Grab Stress by the Scruff of the Neck

Banish Stress

Banish StressStress infiltrates every aspect of life. It can sneak up on you while you are oblivious to its presence, it can destroy your sense of peace, strip away your ability to think and act with any coherent sense and leave you feeling weak and ineffectual. It destroys focus, chips away at the immune system and it increases your potential to be downright irritable.  I’d like to say there’s nothing good about stress but actually, there is. Your stress response – (fight or flight) can save your life. It sharpens up your alertness so that you can respond to perceived dangers and, it can also make you work to your maximum potential (think exam stress) or, be off the starting blocks like lightning (think athletics) so, there are times when stress can work for you.

But, for the majority of us, stress is like an evil entity. It doesn’t matter how good your life, it can still invade without warning and create havoc, emotionally and physically. So, what can you do? The answer is to stand up and fight back. When I say you need to take these daily stressors by the scruff of the neck and shake them, I’m not kidding. Without taking a proactive approach, stress may ebb and flow, but don’t trust it, nor should you turn your back when you think that any situation is easing. It’s only waiting for a moment of weakness and it will pounce. Believe me, stress doesn’t just dissipate on its own, it waits to regain its strength and then it forms into a hideous monster that not only destroys your ability to experience peace and harmony during the day, but it manifests into some obscure creature that steals your sleep from you too. If you thought bedtime horrors were a thing of the past, think again. Stress, in all it’s glory can taunt you and prod you until you awaken with bloodshot eyes, all disorientated and dreading the day. Stress Management

While I write this, a little tongue-in-cheek, you know that the words are still honest. Stress invades lives and, it can ruin them. When you are stressed, your words are likely to be a little more sharp, you’ll be irritable to anyone who dares approach. When stress doesn’t decrease, this behaviour continues, you’ll offend or upset friends and family, the very people who are likely to be on your side. You won’t sleep, so work will suffer. Your productivity will reduce as will your focus. Your ability to communicate effectively will dramatically become impaired because you are tired and, oh yes, your perception will be off kilter too. You are not alone in this. Many people are weighed down by the pressure of unresolved stressors. But stress also damages you physically too. You may feel nauseous, anxious, tearful or develop headaches, tension in the neck and shoulders or, conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). But this is only the tip of a huge iceberg. Unresolved stress can kill. Remember, your mind and body must work together in unison, stress only fragments your balance in life. Equilibrium becomes a thing of the past.

The only way to recover and to embrace a normal and healthy life again is to grab stress by the scruff of the neck and resolve it. Yes, it means facing up to your problems. Don’t shy away, don’t bury your head in the sand, do something about it. You will feel a million times better. But there’s more that you can do too. You can learn powerful, effective stress management tips. You can build the foundations of your life so that you are no longer struggling to survive, but thriving whatever life throws at you. But you must take action, I may be biased but a great starting point for stress management techniques is published below. Well, you have to start somewhere……

by Annette Young

The 7-Day Stress-Busting Action Plan comes in.

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Stress Management Tips

 

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The Truth About Victim Mentality

Don't be a victim

by Annette Young

We probably all know people who play the victim so well. Yet, these individuals may be unaware that they are doing so. 

Consider this – it  may even be you.

So how does victim mentality actually start. Many of our behaviours are learned organically from our parents, our peers or, from other authority figures, but this is not necessarily the source unless you have witnessed someone close to you playing the blame game. Often, individuals begin to regard themselves as victims of life due to the behaviours of those around them even if there is no evidence to support this. Of course, sometimes, we all suffer as a result of another person’s negative behaviour but that doesn’t automatically create victim mentality where habitual thought processes become the norm.

Many blame their misfortune on others. They didn’t get the job, they didn’t have a pay rise, they lost out in love etc. These are all everyday scenarios but the victim is likely to blame these losses on the successful individual being luckier than them. They won’t necessarily consider that in order to achieve they should try harder or work smarter. After all, every day, there is the potential to achieve success or to fail in life.

Sometimes we lose out due to the misdeeds of others and this is known as victimism.  

You may notice those close to you playing this role. Perhaps they exude a sense of cuteness or, it’s a practiced role that they perform well. At the core of this behaviour,  there is intent – whether a conscious decision or a subconscious behaviour.

There are lots of signs to look out for:

  • Displaying heightened attention levels when with others
  • Believing that others are always luckier, happier or more successful
  • Attaching negative intentions in relation to others
  • Unwilling to take responsibility for their own actions
  • Gaining pleasure through feeling sorry for themselves
  • Gaining sympathy through relaying somewhat exaggerated stories about their situation or the misdeeds of others.

Playing the victim leads anywhere but to success. If you find yourself slipping into victim mode, it doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it’s a coping mechanism in the main. It enables you to accept failings before they even occur. Change is important – so, determine to monitor your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. No-one needs to stand behind the actions of others, it’s far more important to take ownership of your own actions than to blame those around you, even if on some occasions, it’s true.

Wouldn’t you rather be master of your own destiny rather than leaving the fate of your successes in the hands of others? Of course. Playing the victim and never taking the control of any real situation is a negative behaviour but one that can be changed. Self-help in respect of victim mentality works, it’s a case of changing negative thoughts so that you have a more positive outlook. It’s about accepting failures through your own doings rather than blaming others. It’s about taking ownership of your life and forging your own way in life, standing by your choices. Victim mentality is self-defeating, if you struggle to escape the clutches of this behaviour, seek out a professional counsellor or, try CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

Awareness is a wonderful starting point.

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I’m Not Stressed! Are You?

Stress Management Techniques

Stress Management Techniques

Stress is a horrible thing. It has a habit of sneaking up on you and worse, clusters of stress often strikes at the same time. When this happens, it can be so difficult to keep your head above water and to cope with or manage any difficulties.

Stress can  however, work for you. If you think about short-term pressures i.e. an exam environment, you need to be sharp and super-alert and heightened stress levels can do this for you. Athletes in the 100m track event have to be out of the blocks as quickly as possible and short-term stress can help. But long-term stress, those pressures which have not been resolved or dealt with can devastate your life and impact your health too.

If you can get a handle on the stressors that occur in your own life, you can start eroding those nagging little problems which invade everyday life. When you take action, stress management becomes much easier, in fact, the results are so beneficial that the motivation to do more enables you to streamline your whole life. The ‘burying your head in the sand’ approach will do you no favours at all and yet, a great many do just this. The best way of tackling stress is to recognise it and do something about it. When you take action, it empowers you. You start to feel great and suddenly, potential issues don’t have quite the same impact on you. Of course, there will always be stressors but it’s how you tackle them and how you think about stress that will make a difference.

Don’t leave yourself at risk of stress-related health conditions, take a look at common stressors in your own life, make a note of them and start to make key changes ready to de-stress life generally. Everyone can benefit from addressing these unhealthy areas of life and there’s no need to tackle everything at once. The benefits will be reaped quite quickly.

Annette Young

Are you ready to learn more about stress management? CLICK HERE

 

Do You Think Yourself Old?

Time waits for no one.

 

When we think about ageing, we tend to think about our bodies deteriorating and the slow, steady process of our mental faculties ebbing away.  The thought of aging tends to follows a negative pattern because it’s about loss and of course, depicts the inevitable signs of our own mortality. What we should do instead is think about the accumulated knowledge that we have gained and how we are able to explore new ideas and concepts with a mind developed through discovery and knowledge gained over a lifetime.

 

We think about ageing incorrectly because we put numbers first. We map out our lives through a series of dates that follow a calendar which we created ourselves. It makes sense that we can mark time in this way. The simple solution of following the turn of the earth for a day and marking out a year by understanding the Earth’s journey around the sun all appears to be the correct answer to charting out our daily lives. It has become important to us to chart time and in a world that is growing busier almost by the second, we tend to map out our days by watching the ticking of the clock.

 

However, ageing has nothing to do this. We cannot stop getting older but we don’t all age in relation to that ticking clock. Ageing and time are two different factors. Once we understand this, we develop a relationship with ageing and time that is completely different than before. The mistake that is ingrained deeply within is to believe that numbers count for how we should feel or act. We celebrate reaching pivotal points in our lives like 21 and 40 and 60. We consider these significant milestones and, of course, it’s not wrong to celebrate those events. But they have nothing to do with real ageing but the danger is that our minds still believes that it does. Someone reaches a certain age and they start to believe that they need to behave differently or dress in a certain way. This is all completely wrong because your body clock may not be in line with your chronological age, and because of this, some people age quicker than they need to.

A demonstration of this is when two people who are attracted to each other meet for the first time. For most people, the need to want to know the other person’s age is high on their list. Sometimes, the answer to this question may put them completely off the idea of being with that person in a relationship. Of course, there are obvious boundaries as it’s not natural to be attracted to someone who is at the opposite end of the scale from you, because nature does not want that to happen. It requires both adults to be around for any offspring. How sad though that we often categorize another person simply because of a number that was given to them.

The truth is that once you stop thinking of your age and your life as a series of numbers then you unlock the inner you, because it is highly unlikely that the ageing process your mind and body is going through is really linked to any numbers at all. The age you have been told you are may well not be your physical, mental or emotional age at all.

Sponsered by The Ageless Body System by Wesley Virgin.

Self-Belief Within Relationships

colorful-1187076_960_720Very few of us are trained to actually explore our own belief systems and therefore, we trundle through life with these beliefs largely unchallenged. False beliefs can be quite damaging in certain aspects of life and one area in which we need to look at those beliefs is within relationships.

We may believe in something wholeheartedly but this does not make it true.

If we make judgments simply through values that have been either passed down to us or which are largely unexplored, then we risk a less than desirable outcome. Consider this – has there ever been a time in your life when you have wanted to ask someone out on a date but failed to do so fearing rejection? If the answer is yes, then this is a self-limiting belief. The origins of this belief may be deeply embedded in the sub-conscious mind and may have been laid down as a trigger many years beforehand.

So let’s examine some beliefs and see if they are really working for you.

If you are in a healthy relationship and happy with the ebb and flow of energy between you then all is well but for a great many people, this is not the case, the harmony between both may be sadly lacking. Or, you may no longer be in a relationship and feel that you have missed your chance of finding true love. You may have been hurt and unable to face the prospect of finding love again. Sometimes, by simply examining your personal beliefs, it is possible to facilitate change for the better.

Here are a few beliefs that are simply not true and may damage a relationship very quickly:

1. If you fall out of love then it will never return.
2. What I have experienced in the past will always return in the future.
3. It takes two to change things.
4. If it’s real love then it should require no work.
5. If it doesn’t work this time then I will never find true love again.

Now if you read through these five sentences, do they make sense to you? Do any of them resonate as to how you feel? Can you justify any of the statements made?

It’s worth nothing that none of these are true, it is simply a case of perception i.e. how we see things or how we feel that differs. I have picked out these five sentences deliberately because they are often the type of false information that is passed on down to us. They occur through damaging experiences and beliefs of others which eventually become our own.

We need to examine them and question why this should be so.

It pays to write a list down that includes every self-limiting belief that you have and although you may struggle initially, you can rectify this by considering any decisions made in relationships and question why you made them. It is possible to empower oneself very easily once we start to dissect any beliefs and actions that have been self-limiting. Simply, they have no right to be with us at all.

So here is a couple of questions that you should ask yourself.

1. Is what I believe really true?
2. Can I change how I think about situations?
3. With practice, can I have a different belief system?

We must recognise that the capability of change is within all of us and the real power lies with our recognising our basic needs and those of our partner’s too. Each of us is responsible for our actions and so anything we do in life, will facilitate change in some direction. The point is to recognise the value of what we have in any given partnership. No two people are ever the same and so no relationship can be the same as the previous one, this means that what happened once is not necessary going to happen again. We must eliminate comparisons for that is damaging in itself.

All of the positives above allow us to be true to ourselves and to enable the partnership to feel free and safe because the relationship can grow without fear or limitations. We develop in the way that we should. This is often the main key to a healthy, loving relationship.

Andy Beveridge

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Fixed Or Growth? Which One Are You?

mindI want to talk about mind-set for a few minutes because mind-set is really the foundation block to so many important areas of our lives. As a business coach, I see many people stumbling through life achieving little or, not even getting started at all. Yet often, these people have all the knowledge they require and some great ideas too.

So what is it that actually prevents them from moving forward with their plans? In respect of my own clients, I could clearly see that it was not lack of intelligence – in fact, it never is. I could see that they were informed and their goals seemed attainable, in addition, their plans were solid and in place.

With everything seemingly in the right place, what can go wrong?

The answer is nearly always in the way they think.

There are two basic types of mind-set, fixed and growth. A fixed mind-set is where someone may believe that the qualities or skills they have acquired is at their uppermost limits. When you hear someone say they are not very good at one thing but fairly good at another, this can often come from a fixed mind-set. This kind of person is likely to think that they already are at their limits.

A person with a growth mind-set is not afraid to make mistakes and will see almost everything as a lesson. They are never worried about what others think and are always in a state of growth, seeing barriers as challenges. They appear to be more able to deal with varying situations.

Now it’s not fair to say that everybody falls into a black and white area with these different mind-sets and some people will have areas of thought that overlaps both but it is true to say that working out where you belong in respect of this is very important to your overall success.

Having the correct mind-set not only affects business but even relationships. This is because your ability to grow is as a direct result of how you think and it does help you to make sense of the world around you. This is just as important to the stability of a long-term relationship as it is to a long-term business. Mind-set basically affects everything.

To succeed in our goals, we need to be able to step out of our comfort zone which is not always easy to do because after all, it is by definition, a place where we feel safe. Working in job that we are not truly happy with but at least pays the mortgage and bills, keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table is a difficult thing to break free from.

I was talking to a coach yesterday who made me think in a slightly different way. I think he was correct in saying that a comfort zone is really not a place of comfort at all. It is more a place of pain and fear as we battle with the thought of losing what we already have.

I also think that scarcity creeps into this too as we can be frightened that we can’t duplicate what we already have and of course, a fixed type mind-set is likely to think this way. These thought can be like traps that can hold you back from ever achieving or from reaching the life you deserve.

It pays to understand that life is a series of lessons and growth is about learning from each event. There will always be two ways of looking at any given situation and I choose growth. Rather than to mull over any failures, is it not far better to think, ‘I now know that way does not work and I won’t make that mistake again?’

One way stops you in your tracks and the other opens up a door to success.

Andy Beveridge

Visualisation Techniques – To Relax and Achieve.

Many people believe that meditation or creative visualization techniques are complicated but in reality, they are not complicated at all and the benefits far out-weigh any difficulties. By visualizing regularly, it has the power to make us feel better about ourselves and also increases the potential for us to achieve our aims and goals. It’s a powerful tool to have in our arsenal.

Distraction is the enemy of visualisation and in the early stages of practice, it is an element which has to be overcome. One way of doing so is to write everything down first. Let the thoughts and all those nagging problems flow freely and this gives some clarity to the mind. It also aids focus and affords structure, eradicating those annoying little problems that would lead you away from the main goal.

A wandering mind can be a problem with any focus-based project and it happens to most of us at some point. We sit there, our minds fully focused on future goals and aims, conjuring up strong images for success and then suddenly, as if without warning, we are thinking about our lunch or even how annoying a certain television program is. When this happens, just gently bring the focus back to the task at hand, educating the mind to be still. By writing down any issues first and then, even writing down the bare bones of the visualisation, we commit it to memory, strengthening the approach, bypassing the potential for the mind to be distracted.

One great method is to segment your visualisation – and you can create distinct sections by noting down career in one section and relationships, or the future in another. This enables you to focus just on the chosen area and increases the potency of such.

This is a useful and very simple method the really works and is almost guaranteed to keep you on track.

Another tip I would like to add is something that I read quite recently and I think that it improves visualisation techniques very effectively. It was suggested that writing down the emotions that you believe would be felt at any given point en-route to your ultimate goals i.e. satisfaction, happiness etc. This enables you to almost feel and connect with the emotion and to believe in the sensation of success. You feel it, focus on it, live it. By suggesting these feelings before you have achieved your goals, it absorbs into your sub-consciousness and starts to feel real, leading nicely onto the path of accomplishment.

For this to work correctly, you must focus on the emotion, connecting with it and believing in the sensation as if you have already achieved it. In a way, I see visualisation techniques as more of a form of meditation because there are some similarities. For instance, it is always better to be able to relax and not be disturbed – settling into the moment and like meditation, visualisation requires concentration and for the body to be relaxed.

The main difference of course is that with visualisation you are looking to the future and trying to emotionally connect with whatever it is you desire. If it is a successful business, then you will be visualising how you feel when you have achieved that and what it will be like to be in a position with more security and inner confidence. If it is relationship-based visualisation, then you will be imagining yourself in a happy environment with your partner and understanding what it feels like to be able to share and support each other. Of course, meditation is far more about relaxing the body and easing the stresses from the mind and so this is where the two methods differ.

Just remember that visualisation is a great tool and it becomes very powerful if used regularly because it defines your goals and aims and facilitates the changes that are required for you to journey on the right pathway to success. It also has the benefit of relaxing you and de-stressing in the same way that meditation will.

I encourage you to try it.

Andy Beveridge

My Thoughts to Your Thoughts

Annette Young Blog Post

  Annette Young Blog Post

by Annette Young

We probably all remember Spock from Star-Trek who possessed an extraordinary gift of the mind meld where he could connect telepathically with the mind of another enabling the merging of thoughts. It also enabled him to probe the mind of another while shielding his own thoughts. Although this is fiction at its best, in real life, wouldn’t this be marvelous?

Our thoughts can accelerate our successes in life or quite literally, create a series of stumbling blocks that hold us back, so with this in mind,  the possibilities of helping others by transferring our own positive thoughts into the minds of those who feel negative, anxious or even depressed could be highly beneficial. This sharing of positivity would filter into every aspect of that individual’s life – from decision making, to harmonious relationships and would even impact career success.

While the mind merge is out of my own remit, here’s an example of how we can help others in real life. I was chatting to a friend the other day and he was going through a particularly difficult time and had found himself in a complete rut. He felt trapped, caught within the confines of his own making because he’d shut so many people out of his life, concentrating on picking up the pieces following a shattered marriage and, had focused solely on his children, putting his heart and soul into their needs. A selfless act? Maybe but his children, who had been veering towards their teenage years at the time, then grew up and happily went off to college, keen to move on with their own lives with little thought for their father who was then left feeling bereft and, quite depressed.

It’s all too easy to carve out a niche for ourselves in life which is confining and limiting. Although the intent may be honourable, it keeps you within your comfort zone and restricted. In my friend’s situation, he’d given his all for years, and had been content to do so. It was a sacrifice he’d been willing to make and he’d single-handedly brought his children up through a very difficult time-frame as well as experiencing all the joys and turbulence of teenage life. To be honest, I’d always been a little concerned by his need to dedicate his every waking hour to his family, in my own mind, I felt that his sacrifice – shutting out other friends or potential romantic relationships was through his fear of being hurt and limiting his own journey through life after divorce.

Having lived through a broken marriage and having a daughter who was making her own way in the world, I was able to talk positively about the whole experience and to discuss the challenges that lay ahead of him. I encouraged him to seek out these opportunities and to greet every day with positivity and to know that whatever difficulties may have to be faced, to do so with focus, intent and a positive mind-set. With the right attitude, life is less complicated than it might be and the foundations of change are directly connected to our thought processes. It was time to make a life for himself and to let others through the barriers. Irrespective of his previous experiences, he could welcome in kind people with a generous spirit. By enriching his life, he could go from solitude to social confidence and could show his children that life can be good whether single or not. As long as you are happy with who you are in life, being alone is no longer a terrifying prospect.

What a lesson of life to impart.

By the time we’d finished chatting, he admitted he felt relieved and lighter, as if a burden of fear had been lifted, recognising that he had indeed hidden from life.We may not be able to mind merge like Spock but we can all encourage and share our positivity with those who need it. It is never wasted and even if only a fraction of the support and guidance given is absorbed, it’s a comfort to know that you have been able to assist in the progress of others and will have planted the seeds of growth for the future.

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The Mind, The Key and You

Awareness

Awarenessby Annette Young

I had an interesting conversation the other day. I was flying back after a busy 4-day visit to the UK where I had been teaching for the weekend and was on my way back home to Spain. Although the journey is only a little over 2 hours, I always find myself people-watching and talking to others wherever possible – call it the writer in me but I’m fascinated by how others think, feel and act and find myself gleefully absorbing the subtleties of characteristics. This time, I was sitting next to a couple who were far from early morning risers and who seemed intent only on waking up with a can of lager. Our conversation was interesting in that it reminded me how the power of thought can make such a huge difference. Here’s why.

The couple were going on holiday and looking forward to the warmth of the Spanish sun for a week and my companion in the next seat asked me where I was going on holiday. He was greatly surprised when I said that I lived in Spain now and had spent the last four years travelling through France before embarking on an intended year’s stay in Spain. His initial comment was how lucky I was as if I was one of a favoured few who had been handed the ‘get out of mundane life’ card. But although there was no resentment or malice from him, just resigned dissatisfaction at our parallel lives, it made me realise that this is the general view of those who are firmly caught up in the stresses and strains of daily life and who see no way out.

But therein lies the problem for people.

I seriously (hand on heart) believe that we make our own luck in life and we shape our futures. Life is a constant act of surging forward pushing through or overcoming difficulties in life and it’s how you approach it, and how much you want to take control that makes a difference as to how you live and achieve. I have done my best to help writers realise their dreams for many years encouraging them to think like professionals so that they embrace and wrap themselves in the role, wearing this creative cloak which enables them to achieve their dreams. The secret is not earth-shattering, it is all about their mind-set and how much they want to write for a living and to be able to live a lifestyle that offers freedom and creativity every day.

Feel your dreams and visualise it happening

When I said this to the man next to me, he seemed surprised, as if he’d never once contemplated that he could get out of the rut that seemed to be his life, a drink that enabled him to face each day (his words) and then, to have his head down ploughing his way through his working day, willing the hours to go by so that he could enjoy his few hours of freedom before facing the same routine the next day. His one-week holiday abroad was a luxury where he made the most of the Spanish alcohol measures (his words) before going back to the rat race. When I asked him what he would really like to do in life, he shook his head, he had no idea, no vision and no aspirations. He didn’t realise that he could actually shape his future. I could see him toying with the idea and I hope that the idea takes shape. We all have the power of the mind and the key to unlocking a future that is appealing.

With realisation comes awareness and with awareness comes action – if you choose to do so. I shaped my life, what do you want to do with yours?

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Gag, Bind and Silence the Inner Critic

Awareness

Silence the inner critic

by Annette Young

The simplest actions in life are shaped by your thoughts. Your decisions or inability to decide on any of the multitude of options presented to you are determined by clarity of thought, the ability to analyse and weigh-up said options and, to come to a satisfactory conclusion. It is your thoughts – whether positive or negative that enable you to progress or to come grinding to a halt.

 

What opportunities have passed you by?

 

We all have equal chances in life. You may not think it but there’s a level playing field out there in terms of your ability to achieve success. While some opportunities may not come gift-wrapped or presented on a silver platter, if you are forward-thinking, positive and determined, the energy that you promote conjures up a route not formerly open and new possibilities start to emerge. Whether you take these options and use them, is up to you, it’s a conscious choice. But what happens if your negative thought processes are whirring away in the background and holding you captive on a sub-conscious level?

 

There’s a voice inside your mind telling you no.

 

Many people find themselves having an inner dialogue. This is not an indulgence or a sign of madness but the inner critic that often comes out to play when indecision hovers. Your inner critic taints your thought processes and renders them inadequate. The inner critic paralyses you leading you to inactivity so that your true potential passes you by. Think of any occasion when your inner voice may have gleefully informed you that you are lacking – you are not good enough, pretty enough or clever enough. Here’s an example: you meet the person of your dreams or apply for a dream job and then, without warning, the inner critic demoralises your self-esteem and confidence stripping it back to its crumbling foundations. When you understand that it’s the work of the inner critic, awareness can give you an added advantage.

 

There’s a battle going on right now

 

The good news is that the inner critic can be quietened and tamed to order. Awareness and resolve come into play here. You can mentally gag that nagging voice and push all thoughts of doubt away. Don’t let the strength of this inner voice fool you though, one victory is not enough, it’s strong, but you need to be stronger. Make no mistake, turn your attention for one second and it will be back like a gremlin on the shoulder of life. The more you practice positivity and tell yourself you can achieve anything, the greater the potential for doing so.

 

What’s your inner critic telling you today?