Month: June 2022

Social Support: The Benefits of Creating Positive Relationships

positive relationships


Building positive relationships is a vital component to living a happy and successful life. Do you have the social support you need to reach your full potential?


No man is an island. The aim of self-improvement isn’t to do everything completely on your own, but to cultivate positive relationships that bring out the best version of you.

We often like to believe that we are completely independent and we don’t need to rely on others to be happy or successful. However, the truth is your environment (including the people you surround yourself with on a daily basis) can ultimately “make you” or “break you.”

If you surround yourself with negative and toxic people, they will often bring you down to their level; but if you surround yourself with positive and uplifting people, they will raise you to new heights.

Social support is essential no matter what your goals are in life, whether it’s trying to overcome a drug addiction or become a successful CEO, you need the right people in your corner if you want to succeed.

Are the people in your life rooting for you or against you? Take a moment to reflect on the top 3 people you spend your time with, and ask yourself if they are having an overall positive or negative influence on your life.

Naturally, there are many benefits to creating positive relationships and building a robust social circle. Some of these benefits are obvious, while other benefits we often underestimate or ignore.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the importance of positive relationships and social support.


The Importance of Social Support and Positive Relationships

  • Encourage personal growth: Real friends like to see each other succeed. One benefit of positive relationships is to encourage each other to set goals and work toward them. If you have a friend trying to lose weight, you try your best to support their habit changes and compliment them when they make progress. If you have a friend in a band, you support them by listening to their music, going to their shows, and cheering for them. A good friend is happy for your success as if it is their own.
  • Support during tough times: When things get rough in life is when you most need to look toward others for love and support. Simply having someone you can talk to about your current problems and struggles can lift a huge psychological weight off your shoulders. Sometimes all we need is someone to say, “I feel you” and let us know they understand what we’re going through.
  • Collaborate on projects: The more we get along with someone, the better we are at collaborating and working together. Human relationships thrive when individuals can combine their skills and talents, and successfully create something greater than the sum of their parts. Research shows that having friends at work can often improve productivity and job satisfaction. When we work as teams, we often don’t want to let others down, especially when we like them. This is the stuff that makes businesses and other social organizations work.
  • Having fun and feeling good: One of the most obvious benefits of positive relationships is that they make life more enjoyable. Good friends, family, and co-workers make life an overall more fun and pleasant experience – we like spending time with these people and we often share positive moments (such as funny stories, jokes, and banter) with them on a frequent basis. It’s important to have friends you can spend time with when you’re just trying to relax and unwind after a long week, even if it’s just going to a local restaurant, or watching a movie, or going to a sports game together.
  • Role models and mentors: If you want to make the most of your positive relationships, it’s smart to surround yourself with people who are more intelligent, skilled, or successful than you, especially in areas of life you want to improve. Role models, mentors, and coaches can all play a huge role in bringing out your best self. If you want to take your exercise routine to the next level, get a trainer. If you want to become a better writer, reach out to professional authors for advice. Be willing to become a student, mentor, and peer, as we often learn best when we interact with people from all skill levels.
  • Meaning and purpose: Positive relationships are often the biggest source of a more meaningful life. Feeling a “sense of belonging” is a deep psychological need that stems from our biological drive to be a part of a coherent tribe or group. Unfortunately, in today’s world there’s been a disintegration of the community, and most people feel isolated and alienated even when they live in areas surrounded by people. Now more than ever, it’s important to find a tight-knit social circle (a family or strong group of friends) that we can call “home.” We all need to find our place in this world, and that is often defined by the relationships we build.
  • Help during a crisis: Tragedies and catastrophes bring people together – and they are often when we most depend on support from others. This can include a wide-range of different crises, including aid during natural disasters, assistance when going through serious health problems, or financial support during tough times (including fundraising and donations from others). One good way to assess the value of your current social circle is to ask yourself, “Do I have people who would take care of me if I ended up in a worst case scenario?” Take a moment to consider the zombie apocalypse thought experiment: would you be able to work together with your family and friends to survive?
  • Creating a better world: The relationships we build have a much broader influence than just ourselves and our immediate social circle. They also influence people whom we may never know exist. When you treat people with love and kindness, that can have a ripple effect on others in your environment. Research shows that when someone is the recipient of a good deed, they are more likely to perform another good deed for someone else. Our actions are part of a much larger chain of events that influence society as a whole, so building more positive relationships isn’t just a benefit to yourself but also the world at large.

By now it should be clear that the relationships we build in life can make a big difference to our overall happiness and success. It is very difficult to achieve your full potential all by yourself – we are built to connect and grow together.

One positive relationship doesn’t have to fulfill all the benefits mentioned above. Instead, you may have certain family and friends that satisfy different needs.

Perhaps you have one friend who is your “go to” when you’re feeling down and need to vent, while another friend is your “go to” when you just want to have fun and joke around.

All types of friends are important for our personal growth.

One thing to be mindful of in today’s world is parasocial relationships, where we feel a one-sided connection with personalities on TV, movies, or podcasts. These relationships can often mimic the feeling of friendship and connection, even though the person has no idea that we even exist.

It’s important we seek out real connections with people. This can include both online and offline relationships, as long as there is a genuine “back and forth” communication between both parties.

Take a moment to reflect on your current social circle – is it working for you or against you? Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it – it’s a strength, not a weakness.


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The post Social Support: The Benefits of Creating Positive Relationships appeared first on The Emotion Machine.

Associate Editor

An energetic, flexible, creative, and detail-oriented contributor, the Associate Editor has a solid understanding of mindfulness, some experience as an editor and writer, a facility with technology, and an appetite for exploring new platforms and ways of telling stories.

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25 Things to Do in the Morning after Waking up

Things to Do in the Morning

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The things you do in the morning, as well as your morning state of mind, affect your whole day.

This means that you should choose to do in the morning things that bring you a sense of happiness, satisfaction and accomplishment.

In this article, I would like to suggest 30 things to do in morning. You don’t need to do all of them. Just choose the ones that appeal to you the most.

Starting your morning doing things that you love, and which contribute to your sense of wellness is a very good idea.

Some of the ideas you will find here might not appeal to you or are unsuitable for you. There is no need to follow all of them. Just start with a few that you like.

When starting out to follow these suggestions, you might encounter some inner resistance or laziness. Don’t succumb to them.

Give a Good Start to Your Morning

It would be a good idea to wake in the morning a little earlier than usual. This would give you the time to tend to these ideas.

What to do when you wake up early? Do you go back to sleep?

Don’t turn around, pull the blanket over your head and continue to sleep. Get up! A beautiful day is awaiting you.

Even if you have some unpleasant tasks for the day, you can choose to make your day beautiful.

It would be a great idea if you incorporate at least a few of the suggestions you find here into your morning routine.

Remember, the time immediately after waking up in the morning is magical. It is beautiful.

It’s a new day with magical energies of a new start.

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A List of 25 Things to Do in the Morning

Here is a list of 25 things to do in the morning. I have divided them into a few categories:

Things to Do while Still in Bed

Things to Do after Getting out of Bed

Things to Do in the Morning before Going to Work, School or Run Errands

Things to Do while Still in Bed

1. Say good morning to yourself
The first thing in the morning is to say to yourself, mentally or aloud: “Good morning to me. I am going to have a wonderful day today.”

2. Positive energies
What to do after you wake up and open your eyes? Look around you, and feel being surrounded by positive and happy energies.

3. Repeat affirmations
Make a list of a few inspiring affirmations, or affirmations about the things you wish to accomplish today. Repeat them with belief, attention and intention. Read Affirmations Words with Power, if you wish to know more about this fascinating topic.

4. Think about the things you want to do today
For a few minutes, think about what you wish to do today, about your plans and your goals, so all this be clear in your mind.

You might not be able to accomplish everything you plan or think about. Don’t worry about that. Doing even just a few of the things is quite okay.

5. Do some stretching exercises
Stretching your muscles would bring a fresh supply of oxygen and energy into your body.

Things to Do after Getting out of Bed

6. Wash you face
Wash your face and eyes, so you completely wake up.

7. Drink a glass of water
Make it a habit to drink a glass of water, to supply to your body the liquids it needs. This would energize you and make you more awake.

8. Go to your window, balcony or porch
Stand by your window and open it, or go out to your balcony or porch, if you have one.

Breathe the fresh air, look around you and also look at the sky. Feel that you are one with nature. This action would fill you with energy and a sense of happiness and strength.

9. Meditate
One of the best times for meditation is in the morning, while your mind is still fresh after your night’s sleep. At this time of the day, it is still quiet, so it’s easier to focus.
Even 10 minutes of meditation would do you a lot of good. You can find here, at this website, a few meditation techniques.

10. Practice creative visualization
Another useful activity you might find most useful is to visualize in your mind a certain goal, which you wish to accomplish. This could be a goal you want to accomplish today, or some big goal, which will take time to accomplish.

In your imagination, visualize your goal as an accomplished fact. For more information about creative visualization and manifestation read our book, Manifest and Achieve Whatever You Want.

11. Wash and prepare yourself for the new exciting day
This activity is obvious, and is of course the routine of everyone, young and old.

A Few More Things to Do after Getting out of Bed

12. Prepare yourself a good breakfast
A good breakfast in the morning is a must. It gives your body the energy, nourishment and sustenance it needs, and keeps your energy level high.

13. Drink a cup of coffee, tea or just water
If you get up a few minutes earlier than usual, you will have more time to drink your cup of coffee or tea slowly and leisurely, and enjoy it much more than gulping it in a hurry.

14. Read a few inspiring quotes
Make a list of a few inspiring quotes to read in the morning. Read them slowly, focusing on their meaning. Also, think how you can implement their advice in your life.

15. Read a few pages from your favorite book
Another thing you might like doing in the morning is to read a few pages from a book, any book which you like.

Things to Do in the Morning before Going to Work, School or Run Errands

16. Show kindness to the people living with you
Be kind and show your love to your parents, wife, husband, children or roommates. Here are some kindness quotes to remind you to be kind.

17. Clean the dishes
Clean the dishes before you leave home. It’s a good exercise in self-discipline, and it would make you feel satisfied that you did not leave the dirty dishes in the sink for the evening.

18. Listen to music
Listen to some calming or invigorating music that you like, and which makes you feel good.

19. Singing
Do you love singing? If you do, sing a for a few minutes.

20. Dancing
Do you like dancing? If you do, just dance for a few moments. That’s a good exercise for your body and for your soul.

Enjoyable Things to Do in the Morning

21. Learn a few for words in a foreign language
Why not take a few moments to learn a few words in a foreign language? You can use a dictionary, Google translate, or any app that teaches languages.

22. Look at photos of places you wish to visit
Is there a place you want to visit, a foreign country you want to explore, or a place, where you want to spend your vacation? Keep some photos of these places, and look at them for a few moments.

23. Have a motivating conversation with yourself
Have a pep talk with yourself. Tell yourself that you are going to have wonderful day today, and that no matter what kind of obstacles you might face, you will get over them.

24. Take a Walk
If you have enough time in the morning, take a short walk. If you can find a place that is not crowded, that’s better. This can be just a short walk and a few minutes to be with yourself, before starting your day.

25. Greet the People You Meet
Greet your neighbors if you meet them on the way out.

I am sure you will find, at least some of the above suggestions, appealing and suitable for you. You can also come up with other ideas, more suitable for you.

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Video: Mindful Respect Dharma Talk

In India, when people greet one another they put their palms together and bow, saying namaste, “I honor the divine within you.” It is a way of acknowledging your Buddha nature, who you really are.

When I was training as a Buddhist monk, I witnessed an aura of straightforwardness, graciousness, and trust around my teacher Ajahn Chah. Here was a community dedicated to treating each person with respect and dignity. In the monastery, the walking paths were swept daily, the robes and bowls of the monks were tended with care. We learned to value ourselves and others equally.

Whether practiced in a forest monastery or anywhere else, mindfulness practice begins by deliberately cultivating respect, starting with ourselves. When we learn to rest in our own goodness, we can see the goodness more clearly in others.

For more teachings like this, please subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE.

This talk was originally livestreamed by Spirit Rock on June 27, 2022.

The post Video: Mindful Respect Dharma Talk appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Video: Centering Meditation

Rest in the reality of the present with mindful, loving awareness. Sit like a Buddha, steady and kind, with heart open, gracious and wise in the midst of it all. You are the loving witness; you are the steady one.

For more teachings like this, please subscribe to my YouTube channel HERE.

This meditation was originally livestreamed by Spirit Rock on 6/27/22.

The post Video: Centering Meditation appeared first on Jack Kornfield.

Exercise and Bardet-Biedl Syndrome

Exercise and Bardet-Biedl Syndrome

Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS) is a rare genetic condition that affects several body systems, including the kidneys, eyes, and genitalia. People with BBS often have an intellectual disability and may be born with extra fingers or toes. They are also prone to developing abdominal obesity – a condition where fat is deposited mostly around the abdomen (rather than on the arms or legs). People born with BBS are usually a normal weight at birth, but rapidly gain weight in infancy.

Children and adults with BBS often need support from a team of healthcare professionals – including Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) – to maintain good health and optimal quality of life.

WHY IS EXERCISE IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE WITH BBS?

Overweight and obesity, common features of BBS, are linked with a higher risk of developing several health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, stroke, high blood pressure and joint problems, among others. Abdominal obesity, in particular, is associated with metabolic changes that can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It is estimated that up to 45% of people with BBS have type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, excess weight can further complicate problems with the heart and blood vessels seen in some people with BBS. These include early stiffening of the heart valves and heart defects that can lead to irregular heart rhythms.

Exercise plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy heart and circulatory function. Exercise also supports a healthy metabolism, helping to reduce the risk of developing metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Because people with BBS are already prone to these problems, exercise is especially important for maintaining health and reducing disease risk.

Exercise can also help with the neurodevelopmental difficulties that affect some people with BBS, such as problems with coordination and motor skill development.

Additionally, children and adults with BBS often don’t get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is linked with overweight and obesity, chronic kidney disease and increased cardiovascular risk. Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and quantity.

Research into exercise for people with BBS is very limited. However, AEPs understand the condition, how it affects the body, and how to design exercise interventions tailored to each person’s needs, lifestyle and preferences.

WHAT TYPE OF EXERCISE IS BEST?

BBS affects each person differently and symptoms vary from one individual to another. An AEP can create an exercise program that is safe and beneficial for you or your child. This will usually include different types of exercises and training of support people where needed.

Aerobic exercise

Aerobic exercise is any activity that gets the heart pumping and raises your breathing rate. Regular aerobic exercise helps to condition the heart and lungs and maintain healthy metabolic function. It also assists with weight loss and/or maintenance. Moreover, it triggers the release of mood boosting chemicals that can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, which affect some people with BBS. Examples of aerobic activities include walking, cycling, swimming, boxing, dancing and many team sports. People with BBS frequently have vision loss and foot problems, so they may need adaptive equipment (such as an adapted stationary bike or specialised shoes) or support to do aerobic exercises.

Resistance exercise

Resistance exercises help build or maintain muscular strength and endurance, which is important for optimal physical function. Muscles use energy, so building or maintaining muscle mass also helps with metabolism and weight management. Examples of resistance exercises include activities using weights, resistance bands, or body weight to strengthen muscles.

Motor skill and balance training

BBS can cause problems with balance, co-ordination and the development of fine and gross motor skills. Specific exercises might be prescribed to help with these.

Training support people

People with BBS may need assistance to exercise. For example, children will need help from their parents or caregivers to do exercises that help with motor skill development. Children or adults with low vision may need support to access community exercise facilities or participate in team sports.

Building the capacity of support people helps ensure people with BBS can achieve adequate physical activity levels to reach their health goals, while reducing the need for assistance from healthcare professionals.

GUIDANCE FROM AN ACCREDITED EXERCISE PHYSIOLOGIST

People living with BBS have complex and varied needs, including health issues which can impact their ability to exercise safely and effectively. It’s therefore important to seek guidance from an AEP before embarking on an exercise program.

For example, heart defects can cause irregular heart rhythms which may be dangerous. Intellectual disability, visual problems and hand and foot abnormalities may impact the ability to perform some activities or necessitate adaptive equipment.

Your AEP will consider these factors and create a program tailored to your (or your child’s) function, goals and activity preferences. It will be modified in accordance with any changing needs and circumstances. Where needed, it will include training of supports to ensure exercise forms part of a healthy lifestyle.

Click here to find an exercise physiologist near you.

Written by Amanda Semaan and Kara Foscholo. Amanda and Kara are Accredited Exercise Physiologists and Co-Directors of Active Ability, whose mission is to support people with disability to achieve optimal independence, health and quality of life.