9 Ways to Be the Person You Wanted to Be as a Kid
We may have dreamed of castles and flying carpets as kids, but what we really wanted was a lot simpler: We wanted adventure, possibility, fun, and a few good friends to share it with. Regardless of how your life looks now, you can have those things. It starts with how you choose to be today, and what you choose to do with what you have.
That’s how you learned back then. You explored and tried on different hats, and rarely said the word “can’t” unless your mom was calling you in for dinner. If something sounded fun, you were game.
Open up to fun again. Be silly, playful, creative, curious, excited, adventurous, and open. Give your overworked adult mind a break and enjoy experimenting. Finding new possibilities isn’t a cerebral experience. The only way to create a life that will bring you joy is to use your joy as a compass.
2. Invite the new kid to your table at lunch.
Okay, maybe you didn’t do this one. We all wanted to belong back then, and that usually meant staying with the group. But sometimes it backfired on you. Sometimes the new kid was fun. Sometimes the new kid was a great friend. Sometimes the new kid had parents who rented bounce houses for their birthdays.
If you only allow yourself to interact with people you know and trust, your world will remain small, albeit manageable. You never know what experiences new acquaintances might introduce you to—and you never know when an acquaintance may turn into a friend that feels like home.
3. Don’t ditch gym class.
It was in the curriculum for a reason: it’s good for you. Shocker, I know! Dodge ball was more than just an opportunity to knock your friends out and be the last kid standing. It got your blood pumping, gave you an energy outlet, and increased your overall health.
You can’t do anything in life if you’re too sluggish to get off your couch. This is nothing new—we all know that exercise is good for us. If you need additional motivation not to sit on the bench, consider these hidden benefits of exercise: research has shown even moderate exercise can boost the immune system and prevent chronic illness.
4. Don’t jump off a bridge just because your friends are doing it.
You don’t want to think of people you love as negative, complacent, or stagnant, but many of them probably are. Thoreau said the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation—and as bleak as that may sound, there’s some truth to it. The majority of people don’t do what they want to do, and feel most comfortable surrounding themselves with similar people.
Don’t be a similar person. Love and accept them as they are, but decide to do it differently. There’s no good reason to be quietly desperate when you can be boldly satisfied. That’s not to say achieving what you want will be easy; but you will respect and admire yourself more when you’re actively living out loud, if not yet in results, in the process.
The eightfold path
The eightfold path, although referred to as steps on a path, is not meant as a sequential learning process, but as eight aspects of life, all of which are to be integrated in every day life. Thus the environment is created to move closer to the Buddhist path.The eightfold path is at the heart of the middle way, which turns from extremes, and encourages us to seek the simple approach.The eightfold path is Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
The first step of the eightfold path is Right Understanding or Right View.This is a significant step on the path as it relates to seeing the world and everything in it as it really is, not as we believe it to be or want it to be. Just as you may read the directions on a map, and then make the journey, studying, reading and examining the information is important, but only the preparation for the journey. At a deeper level, direct personal experience will then lead us to Right Understanding.
The second step on the Eightfold Path is Right Intent. This is the step where we become committed to the path. Right Understanding shows us what life really is and what life’s problems are composed of, Right Intent urges us to decide what our heart wants. Right Intent must come from the heart and involves recognising the equality of all life and compassion for all that life, beginning with yourself.
Right Speech is the next step of the Path. We tend to underestimate the power of the spoken word, and often regret words said in haste. Each of us has experienced the disappointment associated with harsh criticism, whether justified or not, and we also are likely to have felt good when kind words encouraged us. Right speech involves recognition of the truth, and also an awareness of the impact of idle gossip and of repeating rumours. Communicating thoughtfully helps to unite others, and can heal dissention. By resolving never to speak unkindly, or in anger, a spirit of consideration evolves which moves us closer to everyday compassionate living.
Right Action recognises the need to take the ethical approach in life, to consider others and the world we live in. This includes not taking what is not given to us, and having respect for the agreements we make both in our private and business lives.
The next on the Eightfold Path follows on from Right Action, and this is Right Livelihood. If your work has a lack of respect for life, then it will be a barrier to progress on the spiritual path. Buddhism promotes the principle of equality of all living beings and respect for all life.
Right Effort means cultivating an enthusiasm, a positive attitude in a balanced way. Like the strings of a musical instrument, the amount of effort should not be too tense or too impatient, as well as not too slack or too laid back. Right Effort should produce an attitude of steady and cheerful determination.
Right Mindfulness means being aware of the moment, and being focused in that moment. When we travel somewhere, we are hearing noises, seeing buildings, trees, advertising, feeling the movement, thinking of those we left behind, thinking of our destination. So it is with most moments of our lives. Right Mindfulness asks us to be aware of the journey at that moment, and to be clear and undistracted at that moment. Right Mindfulness is closely linked with meditation and forms the basis of meditation. Right Mindfulness is not an attempt to exclude the world, in fact, the opposite. Right Mindfulness asks us to be aware of the moment, and of our actions at that moment. By being aware, we are able to see how old patterns and habits control us. In this awareness, we may see how fears of possible futures limit our present actions.
Once the mind is uncluttered, it may then be concentrated to achieve whatever is desired. Right Concentration is turning the mind to focus on an object, such as a flower, or a lit candle, or a concept such as loving compassion. This forms the next part of the meditation process.Right concentration implies that we select worthy directions for the concentration of the mind, although everything in nature, beautiful and ugly, may be useful for concentration. At deeper levels, no object or concept may be necessary for further development.
10 Easy Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day
1. Send them an encouraging text or message.
2. Give them some home-baked cookies or some beautifully packaged chocolates.
3. Send them a card, or leave a handwritten note on their desk.
4. Offer to do something for them, or to help them with something they are struggling with.
5. Pay them a (genuine) compliment.
6. Thank or praise them in front of others.
7. Notice, and comment on, their effort and hard work.
8. Offer to pay - instead splitting the bill.
9. Show up to something they’re participating in (a sport, musical performance etc)
10. Be upbeat, positive, and try to make them smile.
Books About Mental Illness
Since many people have been requesting books on mental illness, I’ve taken the time to put together a basic list. This is not a comprehensive list; there are a wide array of self-help and mental health books out there, some of which are better than others. These are the ones I found to have the highest reviews, most popular, and/or most credible. If you have any suggestions, feel free to submit them!
**Any books dealing with mental health (I’ve found memoirs in particular) can sometimes be triggering, so read at your own discretion.**
Abuse and Trauma
Trauma and Recovery by Judith Lewis Herman
The Body Remembers by Babette Rothschild
Toxic Parents by Susan Forward (Self-Help)
The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize it and How to Respond by Patricia Evans
Life After Trauma by Dena Rosembloom (Self-Help Workbook)
More, Now, Again by Elizabeth Wurtzel (Memoir)
Over the Influence by Patt Denning (Self-Help)
Facing the Shadow by Patrick Carnes (Self-Help)
The Anger Control Workbook by Matthew McKay (Self-Help)
The Anger Trap by Les Carter
Beyond Anger by Thomas J. Harbin (Self-Help)
Rage: A Step-by-step Guide to Overcoming Explosive Anger by Ronald T. Potter-Efron (Self-Help)
When Anger Hurts by Matthew McKay (Self-Help Workbook)
Anxiety and Phobias
Dying of Embarrassment by Barbara Markway (Self-Help)
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne (Self-Help Workbook)
Beyond Anxiety and Phobia by Edmund Bourne (Self-Help)
Coping with Anxiety by Edmund Bourne
Don’t Panic by Reid Wilson (Self-Help Workbook)
Panic Attack Recovery Book by Shirley Swede (Self-Help Workbook)
Calming Your Anxious Mind by Jeffrey Brantley
An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison (Memoir)
Touched with Fire by Kay Redfield Jamison
Madness by Mayra Hornbacher (Memoir)
The Bipolar Disorder Survival Guide by David J. Miklowitz
Electroboy by Andy Behrman (Memoir)
Borderline Personality Disorder
Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen (Memoir)
Get Me Out of Here by Rachel Reiland (Memoir)
I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me by Jerold J. Kriesman
Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul T. Mason
Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel (Memoir)
The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon
Against Depression by Peter D. Kramer
Undoing Depression by Richard O’Connor
Speaking of Sadness by David A. Karp
Darkness Visible by William Styron (Memoir)
Depressive Illness: The Curse of the Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher
Feeling Unreal by Daphne Simeon
Wasted by Mayra Hornbacher (Memoir)
Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi (Memoir)
Life Without ED by Jenni Shaefer (Self-Help)
Press Pause Before you Eat by Dr. Linda Mintle
Make Peace With Your Thighs by Dr. Linda Mintle (Self-Help)
Fasting Girls by Joan Jacoms Brumberg
Gaining by Aimee Liu
The Boy who Wouldn’t Stop Washing by Judith L. Rapoport (Memoir)
Coping with OCD by Bruce M. Hyman (Self-Help)
The OCD Workbook by Bruce Hyman (Self-Help Workbook)
Divided Minds by Pamela Spiro Wagner (Memoir)
The Day the Voices Stopped by Ken Steele (Memoir)
The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn R. Saks (Memoir)
A Bright Red Scream by Marilee Strong
Bloodletting by Victoria Leatham (Memoir)
Cutting by Steven Levenkron
Skin Game by Caroline Kettlewell (Memoir)
Women Who Hurt Themselves by Dusty Miller
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide by Kay Redfield Jamison
The Suicidal Mind by Edwin S. Shneidman
Why People Die by Suicide by Thomas Joiner
The Man Who Tasted Shapes by Richard E. Cytowic (Memoir)
Voluntary Madness: My Year Lost and Found in the Looney Bin by Norah Vincent (Memoir)
The Dialectal Behavioral Therapy Workbook by Matthew McKay (Self-Help Workbook)
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, how to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud (Self-Help)
Lucky by Alice Sebold (Memoir)