It’s possible to enhance your personality and your ability to share it more authentically with others. You’ll form stronger and more meaningful relationships if you’re able to be yourself. Maybe you’ve been too reserved in the past to let others see the real you. You can change that by taking the bull by the horns.

Show the world who you really are:

1. Strengthen your conversational skills. You can’t reveal your true personality if you don’t communicate effectively. Conversational skills are important and influence multiple areas of your life. You also build your personality by conversing with others. You can’t know everything, so learning from others is one way to grow and become more interesting.

* Poor communication skills result in being misunderstood. Your personality will be misunderstood, too.

2. Share your opinion. Have you ever spoken to someone that didn’t have an opinion? It’s boring. Many of us keep our opinions to ourselves in an effort not to offend, but it has a negative effect. Interesting people have opinions. Be brave enough to share yours.

* Make a pact with yourself to always have an opinion. When you’re asked about your movie or dinner preference, give an answer other than, “I don’t care” or “I don’t know.”

3. Be positive. A negative outlook brings out the worst in all of us. Put your best foot forward by being upbeat. Being around others that complain and see the dark side of life is tiresome. Be uplifting and allow your real personality to shine.

4. Be yourself. Just like your mom said. Pretending to be someone you’re not is dishonest. It’s also hard on your self-esteem. Embrace the parts of you that are unique and share them with others. Some people will like you while others do not. That’s true regardless of your personality.

5. Engage in your interests. Make the time to pursue the activities that appeal to you. Go mountain climbing, learn to play the banjo, or volunteer with the homeless. When you’re living your life to the fullest, people can see you at your best. You’ll enjoy life much more, too.

6. Become a better listener. Listening has several benefits. It will lower your anxiety, make the other person feel important, and create a connection.

* The better the connection, the more likely you’ll be to show your true colors. You learn much more while you’re listening.

7. Increase your social circle. Expose yourself to new opinions and cultures. Meet new people and watch your personality blossom. You’ll become stagnant by hanging out with the same people all of the time.

8. Be respectful. You’re a respectful person and have integrity, even if you haven’t been showing it lately. You deserve the same from others. Show people the best you have to offer and you’ll inspire others to follow suit.

9. Relax. If you’re not relaxed, you’re protecting yourself. If you’re protecting yourself, you’re not being your true self. Be more carefree. See the humorous side of life. Your true personality is revealed when you’re happy and light.

10. Read. Develop greater knowledge about the world and the things that matter to you. Become an expert on the topics that fascinate you. Your personality will grow and reveal itself more completely.

Do your friends and family know the real you? Does it take new acquaintances a long time to know you well? There’s no reason to keep yourself a secret! Let the world see your true personality. You’ll be glad you did!

Light Weight Workouts Made Easy

You can get a serious workout with light weights. Those smaller dumbbells can build your muscles and tone your body much like their heavier counterparts. Take a look at the benefits of light weights, and learn how to use them effectively.

Benefits of Working Out with Light Weights

1. Spend less. Affordability and convenience are two major advantages of light weights. You’ll spend less on equipment and it will take up less room.

2. Enjoy more variety. If you want to keep making progress in building up your muscles and strength, you need to change your workout over time to prevent your body from adapting to a familiar routine. Light weights can accommodate a wider range of exercises.

3. Use good form. It’s easier to focus on good posture when you’re handling 3 pound dumbbells instead of the 30 pound versions. Develop good habits by mastering correct form from the start.

4. Avoid injury. In addition to giving you faster results, that good form will help you avoid accidents. You can work out consistently instead of taking time off to recover.

5. Work out independently. Bodybuilders usually need a partner to spot them so they won’t be crushed under a barbell if they give out midway. However, with light weights, you can exercise with a buddy or solo because you’re not pushing yourself to your maximum.

6. Reach your goals. Forget about the myth that light weights shape your body while heavy weights build big muscles. Any weight-bearing movement can be adapted to help you grow stronger and leaner.

Techniques for Working Out with Light Weights

1. Work to fatigue. Whether you’re bench pressing 200 pounds or just the bare bar, one principle is the same. Your greatest gains will come from doing enough repetitions so that you feel fatigued by the last couple of movements.

2. Speed it up. Light weights also enable you to work out more quickly. You can use this faster pace to enhance your performance in some of your favorite sports, or just take advantage of this opportunity to combine aerobic conditioning with strength training.

3. Use your body weight. Remember that your body weight alone can provide significant resistance too. Basics like pushups and dips will strengthen your upper body, while squats and lunges target your lower half.

4. Balance your workouts. Strength training is essential, but it takes more than that to optimize your health. Pay attention to aerobic conditioning, flexibility, and balance too.

5. Exercise at home. It’s easy to set up a home gym with light weights. You can buy the standard dumbbells and barbells or make your own. Plastic water bottles filled with liquid or sand are an inexpensive option.

6. Choose a gym. Many gyms can easily accommodate members who prefer to use lighter free weights and low resistance on exercise machines. On the other hand, it may be awkward to frequent a bodybuilding gym where sharing the equipment could require wasting a lot of time to make adjustments. Visit the venue at a busy time to see where you’d feel comfortable.

7. Budget your time. The biggest difference between lighter and heavier weight workouts may be the amount of time you need to invest. Heavier weights will usually shorten your sessions while light weights can give you similar results if you’re patient.

Use lights weights as a supplement to heavier workouts or enjoy them on their own. Any form of strength training can help you to become fit and trim as you shed body fat and build up your muscles and bone mass.

Hypnosis can provide many benefits. It’s even possible to hypnotize yourself. Self-hypnosis might provide the breakthrough you desire. Self-hypnosis can change your attitudes, emotions, and behaviors. It can also alter bad habits or increase your self-esteem.

Many view self-hypnosis as a lack of control or awareness, but it’s actually the opposite. Hypnosis involves a high degree of concentration.

It’s similar to a meditative state, but with a different purpose. Meditation is about emptying the mind. Self-hypnosis is about putting new thoughts and ideas into the mind.

Hypnosis is a safe and effective way to alter your beliefs and habits. There are health professionals trained in the use of hypnotherapy, but you can get many of the same benefits on your own. However, seek out professional assistance if necessary.

Hypnotizing yourself is safe and simple:

1. Self-hypnosis is a skill that often requires time to develop. Learning to relax and concentrate takes time. It won’t take years, but it might take a month or two to see good results.

2. Sit in a comfortable position with your feet flat on the floor. If you’re able to sit in a meditative position and be comfortable, a full-lotus position is also effective. Avoid positions that will allow you to fall asleep. Also avoid positions you can’t maintain with comfort for at least 10 minutes.

3. Stare at a point directly across from you. Take a deep breath and forcefully command yourself to sleep right now. “I am going to sleep right now!” is an effective phrasing. Repeat this phrase several times and allow your eyes to close. Be gentle with your command, but be convincing.

4. The most important step is to relax your body completely. Tell yourself that you’re becoming more relaxed with every breath. Feel the breath traveling in and out of your nose and mouth.

5. Give yourself suggestions. Keep it positive and in the present tense. “I am calm and relaxed” is better than “I’m not afraid or stressed.” Keep the number of suggestions to five or less and repeat them silently to yourself several times.

6. Visualize yourself living out your suggestions. If your hypnotic suggestion is about confidence, visualize yourself being confident in challenging situations. Think of all the scenarios in your daily life that are applicable and include them in your visualizations.

7. When you’re finished, tell yourself that it’s time to wake up. Tell yourself that you’ll be fully awake by the count of three. Count and wake up. You might feel a little sleepy for a few minutes, but it’s no more harmful than waking up from a short nap. Move around and you’ll feel fine shortly.

8. Feel free to repeat the process whenever you have the time. Of course, be safe. It’s not appropriate or safe to hypnotize yourself while driving a car or operating machinery. Try to perform self-hypnosis a couple of times each day.

Self-hypnosis can be a useful tool in self-improvement. If you’re looking for a new way to change your beliefs or behavior, self-hypnosis can help. There is a learning curve to develop the necessary skill to hypnotize yourself effectively. Just like meditation, it can take months to become moderately skilled.

Hypnotic suggestions can also require a lot of repetition before you see results. But if you’re looking for something new, self-hypnosis is a useful technique.

Say Goodbye to Work Guilt

Working for a living is tough enough without being saddled with guilt. Maybe you want to spend more time with your kids or maybe you’re concerned about how it looks when you put in fewer hours than the guy in the next cubicle.

Whatever is causing your guilt trip, there is a cure. Try these tips for eliminating useless regrets and enjoying more job satisfaction.

Feeling Guilty about Your Family

1. Stress quality time. You can be a super parent even if you’re too booked up to attend every single soccer practice or bake 500 cupcakes. Make the hours you spend together count by sharing your love and wisdom with your children.

2. Serve as a role model. Women whose mothers worked outside the home are more likely to be employed, and earn higher wages than those whose mothers stayed home full-time, according to a Harvard Business School study of 24 countries. Studies also show that working mothers tend to be happier, and that’s a positive influence on your children.

3. Schedule after-school activities. How can you keep your kids safe and busy until you arrive home from work? Research after-school programs in your area. If your kids will be home alone, stay in touch by phone and clarify rules about homework and having friends over.

4. Ask for support. Balancing work and family responsibilities is a team effort. Divide up household chores. Take turns with other parents for babysitting or driving kids to the movies.

Feeling Guilty about Your Work Hours

1. Focus on results. Pay attention to productivity rather than how many hours you clock. Document your achievements and tackle your most challenging assignments during the hours when you work most efficiently.

2. Call in sick. Maybe your company offers sick leave or a lump sum paid time off. Either way, it’s safer to stay in bed if you’re contagious or have a fever.

3. Go on vacation. Many workers accumulate unused vacation days, and economists say that tends to lower performance and slow down the economy. Keep track of your leave and use your time off to refresh and relax.

4. Negotiate less overtime. Win your boss over by talking about how to reduce overtime costs. Investments in technology and training may help your company save money while shortening your work week.

5. Reduce travel. Similarly, many businesses have trimmed their travel expenses in recent years. Can you replace some trips with video conferences or hold your meetings at a local venue?

Other Sources of Work Guilt

1. Set boundaries. Smartphones and the Internet make us potentially available 24-7. Decide what limits you need, whether it’s weekends free or no calls after 7 pm.

2. Stay at home. Working from home is still working. After all, you’re saving on commuting time and may experience fewer interruptions.

3. Resist comparisons. Are you happy working part-time or following an unconventional career path? Create your own definition of success instead of worrying about how you stack up against the rest of your graduating class.

4. Dispel stigmas. On the other hand, maybe others tease you about selling used cars or delivering newspapers when you’re old enough to collect Social Security. Learn to base your self-worth on something more profound than your paycheck. Leverage your strengths and search for meaning in any task you undertake.

5. Develop outside interests. It’s easier to keep work in perspective when you’re well-rounded. Interact with others from a wide variety of backgrounds. Devote your leisure time to learning and helping others.

Dump your guilt so you can savor your time at home without feeling like you’re neglecting your work, and vice versa. Clarifying your priorities and managing your time effectively will help you to be guilt-free around the clock.

The ability to motivate yourself is necessary if you want to be successful. Everyone struggles to be productive from time to time, but there are several tactics that make it easier to get back on track. A few tips and new habits might be all you need to enhance your results dramatically.

Children have the benefit of parents, coaches, and teachers. As adults, we have to learn to manage ourselves. Unfortunately, few of us are taught this skill. We must learn on our own. Take solace in the fact that your peers are in the same situation. Plus, just think of how much ahead of them you’ll be when you learn the art of self-motivation!

Use these techniques to motivate yourself and take control of your life:

1. Use pleasure to your advantage. Make a long list of the benefits of taking action. What will you gain? A better body? Improved social life? More money? Self-respect? When you find your motivation lagging, return to this list and rekindle your enthusiasm.

2. Use pain to your advantage. If you fail to act, what is the likely outcome? You’ll be forced to live another day in your current existence. Or maybe your financial situation will become a little bit worse. Perhaps your income taxes will be late. Give yourself a list of painful outcomes to avoid.

3. Reinforce your lists daily. Read over your lists of positives and negatives each day. Keep them fresh in your mind.

4. Take a walk. A change of environment can help to clear your head and increase your level of motivation. It’s a great time to think big thoughts and to consider long-term goals.

5. Create habits that support your goals. Ideally, you can structure your life so you don’t require motivation. Are you motivated to take a shower or brush your teeth? Not really – you just do them out of habit. Creating habits that make your goals an automatic reality is the best motivation tool of all!

6. Ask yourself why you’re stuck. Are you afraid? Tired? Restless? Figure out what’s stopping you from taking aggressive action and getting things accomplished. Then take action to resolve the reasons for your inaction.

7. Make a plan for the day. Before you retire for the evening, make a list of everything you’d like to get done. Most importantly, get started on your list items early in the day. Build momentum and the rest of the day will go more smoothly. Success builds on success.

8. Get started. Have you ever noticed that motivation happens after you get busy? It’s interesting how challenging it can be to get started, but how easy it can be to continue. Pull out every trick in the book to make yourself begin. The resistance you feel will decrease markedly.

9. Reward yourself regularly. Rewarded behaviors are more likely to reoccur in the future. Give yourself little rewards on a regular basis. You deserve it.

10. Compete with yourself. Strive to create small improvements in yourself each week. This can be more motivating than competing against others. There might be plenty of people ahead of you, but you can always do better than you did last week.

11. Eliminate distractions. Everyone has a preferred method of distraction. It could be the internet, television, or ice cream. Avoid allowing yourself to indulge in your distraction until you’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Be strong.

When you’re feeling unmotivated, avoid the belief that you’re stuck. There’s always something you can do to lift your spirits and tackle those big projects. Develop the skill to motivate yourself. You can’t be certain which tactics will be successful until you get started.

Assertiveness is an important part of communication. When you’re assertive, you’re standing up for yourself while respecting others. It’s also an excellent way to enhance your self-esteem and self-respect. The inability to be assertive suggests that part of you doesn’t believe you’re deserving of your request.

The ability to be assertive also provides you with the power to say, “No” to others.

Try these strategies to enhance your assertiveness and get the respect you deserve:

1. Give your opinion freely. Practice your ability to be assertive. Always give an opinion when asked. Avoid saying, “I don’t care” or “Whatever you want is fine.” Tell the people in your life what movie you want to see and the restaurant you want to try this weekend.

2. Keep the focus on yourself. Rather than saying, “Your opinion is wrong”, say, “I don’t agree with your statement.” The first way attacks the other person and is aggressive. The second option is assertive.

3. Focus on win-win. Aggressiveness focuses on winning at the expense of others. Assertiveness is much more balanced.

* Think about the needs of the other person and strive to find a solution that benefits both of you.

4. Value yourself. Remind yourself that your thoughts, desires, and rights are just as important as those of everyone else. It’s fair to protect your rights, and you have the right to be treated with respect.

5. Be clear on what you want. Others are more likely to accommodate your requests when you’re clear about your needs. It’s not enough to express your displeasure. Tell others what you want.

6. Be prepared for the response. Your needs won’t always be met. Others still have the right to say, “No.” The only way to avoid all refusals is never to ask in the first place. But consider where that strategy leads. You lose self-esteem, self-respect, and the feeling of control over your life. And your needs will still be unmet.

* It can be nerve-wracking to be assertive, but the other alternative is much less desirable.

7. Maintain good eye contact. Avoid staring at the floor. You’re taken much more seriously when you make good eye contact.

* Stand up straight, walk confidently, and carry yourself assertively. This requires practice. Take every opportunity to practice your non-verbal behaviors.

8. Stay calm. Assertive people are calm, cool, and collected. People that yell, scream, and pout are aggressive and attempting to force others to comply. If you’re not calm, you’re not being assertive.

* Take a deep breath and speak your mind.

9. Remember that there’s no downside. Your request might be refused. That’s as bad as it can get. You can’t lose anything. At worst, you’re stuck in the same position. Being assertive can only bring positive or neutral results. It’s like gambling in Vegas without the potential to lose money. How exciting is that?

10. You can only control your own actions. We can’t control others with a high degree of certainty. Asserting yourself is the most effective action you can take. It costs nothing except a small amount of courage, yet you can receive so much in return. Focus on being assertive and let the chips fall where they may.

Give others the gift of giving you what you want! Being assertive is grounded in the premise that you’re important and worthy of stating your opinion and making requests of others. Stand up for yourself and let the people around you know what you need from them. Most of them would be thrilled to accommodate you!

You probably know that mindfulness gives you inner peace, but is it safe for work? You bet. Major corporations are conducting mindfulness programs, and it’s part of the curriculum at Harvard Business School. See how greater awareness can transform your work life.

Benefits of Mindfulness

1. Feel happier. Happiness depends on your state of mind rather than material possessions or external events. You experience more contentment when you stay in the moment and give your full attention to what you’re doing.

2. Live healthier. The advantages of mindfulness aren’t just in your head. Studies show that cultivating awareness can boost your immune system and lower your blood pressure.

3. Strengthen communications. One of the most obvious signs of practicing mindfulness in a group setting is that conflicts become easier to prevent and resolve. As we become more compassionate, we want to cooperate and help others. We listen to each other and speak tactfully and directly.

4. Increase your productivity. In addition to making you feel good, mindfulness sharpens your thinking. Your cognitive abilities grow and you perform better even when you’re under pressure.

How to Encourage Mindfulness in Yourself at Work

1. Meditate daily. Sitting meditation is one of the most powerful ways to train your mind. Start each morning with a short session, and increase the time gradually as your ability to concentrate increases.

2. Focus on your purpose. Ask yourself what makes your work meaningful to you. You might find satisfaction in helping customers or expressing your creativity.

3. Slow down. Take a step back when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Clear your mind and review your priorities. Pause between tasks so that you start off feeling refreshed. Give yourself time to sort out your options before you respond to a challenging situation.

4. Connect with your senses. All your senses are involved in how you experience your environment. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds in your office. You might want to spruce up your cubicle with a velvet pillow or a jar of cinnamon sticks to create pleasant textures and scents.

5. Ring a bell. Naturally, your mind may start to wander while you’re attending staff meetings or filling out expense forms. Create a trigger that will remind you to focus. If a bell is too noisy, post an inspiring picture on your wall.

6. Seek instructions. Meditating may come naturally for you, but many practitioners find it helpful to receive teachings. Read a book or sign up for a class.

How to Encourage Mindfulness in Others at Work

1. Respect differences. Some of your colleagues may have been meditating for years, and others may be reluctant to try. Accept that each individual needs to find their own path.

2. Provide inspiration. Setting a positive example may be the most effective thing you can do. Let your actions speak for themselves.

3. Answer questions. As your mindfulness develops, you may discover that others want to know your secret for staying calm and cheerful. Share your insights and practical tips for how to start a practice. Offer lists of books and websites that you find helpful.

4. Talk with your boss. If you think your boss or human resources department would be receptive, suggest establishing a mindfulness program at your company. It could be as simple as gathering in the conference room before work to sit together in silence for a few moments.

There’s a good reason why companies like Google and General Mills are incorporating mindfulness into their company culture. Greater awareness enhances individual happiness, and the bottom line. For greater peace and productivity, practice mindfulness at work, and share your positive vibes with your colleagues.

There was a time when being rejected by the group could be life threatening. Imagine living thousands of years ago. People relied on each other just to stay alive. That fear still resides within us, even though it’s no longer necessary.

Just because the fear of rejection is no longer useful doesn’t mean it’s easy to overcome. The fear of rejection is among the most influential of all fears. The fear of others judging you can be very limiting.

Try these strategies to let go of this fear and welcome greater confidence and joy:

1. Consider the worst outcome that’s likely to happen. If you ask out that pretty woman, what is the worst likely outcome? Do you think she might say, “No”? Odds are that it won’t even be that bad. She’ll probably find an excuse to let you down gently. Then again, she might say “Yes”!

* If you try for that great job and don’t get it, what do you stand to lose? A few hours of your time?

* Interestingly, the scariest situations often have little to no risk, but a huge potential for something good to happen. What are you really risking?

2. Make of list of the positive potential outcomes. That beautiful stranger might turn out to be your soulmate. That new job might be the best job you’ve ever had. Make a list of everything good that might happen.

3. Take a deep breath. Your body can lead your emotions. Deep breathing oxygenates your blood and slows your heart rate. Deep breathing feels good. Focus on your breathing and remove your focus away from your fear.

4. Act anyway. Fear and discomfort are lousy excuses for not doing something, provided your life isn’t in danger. Your subconscious is lousy at judging the effects of emotional threats. You have nothing to lose. Allow your logic to overrule the uncomfortable feelings you’re experiencing. With practice, your body will adjust and stop making you feel bad.

5. Remember that the world tends to make erroneous rejections. Many college basketball teams rejected Larry Bird. Many bestselling novels were rejected numerous times before someone finally published them. Even the Beatles struggled to get a record deal.

* Fools that don’t know any better reject even the most talented people.

6. Examine previous rejections. Consider the times in your life that you’ve been rejected. Was it horrible? What did you experience? Now consider your successes. Was your greatest success worth the greatest rejection you’ve suffered? Of course it was.

7. The fear is the worst part. The rejection itself is much less painful than the anticipation of rejection. Keep your thoughts focused on a positive outcome. You can sneak around the fear of rejection and enjoy greater success.

8. Give yourself the opportunity to be wrong. Most of us are much worse at predicting the future than we think we are. Even if you’re quite sure you’ll be rejected, you’ll frequently be wrong. Instead of assuming you know the truth, prove yourself right or wrong by taking the leap. Let the world decide. Never assume you’ll fail. Prove it.

9. Use rejection as an opportunity for growth. When things don’t work out, you’ve been provided with an occasion to learn something valuable. What can you do better next time? What mistakes did you make?

Avoid allowing the fear of failure to control your actions. An exciting and fulfilling life requires risk and hope. Allow yourself to fail, but avoid allowing the belief of failure to paralyze you. You never know the outcome until you try. You might surprise yourself and end up enjoying the best thing that ever happened to you!

In years past, caring for a gifted child usually meant measuring them based on one IQ test and assigning them to a specific study program. Today, there’s greater understanding that each child’s potential grows over time based on their experiences and activities, and flexibility allows parents and schools to adapt to their individual needs.

If you’re the parent of a gifted child, it’s important to develop a plan to manage the rewards and challenges ahead. Try these tips that have helped other families with similar situations.

Parenting Tips to Use at Home

1. Watch for clues. By spotting the early signs of advanced cognitive development, you can help your child benefit. They may need to sleep less than other babies and reach milestones like counting and reading earlier. You may also notice their strong language skills and keen memory.

2. Seek support. A gifted child can place heavier demands on your time and energy. Let older siblings and family friends pitch in.

3. Show empathy. Your child’s uniqueness can make them less popular if they have trouble communicating with their peers or sharing their interests. Your child may also struggle with uneven development like knowing ideas they can’t put into words yet.

4. Develop coping strategies. While you’re validating their experiences, you can also offer practical suggestions. Role play what to do if they’re asked to share a toy with another child or feeling bored in class.

5. Listen attentively. Reassure your child that it’s okay to be different. Be enthusiastic when they tell you about their latest projects and discoveries.

6. Screen stuff out. Gifted children tend to be sensitive and alert. You may need to protect them from disturbing stories on the evening news.

7. Explain the rules. You’re likely to receive more cooperation if you explain the reasons for going to bed early and picking up your toys. Family meetings are an excellent forum for such discussions.

8. Step back. Offer your child opportunities to assume more responsibility and make their own choices as appropriate. Ensure they’re comfortable skipping a grade or going away to science camp.

9. Be patient. Even if your child solves calculus problems faster than you, they’re still a child. Expect tantrums and imaginary friends.

Parenting Tips to Use at School

1. Talk with teachers. Meet with your child’s teachers as soon as possible so you can share your insights and pool your observations. Coordinating your efforts maximizes your chances for success.

2. Connect with other parents. Remember that there are many other families like yours. You can learn from their experiences and support each other. You can also be a more powerful advocate for your children when you unite your efforts.

3. Understand acceleration and enrichment. Acceleration and enrichment are different educational approaches that work well together. Enrichment refers to making the curriculum more challenging, while acceleration means skipping a grade or otherwise moving faster through the educational system. Be open to trying both.

4. Volunteer your services. Many schools have limited resources. Show your appreciation by contributing your time or donating supplies. You’ll be enhancing relationships that are important for your child’s education.

5. Promote friendships. While you’re teaching your child to treat each individual with respect and kindness, it’s also a good idea to introduce them to peers who they can identify with. Be willing to drive across town each week if they want to join a chess club and hang out at a diner afterwards.

As a parent, you know your gifted child is a blessing who also requires a lot of work on your part. Plan ahead so you’re prepared to give them the love, encouragement, and support they need to flourish.

Is it possible to maintain composure and tranquility when everything around you is chaotic? Equanimity is the opposite of what most of us experience each day. It’s the ability to remain calm and composed at all times.

Add peace and composure to your life:

1. All emotions begin with a thought. This is in contrast to what many people believe. It’s common to believe that something bad happens first, and then we feel bad. But we can remember past experiences and feel bad. We can look forward to the future and feel excited.

* Recognize that your thoughts create your emotional states.

2. Maintain an awareness of your thoughts. Keep track of what you’re thinking. You’re not your thoughts. You’re the thing that notices what you’re thinking. When you begin to have negative thoughts, it’s important to recognize that fact. Avoid allowing your emotions to build. Simply notice that you’re thinking negatively.

3. Examine your thoughts without being judgmental. This is noticing your thoughts, but on a deeper level. Develop a curiosity about your thoughts and thinking patterns. Ask yourself why you’re having this thought. Be amused by the ways in which your mind works.

4. Focus on your breathing. There’s nothing mystical about the breath. But it has several characteristics that are helpful:

* Your breath is always with you.

* Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that you can control.

* The way you breathe impacts your physiology.

* Breathing is current and real. You can focus on it. Your mind in the present moment and dealing with reality.

* Focusing on your breath will prevent your mind from running wild. It will calm your emotions and your body.

5. Let go. It’s that simple. You don’t have to allow yourself to become upset. Just take a deep breath, let it out, and let go of the negative feelings and energy inside of you. Relax.

6. Practice. If the sight of your ex sends you into a rage, imagine seeing them without this rage. Run through the process in the comfort and privacy of your home. The more you practice, the easier it will be to take back control of your emotions.

* Strong emotions are very distracting. It’s not reasonable to believe you can control yourself in the most challenging situations, but practice will help you maintain equanimity most of the time.

7. Focus on solutions. Getting upset doesn’t create the best mental state for finding solutions. And equanimity doesn’t mean being happy and satisfied with leaving dog poop on the carpet. Deal with the situation appropriately, but avoid experiencing the emotions that impede your ability to function optimally. Working on a solution is much more effective that worrying.

8. Meditate daily. If you’re following these steps, you’re already meditating. Focus on your breath, notice your thoughts, and bring your attention back to your breath. Let go of any negative emotions. Most meditative practices follow this general format.

9. Be mindful. Keep your thoughts centered on your current activity or your environment. If you’re having a conversation, stay focused on the other person. With 100% mindfulness, equanimity is all but guaranteed.

10. When you’re feeling calm and centered, attempt to maintain it. Notice how good you feel. That’s the feeling you want to maintain. When you start to drift away from that state, attempt to bring yourself back.

Maintaining a state of equanimity is very challenging. You’ll find that your success will come most easily in mildly irritating situations, like waiting in line. As your skill grows, you can conquer situations that are more challenging. If you’re actively living your life, total equanimity is an incredible challenge. But even a little will greatly benefit your life.