5 Ways to Bounce Back From Your Bad Day

No matter how positive of a person you are, there will be days that you wish you could undo.  Whether you mess up on a project at work, end up in a disagreement with someone, or find out your air conditioner went out and will cost a small fortune to fix, some days just feel like bad days.  When it happens, it can be easy to wallow in self-pity or get stuck venting and complaining to anyone who’ll listen. But none of that will turn things around. There are, however, a few behaviors that can help you bounce back every time.

 

  1. Take charge of your thoughts.

It is our thoughts that lead to our feelings, not the other way around. So if you are intentional about noticing what you’re saying to yourself about your circumstances, you can consciously decide whether the thoughts you have are ones you want to keep or ones that need to be replaced. “Things will never change” isn’t the kind of thought that’ll help you bounce back. “What can I do to make sure tomorrow is less stressful?” is an empowering thought – a question that gets you thinking about what is within your control to change.

 

  1. Talk to your funny friend.

Negative emotion is more powerful than positive emotion. In fact, psychologists have discovered that it takes about three positives to undo the effects of negative encounters in our lives. So it’s no wonder it can feel hard to just “snap out of” a bad mood. You have to make intentional choices and activate happiness triggers such as play, anticipation and gratitude to take you to your happy place. This is not the time to hang out with negative people. Call your friend who always makes you laugh. Happiness is contagious.

 

  1. Take a nap.

Sleep is like pressing the reset button. Bad days can zap your energy big time. So listen to your body and give yourself some much-needed rest.  Medical experts advise that the ideal amount of time for a nap is either 25 minutes or 90 minutes. So curl up in a cozy spot with your favorite blanket, set your alarm and take a nap.

 

  1. Go for a brisk walk.

Did you know that just 20 minutes of cardio will boost your mood for up to 24 hours? Get out of your regular environment and get your blood pumping. Whether a walk outdoors or a quick jog on the treadmill, don’t wait to “feel” like moving to get moving. Just do it. You’ll notice a change in how your feel almost immediately.

 

  1. Remember the vision.

The danger of a bad day is that when bombarded with negative events, it can be tempting to “ruminate” on them. Ruminating is when we mull over the same negative thoughts over and over again. Interrupt your ruminating by asking a simple question, “So…where will you go from here?” Look up from your obstacle long enough to see the vision of what’s next.  Today is just one day. Shake it off. Imagine how you want to feel instead. Then take a step that will lead you closer to that feeling.  Joy is a choice, and on some days it’s a harder choice than others. But the choice is still yours.

 

My challenge to you:

Be intentional about bouncing back from bad days. Don’t let the negative emotion drag on any longer than necessary.
Journaling assignment:

What is your vision of how you want to feel and act in the face of a bad day? What will you have to change in order to get there? Which of the five bounce-back behaviors will you practice today?

3 Things Successful Women do Differently

Have you ever seen two women, similar in background and talent, but one excels while the other seems to do just alright? Or maybe you have been one of those women and wondered what the difference was between average results and spectacular ones. On the surface, it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but you only need to dig a little deeper – and listen for the differences in how they speak and think – you’ll find the clues that make all the difference. I am intrigued by the nuances in what successful women do differently. And I’ve spent quite a few years combing through research and interviewing women. There are many differences, but here are the big three:

 

  1. They explain their successes and failures in a distinct and empowering way.

They attribute their successes to personal traits and see them as repeatable. They attribute failure to changeable factors and see them as isolated incidents. This allows them to turn today’s failures into lessons that create future successes while average women will often see failure as a personal flaw. Psychologists call it “explanatory style” and you can pick up on it just by listening to how someone explains a success or a failure. An optimistic explanatory style can predict success and tends to explain successes by attributing to their own efforts, believing it will spill over into similar successes in other areas and that success will keep flowing. A pessimistic explanatory style tends to explain successes in the opposite way – attributing it to luck and outside circumstances and seeing it as an isolated incident that may be hard to pull off again.  Interestingly, those same pessimists explain failure the way optimistic women explain success – believing it is entirely a result of their own personal (failing) traits, that it will spill over into other areas and that it will keep happening.

 

  1. They don’t underestimate themselves.

Research shows women are far more likely to underestimate themselves and their worth. As a result, we are less likely to believe we are ready for opportunities that we are actually qualified for, more likely to take the first salary offered without negotiating for more, and less likely to speak up with our great ideas and opinions. The most successful women recognize that they have far more potential than even they know. So they are willing to risk failure and imperfection in order to go for it. Success is more likely when you adopt what researchers call a “growth mindset,” in which your current success is just a starting point. A “fixed mindset” believes that things such as your talent and intelligence are set. A growth mindset believes that your current talent and intelligence can expand – with effort and intentional learning. You don’t have to be afraid of that opportunity because you don’t have the skills right now. You can learn and grow into potential the opportunity offers.

 

  1. They consider happiness a success strategy.

The most successful women do not fall into the trap of pursuing success because they believe it will make them happy. Instead, they recognize that it is actually happiness that causes success. They pursue what brings them joy, knowing the rewards will follow.  Research actually shows that happier people are more likely to get promotions and raises, take action towards their goals, have stronger relationships, fight illnesses better and even live longer. Start with happiness and success will follow.

 

My challenge to you this week:

Stop underestimating yourself. You are capable of far more than you know.

Journaling assignment:

What would it look like to focus on happiness more than “success” right now? In what way(s) are you underestimating yourself? In your most recent success or failure, did you explain it in a way that empowered you – or did you feel discourage? What change could you make that would empower you to learn and grow from the experience?

All of this and more can be found in my book Successful Women Think Differently .

Facebook or Fakebook?

Amanda logged onto Facebook one evening after getting home from work and scrolled through the news feed. Her fellow high school track buddy Ericka posted an adorable video of her two-year old daughter playing in the backyard. A colleague from her first job out of college posted a pic of her and her husband hiking with the caption, “My hubby is amazing. How lucky am I to be his wife for 15 years. Love you, sweetie!” They were celebrating their 15th wedding anniversary at a cabin in the mountains. Her ex-roommate’s sister Mia had just landed a promotion and posted her excitement “Promotion today! And a raise! I feel so blessed!” her post read. Judy’s co-worker Barbara from accounting, a sweet woman in her sixties had a new profile pic with her son at his graduation from medical school. He looked so happy in his cap and gown. It was all good news. Everybody’s life looked spectacular and exciting. But that night, Amanda didn’t cheer. She sat in front of her computer and cried.

“What’s wrong with my life?” she thought. As she sat in front of the computer, wanting to post something interesting, she wondered what would happen if she posted the truth: “I suspect my husband is cheating on me with a co-worker, my son just told me college isn’t for him and he’s dropping out, and my boss gave me an unfair review that’s going to sabotage any hope that I’ll get promoted in the next year!” She wondered how many people will click “like” on that post?

That night, Amanda shut down her account. She realized the constant peering into the online lives of people she never talks to, and some whom she hasn’t seen since graduating high school or college, was not a diversion from her problems. Instead, it made her feel worse about her problems by suggesting that everyone else didn’t have any.

One of the most significant cultural shifts of the last decade is the extent and pace with which we can communicate and connect with an ever-increasing network of people – many of whom we never come in real life contact. In the 1950s and 60s, television gave us a 3-D visual point of comparison of what life should look like based on the sitcoms and dramas that were presented. But today, real life and reality collide every day, not just on television, but on your computer, your tablet, your phone. You keep tabs on what everyone is doing – or supposedly doing – 24/7. Research has shown repeatedly that comparing yourself to those you think are doing better than you in some way, decreases your happiness. If your comparisons are balanced with comparisons to those who are not doing as well as you, the perspective keeps your happiness in check. But we are often more likely to notice who has what we want than to pay attention to those who haven’t yet attained what we already have.-

The solution? Limit your exposure to constant upward social comparisons. And secondly, practice gratitude as a means of remaining aware of the blessings in your own life rather than obsessing over everyone else’s. Gratitude can keep you grounded when you feel tempted to make upward social comparisons. Have you ever felt worse after logging into your social media account? How so? Why? What steps can you take right now to be more grateful and resist social comparison? Leave your comments below; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Ways to Boost Your Mood!

Sometimes, you just need a pick me up. Whether you had a bad day at work, your kids are acting up or something more serious, having the skills to boost your mood can make the frustrations of life a whole lot more bearable. So tuck this list away in your wallet or tack it to your refrigerator or computer screen. You never know when you need a mood-booster. Here are five research-based ways to boost your mood in under five minutes:

  1. Count your blessings.

Write down three things you’re grateful for.  Gratitude is good for you. It shifts your perspective – forces you to think about the good rather than dwelling on the bad. And writing your blessings before bedtime can even help you sleep more deeply.

  1. Curl up the corners of your mouth.

Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Now

smile.   Studies show that even if you don’t feel happy, making yourself smile releases feel-good chemicals in the brain! So bite down on a pencil if you need to – but flash those pearly whites, turn up the corners of your mouth, and you’ll feel better.

  1. Dance!

OK, my preference is to dance. Turn on your favorite song, but if you prefer jumping jacks or a run around the block or whatever, do your thing. The point is, get moving! Exercise is a mood booster.

 

  1. Sing – badly!

Did you know singing is good for you? But the key is to not care how good you sound. Just belt out that tune – off key, if necessary – purely for the joy of it.

 

  1. Bless somebody.

There’s no better way to feel good fast than to do something to make someone else smile. Altruism takes the focus off of ourselves and helps us connect to the people around us, reminding us that what we do matters. Self-absorption is a recipe for depression. Who could you help right now?

 

My challenge:

Boost your mood in the next five minutes. Then put this list somewhere to remind you of the little things that can make a big difference in how you feel.

Journaling assignment:

What are your favorite mood boosters? What feelings do they provoke in you? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

6 Signs That You Need a Break!

Do you need a break? Many of us do, but the real question is, “Will you take time for one?” Those of us alive today are living at a faster pace than any human beings who’ve ever walked the planet. Advertisers tell us our tech gadgets will save us time, but as quickly as we “save” time, we raise expectations about how much we can accomplish with the time we have left. It’s like being on a treadmill and slowly but consistently increasing the speed. Sure, you’re running faster. You’re getting it done. But at some point, you just want to get off the darn treadmill. Here are a few signs it’s time to take a break.

 

1.You are busy, but not productive.

You know what I’m talking about. You’re doing stuff, just not the most important stuff. You’re moving, but not progressing. If that’s you, take a break. Refocus. Restart.

 

2.You are irritable, even when nothing particularly stressful is happening.

If your attitude at work is always sour no matter what, there’s something simmering beneath the surface. Anger – including the quiet, passive-aggressive type – is usually a sign that a boundary has been crossed. Resentment emerges when we don’t speak up, ask for help or make a change.

 

3.You just accomplished a big goal.

Research shows that our energy is depleted after the accomplishment of a big goal. We are more effective at future goals when we give our minds and bodies a chance to recover so that our energy is replenished for the next big task at hand. Just finished a major project? Celebrate. Relax. Rejuvenate. Then move on to the next big thing.

 

4.Your body hurts.

Your body will give you warning signs. Don’t ignore them. Chronic back or neck pain, headaches and fatigue are just a few of the ways your body is trying to talk to you. Listen. If you don’t, there could be consequences soon.

 

5.You’re dreaming about work.

If you are dreaming about projects, deadlines and that pesky co-worker, it’s a definite sign that some down time is overdue.

 

6.You haven’t had a break in a while.

Even if you don’t have any of the five signs that came before this one, you still need regular breaks. If you haven’t taken one recently, get busy! Or rather, do the opposite. Ten minutes every couple of hours a day of down time every week, and a vacation or personal days for fun time every few months will make you far more productive than working nonstop. And you’ll be happier, too.

 

My challenge to you this week:

Give yourself a break. Schedule it right now.
Journaling assignment:

What keeps you from slowing down? What is within your control to change? Leave your comments below and let me know what will you do to remind yourself to take a regular break!

The Simplest Form of Happiness

Earlier this week, I was reminiscing about an evening several years ago when my neighbor called to ask if she could borrow two eggs. She was in the middle of cooking something and realized she was out. She apologized a couple of times for needing to ask, but there was a spark in my heart when she did.  “This feels so 1950s,” I thought.  “Like something June Cleaver might do on Leave It to Beaver.” What I was really saying is that I felt connected.  It dawned on me in that moment that my neighbor was also my friend. She knows my number. And she calls! Simple as it sounds, that made me happy. I went to the fridge, delighted that I had extra eggs, grabbed two of them and headed to the front door. Cheryl was already walking up to the front porch – she had tiptoed across the street barefoot.

In my grandmother’s generation, this wouldn’t be worth talking about. But in today’s world, it seems many of us don’t speak to our neighbors, let alone know their names and numbers. We are more disconnected than ever, more disinterested in the lives of others – even those who live right next to us. This week, I want to challenge you to take one action that leaves you feeling more connected to the community you live in. Whether you take dinner to the neighbors who just had a baby, stop for a 5-minute conversation with someone on your street, or invite a friend over to watch your favorite TV show together, do something to reach out.

Connection is a happiness trigger. It doesn’t take much to connect, but it probably won’t happen if you’re not intentional.  Too many of us are missing out on the face to face conversations and simple little moments that allow us to feel connected to the people around us.  Does that describe you? If so, try some simple ways to connect:  Make eye contact. Stop multitasking and give your undivided attention.  Savor moments of simple conversation.  Reach out, make a phone call, drop by for a visit.  Make “connection” just as important on your to-do list as anything else. In fact, make it more important. If you do that, you’ll get a boost of positive emotion that leaves you feeling more energized for everything else on your list.

My challenge to you this week:

Reach out. Connect. Stop going it alone.

Journaling assignment:

In what way(s) do you feel disconnected right now?  Who do you want to reach out to this week? What will you do to reach out? Leave your comments, I’d love to hear from you!

One Positive Change can Spark a Ripple Effect

One Positive Change can Spark a Ripple Effect

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Valorie Burton, author, speaker, and life coach

I am an Invisalign® brand spokesperson and all opinions expressed are my own.

Full disclosure.

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Since we were children we were told we could accomplish anything. We should never settle on our dreams. Yet as teenagers and adults many of us don’t take action on even the simplest form of self-improvement because we stop believing it will make a difference. After all, how can one simple action boost our confidence or increase life satisfaction? According to a new Harris Poll survey, one positive change can improve confidence and create a ripple effect on our lives.

As a life coach and founder of The Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute, I’m dedicated to helping people get unstuck and be unstoppable in their lives. However, I recognize that even those who know their purpose are often unable to make progress towards their goals. Simply, there is often a gap between where we are and where we want to be. I always say, “Don’t burden yourself with a long list of goals. Instead, get inspired by taking action in one part of your life and it can have an effect on the rest of it.”

Knowing that, here are my top five tips to gaining self-confidence:

 

  1. Eliminate your biggest confidence stealers.

The Harris Poll finds that confidence matters for appearance (44%), success (43%) and happiness (63%). It not only impacts how we believe others perceive us, but how we perceive ourselves. Seventy percent of Americans believe that making one simple improvement in their appearance would increase confidence.  The goal is to choose something realistic that may be holding you back.

It could be that New Year’s resolution year after year to get fit. For others it may be the first thing they notice when they look in the mirror and see a crooked smile. Whatever the issue, the underlying effects go much deeper and can result in low self-esteem and a poor self-image. This is what happened to Esther from Los Angeles, who knew her teeth were holding her back. When she finally decided to fix her teeth with Invisalign® clear aligners, which discreetly straightened her teeth without the embarrassment of metal braces, it changed everything for her.

Due to increased confidence, this single action can lead to other positive changes, such as applying for a promotion, accepting speaking opportunities, and being comfortable meeting new friends.

  1. Pinpoint your fear pattern.

The events in your life do not create your actions, your thoughts do. Fear is at the core of almost every hesitation, insecurity and doubt. The Harris Poll found that weight and teeth are the two biggest insecurities in women, far surpassing other physical and personal characteristics. If you have been held back in this way, know that there is a substantial benefit for finally confronting your physical insecurity.

After Esther had the smile she always wanted, she was so inspired by her results that she had the confidence to work towards other life goals. She developed relationships and applied for rewarding jobs. Today she is engaged and working in her dream job as a postpartum doula. She is not alone in this success, three-quarters of those who simply straightened their teeth as an adult experienced at least some positive impacts on their life.

  1. Tell yourself the truth.

Until we admit what we really want and stop pretending things are okay, we are stuck. Whether it is a job you can’t stand, debt you’re embarrassed to admit you racked up or tackling a physical insecurity, facing the truth is empowering and the first step to freedom. Even more, you realize that when you break free from your fear, your future is unstoppable.

 

  1. Take charge of this moment.

You don’t reach your dreams by over-thinking. You reach your dreams by being fully present and making a decision to take action. When you find yourself procrastinating, dig deep to see what’s really going on. Often procrastination isn’t about simply putting off a difficult task, but about the counterproductive thoughts that can sabotage your success. When you really want something, take action. Don’t let anything get in the way.

  1. Commit or quit.

Get serious about your dream and commit to your goals. You must be willing to find the resources to invest in your goal, whether it be education, training, physical fitness or improving your smile.

Esther is a commendable example of someone who took action with Invisalign and gained confidence in the process, and there are many people taking steps to work towards something that feels beyond their reach. To learn more about Esther and others, click here.

How to Get Unstuck!

A few years ago, my dad and I were talking about how to get up really early in the morning when you feel like hitting snooze and burying your head under the covers. He said something that always sticks with me on days when I feel like turning back over: “The key is to get your feet on the ground and keep them moving!” he advised. Simple, but true.

Moving happens with a split second decision to sit up, swing my legs over the side of the bed, stand up and start moving. In the heat of the moment, when my flesh says, “Just five more minutes … pleassse!” I have to consciously say, “No. I’m getting up now,” and then follow through with my actions. Once I start moving, I keep moving! By the time I get to the bathroom and grab my toothbrush, I feel a little tingle of pride. “You did it! You didn’t feel like it, but you got moving.”

Success is a series of good decisions. Stack them up one on top of another and you will build an incredible life. These decisions are often small ones – getting up early so you can meditate or work out, for example, or choosing the grilled fish off the menu instead of fried. Even the big decisions are carried out in small moments – for instance, saying “no” to an opportunity that will lead you away from your vision rather than closer to it.

So this week, I’m curious. Will you make the call or keep procrastinating? Put on your tennis shoes to head to the gym or come up with an excuse? Will you sit down and work on that project or turn on the television? Consider these strategies to get unstuck.

4 Ways to Get Unstuck in Five Seconds

  1. The person that you’ve been procrastinating about reaching out to – when you finish reading this, contact them immediately. Don’t wait until later. Do it now – while your motivation is high.
  2. That thing you need to say, but can’t seem to muster the courage? Remember this: All you need to do is open your mouth and say it – honestly and kindly. That’s all that is standing between you and standing in truth.
  3. Ask for help from someone who is a “mover.” Sometimes we just need to get around somebody with vision, someone on the move. High energy is contagious.
  4. Stop thinking about your problem and think about a solution. Ask, “What’s the next easiest step that will move me towards what I want?”

In what area of your life do you feel stuck right now? Feeling stuck and being stuck are not the same. Feelings are honest, but they are not necessarily the truth. I can feel like hitting the rude cashier, but that’s not what I should do! Feelings come from thoughts – what you say to yourself about your dilemma. Change your thoughts and you change what you feel. Change what you feel and you change what you do.

If you want more help getting unstuck, try my “Personal Coaching on Demand” program Get Unstuck Now – and I could be coaching you just minutes from now. Check it out here.

My challenge to you:
Staying stuck is a choice. Move towards what you want. Even if it is a baby step, get moving!

Journaling assignment:

What could you do to move forward? When will you do it? Who in your life is high energy and always moving forward, even in the face of adversity? What is the most inspiring lesson you have learned from observing them? How can you use that to inspire you right now? Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

The CaPP Institute Highlights: Marisel Herrera

 

MariseljpeA spring 2015 graduate of The CaPP Institute’s Coach Training Intensive, Marisel Herrera created and directs a powerful, peer-lead coaching program for first-year students at Arizona State University, the nation’s largest university. In the 2015-2016 school year, the program facilitated a record-setting 16,234 coaching sessions. Those coaching sessions help increase retention rates and success for students.

In this interview with CaPP Institute founder Valorie Burton, Marisel shares how she is using what she learned through the Coach Training Intensive in her business MariselSpeaks and her leadership role at Arizona State University, as well as coaching’s personal impact on her life.

The DEADLINE to register for the Coach Training Intensive ends May 9th at midnight!

Click HERE to register today!

5 Habits You Can Start Today to Improve Your Quality of Life

If you are like most people today, you’re bombarded with distractions from the time you start your day. Whether it is e-mail, television, interruptions or requests, something is constantly vying for your attention. What’s the result? You often start the day with good intentions but end the day wondering where the time went. That’s fine every once and while – in life, some days are better than others. But when it becomes a way of life, it can cause you to be frustrated, scattered and ineffective. And if that’s the way you are feeling all the time, you’re dealing with a much bigger problem than just productivity. You’re dealing with chronic stress and a lack of fulfillment – both of which can impact your level of happiness or physical health.

 

I want to challenge you with a simple technique that can make you more productive and increase your energy when you have a lot on your plate. It’s all about what you choose to do first.  What you do the first 30 minutes you’re awake, the first 30 minutes at work, and with the first portion of your income ensure that no matter how overloaded you are, your most important priorities will not be lost in a sea of distractions.   When you do the things that are most important to you first, you free up energy for everything else on your list. Be intentional. Make it easy to accomplish “first things first.” Make them automatic. Here are five simple things that you can do “first” to enhance your quality of life starting this week – one in each of the five key areas of your life:

 

  1. Tackle the looming project.

 

You know what it is. Whether it’s a report you need to finish, a meeting that needs to take place, or a project waiting for your attention, get started early in the day. Block out a window of time – whether it’s 15 minutes or four hours – and get it done. A short time from now, you’ll have more energy because the burden of the work you’ve been putting off will be lifted. Be aware of the tendency towards instant gratification. It will keep you tied to email and less important work that gives you immediate feedback, but isn’t nearly as important.

 

  1. Connect with loved ones.

 

Start the day with a kiss, a hug, a phone call to someone who matters to you. In the midst of a busy schedule, don’t let loving gestures diminish. If anything, increase them! Staying connected to others is one of the most important ingredients for well-being.

 

  1. Drink a bottle of water

 

First thing in the morning, before you even put your feet on the ground, drink a bottle of water. Sit it by your bed before you go to sleep. Drinking water first thing in the morning gets your system moving and your metabolism kicking.

 

  1. Meditate on what you are grateful for.

 

While you’re drinking that bottle of water, why not start thinking about the things that are good in your life. “Whatever things are good, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of a good report, think on these things,” the apostle Paul wrote. Research now shows that expressing gratitude has health benefits and meditation actually changes your brain chemistry for the better. So first thing in the morning, pray a prayer of gratitude.

 

  1. Save some money and give some away.

It’s hard to give and save money when you don’t do it first. No matter how hard you try, if giving and saving comes last, you’ll rarely have much left over. But somehow, when you give first and save first, your spending becomes aligned with your goals. That’s because you’ve made your goal – saving and giving – your top priority. Set up automatic debits from your paycheck or checking account so you don’t even have to think about it!

 

My challenge to you this week:

Put first things first. For the next week, make these five intentions the first things you do .

Coaching question:

What priority is not first on your list of actions today? When will you stop and make time for it? How could you ensure that it becomes first on a regular basis?

Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you!