Tired of all the negativity? Time to turn it around. Take steps to adopt a positive mindset.

You’re awesome!

Do you know that?

You’re so awesome that it took 13.8 billion years to create you. You’re awesome because you are star dust. You traveled through the far reaches of space to get here at this time and this place.

The world needs what you and only you can give.

These are truths to think about when you’re in a negative space. When you’re thinking negative thoughts about yourself or your life. We quickly forget about how awesome it is that we’re here on this Earth at this time. Whether part of a master plan or a cosmic accident, it’s amazing that you and I are here.

That doesn’t mean that some days, some weeks, some years are harder than others. Here are five tips to use when you’re in a negative mental place and need to adopt a positive mindset:

Happiness isn’t a destination.

You’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating: Happiness isn’t a destination. If you always wait to arrive at happiness, you’ll never get there. I may ruffle feathers with this, but happiness is a choice. If you want to adopt a positive mindset, start there.

Misery loves company. It’s easy to gravitate toward — or be — the Negative Nancy or the Kelvin Killjoy. If you want to bitch about work, about politics, about last night’s game or anything, you’ll find comradery quickly. Negative people feed off negative people, which can lead to a perpetual cycle of negativity.

People proudly, often too proudly, proclaim that they’re quitting Facebook, taking a social media hiatus or completed a mass-unfollowing. They’re shedding negativity in some way, shape or form. They choose to stop feeding off negativity.

When you intentionally choose happiness every day, you’ll be happier.

Even a fake smile helps.

So, you’ve chosen to go against your “tude” and be happy.

What do you do? For starters, fake a smile. Even a fake smile releases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin into our bodies. These hormones are known as the “happy chemicals.”

Just when you don’t want to smile is the perfect time to smile. Force a smile for yourself and then smile at someone else. Smiles are contagious, and the world would benefit from a pandemic of smiles. Plus, it will go a long way as you work to adopt a positive mindset.

Connect with awesome people.

We’re social creatures, even possibly social aliens as we are all made of stars. As I said, misery loves company, and some company is perpetually miserable. As Bob Proctor says, you don’t need to cut these people out of your life if they’re important to you. Just spend less time with them less frequently.

Replace your time spent with miserable people with individuals who lift you up. Better yet, as Lisa Nichols says, “Surround yourself with people who make you stand on your tippy toes.” They’ll help you become a better version of yourself.

If you fill your life with more positive people, you’ll feel more positive, and you’ll produce better results. When you harness this power of positivity, you can use it to help your less positive friends and family.

Have positively positive thoughts.

We often think we’re trying to be positive when we’re negative. As Jake Ducey says, when we think positively about getting the things we want, we’re coming from a place of lack. For example, when you say, “I know I can be more positive,” you’re acknowledging that you lack positivity and you’re in search of it. You don’t have it now. So, act as though you already have it.

Oprah said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” Oprah made no mention of paying attention to or focusing on what you’re lacking, not even to overcome a scarcity mindset.

We all want to end war, right? As Ducey shared, Mother Theresa used positively thinking positive thoughts best when she said, “I will never attend an anti-war rally; if you have a peace rally, invite me.” Anti-war demonstrations, the War on Drugs, the War on Crime and the War on Poverty are all counter-productive because they all start from a place of negativity.

If we focus on uplifting each other and the world, we’ll get more positive results.

Motivate yourself in the second person.

We all talk to ourselves. The problem is, as Mel Robbins says, “If others heard how we talk to ourselves we’d be put in an institution.” Too often we consciously and unconsciously speak to ourselves, negatively and it’s the unconscious negative talk about which we really should be concerned.

Positive self-talk in the first-person isn’t enough, though. Internal dialogue like, “I’m happy,” “I’m a good person,” “I can do this,” and other positive statements are acceptable. They’re certainly better than the opposite. However, research shows that there’s a better way to talk to yourself and it’s a way many of the most successful people speak to themselves.

Dr. Srini Pillay says that research shows that talking to yourself in the second person produces even better results. We like to compliment ourselves, but we value compliments from others more. Use this strategy in place of receiving the same validation from others.

The good news is that it’s positively possible to change your negative mindset and adopt a positive mindset. It just takes a little bit of faith and trying some unique, even seemingly weird tricks to turn that frown upside down.

Oh, if none of the above helps, go to Toys R Us. One can’t stay negative playing with children’s toys.

Every single blade of grass,
And every flake of snow –
Is just a wee bit different …
There’s no two alike, you know.

From something small, like grains of sand,
To each gigantic star
All were made with this in mind:
To be just what they are!

How foolish then, to imitate –
How useless to pretend!
Since each of us comes from a mind
Whose ideas never end.

There’ll only be just one of me
To show what I can do –
And you should likewise feel very proud,
There’s only one of you.

That is where it all starts
With you, a wonderful
unlimited human being.

“One and Only You” by James T. Moore

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It sounds hokey, but you really can change your destiny. Be real about why your life sucks, and then take steps to make positive change.

One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Victor Hansen, co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul:

“You control your future, your destiny. What you think about comes about.”

I like this quote because it makes you the master of your destiny, the author of your own story.

It often feels like we’re at the mercy of a million external forces. The boss has unreasonable expectations. Children and spouses have needs. Mom and dad think we should do this. The neighbor is upset about that.

Have you ever wondered, “How did I get here?” or “This isn’t the way it was supposed to be.”

Life took over and suddenly we’re living up to everyone’s expectations but our own.

But you can change your destiny. It takes some effort, but it’s possible if you take the right steps.

We made our today.

If we’re the masters of our tomorrow, then we were the masters of the yesterday that produced our today.

Today is the future yesterday. Today didn’t happen by accident. Whether you realize it or not, you consciously or unconsciously led yourself to this moment.

Our decisions, thoughts, and actions yesterday resulted in what we see, live, and feel today.

Do you like the results around you?

At this point, most people deflect to their perceived circumstances. Rather than take responsibility, it’s often easier to blame someone or something else for today’s results.

“He did this to me” or “She made me do that.” Blame your family’s social or financial status. Blame your place of birth, the economy, or politicians.

Blame any and everything you can except yourself. In the litany of blame, you’re innocent.

While it can make you feel better to approach things this way, it won’t help you change your destiny.

Gary Vaynerchuk points out that if anyone else with our perceived limitation has achieved success, then there’s no reason we can’t achieve success.

If anyone else with our perceived limitation has achieved success, then “the problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem” (Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean).

It’s a harsh truth: if we’re not happy with our reality, we’re responsible for it.

It’s also a refreshing truth because as much as we made our today, we can change our tomorrow. Instead of placing blame, we should change what we believe. Earl Nightingale said, “What we think about we become.”

What are you thinking? The answer is all around you, and it can change your destiny.

For the Bible says so.

If we don’t like what we see around us, we must change what’s inside us. We must change our beliefs about who we are, what we’re worth, and what we can be. We can be anything we want to be, we just have to believe. This may sound like another Disney quote, but it’s a truth that goes back to history’s oldest texts.

We can be anything we want to be, we just have to believe. This may sound like another Disney quote, but it’s a truth that goes back to history’s oldest texts.

Mark 11:23 says, “I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.”

Changing beliefs is easier said than done, but it is doable.

Many of our beliefs are etched into our subconscious. Because they’re buried so deep inside us, we often don’t know why we believe them. We dismiss them as “it’s just who I am” or “it’s just what I believe,” as if they’re inherent truths. If our inherent truths aren’t serving us, we would do well to change them.

We can change our subconscious programming, otherwise known as our neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). This is the script we tell ourselves. It’s the voice we hear inside our head.

Did you ever wonder why you say the things to yourself that you do? That’s your NLP.

Changing your NLP is the key that will help you change your destiny.

Changing your texts.

There are two exercises that can help change your NLP. I notice as soon I stop doing them. The first action is repeating affirmations. The second action is keeping a gratitude journal.

It sounds a little hokey, but these two actions really can help you change your destiny.

Draft a script you can memorize. It should describe the best version of you and what you want to achieve.

Be specific and include deadlines. For five minutes each day, in the morning or before bed, close your eyes and recite your affirmations out loud.

Picture in your mind’s eye what you say. Feel the emotions of achieving your goals and being who you know you can be. Imagine what it will feel like, smell like, and sound like. Involved all your senses.

This will feel like a strange at first, but it’s a repetitive exercise that, over time, will change your NLP. When you change your NLP, you change your beliefs, change your behavior, and change your results. You change your destiny.

Next, while you practice affirmations, keep a gratitude journal, even on days when it feels like you have nothing for which to be grateful. Focus on the positive. As you focus more on expanding the positive, you’ll see more positive results.

It’s easy for our thoughts to drift into negative territory because we’re surrounded by negative stimuli. Plus, misery does love company.

If your coworkers aren’t getting you down about work, your boss is on you about your job. If you’re not depressed about the weather, the news does it’s best to make you blue.

A daily exercise that fights negativity will change your outlook and, therefore, your beliefs, your behavior, and your results.

The truth is that we’re all responsible for our results. The sooner you acknowledge that and manage your beliefs, the sooner you can change your destiny.

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2016 really felt like the worst. Now that it’s over, we can breathe a sigh of relief. But was it really that bad? Are we just drama queens?

Many of us had just begun the process of putting our holiday decorations away and enjoying the beginning of 2016 when we heard the news: David Bowie died two days after his birthday.

It caught us off guard. We didn’t even know that he was sick.

WTH?

Collectively, we began mourning his beautiful music and the effect that his music had on our lives. The Thin White Duke was gone.

Celebrity deaths were everywhere in 2016.

As the year continued, it felt like 2016 had it in for us. Many of the people who were part of the tapestry of our lives weren’t going to get out of 2016 alive.

Prince, Mohammed Ali, Alan Rickman (Snape from The Harry Potter Series), Gene Wilder, Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, and Fidel Castro. The alarming thing is that this is the short list.

And let’s not forget the late-year tragedy of losing Princess Leia/General Organa. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

It didn’t feel like we were drama queens as we continued to wrack up more losses even until the very end of 2016. It felt like the obvious response to emotional stress.

Was this the worst presidential election ever?

On top of all of the people dying, we were inundated by the constant sharing of the dulcet tones of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton making their cases for the presidency.

All day long. We couldn’t escape them, online, on TV on our cell phones, and any other place we found ourselves browsing for information. And we couldn’t escape friends and family talking about politics.

As we moved further into 2016 it began to feel like we were under fire.

Or, was our perception of what was going on in our world skewed by the constant availability of news, newsfeeds, and friends sharing things that would otherwise slip our notice?

Was our belief that 2016 had been a crappy year a result of the skillful targeting of Facebook ads and fake news stories? Was the real issue with 2016 that we had too much information available to us at all times?

Sometimes I think ignorance is bliss.

I found that, compared to other years, 2016 did feel like an exceptionally difficult year. And, as I wrote this post I decided to reflect on this. Was 2016, in fact, a difficult year? Or was there something else going on that I didn’t want to admit?

Are we all just a bunch of drama queens?

Life happens.

Life isn’t always easy. It’s messy, chaotic, and it’s not always pretty. Life is a gift, but it’s a gift that comes with the following reality: life is balanced out by death.

And, without being too morbid, death happens when you least expect it.

But 2016 was rough not just because of the beloved celebrities who passed away. It was rough because it felt like our way of life was dying. To me, it felt like the spirit of America in the way that we knew it was going away and maybe that was what was what we were having a collective reaction to.

And, let’s also be honest, as we get older our awareness of the mortality of the people in our lives becomes more acute.

We’re a lot more aware of the threats to our own lives and safety and with the ability to: Google, Facebook, and Twitter. Excessive amounts of frightening information leaves us shaking in our boots.

We begin holding our loved ones tighter and when situations like: terrorism, the shooting in Orlando, or natural disasters. We hold our breath until we’re sure that everyone we love and care about are OK.

We’re not drama queens for reacting to the changes we experience. Most people (myself included) resist change, especially when that change feels like an unwelcome visitor that just won’t go away.

So, are we drama queens?

I just think we’re human.

Perhaps the real issue that needs to be addressed is how to manage the emotions that come from the unexpected moments that break our hearts.

Own your feelings. David Bowie or Prince dying broke your heart because you are remembering the first time you heard “Let’s Go Crazy” or “Ashes to Ashes” and the way that you played it over and over again. Own it.

Do you love or hate how the election turned out? Are you frightened or thrilled by the outcome depending on your political philosophy? Own it.

Are you frightened of your own mortality? Be honest.

The most important piece of advice that I can give you is to embrace life. Embrace your loved ones. Don’t live in fear of the next shitty thing that may happen. Take each day as it comes because ultimately, you woke up that day.

I’ve had more shitty situations in my life than I would like to admit.

Some of those situations were my own fault, while other situations were the result of life happening. In every instance, I had to focus on becoming resilient and figure out ways to keep from being overwhelmed and demoralized by these situations.

But, let’s be honest, most years are a mixed bag.

At least you woke up today. Don’t take it for granted that life will always run smoothly.  And, yes, 2016 was pretty shitty.

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You can control more about your life than you think you can. Are there limits?

Once in a while, we present Adulting.tv LIVE! Stay tuned to hear about future events, and share your questions about or suggestions for our next discussions!

J.D. Roth joined Adulting.tv LIVE! to talk about the amount of control we have in our lives. Do you feel like things never go your way? Are the circumstances in your life beyond your control? If you just allow life to happen to you, you will not get what you want. Take action and choose your direction.

But there are certain things you may not be able to control, like the actions of other people. But you can control how you respond, and to an extent, how you feel.

J.D. is the founder of Money Boss.

Listen to just the audio by using the player above.

Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteven Flato
Music bybensound.com

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The controversial Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator may not be perfect, but it’s fun. What’s your type?

You’ve seen the quizzes online. You may have even completed a personality assessment. I’ve taken this test many times since I was a teenager, and I’ve always received the same result. Consistency is just as good as accuracy, right?

This test is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), or one of many adaptations. It’s designed to provide some insight to your personality type — a definition of how you tend to react in certain situations and possibly how you view the world.

Why do we care?

The test results are an effective icebreaker. When you know your type, as indicated by four letters representing four dimensions of personality traits, you have a shortcut to providing people you meet with a quick understanding of yourself. When an “INFP” meets an “ENFJ,” they each know a little bit more about each other. A little.

But it there any scientific proof that people fall into on of sixteen categories? It’s sketchy.

Does it matter? As long as you’re not using the results to guide decisions that affect people’s lives, there’s nothing wrong with a little entertainment.

This is huge in the corporate world.

The full Myers-Briggs evaluation goes into significant detail, well beyond the four assigned letters.

My work group, while I was working at an insurance company, spent two days taking the full evaluation, including “Step II,” and meeting with expert consultants to review how our personality types related to our interactions with co-workers and affected our ability to be productive for the company.

The consultants proctor a test that is supposedly more complete than the free online quizzes. They offer results that go into much deeper detail, primed for discussion about how we can all get along better in the office. Step II goes on to show how far on each dimension’s spectrum you happen to fall. For example, while I classify as “introverted,” it’s not an extreme identifier. I fall very close to the border between extraversion and introversion.

This is a lucrative industry for the Myers-Briggs Foundation, named after the two researchers who saw Carl Jung’s ideas about psychology almost a hundred years ago and dived deep into the subject (without any training in psychology — which was not as widespread a field of study as it is today).

For me the tests have been reliable, providing the same result (INFP, if you’re keeping track) time and time again, but I may have “learned” how to answer the questions in the test in such a way to produce that particular result. It’s not that hard to figure out.

Psychology Today points out that many self-evaluations like this produce unpredictable results. Its popularity endures because people like insight about themselves and others, and the MBTI conveniently categorizes (and generalizes) everyone into what appear to be sixteen distinct buckets.

The sorting hat has spoken.

Reviewing the category descriptions is like reading a horoscope or going to a fortune-teller. You’re bound to connect and resonate with some comments within your evaluation and say, “Wow! This totally sounds like me!” Here’s what one popular quiz has to say about my personality type, INFP, also known as “The Mediator” sometimes and “The Idealist” other times. “The Healer” shows up for INFP, as well.

INFP personalities are true idealists, always looking for the hint of good in even the worst of people and events, searching for ways to make things better. While they may be perceived as calm, reserved, or even shy, INFPs have an inner flame and passion that can truly shine. Comprising just 4% of the population, the risk of feeling misunderstood is unfortunately high for the INFP personality type – but when they find like-minded people to spend their time with, the harmony they feel will be a fountain of joy and inspiration.

Wow! This totally sounds like me! I have passion! I’m often calm and reserved! I always look for the good in people! I’m special and part of a select group! There’s a good chance it sounds like you, too.

INFPs like me would probably be sorted into Hufflepuff.

Here’s another:

INFPs struggle with the issue of their own ethical perfection, e.g., performance of duty for the greater cause. An INFP friend describes the inner conflict as not good versus bad, but on a grand scale, Good vs. Evil. Luke Skywalker in Star Wars depicts this conflict in his struggle between the two sides of “The Force.” Although the dark side must be reckoned with, the INFP believes that good ultimately triumphs.

Wow! This totally sounds like me! I identify with Luke Skywalker!

Of course people are going to like and share the Myers-Briggs evaluation and results. Every single one of the 16 possible personality types focuses on positive traits and makes the tester feel good!

There is not one negative comment in any of the evaluations — and in real life, there are certainly negative personality traits that get in the way of collaboration and success.

The official MBTI experts call these definitions tendencies or preferences, not hard rules, so even if the descriptions don’t exactly represent one’s personality, they can still claim accuracy. If the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is armchair psychology or even junk science, asking about someone’s type is still slightly better than asking about someone’s astrological sign. And learning anything about someone’s personality allows you to relate better to them. This is beneficial at work and helpful in your personal life.

Let’s break it down.

What's Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?

The first letter in the MBTI can be an I or E, and this represents extraversion. Like any of the dimensions in the evaluation, you can fall anywhere on the spectrum from “totally introverted,” through “something in the middle,” to “totally extraverted.” But these words don’t mean what you think they mean. To be extraverted means you draw your energy from socialization and being around and interacting with other people. Introverted people tend to be able to interact and socialize just as well, but need time alone afterwards to recharge.

The next dimension has “intuitive” on one side of the scale and “sensing” on the other side, represented by N or S. Those who tend towards sensing rely on information provided to them through their five senses to discover truth. Intuitive people go beyond sensory stimuli, finding patterns that reveal truth when interpreted.

In the third slot, the T stands for thinking and the F stands for feeling. You might as well ask someone if they’re “left-brained” or “right-brained,” because this is the same type of categorization. How do you make decisions? If you try to rely on logic most of the time, you’re a “thinker,” but if you go with your gut, you may be a “feeler.”

Finally, subjects are categorized into buckets that depend on whether they’re evaluated as “judging” or “perceiving” (J or P). Judging does not mean judgmental, but it does represent a preference for to-do lists, schedules, and closure. People with a perceiving preference are spontaneous and like having many possibilities open.

The result is sixteen unique combinations, and each has been given “names.”

16 Myers-Briggs Personality Types

Take the test.

Keeping the limitations in mind, you can still use a test to learn a little bit about your personality and get a morale boost if you’re feeling down. Understanding yourself is one of the keys to being a successful adult. Maybe it’ll be a good conversation starter. It probably won’t fully define you.

Try this test at Psych Central. It won’t take very long.

Return here and share your personality type!

You never know when you’ll connect with someone over their personality type.

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Anxiety still carries plenty of stigma. Have you ever wondered what anxiety feels like? Here’s what might help.

Editor’s note: Whether you have anxiety or you have a close friend who has anxiety, it’s good to understand what other people may be experiencing. Part of successful adulting is communication and empathy, and reading or hearing what someone may be going through is helpful in that respect, and will help grow stronger relationships.

In the old days, the days of your parents, they just called you nervous. If you were on edge, it was your nerves. If you had a particularly bad episode, they would say you had a nervous breakdown. People went their entire lives without knowing the actual cause of that nervousness: anxiety.

Thankfully anxiety is better understood today, and for good reason: it’s one of the most common mental health disorders on the planet. According to The New York Times, it’s now more common among college students than depression. No matter who you are, you or someone close to you has probably been affected by anxiety.

But despite its ubiquity, anxiety is still misrepresented and misunderstood. It’s a difficult disorder to describe, and as such you’ll still hear it referred to as “nerves” or “stress.” Those terms aren’t completely off the mark, but they lack the nuance to truly explain just what it actually feels like to have anxiety.

How does it feel?

I didn’t realize I had anxiety until my senior year of college. I was often stressed and anxious, but so was every Type A student managing a full course load and extracurricular activities. I’d known since high school that I frequently got stomach problems if I started getting nervous or upset, mostly due to my irritable bowel syndrome, but I never considered that the nervousness itself was a symptom.

When I heard someone describe the symptoms of anxiety, I recognized them immediately. Anxiety is about feeling overly nervous or worried with no reason to be. It’s about perceiving every minor slight or incident and worrying about it incessantly.

Living with anxiety is like having the most pessimistic devil on your shoulder. When I lose a client, anxiety tells me that I’m not cut out to be a freelance writer. When I forget a friend’s birthday, anxiety tells me that this is why I struggle to keep friends. Anxiety is a straight-up bitch.

I spent years with different therapists learning about cognitive behavioral therapy and how, even though I couldn’t cure my anxiety, I could learn how to recognize when it was affecting me.

What helps?

One of the best strategies my therapist taught me was how to challenge the anxious thoughts in my head. There are many ways anxiety can manifest itself, but thankfully there are just as many ways to combat it.

She gave me this worksheet where I could list the anxious thoughts I was having, why I was having them, and a more rational scenario. For example, if I was anxious about not hearing back from an editor and assuming that he didn’t like my latest article, the worksheet could help me realize that he likely hadn’t taken the time to read it yet.

What helped even more was taking medication, a solution I resisted for years. It’s one thing to go to therapy, but I was convinced pills were only for people who were “broken.” Even when my equally prescription-dubious husband suggested it, I resisted. I was worried I wouldn’t feel like me anymore. I was also worried that if my anxiety did improve, it would be because of the pills and not anything I accomplished

After consulting with a good friend who takes anxiety medication, I finally talked to my doctor. After one day’s dose, I felt significantly better. Suddenly I wasn’t as anxious on a regular basis, and when I was, I could handle it.

I compare anxiety to driving on the highway in the dark with traffic cones everywhere. Anxiety medication can remove the cones and make it easier to drive, but you’re still in charge of the car.

I know there’s plenty of stigma about anxiety and medication. When I texted my mom that I was getting a prescription, she left two voicemails. I told my dad in person, and he got very quiet — a rare feat, if you know my father. Society is still coming around to mental health medication, but to me it’s like taking medication for high blood pressure or cholesterol.

The more I talk about it openly, the more I find out how many people I know that are medicated. Like anything, the more we share, the more we realize how similar we are.

Do you have anxiety? Does a close friend? Share your experiences — you might help someone.

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