you when you need it.

Love,

Ione

Help Children With Usher Syndrome Keep Their Sight And Hearing

Medicine has infinitely improved countless lives. We can find cures, and we can find comfort. But we can’t make these miracles without coming together. Here is a message from Stacey Ashlund about how you can help.

“My son was born with Usher Syndrome, meaning he was born deaf and is going blind. Right now there is no cure–but researchers are close to finding one–so all the families that share this are working together to fundraise for medical research to find the cure. It is possible! We’re holding our big fundraiser in cities across the US — called Sight.Sound.Cycle — and people can join spin classes and/or donate, and spread the word here. I hope you can help us get the word out!”

Support this cause or share this link to help Stacey’s son and others with Usher Syndrome.

This was an Uplifting Causes submission. Thank you Stacey for submitting this cause to the Uplifting Content Community and doing your part in helping make the world a better place.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Cause featured here.

Boost Your Mental Fitness With Resilience Agenda

Mental health issues are often invisible. People can get really good at hiding anxiety or depression, and the source of the distress is difficult to reach. To complicate matters, built into our society is a tendency to view mental challenges as taboo or a sign of weakness. However our mind’s trials are just as real and can be just as debilitating as any physical ailment.

Even if you do not suffer from a diagnosable disorder, you have much to gain from the honing of your mental powers and creating a deeply fulfilling, blissful life.

Hadleigh Fischer has shared with us some innovative approaches to promote mental strength. He has founded Resilience Agenda to disseminate ways of maintaining our minds as our best allies. Here are some of his thoughts on amplifying our mental greatness:

“I want to change the meaning of mental health. I want to make mental health something practical, pro-active, approachable. And now it’s not. It’s not relevant to enough people. I want people to think about mental fitness like their physical fitness, and to take steps to get more out of life. So I decided to start my own social enterprise, full of inspiring and practical ways to make this change.

Resilience Agenda does this by ‘nudging’ people into default actions that improve their daily environments and increase their life satisfaction, wellbeing and happiness.

We plan to build everyday products that do the exact opposite of what our smartphones do – develop focus, gratitude, resilience, mindfulness and perspective.

The 2018 Mental Fitness Diary is a premium designed 192 page appointment book, organizer, scheduler and yearly planner that helps us keep mental fitness front of mind every day of the year.  

Its packed full of inspirational quotes, strategies and tips to consider, and a complete month-by-month guide to building mental fitness and staying sharp so you can tackle each day head on and get more out life.  

We have also launched a Kickstarter campaign!  

If you’d like to show an interest, it’s easy. Just click here, take a few minutes to read about our story and our mission, and then if you’d like to help, you can share what you’ve read with those in your circle of influence.

Check out these links and share them with others so we can all get our minds in shape!

Website

Facebook

This was a My Uplifting Content Submission. Thank you Hadleigh for submitting your work to the Uplifting Content Community.

Learn more about how to have your Uplifting Content featured here.

Why Do We Travel?

Going to new, far off places can be exciting, scary, enlightening–so many things. Commonly, we think about traveling as a way to “get away,” relax, and have fun. Or to experience a new culture, see impressive works of art and architecture, try new food, meet new people.

But have you ever thought about the nuances of why we travel and what it does for us on a mental level? Jason Silva has some intriguing insight you may have never considered, about the psychological, metaphysical aspects of being in a brand new unfamiliar place. Hear his thoughts on what traveling does for us on a deeper level.

Share this video with anyone you know who loves traveling or even wants to but might need a little push.

WHY DO WE TRAVEL?Thanks Jason Silva

Posted by Uplifting Content – Because The World Needs More Of It on Friday, June 30, 2017