April 26, 2019

Baby Brain? Don't Go Insane! Being A Better Father When Anxiety Cripples You

Note: This post has been contributed.

Becoming a parent, in many ways, is the shortcut to making you a better person. There's nothing more humbling and downright scary than being responsible for someone else in every aspect of their life. Naturally, this can pave the way for a lot of anxiety. While there's a lot of talk about postpartum depression in mothers, it happens in fathers as well. And when stress and anxiety rear its head, which is on a very regular basis, are there any simple things that we can do to keep a lid on this so we can be better parents?

It's All About The Practice
We have to practice being calm. This can be quite difficult to achieve if we are forever wound up. This means that you need to focus on the quality of mental downtime. When we are stressed and fit to explode this heightened state can deplete us of energy that is better used in other aspects of our lives. But when you don't know where to begin, this can prove to be a difficult road to embark on. The best approach for anybody that's looking to be calmer is to switch off your fight-or-flight. You can do this easily, but it does take a lot of practice. There's a lot of talk about mindfulness and meditation these days. But the best place to begin is to practice our breathing. A lot of us, when we are stressed, tend to shallow breathe. By focusing on our breath and breathing deeper, ensuring that our diaphragm fills up as well as our lungs, and doing this whenever we have a spare 20 seconds throughout the day, we can slowly take control over our state.

Don't Over-Rely On Stimulants
You wake up in the morning and you need that first coffee. You feel that you can't do anything without it. But what we tend to do, if we feel that we've had a particularly bad night, is over-rely on these stimulants. We may have a second or third cup, and depending on our own individual tolerance to caffeine, this might tip you over the edge. It's about finding that veritable sweet spot when it comes to caffeine. It's always best, after your first coffee, to wait at least 20 minutes for it to enter your system. Remember, caffeine stays in our bodies for at least 12 hours, so if you have a cup of coffee at 2 pm, it's still going to be in your system in the middle of the night!

Remember, You're Not Alone
Maybe you don't sleep, or life is just getting on top of you, and you feel like you never have a moment to yourself. You're not alone. And if you are spending a lot of time to yourself, there are some excellent resources out there, even in podcast form, that can help. Abiding Fathers have a podcast for fathers that are looking to fine-tune themselves. And when we feel these peaks and troughs of emotion, the most humbling thing that we can do for ourselves is realize that we're not in it alone. There is no need for us to feel like we've got to push through because this is what will help us. Support, especially for fathers and men who aren't particularly keen on discussing their emotions, is out there in abundance! When you feel stressed, remember, this is a normal sensation.

April 20, 2019

How to Enhance Your Spirituality for a Calmer Life

Note: This post has been contributed.

A moment of peace and quiet it very hard to come by nowadays. Everybody seems to be wrapped up in the excitement of their mobile phones or staying at work late to finish that important deadline. Have you ever considered what it would be like to have a more serene outlook on life? If you want to become a better person and show kindness to others there are a few life changes you can make right now. Connecting with your inner spirituality will help you to start a lifelong journey to happiness and calm. Consider some of the following ways to reconnect with yourself and find happiness from other elements in life.

Join a Church

Even if you aren’t a religious person, you might feel overwhelmed by the love and support that will great you from the moment you walk in. Look into the services offered by Universal Church and their door will always be open to you. The Universal Church is driven by the love its pastors, volunteers and faithful congregants have for the God of the Bible Who rescued them and for the people around them. Those who are part of this amazing work make all efforts necessary to take the good news of deliverance, family restoration and salvation to the minds and hearts of those near and far. By joining this family you will start to feel a new appreciation for life and the little things around you.
Beach, Girl, Leisure, Outdoors, Person

Meditate Often

You should never underestimate the power of meditation. If you have a particularly stressful job or you have a lot of personal issues going on in your life, this process will help you to connect with your breathing and relax. Even if you can only spend ten minutes meditating before you go to work, you will find it helps you to clear your head when you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed.

Practice Gratitude

It is true that many of us take our lives for granted; we can combat this by practicing gratitude every single day. Write down three things that you are grateful for every morning and you will start to see life in a whole different way. Whether you’re grateful for the birds singing outside your window or a hot cup of coffee in the morning, these are all things in life we should never take for granted. Many people strive to be more compassionate, but practicing gratitude will help you towards a kinder way of thinking. You never know what somebody is going through in their life so treat everybody with forgiveness whenever possible.

It can be very easy to pass judgement on others in this day and age, especially when you have no idea what their background is. However, spirituality will help you to become more forgiving and kind to those around you. Whether you are considering joining a local church or you want to make a conscious effort to show compassion to others, all of these improvements will help you to live a calmer and happier life.

April 02, 2019

The Key Habits That Will Make You A Better Person

Note: this post has been contributed.

Viewed in one respect, our lives are the product of an accumulation of habits. Of course, these can be either positive or negative, but over time, the things we do begin to shape who we are. Our habits are literally the foundation of our characters and our destinies. 

So it's little wonder that we spend a lot of time and mental energy engaged in a struggle to make our habits better ones. From the age old tradition of New Year's Resolutions onto setting SMART goals at work, and even reflected in the popularity of charity challenges such as Stoptober or Dry January, our desire to makeover our habits, and so, makeover the person we are, is deeply ingrained in us. 

We all have our individual motivating factors - from wanting to live a healthier lifestyle to scaling the corporate ladder, or even just making our children proud of us. We want and need to do better for our own sake. So what habits should be top of the list to change in our lives? 

Find Your Tribe

Making connections is essential to us as social animals. We find fulfillment in the approval of others, in being accepted - and there's nothing wrong with that. Spending time around people who inspire and uplift us, and who have similar values really can make a huge difference to our quality of life. And when we don't feel that sense of connection and support? We fall prey to the epidemic of loneliness that is all around us in a digital age. So make it your mission to find your tribe in life - people with the same passions as you. This tends to get harder as we get older, when we aren't exposed to new people and ideas as frequently. The key is to keep challenging yourself and learning new things. This will bring a new energy and usually new people into your life, and this can only be a positive. Surrounding yourself with the right networks can lead to new opportunities and great things - you just have to put yourself out there and find the connection. Natural introvert? Take a look at how to make small talk for introverts to arm yourself with the tools you need to succeed. 

Never Pay More Than You Need To

Our consumerist society is tuned in 24/7 to give us messages that we constantly need more and never things. Yet we know in our hearts that objects don't have the power to make us happy. Over the past few years, there has been a massive backlash movement which quite rightly values experiences over possessions, and prefers to spend any disposable income on making memories rather than acquiring the latest designer fashion. Indeed, one of the best and simplest habits is to learn respect for our money. Sooner than racking up needless purchases at high interest on easy credit, it's much healthier mentally and financially to take a step back. You can do that in several ways. The most useful is to create distance between you and a purchase. Never buy something on impulse, or because it's on sale. When you look at an item, challenge yourself to decide how much you think it's worth before looking at the price tag. If it's over that amount, put it back. You could also try adding items to an electronic wishlist rather than clicking ‘Add to basket’ on auto-pilot. If it's still on the list a month later, you have carte blanche to purchase, but you'll be surprised how many bad purchasing decisions this simple tactic can prevent. And make it a point of pride to never pay more than you have to on any purchase. Say you fall in love with a pricey set of new golf clubs. Instead of maxing out your credit card in the first shop you see them in, get smart. Shop around to find the best deal with a shopping comparison site or a specialist outlet such as rockbottomgolf.com. Or browse local listings for a preloved set - not only are you doing an incredibly positive thing for your wallet and impulse control,  but you're also saving the planet! 

Say No To Multitasking

We're often sold the myth that multi-tasking is crucial if we want to get everything done. But when you try to complete more than one task at once, you aren't putting your full effort and mental ability into anything that you do. This can be especially destructive if you run your own business, where you rely more on the quality of your individual output. If you want to improve at anything - from your half marathon pace time to your presentation skills, you must give it one hundred per cent -  and that means focusing on one task, and one task only. Cut the mental clutter. Close all those browser windows. Switch off your incoming email notifications and put your phone on silent. Tackle the most important job on your list first and give it your complete attention. You'll be surprised how much quicker you get it done and how much better quality you can achieve. 

Commit To A Better Night's Sleep

It may sound like a minor thing to those who lead busy lives. But a night of quality sleep is the foundation of mental and physical health. When we don't get enough rest, our minds and bodies suffer. Our focus is gone, we have poorer impulse control, we are more likely to make mistakes at work or to not have enough energy to work out. Practicing great sleep hygiene is a crucial habit that can make all the difference in your life. Start by finally banning electronics from the bedroom. The constant disturbances and the melatonin-disrupting blue light they emit have really negative impacts on our sleep quality. Then make sure the room is dark enough - you ideally need blackout blinds or curtains fitted. You should also check the room temperature, and invest in a great quality mattress and bedding. If you're still finding it hard to drop off, an electronic aromatherapy diffuser or even a white noise machine could be helpful, or try a mindfulness app like Calm or Headspace if you can't ‘switch off’ after a busy day. Aim to get at least seven or eight hours - that means properly calculating when you need to be in bed by counting back from your morning alarm time, and making sure you are wound down and ready to sleep by then. It makes a big difference to what you can achieve in a day.

A Christian Approach To The End Of Life

 Note: This post has been contributed. Unsplash - CC0 License Talking about the end of life isn’t a popular topic. But it is something that ...