HealthSkills

The transition from summer to fall can be a little sluggish, especially when many of us are in denial that summer is coming to an end. It’s when the leaves start turning orange and the air becomes crisper that it really starts to feel like autumn. And what better time to reset than at the beginning of a new season? With fall comes a vibrant energy that was lacking in the warmer summer months. People are buzzing around getting ready to head back to school, start new jobs, and plan out the year ahead. Before the official first day of autumn on September 23rd, get a head start on thinking about how you want to spend the next few fall months.

  1. Set goals for fall. Look at your personal life and professional life with a critical eye. What do you want to learn this season? How do you hope to improve? Look forward to what’s coming up and figure out how you can set yourself up for success. Another helpful way to look at the big picture? Create a timeline of the past three to six months and fill in highlights from each month. Compare what you’ve done to what you still want to do, and then add those items to your Autumn To-Do List.
  2. Constantly edit your life. What’s working? What’s not working? Eliminate the negative from your life, whether it’s a bad habit or a toxic person. Add positivity into your life, should that be more vegetables, laughter, or new experiences and travels. Don’t settle for what your life currently is – make it the best it can be.
  3. Clean your space and wardrobe. Now that it’s time to break out the sweaters, scarves, and boots, you might as well go through and de-clutter your space and wardrobe. Clear your desk, donate items you no longer need, go through your kitchen cupboards and toss expired foods – these are all actions that will help clear your mind and allow you to begin the season in a fresh environment.
  4. Get serious about being healthy. As the temperature drops, the drier your skin will get. Hydrate more than you think you need to and take advantage of the vegetables that are in-season. Move your body more, take the stairs, and be more mindful of how you’re treating your body and mind.
  5. Reconnect with friends and family. It’s too easy to check out during the summer and retreat into your own world. If you haven’t been a social butterfly the past few months, strike up conversations with friends you haven’t talked to in months. Right now is the best time to reconnect. Don’t wait for another season to pass you by. Better yet? Make new friends. Join a book club, talk to the person next to you in class, join a sports team – you’re never too old to add new people into your inner circle.
  6. Adopt a positive mindset. It may be easier to have a positive attitude when the sun is shining and the summer days are brighter and longer. But when it starts getting darker earlier and the skies turn gray, maintain a positive state of mind. Surround yourself with positive influences, smile, compliment a stranger or friend, compliment yourself, challenge any negative thoughts that enter your mind, and start saying “I can” instead of “I can’t.” The little changes make a big difference.

How are you resetting for autumn?

Image: Autumn Mott

Health

Have you ever come across that person who is always complaining, gossiping, or making negative comments? Before identifying him or her, it can be very difficult to stay away from responding with negativity. Negative people like negative company. Constantly dealing with people who bring negativity into your life or who never fail to bring you down in some way are the kinds of people you should consider weeding out of your life. If these are people you ultimately can’t escape, there are ways to distance yourself without being harsh or rude.

Law of Attraction

The law of attraction notes that “likes attract likes” and if you focus on positive thoughts you will find yourself with a positive outcome. Now, consider applying this concept in another form. If you openly display certain qualities or interests, you are likely to attract people who are also interested in those same things. This, after discerning that you want to surround yourself with new people, is the first step of attracting people who are likely to understand you and who share similar traits.

Farewell to Your Comfort Zone

This one is difficult but very important. Many of us do not enjoy leaving our comfort zones because, well, it is no longer a comfortable place. However, leaving your comfort zone is the only way to achieve goals and stand out from the conventional – it is vital in life. It also allows you to get comfortable with what was once uncomfortable, therefore making your life a constant cycle that pushes you to try new things. Try joining a new club, traveling somewhere with a program, sitting somewhere else for lunch, or even inviting people you’ve never spent time with (outside of school or work) for lunch. Branching out is essential in trying to make new relationships.

Make Time for Yourself

Aside from trying out new activities, having some time for yourself is also an important component to this transformative time in your life. Allowing yourself to think alone and reflect on your experiences will bring you to identify the parts of your life you wish to alter. It allows you to make calm, well thought out decisions.

Focus on Work or School

Focusing on work or school is a great way to concentrate on the things that are important. In addition, it only leaves time for few people which allows you realize that quality time is meant for quality people. This is an easier method for not only distancing yourself from negative people, but it is also a great way to appreciate the people who matter most in your life.

Start Acting Positive

Almost like my law of attraction point, you can attract positive people if you begin to act positive. After you hear the typical, “I hate Monday, I wish it were Friday,” you can either not respond to it by changing the topic or you can respond with positivity by noting, “Really? I don’t mind them – they’re like any other day.” Like I previously mentioned, negative people like to feed off of other negative people. You will be surprised as to how quickly people will begin to catch on to this mindset. Being positive can: 1. Help positivity flourish in those around you, and 2. Repel negative people. Both of these are helpful for achieving your goal.

Staying positive is not only a mood booster, but it is also necessary for your physical health. Do yourself a favor and begin changing the parts of your life that will help you become a better person. The steps may be unfamiliar but you can’t go wrong in trying!

How do you add positivity into your life?

P.S. Journaling and living inside out can also help you live a more positive life.

Image: Bảo-Quân Nguyễn

Skills

Escaping negativity is hard.

I’ll be perfectly honest; when I first came up with the concept for this article (and it was probably about a month ago) I had big aspirations for how amazing and relatable it would be. People would laugh and cry reading it, it would be an article for the ages, lauded by all.

Needless to say, this is not that article. That article, which had potential (although probably not as much as I dreamed it would) was killed by my complete and utter lack of motivation, as well as persistent nagging from myself that whatever I did, the article wouldn’t be up to par anyway. The sad thing is, I really wanted to write a good article that people would appreciate. I want to live up to everybody’s expectations, and even go beyond that. I want my work to be acknowledged and appreciated. I’m only human, after all. Being human, however, entails other less positive things.

The negativity that keeps me from writing the inspired article isn’t unique to me. Most people go through phases where nothing seems to be good enough, no matter how much you give. The question then becomes, why bother trying? Once you’ve reached that particular question, with all the life-altering connotations it brings with, that’s when you really need to think about what you want and what makes you happy. In my experience, that’s what makes that negative cloud go away; by finding a little moment of happiness and stretching it, taking your safe zone and pushing its boundaries until you find purpose in even the things you don’t want to do.

This is the point in the year where a slump kicks in (at least for me). The jitters of the beginning of school have faded, and the mundanity of daily life has yet to be replaced by heart-stopping final jitters. Halloween has passed in all its sugar-spiked glory, and it’s really too early to be gearing up for Christmas. The important idea that will kick that negative voice to the curb for November is this – November is a time for thanks and family.

Wherever and whoever you are, there’s someone out there that cares, and that’s an amazing thing, a simple fact that can alleviate any foul mood. Dark clouds do come, and there’s really no way around it than to face it every day with a steely determination, a smirk worthy of Han Solo, and preferably a loved one. With the power of that trifecta, the negative voice in your head won’t dare to speak up.

How do you deal with your negative voice?

Image: Volkan Olmez

CultureSkills

Most of us haven’t had to make friends since high school, and even then we didn’t have to start from scratch. Going out to a new place on your own – some of us not even in our home state – can be pretty intimidating. Most of us aren’t used to having to make a whole new group of friends. Here are some tips on how to break out of your comfort zone, meet new people, and make the most of your college experience.

Start Early
Making friends takes time and the only way to speed up the process is to start early. If your college or university has a Facebook group, you’re in luck. Social media is the easiest and holy grail of ways to make new friends and meet new people in general. Post on your school’s page and post a brief paragraph about yourself including your name, major, where you’re from, and a few interests and hobbies that you enjoy. Breaking the ice yourself and starting the trend is always an easy way to get the ball rolling!

Have Questions and Ask Them
If you end up talking to any of your future classmates one-on-one through any sort of social media, have a few generic questions to ask. Questions that can allow you to get to know people and see if you have anything in common can include asking what their major is, how far they live from the school, what their hobbies/interests are, if they have any siblings, and what music they like to listen to. These basic questions always lead to more in-depth conversations and allow you to get to know each other.

Keep the Conversation Flowing
Don’t let the conversation die out. By letting the conversation end, you’re losing the opportunity to continue the relationship you’ve already started! There are always more questions you can ask to break the ice. Feel free to start a question game and go back and forth asking questions you’re curious about. Feel free to ask for someone’s phone number if you’ve been talking for a while as well as their other social media accounts to keep the relationship going.

Be Open-minded
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Try to connect with as many people as you can, regardless of if you think you’d have nothing in common with the person based on their 2010 profile picture. Never pass up an opportunity to talk to someone new; you could be missing out on your future best friend!

Have a Positive Attitude
If you have a positive attitude not only about making friends, but towards the people you’re making friendships with, you’ll be a lot more successful. A smile or exclamation mark can really break a shy person out of his or her shell, so don’t forget to spread the happiness!

Overall, be yourself when meeting new people. Never try to be someone you’re not. College provides an opportunity for you to find the people you really click with and make friendships that will last for years to come!

Image: Unsplash

CultureHealthSkills

If you’re looking for ways to improve your physical or emotional health, productivity, memory, focus and energy, meditation can truly help you do that. Even better, it’s free.

There are many ways to meditate, and while I’ve just scratched the surface with my practice, I’ve already seen some of its positive effects working in my life.

The thing is, a lot of people just don’t know how to get started, think it’s strange, or have tried it but were discouraged. After all, meditation sometimes gets a bad rap; people think they have to sit cross-legged, chant Om, be spiritual or religious and completely empty their minds. Those feats range from awkward to intimidating.

But getting started really isn’t so bad. I’ll break down some of the common roadblocks that keep people from meditating. In part two, I’ll actually walk you through a meditation sequence so you can try it yourself.

Roadblock 1: “I’m not calm or patient; I can barely sit still.”

Being calm and patient is not a requirement for meditating. In fact, one of the main reasons people do meditate is to increase their calmness, patience and inability to sit with themselves and their emotions. The practice will help you find those qualities in yourself and shed your impatience or angst.

Roadblock 2: “Meditation is too time consuming. I’m busy.”

Start with five minutes a day and slowly increase it as you begin to see its benefits. It is said, though, that if you think you’re too busy to meditate for five minutes, you should meditate for 15. It basically means that meditation will help you put your schedule and stress levels into perspective.

Roadblock 3: “I’ve tried emptying my mind, but I can’t.”

Meditation isn’t about creating a blank mind; that’s not normal. If you’ve been trying to force your mind to stop all activity, it’s no surprise you’ve had trouble with it. Meditation is actually just a way to view your thoughts without trying to change them or force them to do anything.

Roadblock 4: “I don’t see how meditation can help me.”

Over time, meditation has tremendous health benefits, including reduced stress levels, improved sleep, greater emotional balance, increased immunity, reduced blood pressure, relief from conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, and reduced depression, anxiety and anger issues. Overall, it can relieve all kinds of emotional and physical ailments while giving you more clarity on what’s really in your heart and mind.

Roadblock 5: “I don’t have anywhere to go that’s silent or isolated.”

The great thing is that you can meditate anywhere. Being aware of the sounds around you without letting them distract you is part of it. Of course, being interrupted by coworkers or roommates can be tricky, but don’t worry about finding total silence and isolation. You can sit on a park bench, in an airplane, at your desk, anywhere. As you continue meditating, you will start to learn how to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings anywhere, without even closing your eyes.

Stay tuned for a walk-through of a beginner’s meditation sequence!

Image: Caleb Roenigk, Flickr

CultureEducationSkills

“Whether things are going really well or not so well you just want to play one play at a time and stay in the now.” — Russell Wilson

russell wilson seahawks

 As Seattlelites, we are huge Seahawks fans. This season has been a great one for the Seahawks, and as they head into the Playoffs this month, we will be supporting them every step of the way. If you’ve ever seen a Seahawks game, you’ll notice the incredible teamwork and passion on and off the field. One player in particular that stands out for his passion, skill, and leadership is the quarterback, Russell Wilson. Watch this video of Russell Wilson from Seahawks.com to watch his leadership in action – it is seriously impressive and admirable. From this video, the dozens of games we’ve watched him play, and his interviews, Wilson demonstrates the qualities of a strong leader and a devoted team player. Just from watching Russell Wilson play football, these are seven leadership traits he possesses:

Russell Wilson Leadership Traits

1. Maintain a Positive Attitude. If a play doesn’t succeed, Wilson does not let that affect his positive attitude. Instead, he looks at the bright side and uses encouraging words to pick himself and his teammates back up. Wilson praises his teammates and gets his team excited and re-energized.

2. Know your Goals. Leaders should have goals – for themselves and their team. Ask Wilson what his goals are and he doesn’t even take a moment to hesitate. He has four: be dominant, be consistent, be clutch, and be healthy. Know your goals at the top of your head so that they will always be a part of your every action.

3. Admit your Mistakes. If a poor pass is made during the game, Wilson is the first to acknowledge his mistake. By admitting what he did wrong, Wilson can then take the necessary steps to improve and not make the same mistake twice. It is not weak for leaders to make mistakes; in fact, your team will appreciate that you aren’t trying to be a hero or a faultless leader.

4. Separation through Preparation. Wilson stands out on and off the field by preparing and being as ready as he can be for game day. Wilson is incredibly focused and will spend hours and hours studying film that will help him better understand his opponent and how he can move better on the field. By taking the time to prepare, Wilson is ready to handle anything that comes his way on the field.

5. Pay Attention to Details. Wilson focuses on the little details, which in turn help him improve his game and skills.

6. Set the Tone. Before a practice or a game, Wilson sets the tone by arriving early to work and leaving late. Wilson remains composed and confident – on the field and during press conferences. As a leader, setting the tone for your team or group will establish a solid foundation for expectations and how you intend to lead and treat others. By showing up early, prepared, and ready to improve, others will follow suit.

7. Leave a Legacy. Wilson frequently visits the Seattle Children’s Hospital on his days off and he is the National Ambassador for the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association. When he is not in-season, Wilson hosts the Russell Wilson Passing Academy, a youth football camp that teaches the fundamental skills of being a great football player.

What leadership traits have you learned through watching sports? 

{Image via, Russell Wilson, Seahawks}

Skills

Being a leader – at school, work, or in your own life – involves varying degrees of risk. If you are making a huge life decision, debating whether to put yourself out there to run for student government, or deciding to transfer schools, certain choices you make require risk-taking. Risk-taking is often much easier said than done and it might not come naturally to you. That’s okay. It takes time to become a risk-taker. 

Risk is the possibility that something unpleasant will occur. When you take risks, there is the chance that the outcome you want might not happen, but there is also the chance that it could happen and be everything you wanted and more. 

***

If uncertainty frightens or challenges you, keep these 12 tips in mind if you want to be a better risk-taker…

1. Step outside of your comfort zone. Taking risks means doing something that could make you uncomfortable, scared, and stressed. However, know that this is completely normal when you are about to do something that you might not normally do or if you have important things you are giving up to take this risk. Stepping outside of the bounds that you are naturally comfortable with will give you the courage to try new things.

2. Have faith in yourself. Trust yourself. You want to take a backpacking trip across Europe? Go for it! You are thinking about organizing a trash pick-up group over the weekend? You can do it! You have the ability to do anything, especially when you have faith in yourself.

3. Determine why you want to take a risk. What is driving or compelling you to do this thing you really want to do? What are you passionate about? Why now? Figure out why exactly you want to take a risk so that you can use it as fuel to get you started and to keep you moving.

4. Baby steps. Nothing happens overnight. Deciding to take a risk is the leap you make, but take baby steps to build your dreams and achieve your goals.

5. Be comfortable making decisions. Don’t think that making one decision will be “right” or “wrong.” This is not a test. Make a decision based on facts, your gut, and experience, and then deal with the consequences from there – good or bad. You won’t know until you make the first move.

6. Have confidence. You know why you want to take the leap and do something awesome and potentially off the beaten path. Tell others with confidence and let your dreams come to life through your words and actions.

7. Take strategic risks. Don’t just do something to do something. Think through what you want to do and how you plan to accomplish it. If you take a risk without thinking about the consequences or your safety, perhaps you are taking a risk that may in fact be too risky and just plain ol’ dangerous.

8. Identify your fears. What scares you and why? When you can pinpoint what makes you scared, you can then start to overcome those fears.

9. Build a support system. Your friends and family can be a fantastic support system, and on days when you question your abilities, talk to your support system to give you the boost you need to keep going.

10. It’s OK to ‘fail.’ It might be helpful to figure out your definition of failure. Many failures can actually be great when you learn from your mistakes to make you stronger.

11. Stay positive. There will be days you doubt yourself. Totally normal. Maintain a positive attitude so that when you slip out of your funk, you won’t have abandoned your goals due to a low moment that everyone has periodically. Think about what compelled you to take a risk in the first place and use that as positive energy.

12. Stop making excuses. Just stop! It’s too easy and it will prevent you from ever doing what you want to do. Leap, make baby steps, and take it from there. Less talking, more action.

What risks have you taken or want to take?