One Day at a Time

Even with our current technological conveniences, it sometimes feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done. After a week of work and tending to your family, you might feel like you’ve gotten nothing done: short-term goals like keeping an organized house or indulging in hobbies might seem impossible. And long-term goals, like losing weight or working toward a better career, aren’t even on your radar.

There’s a reason that “one day at a time” is a common mantra: attempting to deal with all of your obstacles at once is overwhelming. But committing to addressing one or two challenges at a time—breaking your day down into digestible bites, addressing your most immediate goals first—you can make real, measurable progress on both your short-term and long-term goals.

Immediate goals

Taking care of yourself can seem like a tough task, but it’s one of the most important things you can do. A healthy diet, a regular exercise regimen, and a steady sleep schedule should be your top priorities every day. You might think you don’t have enough time to get a workout in or make yourself a good meal every night. But the average person watch about 34 hours of television a week—plenty of time that could be used cooking or exercising. Making your body and brain as healthy as they can be will have a positive effect on the rest of your life—so put it at the top of your list.

Mid-term goals

Saving money is harder these days—a less-than-ideal working wage, student loans, or other financial obligations can put a strain on your savings account. But there are things you do every day to save small amounts of money—those small amounts can add up to big money each month. Using online services like Mint.com can take the place of a spending journal, and can help you plan for future purchases both large and small.

Long-term goals

The current job market has forced millions of workers postpone plans to purchase a home, to start a family, or to pursue other goals. Depending on your current job, you might be ready for a move up or a career change. Getting an education is still the best way to improve your chances to land a great job, and there are more options now than ever:  Distance learning and online degree programs are becoming more popular because they allow students to take classes that fit their schedules, and work at their own pace. Students can pursue a wide range of interests: if you’re in the medical field, an associate degree in nursing could help you jump start your career. Considering other career paths can be a good way to get yourself motivated and thinking about your future.  You may also consider locating to a college town like Austin or Boston.

When setting your goals, it’s important to consider both your immediate needs as well as the big picture. Tackling everything at once can be exhausting, so think about your daily tasks and your larger. goals separately—and do what you can to make sure you’re not taking on too much at one time. It might seem like you’re making less progress, but it will add up in the long run.

Thomas Stone is a content-author and life-long learner. He is writing on behalf of AIU, an online university offering an associate degree in nursing for students interested in the learning about the field of health care.

Five Steps on the Path to Recovery

When working to recover from a debilitating illness or any great medical challenge, such as a stroke or aneurysm, no one can predict the future. What will a given person’s recovery look like? What capacities will the survivor regain? Will life ever go back to “normal” again? The journey for each person is unique, and recovery is not simple or straightforward.

So I don’t want to oversimplify the path to recovery from a major stroke, an aneurysm, or any other such challenge. That being said, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the wisdom with others that I learned on my own journey to healing and well-being after suffering a ruptured brain aneurysm and hemorrhagic stroke at age 61. Why? Because I was told by doctors that I would never walk again, much less live the full life I live today—but I managed to prove them wrong.

Here is some insight into how I made a recovery back to normal that physicians still marvel at today. My story is not a common one, and every outcome is different. But I offer this inside look at my own path to recovery to those battling a similarly debilitating condition in the hope that they will be able to follow it to some positive effect.

1. Believe, believe, believe in yourself—no matter what. After my aneurysm and stroke, the well-meaning doctors told me that I would never walk again, not to hurt me, but to set appropriate expectations. But to myself, I thought, “Bull. I will walk again” and I used this determination to help me deal with all of the setbacks and false starts I had as I commenced my journey to walk again and thereafter to make what is basically an almost full and complete recovery.

2. Take one day, one step, one movement at a time. After the aneurysm and stroke, I couldn’t move one whole side of my body and only had an extremely limited use of one hand and arm on the other side. So I started small on my mission toward walking. First, I moved my quasi-usable hand to reach out to a nightstand. Next I figured out how, though with incredible difficulty, to swing my legs over the side of the bed. I fell the first several times I tried to stand up or take a step, but every day I would try again, and little by little progress was made. Eventually, I had walked from my bed across the room. Sometime thereafter, I managed to make it down the stairs of my house.

3. Maintain a positive attitude in spite of it all, and avoid negative people. Because I had overcome so many challenges in my life, when I came out of a week-long coma that resulted from my aneurysm and stroke, I had the positive belief that I could overcome challenges again including this one, the greatest challenge of my life. I avoided negative people whenever possible (admittedly not always easy given my compromised condition), and I used negative attitudes that I did encounter to inspire me in some fashion. When my angelic doctors said things like, “You’ll never walk again”, I told myself that I had to work harder to prove them wrong. “I’m going to make it,” I thought. “I don’t know how, but I’m going to.”

4.  Choose self-worth over self-pity. As Confucius said, “To be wronged is nothing unless you remember it.” Having a stroke and aneurysm was undoubtedly the greatest challenge of my life, but I did not let myself wallow in self-pity. If it would have helped, perhaps I would have. But I knew it wouldn’t. So I focused all of my energy on the idea that I would get better, somehow, and that I would, if blessed to recover in some fashion, go forth to serve others.

5. Create a vision for the future. There’s not a lot you can do after you’ve lost your ability to use your muscles, but to think, contemplate, and reflect on one’s life and mysteries of the universe and the hereafter. I thought, “If I am blessed enough to recover to any degree, I will do all I can to become a better person and to serve others.” It’s not that I’d been a bad person – quite the contrary in my opinion — but we all make mistakes in life and I’d certainly made my share. Yes, we all stumble along the pathway of life and I was no different. I used this vision for the future to give me the motivation to try to get out of bed, to heal myself (with the help of others) and to keep on living.

I cannot take full credit for my recovery—for that I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the truly amazing physicians who operated on me after the ruptured brain aneurysm; to my physical therapists; and to the Divine Spirit itself, who seems to not be finished with me yet. Nonetheless, I credit the previous five approaches with helping me on my journey toward healing and I hope they can be of use to others facing similar or equally daunting health challenges.


Find The Right Drug Treatment For You

People who are suffering from a drug addiction don’t all arrive there in the same way. The reasons behind their addiction are varied, as is the length of the addiction and how it’s affecting their lives. So it only makes sense that drug treatment isn’t a one size fits all deal. What works for one addict may not work for another. The key to successful drug treatment is finding the right fit for you.

As long as you choose the right Maryland treatment centers or any other facility within the United States for your needs, you will be fine.

Here are three key things that you will need in order to get healthy again.

The right environment

There are numerous drug treatment centers that you can choose to go to. If you are absolutely not comfortable with the drug treatment center, then odds are you are going to fight your treatment every step of the way. While it is normal that there is some level of discomfort, if you think that it is going to be impossible for you to stay there, then you will want to look into other treatment centers. But don’t just walk out at the first sign of discomfort: look around, ask questions. Get a feel for the place.

The right doctor

As with the actual center, the first time you meet with your doctors and therapists, there will be a certain level of discomfort and awkwardness. But as you work with them, this should dissipate. But if you find that there is a major personality conflict with a doctor or therapist, then your treatment may not work. Ask up front if it will be possible to switch doctors or counselors if any issues arise.

The right treatment

There is not just one method of treatment when it comes to drug addiction. There are more than a handful of treatment methods that may or may not work for you. They key here is to be open to all forms of treatment so that you can find the one that will work for you. At first it might be a trial and error method, but you will find one that is a great fit.

Popular New Year’s Resolutions

Every year newspapers, magazines, and websites post lists of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions along with suggestions on how to make a resolutions list and keep it. It’s as predictable as the appearance of holiday decorations and airings of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Looking back at resolutions made at the start of 2011, researcher Alexander Cherney found that losing weight was the top goal of surveyed Americans, with over 40% listing it as their top resolution. Unfortunately, it’s also at the top of the list of unachieved resolutions.  Along with losing weight, getting fit or exercising more is also a popular resolution, as is eating healthier.

The important thing in choosing a resolution is to pick goals that are achievable over the long-term. It also depends on your ability to develop new habits and the discipline to keep them throughout the year. For example, trying to save money may be difficult when it comes time to find a new apartment. Having the will power to keep your year-long budget in mind will keep you from splurging on the condo you can’t afford in favor of the smaller unit that will help you meet your goals.

Other popular resolutions, according to government statistics:

  • Get a Better Job
  • Drink Less
  • Quit Smoking
  • Manage Debt
  • Volunteer
  • Take a Vacation
  • Spend More Time with Family/Friends
  • Recyle

photo by Between a Rock, courtesy Creative Commons License

December 30, 2011Permalink 1 Comment

The Laws of Attraction: Love Who You Are and Other People Will Love You

Once upon a time, I was a single, carefree slob whose biggest worry in life was finding a job and paying my rent. That all changed once I used the Laws of Attraction to kickstart my career as a freelance writer. This experience taught me the value of envisioning what I wanted and actively going after it. Not only did this teach me the value of behaving proactively, but of valuing myself and my achievements.

As anyone who has studied and implemented the Laws of Attraction will tell you, once you get started working toward a better you, it is an addictive process that leads you down the path of improvement, one milestone at a time. After I succeeded in starting my own business, I focused on my personal life. I wanted to meet someone and fall in love, but I knew that no self-respecting woman would be interested in me as I was then.

I envisioned the woman I hoped to meet: intelligent, ladylike, funny, confident – these were all necessary attributes in any woman that I was interested in. Rather than going out to bars and seeking out women, or sitting at my desk and wishing I was the kind of man who could attract such a woman, I turned my attention inward, scrupulously taking inventory of every aspect of my personality, character, appearance, and so forth. I was honest and merciless in this process, and in the end, had a fairly lengthy laundry list of my strengths and weaknesses.

Then, I started to “fix” things, one at a time. Some were easy: I joined a gym and worked out with a trainer. This not only improved my physical appearance, but gave me energy to spare. Other things were more intangible, and thus harder to implement, such as my lack of confidence and my overall pessimistic attitude. I simply started pretending that these were natural characteristics, and I eventually started to feel more confident and optimistic without pretending.

Six months after this process began, I met her. Whereas before, I would have awkwardly approached women and either been shot down in flames or taken someone out only to realize too late that they were clingy, psycho, or both, Beth was everything I ever wanted in a woman. She met all of my requirements and more, and because of all of the work that I had put into making myself into the man I knew I needed to be, I was everything she had ever wanted, as well.

Before I knew it, I was shopping for engagement rings on the Internet. I wanted a ring that would symbolize the characteristics I most value in Beth. She is steadfast and genuine, and one of the strongest women I know, so a diamond was essential. However, she is unlike any woman I know, so I didn’t want a ring that another woman would be wearing. I finally settled on buying loose diamonds and creating my own setting, basing my design off of the ring my father gave my mother, which had been passed down to him from my grandmother.

When the day came for me to propose, I wasn’t nervous. All of the confidence I had worked to build and nurture flooded me, and I knew I was ready. I arranged an intimate dinner at my apartment, and as I waited for her to arrive, I pulled the ring out of my pocket and stared at it. It shone in the palm of my hand, sparkling like I imagined Beth’s eyes would when I put it on her finger. She arrived, and although I had intended to wait until dessert, I only lasted five minutes before I dropped to one knee and pulled the ring out of my pocket.

I had a speech prepared, but all of that went to the wayside and I spoke from the heart. I promised to be the best husband I could be and to love her for the rest of my life, if she would only agree to be my wife. Of course, she agreed. As I slipped the ring onto her finger, I reflected back on the last eighteen months, starting from the day when I made the conscious decision to work toward this goal. Even though the process was a long and painstaking one, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

We are now planning our life together. I told her the story of my transformation and explained the Laws of Attraction to her, and she understands the importance this process has in my life. She has begun to implement it into her life, and the results are nothing short of spectacular. One day, we will tell our children how we met, and they will understand the true meaning of perseverance and dedication, both to oneself and to others, and how the Laws of Attraction can bring these characteristics to the forefront of your life.

Making the Laws of Attraction Work for You

Throughout college, I bartended and worked odd jobs to accommodate my class schedule. Upon graduation, I found that I could not find a job in my chosen profession, and was forced to continue working what was beginning to feel more and more like a meaningless job. Apparently, there’s not a need for writers when unemployment is in the double digits and the economy is unstable.

Despite my personal disappointment, I continued to plug away at my job. Thankfully, the hours were conducive for job hunting, and I spent long hours on the Internet looking for writing positions. I applied at newspapers, online writing websites, and various companies that were hiring ghost writers, only to be turned down time and again. I even resorted to using a resume service to critique my CV, despite the fact that I pride myself in my abilities of articulation and presentation. Insecurity can breed paranoia, which can breed nervousness, which can breed incompetence. That’s when ‘outside help’ comes in handy!

It was around this time, during my many hours spent online, that I stumbled across the concept of “Laws of Attraction.” By coincidence, my roommate had been talking about it, so I grilled him about it. It seemed too simple to be possible. Think something into existence? I have always been a skeptic, and this was no different.

All of this changed last November. After my shift, my spineless manager pulled me into the office and informed me that I was being fired. I was offered no explanation, other than that I was no longer a good fit for the company, and was escorted out to avoid trouble. When I finally made it home, I sat at the computer, as was my habit, and stared blankly at the screen.

It was at that moment that I remembered the conversations that I’d had with my roommate. I was feeling really desperate, so I searched the Internet for information about how to implement the laws of attraction. When I didn’t find enough information to satisfy my curiosity, I awoke my roommate and asked him question after question.

Essentially, what I learned was that it was possible to think about something so much and in such a way as to make it happen. My roommate attributed this to mystical explanations, but I think it has more to do with the power of the human mind, and untapped potential. I decided to put the knowledge I had gained in my overnight session into practice the next day.

I decided I wanted to put my education to use. I had no desire to punch a time clock everyday and work in an office setting. Instead, I envisioned working from home, writing about things that I was passionate about, and creating my own schedule and work environment. Since I am a writer, I wrote out the exact scenario that I wanted, and read it over and over, committing every detail to memory. I posted this narrative on the bulletin board over my desk and read it every day.

Thankfully, due to the way I was fired, I was eligible for unemployment; this enabled me to not stress about money as I gathered my resources and started working to make my dream a reality. Since my goal was to write, I started doing just that. Every time I ran out of things to write about, I would look up at my bulletin board, re-read what I had written, and return to my writing. Within a week, I began submitting my work to various blogs and writing outlets on the Internet.

I decided I had to take a realistic approach to my goal, and offered to post my work for free on most of the sites I contacted at first. Because I was able to humble myself in this way, I soon found many blogs that were willing to accept my writing, and my portfolio started to grow. I continued to visualize myself as an established, professional writer, and was eventually able to start submitting my work to sites that paid.

It has been seven months since I lost my job, and I am freelancing steadily enough that I am now able to support myself without the aid of unemployment. I am pleased to report that I have a positive balance in my checking account and a more or less constant demand for my work. I still read my statement every day, and what I have noticed is that, thanks to the laws of attraction, I have pretty much fulfilled my dream to the letter.

Photos courtesy of Google Images

How to Relax Your Mind

Learning how to relax your mind can be quite difficult without a solid strategic plan. Your mind is like a spoiled child. It keeps on grasping to comfortable experience and running away from uncomfortable experience. Even when you frequently try to take a break and relax your mind, thoughts run all day long.

Here, you’ll learn how to relax your mind using mindfulness based methods that you are personally compatible with. This way, you will actually enjoy the experience.

The first thing you need to do to relax your mind is to choose an object of focus to concentrate on. Deep concentration on one object has been proven to relax your mind and your body. You may be thinking that you’ve tried concentration in a meditation class and it did not help you relax your mind. Maybe you found that you were too busy to use such mind relaxing methods. That’s what this article is for.

Concentration can be likened to falling in love. You can’t fall in love with just anyone, but you can fall in love with someone whom you are compatible with. Think about what you want to fall in love with. This can be a visualized image of the healing light of Jesus or the repetition of a loving devotional phrase.

You can visualize a serene childhood nature spot you visited as a kid or simply concentrate on the feeling of your own breath as it passes through the nostrils. If your object is simple and invites a state of deep, loving absorption, then you probably found your chosen object. The right object will invite you to relax your mind on a very deep level.

Choose a specific time of day that is specifically devoted to relaxing your mind. During this time, sit in a comfortable position with your vertebrae stacked one on top of the other. Start stacking from the bottom and work your way all the way up to the top of your head. Tuck in your chin a little bit to complete the process. Close your eyes either fully or partially to turn your attention “inward”.

Concentrate on your object of focus. If it’s a phrase, repeat it over and over again either silently or aloud. If your object is visual, then hold your attention on it. Your mind will try to trick you out of this. When your attention wanders, bring your attention back to your object. Don’t try to measure how you’re doing. Each time you bring your attention back, you are training your mind to relax.

If you really want to learn how to relax your mind, add mindfulness to your concentration practice. When your mind strays from the object of focus, simply watch the chatter. Take note of it as a detached observer and lightly “tap” your thoughts with the word “thinking”.

If repressed anger comes up, take note and “tap” it with the word “anger”. Pretend you are the sky, and these thoughts are clouds passing through you. Take note, then bring your attention back to your object of focus.

As you learn how to relax your mind, you will discover that thoughts are not distractions from the present moment. They are processes that are occurring in the present moment. Meditation trains you to relax your mind and embrace moment to moment experience as it arises. Taking note of your thoughts as a detached observer teaches you that you are an infinitely spacious being. Thoughts are occurring, but they’re not you.

You can also think of yourself as the ocean. The ocean is infinitely spacious, still, vast and calm. Only the waves are disturbed by storms and jumping fish. Your thoughts, body sensations and emotions are just waves. When you are calmly present with the waves as they rise and fall, you will realize that true happiness and relaxation is behind all this rising and falling. This will become more apparent as you learn how to relax your mind.

Even with the above instructions, you may still have difficulty relaxing your mind. Some experts will tell you to “practice practice practice” and let go of expectations of immediate results.

This is good advice. You will get some short term relaxation. However, you need to practice consistently to build a profound momentum of peace and relax your mind on a deep level. Each session builds on the next. True relaxation will come from this momentum and long term training process. This is true even if you devote a mere 10 minutes each day to relaxing your mind.

Stay consistent, and the art of learning how to relax your mind will become easier over time.

There are some tricks, however, that will help you to relax your mind in the short term. One trick is to develop a warm up strategy. Every meditation technique has some type of warm up strategy to relax the mind in preparation for a meditation session. Some are as simple as taking a few deep breaths.

Hatha Yoga has a more sophisticated regimen of stretching, poses and breathing exercises, after which it is a whole lot easier to relax your mind. Qigong uses a lot of exercises for loosening joints and generating feeling in the body.

Some contemplative Christians use scripture to prepare themselves for meditation, and other disciplines use offerings of gratitude for this same purpose. Find those physical and mental activities that help you to relax your mind. Begin this routine with stretching exercises because stretching is a universally helpful way for you to become anchored in the present moment and relax your mind.

Here’s another trick. Integrate your warm up activities into your daily life. You probably have a lot of down times in your day. Some, like elevator rides, are 30 seconds long. Others are longer. Use all of these down times for activities that help you relax your mind. Try some of the above warm up activities for this. Prayer will also help you relax your mind as will the simple act of imagining your family members and coworkers experiencing happiness and peace.

Whatever activities you choose to help you relax your mind, make sure you spend at least 30 seconds during each hour to do this. Sometimes, you’ll find that you can immediately relax your mind with these activities. Other times, you will find that they seem to have the opposite effect.

Regardless, all these activities will help you relax your mind in the long term. Most of the magic will accumulate behind the scenes until it becomes much easier to relax your mind deeply in any given moment. The art of learning how to relax your mind is cumulative as long as you maintain a good momentum. Try it for a month or two, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Tom Von Deck is an international corporate meditation trainer, speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course and it’s companion, The Deeper Meditation Audio Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized process for busy people and people from all religious backgrounds and lifestyles. Tom’s website is www.DeeperMeditation.net.