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5 Ways to Harness the Power of Negative Emotion

depression

Negative emotions tend to make us feel powerless, but the powerful effect of negativity can be quite useful. Negative emotions cloud our identities and restrict us from building fulfilling lives. The longer we allow negative emotions to linger, our thoughts turn destructive and we begin losing hope of ever feeling truly happy/happy again.

Negative emotions are always a burden and coping with them is certainly exhausting; maintaining a positive presence is difficult to upkeep, especially when we feel like we’re crippling inside. However, with a little guidance and support, we can channel that negative energy into something useful.

I’ve found that negative energy can be an opportunity to increase self-awareness. Think of how we feel when we’re physically hurt, the pain makes us aware of the wound so that we can heal it. Is it so naive to think that our negative emotions work in a similar way?

  1. An Indication to Evaluate and Reflect on Behavior.

We can get so wrapped up in negative thought that it’s easy to overlook this key indication: to wear our objective lenses and pay attention to the way we’re living out our lives. We must acknowledge our feelings first, assess negative behaviors and then investigate how we arrived at such a burden, to understand the triggers and piques.

We should become aware of indulging activities that leave us feeling regretful and shameful, such as: overeating or loss of appetite, short tempers or feelings of emptiness, frivolous sexual pursuits or lack of sexual desire and self-loathing and obsessively comparing ourselves to others’. These are just a handful of examples that feed negative emotions, but we must become aware of behaviors that are deceitfully healing, because they actually deepen the wound.

  1. Realize That Life Is Directed by A Series of Choices.

I believe that every single one of us has an opportunity to achieve great things. What’s standing between us and a great destiny, is a series of choices. Wherever or whenever we feel like we don’t have a choice, know that it’s down to a negative perception of reality; fear and a lack of understanding is all that keeps us from making the choices we really want to make.

We can choose to go to the same boring job everyday, or we can choose to invest any free moment looking for new opportunities. We can choose to indulge negative behaviors, or realize that we can employ positive ones. We can also choose to be happy, if we choose to deal with negativity head on.

  1. Embrace The Opportunity for Change.

Prolonged negativity should act as a catalyst for change. When we’re feeling like we’re ‘stuck-in-a-rut’, disconnected from life and/or living complacently, it’s time for change. What’s the point in perpetuating a life that’s negative, when we have the power to change it?  We just need to remember that change is a process. Often what deters us is the uncertainty, but when we break down change into manageable steps, anything becomes completely doable.

When we’re feeling negative we get frustrated and when we feel frustrated, we become disheartened and impatient. It’s probably why many of us seek out ‘quick-fixes’ to cope with negative emotion. If we become more aware of the changes we need to make and take the first step towards directing change, even if it’s just research to begin with, we counteract and overcome negative emotion with positive behavior.

  1. Identify and Let Go of Any Enablers.

When a person is given a chance to be honest, their identity shines through. When we begin to understand one another, we notice how special and unique each of us truly are and we can help each other overcome our obstacles. How many people in our lives allow us to shine? How many of them can we be truly honest and vulnerable with, without fear nor judgement? I evaluate the people around me by this philosophy. We shouldn’t need to be anyone else other than who we are and if there are people around us that restrict this birthright, then we must rethink some of these relationships.

Furthermore, our identities need to shine in order to learn and grow. If we have people around us that restrict our identities, then it only reinforces the message that we’re not good enough, not worthy enough or perhaps that there is something wrong with us. Honest relationships are crucial to personal development. I’ve personally found by being honest myself, I’m also creating an opportunity for others to open up and be honest themselves too. Slowly but surely if we all adopt this same philosophy, we can help each other get through life. We can nurture an environment that’s safe enough to be vulnerable in and together, we can grow and prosper. We must learn to let go of dishonest relationships and embrace those who are accepting of others.

  1. When All Else Fails, Take Some Time Away and Go Alone.

Nothing works better than entering a new and unfamiliar environment alone and realize how many challenges we can face and overcome. I believe it’s why many of us find travel so liberating and probably why many people find India in particular, so life changing. If our physical senses are overrun by overwhelmingly new sensations, what energy do we have left to upkeep a negative attitude? At some point that survival instinct kicks in as we’re forced to overcome one hurdle after another and we have no other choice but to trust ourselves. A change of scene almost forces us to look objectively into our lives and highlight the negative aspects of them.

Having some alone time allows us to honestly connect with the way we truly feel, as opposed to rationalizing our negative emotions to coexist with current ideologies we feel entangled in. Going away to a foreign place alone, is like embarking on a pilgrimage to self-realization; to realize that we all have purpose and that we’re capable of overcoming anything.

The Mindset behind Creating a Healthier Planet: Routes of Change

Routes of Change

“I’d like to see our species come together and use our amazing potential to live in harmony with all life on this planet. If I had to leave an impression, I’d like it to be a smile.”

 – Markus Pukonen, Founder of Routes of Change

On 3rd Ave. and Main St. Vancouver B.C. is where I last saw Markus Pukonen; a man on a mission to “circumnavigate the planet without a motor.”Markus Pukonen

Founder of Routes of Change; a registered non-profit organization, with the intention of raising support for organizations that are creating a healthier planet, Markus began his adventure around the world on foot. Since then, he has already hiked, skipped and danced his way through the first few kilometres and according to his live, online GPS, he currently appears to be canoeing down Lake Ontario towards Prince Edward, ON.

I first got introduced to Markus when I gate-crashed his fundraiser during my recent visit to Tofino, BC. An intimate event, I spoke to several people who knew Markus personally and from what I had learnt, I was eager to understand the mindset of this man with an ambitious goal, derived from noble motives.

Markus loves our planet and “all of the beings on it.” He found himself burdened by the unfortunate state of our planet six years ago, when he lost his beloved father to Leukemia. Around the same time, his sister was pregnant with his niece. This cycle of death and new life caused Markus to wonder what type of future his niece would have, if we continue to pollute and ruin our planet. It also caused him to question the legacy he’d leave behind, if he were to face the same fate as his father. “It was time for change” and it was during this poignant time in Markus’ life, which jolted him to act upon one of his ultimate aspirations.

Over the last six years, Markus has been carefully planning, fundraising and generating awareness and support for his organization. Now that ‘Routes of Change’ has officially launched, he’s beginning to feel both the positive and negative impacts of this mission.  The pressure is definitely on and as deadlines loom, the reality of his aspiration is settling in.

To keep himself motivated and focused, Markus doesn’t overlook his emotions. He realizes that they are a key component towards navigating himself towards success. He also practises communicating openly for others to understand him better, especially during moments of high stress and anxiety.

“I’m planning on dancing every day to make things happy and positive and keep the silliness of everything in focus. I practice belly breathing, moving meditation, and yoga as well.”

Also, Markus occasionally finds himself “nervous and stressed.” On top of raising funds to support himself throughout this 5 year mission, he’s set himself a “huge goal” of raising 10 million dollars towards supporting positive change. So naturally, he’s finding himself questioning how it’ll all “come together.” Furthermore, Markus has been pretty independent his entire life and for the first time, he’s asked for support from his community in a “big way,” causing further thoughts of concern and uncertainty as he doesn’t want to let anyone down.

“I overcome these concerns and doubts by focusing on the positive, on the fact that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I know that things have a way of working themselves out if you move confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

Markus has also become mindful of the fact that not everyone understands his mission, nor can everyone empathise with his passion. He’s learnt that staying true to himself and standing by his own identity, will guide him towards the success and fulfillment he desires. He adds:

“I also remind myself that I was willing to do this trip without any money.”

His strength and encouragement also comes from gratitude, he genuinely values community, oneness and family. Even though he’ll be without his nearest and dearest for some time, he only has to think about them to trigger motivation.

“I think about the love they have for me. I think about doing my best in order to make them proud. I don’t focus on the fact that they aren’t with me, I focus on the fact that they ARE with me. I feel their love and support and I gain inspiration and strength from it. I focus on that overwhelming feeling of gratitude.”

Markus sets a great example of how to use your identity towards bigger aspirations. He’s combined what he loves to do (his passion), with what he has to do (his purpose) and as a result, he’s well on his way towards reaching levels of self-actualization.

There are many lessons to be learnt from Markus and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with him. He’s confirmed that staying true to our own identities, engaging in what we’re passionate about and maintaining gratitude for the very things many of us take for granted, will steer us towards a life of bliss and fulfillment.

Have a great time Markus and thank you for raising awareness to make our home a better place to live.

To learn more about Markus Pukonen and ‘Routes of Change’ check-out Routesofchange.org. You can also support Markus along the way, by sponsoring a ‘penny per kilometer’, joining him during a leg of his trip or simply by offering him words of encouragement, advice and support.

Routes of Change

VanCity

The Importance of Maintaining Intention

Tofino

I’d recently took a trip away to Tofino, British Columbia, to complete some work and escape the distractions of everyday life. When I arrived I was ready to churn out pure productivity, I could already feel my ego withering away as my inner-desires activated, engaged by thoughts of freedom, fun and accomplishment.

It was late, dark and very quiet. I immediately felt a slight anxiety as I entered this small town as lone outsider. I pulled up and greeted my AirBnB host with very quick hello and was given a 2 minute tour of the property, not even 10 minutes had passed by and beers were already being poured. I could already tell that this town had adopted a ‘live-in-the-moment’ mentality and any thoughts of anxiety were soon forgotten.

My host was an energetic character originally from Alberta, Canada. He’d given up his lucrative career working on an oil rig, to pursue his passions. He became an artist and had moved to Tofino to seek liberation and to freely create. I had told him about my initial anxiety and how quickly it was dispelled, I mentioned my work and my writing and my reason for visiting. He talked about how many of the people living in Tofino weren’t really from there, many of the people he had met and many of the people I had interacted with, seemed to have similar reasons for being there.

My first day though was pretty amazing, normally when I wake up my first thoughts are to check my Blackberry for any new emails from potential clients, and to check my blog-stats. The internet connectivity was awful so right way I was forced into mindfulness. I got up early, caught the sun rise, meditated, went for a run and had my first Vegan breakfast (it was delicious) all before 7am.

After I had showered and changed, I took my laptop down to a waterfront restaurant and within minutes I was tranced into a flow state. Usually I would check all sorts of social media platforms and spend the first hour catching up with the rest of the world. This time was very different.

Later that day, I explored the neighbourhood and struck up conversations with random people. It became apparent that many people who come along to Tofino, although initially motivated by escape, were really there to just be themselves. To engage the capabilities of their identities in order to discover bliss. Nobody seemed too focused on status, money, popularity or anything else that bound people to lives that lacked fulfillment.

Nobody really cared about anything else other than making the most of every moment and that didn’t really mean partying and having fun in the traditional sense. It meant making the most of one’s passions, perfecting skills and becoming the best individual one can be. Investing every spare moment engaging an inner spirit and tapping into a self-confidence that came with true independence. Many people had visited from bigger towns and cities, only to remain there after experiencing some sort of detachment. Towards the end of my trip, even I was contemplating the thought of calling it home.

I couldn’t help feeling empathy for those that sought freedom and liberation there. Many people seemed to have detached from their old lives, only to attach themselves to Tofino. I wondered how many will learn to carry this experience with them as they re-enter the lives they’d left behind.

My mum had incidentally given me a book called “why —– mind matters.” It explored Buddhist philosophies concerning the mind. It was an easy book and within the first ten minutes I came across this quote:

“Man is essentially the manifestation of his thought forces.”

I thought I went to Tofino to work, to finish some writing as I embark on yet another goal. I thought I had to be there to bring back the inspiration and motivation I sought, to complete my book. Truth is, Tofino just allowed me to calm my mind and had given me time to think. It reminded me of the importance of focusing internally.

Prior to this trip, my mind seemed to be in several different places at once, I couldn’t focus on writing and output seemed to lack passion. I had all the same ideas, but at home I couldn’t bring them alive because I kept trying to focus with an external intention.

In other words, I was focusing on an outcome of a task rather than the purpose of carrying the task out. So when I would attempt to write at home, I was driven more by thoughts of getting my book published and the possibility of new opportunities and travelling more. When writing in Tofino, I reconnected with the internal intention; I wrote because I enjoyed it and because I’m passionate about what I want to share.

Now that I’m back on the ferry heading back home to familiarity, I’m returning with my intentions intact. I feel I understand what it means to put my mind to something now. We can be anywhere in the world physically, but what truly matters as we embark on ambitious goals, is where we allow our minds to travel and where we can take the world.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

5 Things We Tend To Neglect When Pursuing Our Goals

Neglect

Sometimes when we’re focused on attaining success, crucial parts of our lives get neglected. We also justify the things we neglect, by telling ourselves that we’ll place priority on them once we have achieved what we have set out to achieve. One thing I’ve learnt, is that if we don’t make these things a priority in our lives today, we’ll soon realize the burden of our actions.

Here’s 5 things that we must maintain in our lives to ensure that we attain success in a healthy and fulfilling manner.

  1. Health and Wellness

Health and wellness is the single most important thing in our lives. We must ensure that we make time for ourselves and that we look after our bodies. After all, we can attain all the success in the world, but it’ll mean nothing if we’re not healthy enough to enjoy it. The more success we build the more indestructible we feel, but that illusion will wear off the moment our bodies are overwhelmed and overrun by neglect.

I’m currently trialing an all organic diet and already I feel more energetic and awake. I also used to schedule exercise around my work, now I’ve shifted my schedule to work around my yogic goals.

  1. Home/Work Space

Whatever stage of success we’re at, our spaces are a reflection of our journey. The cleaner and organised our personal spaces are, the more productive we’re going to be. We’ll want to work in these spaces and spend less time wanting to get away or escape.

I once spent an entire day printing pictures and putting them up in frames around my house. At first I felt like I was wasting a day, but now my space serves a motivational gallery of things I’m grateful for and the aspirations I hold.

  1. People

Family, friends and partners are our immediate support network, they encourage us and support us when we need it. It’s easy to forget how much influence these people have on our success, without them we wouldn’t have anyone to share success with.

One of my most popular posts to date is on success and loneliness, it has climbed the search engine ranks and continues to get more hits day by day. Nurture your relationships and make time for them, don’t end up successful and isolated.

  1. Social and Recreational activities

Make time to have fun and socialize with others. Social and recreational activities lift our spirits and help us relieve stress. They are a crucial component towards maintaining a positive mindset.

When I’m writing I have to be alone, but I must balance all this alone time by connecting with others. Making time to have fun and gathering with others keeps our identities engaged and our lives fulfilled. You’ve heard of the saying ‘work hard, play hard’ to me it connotes balance. Don’t let all your hard work end up in vain because you’ve made no time to enjoy life.

  1. Emotions

The most fulfilled people I’ve come across tend to be the most expressive.

Our emotions are our guide towards fulfillment. If we fall into a habit of focusing on our success and repressing our emotions, we can be led astray from where we actually want to be in life. When we deal with an emotion, we spend time evaluating and reflecting, it’s a process that helps keep us aligned with our aspirations.

Your emotions are the rawest form of honesty, so listen to them they’ll guide you where you need to go. Process your emotions as and when they arise so you don’t end up building a life you’re not fulfilled by.

It’s easy to forget the significance of these things in our lives and if we don’t start making these things a priority now, we’ll end up losing touch with them later.

VanCity

The Beauty of Preparation

Preparation is a wonderful motivator when you’re aiming for an aspiration beyond your current means.

The best example I have to offer is travel; I have so many people contacting me about finding the courage to give up their day job to travel. When I question them about their travel aspirations, it’s evident that they’ve only ever thought about the fantasy and not given much thought on actual details.

It’s very easy to say what it is you want to do in life because there’s no commitment; there’s no investment made towards your aspirations, be it time and/or money. I cannot stress enough that simply thinking, saying out loud or sharing your aspirations with others is only the foundation for getting what you want.

It will forever remain an aspiration; a fantasy that will never be pulled into the realm of reality, if a thought is your only investment. Your thoughts are just sparks, there’s a lot more involved if you actually want to ignite a flame.

The one thing that separates those who do and those who don’t, is often investment and preparation and it’s completely typical to start small. For instance before I went traveling, I invested time and effort on defining details. The what, where, how, and why….I figured those out first and the when became much clearer. I even began taking short trips away within my means, just to get familiar with being on my own and exploring new places independently. The more prep work I did and the more I educated myself, helped me fulfill that aspiration and I went from talking about it to actually living it.

I almost approach my aspirations as if I’m heading into a debate, I aim to be well prepared to confidently tackle any argument presented to me. They say knowledge gives you power, because knowledge reduces fear and the less you fear, the more you control.

My new coaching business for instance, two years ago when I had the idea in my mind, I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t figured out the details let alone the credentials. Two years on, as I continued to prepare for that aspiration, I’m ready to enter the “debate.” I have everything I need to start this new path, towards the aspiration I sparked some time ago. Preparation kept the aspiration alive and real, until the when fell into place.

Whatever your aspirations are, don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed by what seems impossible. Break down your aspirations into finite details, apply your identity to them and really grasp what it is you truly desire.

Whether it means opening a savings account or simply absorbing more knowledge to really define what it is you want, in doing so you begin your adventure. So prepare yourself today and get ready for the aspiration you’re going to fulfill tomorrow.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

If I Had All the Money in the World…

Money

If I posed the question, “What would you be doing right now, if money was no object?” You’d probably be able to answer it quite easily. Some of you may even have several different answers, each one just as fantastical and glamorous as the last, but how truthful would your answer be?

To be honest, the answers you construct wouldn’t matter anyway, the detail you should be focusing on, is how different your life is now to that of your fantasy? Or rather, why is a fantasy so appealing?

When you find that life isn’t quite shaping out the way you had hoped, where life just isn’t exciting and that it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, questions like these tend to arise simply because you desire something better.

The problem with this particular question, is that it never really forces you to face your true desires. Having more money just gives you the option to escape into a belief of fulfillment. You’ll probably base your answers on what you’ve seen on the telly or what’s been covered in those shiny magazines, because those people look so happy.

If you truly seek change and you really want to build a better life for yourself, you should start by asking yourself “What decisions would you make right now, if you could make them without any consequences?”

You live your everyday life chained to responsibility and ideology without giving yourself the opportunity to really explore the depth of your identity. If you had the ability to make a consequence-free decision right now, what would it be? If you could leave it all behind where would you take your life? What purpose would you fulfill/discover?

Ask yourself these questions and face the honesty that you probably live with but never ponder. Really get to grips with a reality where you are in full control of your life. Where life is dictated by the very traits of who you are, rather than what you can do with how much you’re worth. For once just think about doing something for yourself that probably only you would understand.

Until you face what it is you truly want from life, you’re never going to live. Life is way too valuable to live idly.

I know there’s definitely some work ahead of me to attain the life I want to live, but I know with each word I write, each person I coach and each effort I make to build a more fulfilled life for myself, I’ll never need to find comfort in escapism, for I’m already on a road to where I want to be.

Allowing myself to think freely in this way, has allowed me to configure my goals independently and tap into the heartbeat of my own desires.

Even for just a moment, take consequences out of the equation and it’s remarkable what you may learn about yourself and/or what it is you actually want. Face some truths so that you can navigate your life towards something more fulfilling

Don’t become just another irritated soul trying to fit into this world, become a liberated one and claim your place in it.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach