Developing Self- Confidence, A Positive Attitude and Avoiding Stress

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." - Joseph Campbell

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." - Goethe

There are few better examples in the world of positive attitude and hard work than Amy Purdy, who finished second in her television competition on "Dancing With The Stars." She lost both of her feet due to disease, and also needed a kidney, which her Dad donated to her. With the support of her parents, and her instructor Derek Hough, she danced better than many current and former dancers who had feet, even though she was doing it on carbon fiber ones. It had to be seen to be believed, and it was by millions. In the past, many viewers had an appreciation for the stamina of older contestants, or the smoothness of some heavier ones, but they paled in comparison to what Amy Purdy did. The hosts, the judges and all the contestants were just about brought to tears by the positive inspiration she showed the world. If she can dance without feet, what should we believe we can do? She didn't put limits on herself. We shouldn't either.

                                                                            Move forward with confidence and a positive attitude... (Les Machines de L'ile -Nantes)

Increasing Self-Esteem To Find Happiness and Success

It's easy to get down on yourself after a setback, such as failing to obtain a position you've applied for, not getting a promotion, being on the rejected end of a relationship, family problems, and many others. John Maxwell in How Successful People Grow says "low self-esteem can cause many people to fail to grow and to reach their potential. Many people don't believe in themselves." He cites the famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, "It's impossible to consistently behave in a manner inconsistent with how we see ourselves. We can do very few things in a positive way if we feel negative about ourselves." If you feel that you are worthless, then you won't add value to yourself. Since these attitudes are self-defeating and non-productive, if you want to progress, you've got to do something about them. Improving your self-esteem is a first step toward developing the attitudes you need to succeed.

Remember that you are always a worthwhile person. If you don't feel like one now, you can be one once again, but you have to take the necessary steps to get there. Don't sabotage yourself with negative thoughts.

Sometimes we think are a whole lot worse off than we are. Sometimes we may be closer to extricating ourselves from a bad situation than we realize too. We often don't realize either how something that may seem to be very troublesome at the time may actually work out for our long term benefit. We are often poor judges of ourselves and of our situations. Keep the wisdom of Kahlil Gibran in mind to help you over the rough spots and the negative times:

"Don't be troubled. All is well."

It can be very comforting if we can bring ourselves to think this way.

Take the focus off of yourself. Find someone who needs your help. Expose yourself to positive rejuvenating experiences: reading, theater, upbeat movies, opera, concerts, ballet, bike riding, hiking, or gardening. (As you nurture your plants, remember that they need to be fed and watered to grow to their potential. So do you.We have to work at it in the proper sequence just like they do. You've got to do the watering first if you want plants.)

Get off by yourself by taking a walk along the shore, or a lake, or in a safe park. Meditate. Think about the good things you have done in your life, and start doing some of them again.Think about what things you can be grateful for, even if you are otherwise pressed down by problems. Ask for advice from trusted friends or professional advisers. There is no shame in that. We all need help sometime.

Go through your wardrobe and get rid of tired things and get some newer things that speak more positively about you. Get advice from your friends and store personnel. Maybe it's time to break out of the box. Check your appearance. Improve your posture - head up and smile. Lose some weight if you need to. Start walking or going to the gym in a structured program to build a healthier body.

How does you hair look? Sometimes a man's or woman's hairstyle can make a dramatic difference in appearance and in confidence. Maybe it's time for a new style to pep you up. For women, take a look at your makeup - maybe a little would help accentuate your features. Maybe it might need to be toned down to reflect a more conservative image of yourself too. If you start doing these things, and take other positive steps like them, people will start to notice, and often, they'll say something nice. Then you'll know you're on track to getting back to your real self again, and you can go forward with renewed confidence on your plans for personal growth.

By all means, read positive self-help, motivational books. I've done it all my life. It's been a great help, especially in down times. Lots of others have done things like these to improve their self-esteem. So can you. You don't want to look back on six months, or several years, and have to say to yourself, "Look at all that time I wasted! I could have been using it to create a better life for myself and for others." Start doing something about it now.

Consider Changing Whom You Spend Time With

Maxwell cites research by social psychologist David McCullough of Harvard saying that the people you associate with determine as much as 95% of your success or failure in life. Maxwell says, "It is not always comfortable, but it is always profitable to associate with people larger than ourselves. People with integrity. People who are positive. People who are ahead of us professionally. People who lift us up, instead of knocking us down. People who take the high road, never the low. And above all, people who are growing." Try to add more people like these to your life and stop spending time with "downers" as much as you can.

No Regret Living

"We all begin to die from the moment we are born. Some do it faster than others. All we can do is enjoy our lives."

- My Voice Will Go With You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson (Famous psychiatrist) - Commentary by Sidney Rosen

Arianna Huffington reported that "The Onion" had a headline saying: 'Death Rate Remains Steady At 100%'. It's something we'll all have to face eventually. One way to measure how good our life is going is to ask ourselves if we knew we were going to die in three months, what we have regretted not doing? For most of us, we're going to have more time than that, so we should get on with getting those things done. Pythagoras provides a good guide for this:

"What have I learned

Where 'er I've been

From all I've heard, from all I've seen?

What know I more worth the knowing?

What have I done that's worth doing? What have I sought that I should shun?

What duties have I left undone?" - Pythagoras

It's the undone things at the end that can cause the greatest regrets, so by doing what we know we should do in life, we simultaneously prepare ourselves for a more meaningful and peaceful passing. As the English poet Ted Hughes commented: "The only thing people regret is that they didn't live boldly enough, that thy didn't invest enough heart, didn't love enough. Nothing else counts at all." (adapted from Thrive - Arianna Huffington)

Much of my elementary school involved playing sports with about a dozen guys I grew up with, and listening to other kids make jokes about my father's funeral business: "Hey Gus (my nickname), your Dad's the last man to let you down", being called "Digger O'Dell" as a younger kid, and on and on. Everyone would say it as if it was the first time I heard it. It wasn't. Of course, most of us have no immediate plans to die. We join Milton Erickson in saying, "I have no intention to die. In fact, it's the last thing I'll do!" But the more we've accomplished that's meaningful to us, the less frustrating it will be. That's partially why we have to keep trying to find satisfaction in ourselves.


In one of his motivational booklets, Robert Schuller suggested that we always keep this word in mind, and roll out "The Big "N" when we need to. No matter what happens to us, we can always find a positive way to look at the situation:

- "I had to retire from work because of illness, nevertheless it has given me more time to spend with my family.

- "I had to declare bankruptcy, nevertheless it has provided me with the opportunity to make a fresh start, free of many debts I had before.

Many problems can arise during a lifetime.  We are often poor judges of what the ultimate outcome will be. Just take a positive view of what's happened and keep moving forward, utilizing any knowledge you've gained from your experiences to do better in the future.

Avoiding Stress -  Lawrence J. Danks

"The past, present and future walked into a bar together. It was tense."

Part of having a positive attitude is avoiding tension and depression in your life.

Ways to find happiness include taking the emphasis off of ourselves and moving forward in a sensible and positive direction. When we're in a stressed or depressed state, it can sometimes seem as if it's never going to end. But everything changes over time. We can facilitate the rapidity of a change to more positive territory through our own actions, such as those suggested below. No matter how bad things might be, or get, always have hope. It's always good to know that you're not alone too. Have someone else to turn to, and to lean on, when you need to.

1. See Your Doctor and/or A Trained Counselor Professional

It is important to determine if your stress or depression has a physical cause or whether a referral is needed to a trained psychiatrist or other mental health professional. Sometimes people say, "I've been there already. It didn't help." My suggestion is to try another counselor. Every counselor is not suitable for us. Just keep at it until you find someone who can help. The right professional can help but as Milton Erickson said, "It's the patient who does the therapy." With the proper guidance, you will be able to do what you need to do to get where you want to go.

2. Don't Try To Go It Alone

Talk with trusted family members and friends who you can rely upon to keep your confidences. Don't feel like a burden. What goes around in life often comes around. You can be there for them in the future when they need some help. It's going to get better. Change is one constant in life we can rely on. Listen to the advice of professionals and those who are concerned about you. It can help you view things differently. Be willing to try something new, particularly since what you might be doing so far might not be working too well. Talking it out can provide improved perspectives you may not have had otherwise, even if the actual advice you got in the process wasn't that helpful. There is something about just getting your thoughts out in front of you verbally that allows you to see things better, rather than just having them banging around inside your head, and getting nowhere.

3. Take The Focus Off Yourself

Thinking about your problems twenty hours a day is not helpful. Maybe you can't always get help, but you can always give it. It will help renew your own self-esteem when you see that you have the power to help someone else. It also puts your own problems into perspective. Doing this is an important step to getting yourself out of the woods to the point where you can see a clearing ahead that you can keep walking toward. It's ok to crawl sometimes too. Just keep your head up and keep moving in the right direction.

Volunteering takes the focus off of yourself and teaches the instructive lesson that whatever our problems are, those of many others are far more problematic. Service also builds self-esteem because it shows that we still have power - the power to do something good. It's naturally a great help to recipients too. Multiple research studies have shown that volunteers enjoy better health and have longer life spans overall. Arianna Huffington says that, "When we are engaged in service and volunteering, we are widening the boundaries of our being." Sometimes we can also get some surprising insights into ourselves by helping others, as Walt Whitman did: " I am larger, better than I thought. I did not know I held so much goodness."

4. Laugh More

Laughing more can help too. How often do you laugh? It takes the focus from us on to something else. Find outlets like funny movies, television shows, books, articles, jokes and whatever else might get you laughing. Spending time with positive, upbeat friends whom you're likely to laugh with can help too.

From a WebMD feature article, "Give Your Body a Boost -- With Laughter" by R. Morgan Griffin: "Feeling rundown? Try laughing more. Some researchers think laughter just might be the best medicine, helping you feel better and putting that spring back in your step."  "I believe that if people can get more laughter in their lives, they are a lot better off," says Steve Wilson, a psychologist and laugh therapist. "They might be healthier too...The effects of laughter and exercise are very similar," says Wilson. "Combining laughter and movement, like waving your arms, is a great way to boost your heart rate."

The focus on the benefits of laughter really began with Norman Cousins' memoir, Anatomy of an Illness. Cousins, who was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful spine condition, found that a diet of comedies, like Marx Brothers films and episodes of "Candid Camera", helped him feel better. He said that ten minutes of laughter allowed him two hours of pain-free sleep." This particular type of comedy might not be appealing to you, but search around. Find something that is.

5. Just Do The Next Thing

Sometimes depression can immobilize us to the point where we seem overwhelmed by everything and can't seem to get ourselves to do anything. Just dead in the water. Just do the very next thing. Don't worry about a half-hour from now, tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Just do the next thing. If you're depressed when you get up, wash your face. Then brush your teeth, then get a shower, then get dressed, then put on the coffee,then do the dishwasher, etc, etc. Don't think about anything else until you're finished what you're doing. Then decide what the next thing is to do. After a while you're going to see that you are staying active and getting things done. Staying active is a big help because it takes your mind off of you and substitutes accomplishments, even if they are very modest, for obsessing about problems.

6. Get Out!

Don't stay in the house. Get out and take a walk, go to the mall, volunteer, or ask someone to go to lunch or dinner with you. You take the lead. Don't wait for someone to call you.

It's very important to stay busy at night, but not just watching television. Read, challenge yourself, call somebody, or do something that gets you into a state of flow where you are so absorbed in something positive and challenging that you lose track of time ( a flow state). Idle time can be a real enemy when we're pressed down by concerns. Many people can deal with things during the day when they are busier, but nights can be very lonely. Whenever you feel tired, take a short nap, and stay up at night until you feel tired enough to go to sleep without a struggle. Sleep helps.

7. Self-Help Reading
This should be a lifetime habit. There are research tested ways for people to be happier. Learn what they are. There are many self-help remedies contained right in this website and thousands of others. I would particularly call to your attention in dealing with depression a book written by Dr. Gordon Livingston M.D., a practicing psychiatrist: Too Soon Old,Too Late Smart. It contains many positive suggestions for dealing with stress and depression, and many common problems that people seek professional advice for. He is a highly experienced professional who offers wisdom from having provided counseling for thousands of hours to help others.

8. Prayer and/or Meditation

Both provide the opportunity to stop and reflect and to enable us to gain perspective again. Either or both may be helpful.

9. Stop Worrying
The Bible has a wonderful quotation about worry that has helped me many times:

"You worry all day and what do you have to show for it?"

How much has your worrying accomplished? Whenever you have a worrisome thought come into your mind, just fight it off by saying, "No! I'm not going there." After you do that for a while, you'll find that this handy distracter will help you to clear your head of junk thoughts that don't provide any benefit.

Sometimes we wind up worrying about nothing too:

- Montaigne noted, "There were many terrible things in my life, but most of them never happened."

- Jefferson concurred, "How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened."

- Calvin Coolidge too: " "If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you."

Don't let what's "impending", get in the way of the positive things you should be thinking about instead.

10. Get Physical

I wish I could tell you that I am a model for this, but I'm not even close. However, I do not doubt the wisdom of what I read everywhere. If you can get to the gym (having a trainer helps enforce the discipline), engage in a sport or just walk, it can help. My father had a heart attack when he was about 55 and his doctor told him, "Tom, start walking." He did, until he died at 87. It can't hurt.

Get a physical examination at least once a year. Stay ahead of the curve.

It is also important to be attentive to dental health. It not affects your teeth and gums, but poor dental hygiene cam lead to cardiac problems. Visit a dentist at least once a year. A local dental school or dental hygiene program probably offers free, supervised teeth cleanings and dental examinations at an extremely nominal cost.

11. Regain Perspective and Improve Your Thinking

It's hard to move ahead when you're not thinking straight. Get away from the situation. Take a trip or visit a friend or relative somewhere else. It's can't just be for two days. Stay away for a week or more if you can. Being removed from the situation and doing and seeing different things can help you re-evaluate where you are and provide fresh insights to help you make changes you may need to make.

Be present. Constant thinking about answering texts, e-mails and phone calls, and what's next, instead of who's next to you, or in front of you, fogs perspective and disrupts thinking and communication. Electronics have been an asset to life in many ways, but they have also become a scourge to more peaceful living. The key is to control them. Don't let them control you.

Economist,essayist and humorist Ben Stein commented that most problems we face are found right between our ears. No real improvement takes place, until we improve the way we think about our problems. It's good to remember too, that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. That strength will help us face many problems in the future, with a clearer head and with greater equanimity. As William James said, "The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. " We change television channels with our remotes dozens of times a month. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to change the channel in our head when we should.

12. Conquering Death and The Loss of A Love

Two of life's great stressors are the death of a loved one and the loss of a love. Both are very difficult to deal with and can immobilize us for a long time. The important thing to remember in both cases is that we still have a valuable life of our own. One of the best tributes we can give to someone we loved who has died is to live a meaningful and enjoyable life. The person who has died usually would not want mourning over his/her loss to stand in the way of that. Loss of a love, or unreturned love, has a pain all its own. It's important to just face reality.

Sometimes it's also good to realize that we should be careful of what we wish for. A famous quotation says: "Not getting what we wish for can be a stroke of luck." Lives should not be put on hold because we can't get what we want. Just ask yourself how much sleep the person pined for is losing. Probably none. So don't torture yourself. It's not worth it. You will surely recognize this later, but it's better to do it now, so you don't look back on it later and see how much time you wasted making yourself feel miserable. The best cure is to get busy finding someone who loves you in the way you need to be loved. Once you find an interest in someone else, who's interested in you, the loss you've been feeling will start to fade.

One of my books, Finding The Right Man For You speaks about this, and other problems in chapters such as "Dealing With Divorce", "Defeating Hurt and Anger" and "Life After the Death of a Partner", as well as many other helpful dating related topics for women. It's available as an Amazon E-book.

13. Make The Most of Your Unfinished Life

Think about others and be kinder. It doesn't have to be earth shattering. Little kindnesses, and different ones, extended frequently can have excellent impact on others and ourselves.(Chapter 7 of my book, Your Unfinished Life, is entitled "40 Ways To Be Kind". They are meant to be generally suggestive. You will be able to think of many other ways that suit your own talents and personality. (The full text of the book is located in Appendix A of this website.)

If being happier by being kinder, and taking the emphasis off of ourselves sounds like mumbo-jumbo to you, here's what famed intellectual and philosopher Aldous Huxley had to say about it: "People often asked me what is the most effective technique for transforming their life. It is a little embarrassing that after years and years of research and experimentation, I have to say that the best answer is - just be a little kinder."

Virtually all positive psychologists say too that true gratification in life is found not in focusing on ourselves and our egos, or by basing our life on material things, but in the service of something higher. Pick something that's meaningful to you. It will improve your self-esteem, and provide you with the peace of mind, personal fulfillment and happiness you seek.

Don't Worry, Make Money - Richard Carlson

Richard Carlson was a pyschotherapist, best known for his best seller, Don't Sweat The Small Stuff. It was the #1 book on the NY Times best seller list for 100 weeks. I've summarized some highlights from his Don't Worry, Make Money  book, not because of the make money part, but to help readers deal with worry. Dr. Carlson was a highly successful author of many books. He died unexpectedly at the age of 45 of a pulmonary embolism he developed on a flight during a book promotion tour, but he has left a wonderful and inspiring legacy for all of us.

His book has 100 readings. I've selected what I thought were some very helpful thoughts. (The descriptive headings and italics are mine.)

Just Begin

"The trick to success sounds very simplistic, because it is very simple. Just begin. Take a single step, followed by another, and then another. Don't look too far out into the future, and don't look too far back either. Stay centered on the present moment as best as you can. If you follow this simple plan, you'll be amazed what you can accomplish over time.... Don't worry that conditions have to be perfect. The truth is you are still going to have to take that first step."

The Magic of Non-Attachment

"Being non-attached creates emotional freedom. It means holding on tightly, but letting go lightly. It suggests trying hard, really caring, but at the same time being completely willing to let go of the outcome. Attachment creates fear that gets in your way. Non-attachment, on the other hand works like magic. It allows you to have fun in your efforts, to enjoy the process. It helps you succeed in whatever you're doing by giving you the confidence you need. It takes the pressure off. You win regardless of the outcome."

Your Life Begins Now

"All of us have unlimited potential and a clean slate at this moment - now. The wake of a boat has no power. What then powers the boat? All of the power of the boat comes from the present moment energy of the engine. That's it. There is nothing else.

Our past has no power, except the power we give it. One of the most dynamic and significant changes you can make in your life is the commitment to drop all negative references to your past, so you can begin living now. Operate as if all the power in your life begins and ends in this moment. Focus on what you can do today, right now in this moment and you will already have begun to create the abundance that is your birthright."

Know What You Don't Know And Aren't Good At

"Spend the bulk of your time doing whatever it is you do best as well as that which is most important to your success." (This advice is consistent with that of Martin Seligman and Bernard Baruch, as well as many others.) What if you could spend an extra two or three hours a day focusing on that which you truly love and are genuinely good at? What would happen to your productivity, creatively, and bottom line? You'll never know for sure unless you try, but I can assure you that, for me and for so many others I know, this simple idea has been an extremely profitable insight."

Inspiration and Reflection

" Built into our pysche is a wealth of wisdom. We all have innate common sense at our disposal that can provide us with solutions, inspiration and guidance. The problem is that we must quiet down enough to hear it. We must wait for inspiration.

Reflection is simply a matter of getting out of your own way. It's about quieting down your mind so that answers can arise within the quietness. This quiet source of wisdom is available to all of us in unlimited doses because it is always present. The only factor preventing us from hearing or being connected to this wisdom is the noise or chatter of our own thinking. Although your mind will be quiet, it won't be turned off. Success is often a function of doing something exceptionally well or more creatively than it has been done before. Reflection is a powerful vehicle to bring this about."

Short Circuit Negative Reactions

"Moments after I become angry, a little voice inside my head said, 'Relax. Don't turn this into a big deal.' Many potential problems can be averted with this simple strategy. All you really need is the wisdom to understand that negative reactions aren't in your bets interest, and the humility and willingness to back off and start over."

Don't Panic

"Nothing interferes with the creation of success and abundance like panic. When you make a commitment to stop panicking, you'll notice some incredible things happening. First, you'll notice that a vast majority of what you are most worried about will never happen.Second, when you learn to keep your bearings, your wisdom will come forth. In the absence of worry, answers will emerge. Instead of a head full of concerns, you'll create a head full of solutions. Finally, when you stay calm, you really do bring out some of the best in others. Life is too short to worry it away."

Getting An Answer

The next time you need an answer that is not readily available, rather than racking your brain over it, try an experiment. Instead of thinking actively about the issue, let it go. The fact that he nature of the problem or question is all the information you need. Allow the question to settle, like silt in water. ("Muddy water left still becomes clear.") When you do this something magical begins to happen within your consciousness. Something beyond you, a dimension of thought of which you have no control, flips on. In time, an answer will pop into your head.

Fear of Disapproval

The fear of disapproval can interfere with our greatest chance of success. This includes the fear of disapproval of others. If necessary, talk to a career counselor who might be able to shed some light on the subject, or offer some helpful guidance.

Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

Whether you have read my earlier book Don't Sweat The Small Stuff or not, I couldn't resist brining the subject to your attention. The decision not to sweat the small stuff lies at the heart of a high-quality life. It helps you keep your perspective and to maintain a lighthearted nature and a positive outlook on life. Rather than expending energy being bothered, annoyed and frustrated, you'll use the energy for creativity, problem solving, and the creation of abundance.

We forget that when we see life as a great big emergency, when we are uptight, frustrated, and stressed, that our vision is clouded and our wisdom suffers. We end up making more mistakes, wasting energy, and making poor decisions. When you don't sweat the small stuff, your life won't be perfect, but your chances for success will be greatly enhanced and the quality of your life will soar.


Resilience is our ability to bounce back from sadness or adversity. No one escapes without some of that: deaths, loss of a love, family and financial problems, and many others. It's important to know that no one is going to be happy all the time. Everyone has her/his quiet moments of sadness and pain. A key to happiness though is to ensure, as much as possible, that the downs don't last. Obviously, some take longer to get over than others. For some, there may be things that they never get over. In cases like that, when we can't seem to extricate ourselves from the darker side, this is when professional help should be sought. Our point of view - the way we look at things- can have a great effect on how we feel. Counselors can provide new framing mechanisms and adjusted point of view that can help us find our way out of the woods. It's important to always remember though that they are simply guides, not magicians. We have to do the necessary work.

Reinforcing that point, in the interesting article, "How To Bounce Back" Mandy Oaklander in Time's "The Science of Happiness" says: "Experts know that happiness is strongly connected to how well you rebound from setbacks. They also know how everyone can get better at it."

Dennis Charney, the Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine says: "For resilience, there's not one prescription that works. Find what works for you." It can be helpful to listen to others who offer suggestions, because they can give us a lift and they also might work for us. But it shouldn't be surprising that there isn't one remedy that will suit everyone. For some it might mean talking things out with friends and family, for others, developing a new interest, prayer, meditation or other avenues. It's certainly a truism that if we think someone should "see better" , i.e. have improved insight, we need to do more for them than simply prescribe that they wear our glasses.

From the article:

"Expert Tips For Resilience" (Commentary mine.)

1. Develop A Core Set Of Beliefs That Nothing Can Shake

For example:

- "If it doesn't kill me, it will make me stronger."

-"I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me."

- "You worry all day, and what do you have to show for it."

-"The best way to deal with your own problems is to find someone else to help."

-" I had no shoes, then I saw a man who had no feet."

Many age-old quotations can be found that provide the same lift. It just has to be one you believe in and can call upon when needed. Many adapt ones that they heard their parents or grandparents say to deal with trying "situations".

2. Try To Find Meaning In Whatever Stressful Or Traumatic Thing Has Happened

This is often very difficult to do at the time, but looking back, it sometimes becomes very apparent that we have been the recipient of "benificent showers." As the expression goes, "Be careful what you wish for. It might come true." When someone loses a job, it can have both financial and psychological effects, but it might result in someone finding a far better job - one they never would have found if they had stayed in the comfort of a position that they may never have left on their own. Or a relationship ends and someone is devastated. Later that person meets a far better person, or has an improved life, and is far happier than they ever would have been in the old situation, as was the case with a family member and also with a dear friend. One of the best ways to get over a relationship that has caused hurt is to find a new and better one and to maintain good social relationships.

3. Try To Maintain A Positive Outllook

Much of this is in our viewpoint. Change the way you look at things, change your life.

4. Take Cues From Someone Who Is Especially Resilient

We shouldn't try to be someone else, but we surely can use positive role models to suggest how we might deal with the problems of life better. Maybe we have some minor health problems. Then we talk with someone who has been getting chemotherapy, with all that goes along with that, yet they remain remarkably optimistic in the face of it. Perhaps someone has lost a child, yet they show great courage and resilience in trying to live a productive life. Even if we feel that our world has crumbled because our job, or a love went away, when we see this kind of example, it can help us keep our own sadness in its proper place.)

5. Don't Run From Things That Scare You: Face Them

John Wayne's definition of courage: "Being afraid, but doing it anyone." Sometimes after we do, we find that the dragon wasn't as big as we thought. Even if it is, putting a more realistic face on the situation will help us deal with it better the next time.

6. Be Quick To Reach Out For Support When Things Go Haywire

Stephen Southwick, Yale School of Medicine: "Very few highly resilient people are strong in and by themselves. You need support."  If resilient people need it, then how much more must those who aren't resilient need it?

Someone is always there to help. It could be your friends and family. It can also be a minister, imam, priest,rabbi or other counselor. But you have to do the reaching. Getting things out in front of you where you can see them with the improved perspective others can give you is infinitely superior to having the same destructive thoughts continually banging around inside your head. Something's got to change. If you keep doing the same thing, or thinking the same way, you're going to get the same poor result. Change it up. Ask for help.)

7. Learn New Things As Often As You Can

Does the body go all through life using the same cells? No, older ones die to make space for newer and stronger ones. We have to do the same thing with our lives. It doesn't mean dumping everything over. It just means being open to change that will make us feel better about ourselves and which will offer new challenges. We should always have goals to keep us going. What are yours?

8. Find An Exercise Regimen And Stick To It

Some people are very self-disciplined and will make themselves do whatever they know is good for their health, such as going to the gym regularly. An exercise regimen should be cleared with one's physician first. It's best to select something that you know you'll stick with, otherwise it's just going to pass away like a fad and no long term benefit will be realized.

9. Don't Beat Yourself Up Or Dwell On The Past

What's done is done. You can't unring the bell. All you can do is try to learn from what happen nd try avoid making he same mistakes again. The best way not to have a future is to have the past get in the way of the present, so when negative thoughts from the past creep in just say to yourself. "No! I'm not going there." Then get busy doing something else. You might have to do this twenty times a day in the beginning, but as you stay more positively occupied, you'll say it to yourself less and less. Then you'll know you're getting somewhere!

10. Recognize What Makes You Uniquely Stronger - And Own It

We all have strengths. We don't have to possess every strength. Just maximize the ones we do have. If we do that, it will be more than enough.

          Improve your point of view.

             Take a beautiful walk...

Get More Sleep

Lack of sleep can increase stress, cause weight gain and otherwise also be detrimental to health. Arianna Huffington in her excellent book, Thrive, credits getting proper rest with helping to turn her life around. She worked countless hours and deprived herself of sleep. She got a strong wake-up call when she collapsed in her office, hit her head on the edge of her desk on the way down, and woke up in a pool of blood. After some re-examination, she realized she was making more mistakes, failing to avoid problems, and missing opportunities because she was not thinking correctly, due to her lack of sleep. Now she gets 7-8 hours of "electronics free" sleep (no electronics permitted in her bedroom, just traditional books). She feels like an entirely different person, and is far more productive.

There's also a certain accompanying illogic that says, "If I work for 80 hours, I'll get twice as much done than if I only work for 40 hours." Working extra hours can be helpful, but only to a point. After that, productivity and thinking power drop off sharply.

Naps can help too. There shouldn't be any shame in them. Naps are very rejuvenating. The Huffington Post has it's own nap rooms. She cited famous nappers including Edison and Churchill, and many others.  When I was a kid, I would complain about having to sleep sometimes. My mother would always say, "If you slept, you must have needed it." So if you need a nap, take it. You'll feel better and be mentally sharper - probably sharper than those who criticize you for taking one!

50 Self-Help Classics - Tom Butler-Bowdon

Below are some selected positive thinking thoughts from authors whose works are featured in Tom Butler-Bowdon's Fifty Self-Help Classics:

"Only by changing your thoughts will you change your life." - As A Man Thinketh - James Allen

Ralph Waldo Emerson

- A man is what he thinks about all day long. (So if something is important for you to achieve, give it more thought and do some research.)

- Most of us are anxious to improve our circumstances, but are unwilling to improve ourselves - and there for we remain bound.

- The best path to success is calmness of mind...Tempest tossed souls battle to gain success, but success avoids the unstable.

NLP: The New Technology of Achievement - Andreas and Faulkner

- "If what you're doing isn't working, do something else. Do anything else." (Obviously, something positive, non-destructive and not harmful to anyone else.)

- Change the way you communicate with yourself. After making the usual negative comments, restate your goal - negative first and positive last...Everyone has internal voices. Turn them into great encouragers instead of saboteurs.

- Use positive language to focus on what you want, not what you fear.

- Developing a compelling future draws you toward the actions needed to realize it.

- Our specific thoughts, feelings and actions have produced what we are today; by changing these inputs you will get different results - a different you.

Finding Your Own North Star - Martha Beck

Anything you are doing that causes stress and struggle, no matter how worthy you think it is, is probably not part of your true direction. When you find something that gives you joy, and at which you seem easily productive,it is probably close to your North Star. (Use that to guide your future steps. This is an outstanding book, especially for women who would like to change their priorities.)

The Bhagavad-Gita

You will know you are living to outcome when your intentions are noble and you feel peace in your actions. Your work is your sanctuary and you would do it even for no reward at all...

Unless you are doing the work you love, you are darkening your soul. (If this seems impossible to change, find a way to change things at work, so you can at least make what you are doing better. The Dalai Lama's The Art of Happiness at Work can help.) ... The wise always have an outcome or result in mind, yet their detachment from it makes them all the more effective. (Focus positively on the doing, not the results.)

Higher even than the peace of meditation is the peace that comes from the surrender of the fruit of one's actions; in this state we are free from the rigidity of set expectations, allowing the unexpected and remarkable to emerge. (Don't create stress by pressuring yourself. Just move forward in a positive vein. Don't beat yourself up over things.)

You can achieve a state where you don't need any external commendation to make you feel right; you know you are of real worth. (The best approval is your own.)

The enlightened person is the same in success or failure, is not swayed by the winds of an event or emotion - the importance of steadiness.

Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes - William Bridges

Give yourself the chance to rewrite your life story. (You're the author. You can do it. Sylvester Stallone not only played Rocky Balboa, he wrote the script. He had difficulty selling it. Finally, he found a buyer, but the buyer wanted to cast someone else in the role. Stallone said he wouldn't sell, unless he got the part too. If he hadn't, most people would never have heard of Sylvester Stallone. He wrote his own script. Then he followed it. How can you do the same thing?)

If your life ended today, what do you feel you should have done by now?

Beginnings can only be seen in retrospect - they don't seem impressive at the time. (The small things can be the big things later. Start with something. Even small step by step accomplishments can produce positive feelings and the motivation to continue onward.)

When we are ready to move on, opportunities will appear... Be easy on yourself and maintain at least some form of continuity with your old life... Don't be too disheartened if things don't move as quickly as you would like. (Sometimes we just have to keep moving forward and to have patience. It helps to ease into new things gradually too, rather than putting yourself into stressful situations by making sudden 180 degree changes.)

Transition is not the end of everything, but a cyclical process whose ultimate reward is a sense of direction, much clearer than you have had before. "Not in his goals, but in his transitions, is man great" - Emerson