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5 steps for creating a gratitude journal to cultivate positivity


gratitude


Do you keep a gratitude journal? I don't -- but I keep something similar -- a "happiness journal," in which I write down all of the things that make me happy. It's a great source of inspiration and a great way to stop and think about all of the things in life that are wonderful. Today's post was written by Lisa Shoreland, a resident blogger at Go College, and she's here to share some great tips with you on how to keep a gratitude journal so you can cultivate positivity in your life! 

 

Stress, work and family responsibilities, and routine can trap us in a pattern of negative thinking that feeds on itself and creates more stress and unhappiness. This cycle can lead to other ailments, as well, including constant fatigue and even depression. Finding ways to focus on the positive can help reprogram your thoughts and break this cycle.

Keeping a gratitude journal is one of the best ways to retrain your thoughts to focus on the positive things in your life. Studies have shown that keeping a gratitude journal can have many benefits. For example, a study from the University of California showed that participants who kept a gratitude journal complained of fewer physical symptoms, felt happier and more optimistic about their lives, were better able to meet goals, and exercised more. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when starting your own gratitude journal:


1. Choose Your Journal

What works best for you? Do you find that handwriting in a journal helps you slow down and connect with what you’re feeling? Or do you prefer the instant materialization that typing offers? Decide on a format that works best for your needs and preferences, and use it consistently. You may also decide to decorate your journal in ways that remind you of your purpose or help you feel more positive:

  • Attach or paste photos that make you happy on the cover or on random pages
  • Draw photos that depict your positive feelings about the things for which you are grateful
  • Write inspirational quotes or mantras in the margins
  • Notate special anniversaries and write about why you are grateful for those events and people


Personalizing your journal in this way can reinforce your purpose and make you feel more connected to your purpose.


2. Be Consistent

You should write in your gratitude journal every day, and preferably at the same time of day. If you’d like to start your day on a positive note, write in your gratitude journal after you eat breakfast. If you want to use your gratitude journal to reflect after a long and stressful day, write in your journal just before you go to bed. It is important to associate your writing with other key habits, as well. Even if you don’t write at the same time, write in conjunction with the same activity. For example, you could write in your journal on the subway ride home, or after you’ve finished washing the dishes each night, or after you’re done at the gym. Writing at the same time or in correlation with the same activity helps making it a part of your routine, which will help it more quickly become a habit.


3. Write at Least 3 to 5 Things

Decide on a goal for how many things you’d like to express gratitude for each day, but be sure that it is no less than three to five. You can write your entries in a list or in small paragraphs, explaining why it is you are grateful for each. The key is to get in the habit of becoming aware of all the things in your life for which you have to be grateful. It may be hard to come up with three items in the beginning, but once you get in the habit, it will be easy to see the positive in all the things you do.


4. Be as Specific as You Can

In the beginning, it may be hard to find things for which to be grateful, and you may be tempted to list things like “I’m grateful for my health.” While this is certainly something for which to be grateful, try to be more specific and focus on exactly why you are grateful. For example, instead of saying, “I’m grateful for my husband,” you could write:

  • I’m happy to have such an affectionate husband who tells me that he loves me so often.
  • I’m grateful to have such a handsome husband, to whom I am still attracted.
  • I’m lucky to have a husband who picks up his socks.


Or, instead of writing, “I’m grateful for my job,” you could write:

  • I’m lucky to have a job right now even though many of my friends are unemployed.
  • I really like the people I work with every day.
  • I’m grateful to have a job that lets me have a flexible schedule to work around child care.


Focus on specific, positive things, and the things you have to be grateful for will come more into focus for you.


5. Turn Negatives into Positives

Help really transform your thoughts by finding the positive side of negative situations. Instead of dwelling on things that are not working out – maybe a failed relationship, or financial hardships, or health problems – try to find a positive in those situations. For example:

  • I’m upset that relationship didn’t work out, but now I have time to focus on myself and figuring out what I really want and need in a partner.
  • My husband is still unemployed, but I’m grateful that we were able to pay the rent this month.
  • I don’t feel well and I’m worried about my health condition, but I’m grateful for the insight it has given me into how much I want to get out of life.


This will help you learn to focus on the positive in even the most dire situations.Though it may seem difficult and unnatural at first, keeping a gratitude journal and learning to focus on the positive in every situation will help you cultivate a greater sense of happiness and optimism about your life.

 

Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go College, where recently she's been researching architecture scholarships as well as student loan deferment. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing, practicing martial arts, and taking weekend trips.

 


surviving life after college: a how-to guide

 

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When I first started blogging (over two years ago!), one of the first sites I started reading was Life After College. The adventures (and misadventures) of the site's creator, Jenny Blake, weren't entirely unlike my own post-college experiences. In fact, one of the reasons I started Positively Present was because I found myself in the midst of a quarter-life crisis and was searching (sometimes desperately so) to get my bearings in my post-college world. After an entire life of structure and knowing what's next on my path -- grade school, high school, college, grad school -- I found myself face to face with the open ended question that was the rest of my life. Sites like Jenny's inspired and motivated me -- and helped me to feel much less alone as a bumbling twentysomething.


Life After College - Book Cover Having connected with Jenny over the past two years, I'm happy to call her one of my online friends -- and I'm even happier to announce that tomorrow she launching her blog-based book: Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want. As an avid reader of her site, I've been following her progress -- from finding a publisher to writing and editing to the day she opened the box housing the first copies of her book (so awesome!) -- and when I finally received my own copy of the book a few weeks ago, I was thrilled. Even though I've been out of college for a few years now, I cracked open the book and was delighted to find so many valuable resources inside.


I was also delighted to see two of my very own @positivepresent tweets in the Two Cents from Twitter sections of the book (check out pages 163 and 209!). This is Positively Present's first mention in a real, live book and I have to admit that I feel pretty darn excited about being included in such a great book!


Jenny's book is filled with inspiration and insights about: work, money, home, organization, friends, family, dating, relationships, health, fun, relaxation, and personal growth. Sounds like a lot to fit in one book, huh? It is, but what Jenny's done with all of these important and often stress-evoking topics is amazing. She's created a resource that anyone -- from recent graduates to settled-in-their-lives adults -- can benefit from. I know I write a lot of book reviews on my site (I can't help but share some of my favorites with you!), but this is honestly a must-buy. And here's why... 

 

The 5 Best Things about Life After College

  • Insightful commentary. Jenny, like me, has been through the real life-after-college experience and she shares her trials and tribulations with great honesty and openness in this book. Having gone through it not that long ago (and still going through it today), Jenny's insights are fresh, current, and, quite honestly, inspiring. Whether you're in a similar stage in life to Jenny, you're just about to graduate, or you did ten years ago, you can gain a great deal of insight from reading about Jenny's experiences -- both personal and professional. Anyone interested in personal development will love to dive into this book and learn from Jenny's experiences. 


  • Interactive experiences. The book is filled not only with Jenny's awesome insight and commentary on her personal and professional post-college experiences, but you'll also find that that book contains a great deal of interactivity. Jenny's created the book with the reader in mind and, unlike some books, she doesn't just offer her advice -- she actually helps you get to work implementing it. My absolute favorite thing about the book is that it's chocked full of exercises to get you thinking about your own life. In each section of the book (aka, each segment of your life), Jenny breaks things down for her readers and asks excellent questions, providing space for you to fill in your answers. Filling out the various portions of the book was such a great exercise for me and really helped me to put in perspective what I want from life -- and how I'm going to go about getting it. No matter where you are in your life, you will benefit from these exercises and, even if you do nothing but answer the questions, you'll gain such a great understanding of who you are and who you want to be. 


  • Inspiring motivation. If you need more motivation than actual exercises that will surely spur you into action, look no further! In addition to Jenny's own wisdom, she shares the insights and experiences of others through two awesome segments featured throughout the book: Notable Quotes and Two Cents from Twitter. (As I mentioned above, two of my tweets were picked by Jenny to be used in the book! Yay!) As a lover of quotes and someone interested in hearing others' opinions, I loved reading through these two sections of the book. I starred my favorite quotes and I'm sure you'll be seeing plenty of them on Positively Present soon. Jenny picked some really motivating quotes that correspond with each section so, as you're reading her insights and filling out the exercises with your own ideas, you're also coming across great quotes and tweets that will give you even more motivation to take the lessons from the book to heart. 


  • Incredible price. Normally I don't talk about prices when it comes to books because, in my little world, books are in their own category when it comes to money. I'll pause before buying a new dress or a new iPad app and ask, "Do I really need that?" but when it comes to books, I'm pretty much willing to spend anything, any time. If you weren't aware by now, I adore reading so, to me, spending money on books is just part of life -- like spending money on food or rent. I'm sure I would have paid whatever Jenny was asking for her book, but when I found out that it's less than $10 on Amazon, I was shocked. You can't even get some ebooks for that price! Totally incredible! Jenny's book is filled with amazing advice, insight, and exercises, and it's pretty crazy that you can get it all for less than $10!  

  • Invaluable resources. Almost as much as I loved the Notable Quotes and Two Cents from Twitter (did I mention that my tweets were in the book? pages 163 and 209!), I loved the Recommended Reading sections in the book. If you're a reader like me, you're always looking for new and inspiring books (and, in my case, I'm always looking for good reads to share with you guys!). And if you have Jenny's book in your hand, you don't have to look much further. Throughout the book, she shares tons of great resources -- books you should read, websites to check out, etc. To me, this type of information is invaluable. When you're reading a book like Jenny's and realize you want to explore one of the topics in more detail, one of the best things you can stumble upon is a list of books relating to that topic. Jenny puts it all right in there, right at your fingertips, making it, well, just plain awesome. 


As you can see, I'm pretty into this book. If I were to write a book, this is what I would want it to be -- insightful, entertaining, interactive, and inspiring. And I can honestly say that whether you're about to graduate college, you're a recent graduate, or your college days are a hazy memory, this book is for you. Jenny offers so many great insights on every aspect of post-college life -- and she shares so many excellent resources too! If you're at all interest in learning more about yourself and your life, this is book is a must have. To learn more about the book, check out the Life After College book website. To purchase a copy of the book, check it out on Amazon. And if you can't wait to get started on getting what you want, download the free 10-step checklist from Jenny's site. It's a great way to get started on the path to living an awesome post-college life -- the life you most definitely deserve to be living! 

 

 What advice would you offer for living life after college? 
If you're still in college or just out of college,
what advice would you like to receive?  

 


words to live by: noah + the whale

 

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"Life is Life"

Well he used to be somebody

And now he's someone else
Took apart his old life
Left it on the shelf
Sick of being someone
He did not admire
Took up all his old things
Set em all on fire

He's gonna change
Gonna change his ways
Gonna change
Gonna change his ways

And it feels like his new life can start
And it feels like heaven

Left his house at midnight
Resolute and young
In search of something greater
Than the person he'd become
Threw his bags on to the back
Of his run down eighties car
Headed out to god knows where
The distance is too far

He's gonna change
Gonna change his ways
Gonna change
Gonna change his ways

And it feels like his new life can start
And it feels like heaven
And it feels like his new life can start
And it feels like heaven

(Your life is your life gotta live like it's your life)

And it feels like his new life can start
And it feels like heaven
And it feels like his new life can start
And it feels like heaven
 

"L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N."
 
Lisa likes brandy and the way it hits her lips
She's a rock 'n' roll survivor with pendulum hips
She's got deep brown eyes
That've seen it all

Working at a nightclub that was called The Avenue
The bar men used to call her "Little Lisa, Loney Tunes"
She went down on almost anyone

From the hard time living 'til the Chelsea days
From when her hair was sweet blonde 'til the day it turned gray
She said:

L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
You've got more than money and sense, my friend
You've got heart and you go in your own way
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
What you don't have now will come back again
You've got heart and you go in your own way

Some people wear their history like a map on their face
And Joey was an artist just living out of case
But his best word was his letters home

His standard works of fiction about imaginary success
The chorus girls in neon were his closest things to friends
But to a writer, the truth is no big deal

From the hard time living to the sleepless nights
And the black and blue body from the weekend fights
He'd say:

L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

You've got more than money and sense, my friend
You've got heart and you go in your own way
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
What you don't have now will come back again
You've got heart and you go in your own way

On my last night on earth, I won't look to the sky
Just breathe in the air and blink in the light
On my last night on earth, I'll pay a high price
To have no regrets and be done with my life

L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.

You've got more than money and sense, my friend
You've got heart and you go in your own way
L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.
What you don't have now will come back again
You've got heart and you go in your own way

 

"Waiting for My Chance to Come"
  
Well I'm just waiting for my chance to come
Just a silhouette against the rising sun
Watch the water, watch the sky
Count the days as they go by
I'm just waiting for my chance to come

Well it takes real guts to be alone
Going head to head with the great unknown
But there is no sweeter sound, on the kings round I'm bound
And just waiting for your chance to come

'Cause it's hard to feel like, you're worth something in this life
When you're walking next to me, I can hear my body speak
We're just waiting for a chance to come
We're just waiting for a chance to come

Your immortal smile is burned in me
When I close my eyes its all see
Among the canyons and the stars
You're the guide inside my heart
I'm just waiting for my chance to come

And you're just looking for a way outta here
Yeah, a way to see this old life all disappear
Take a gamble on your heart, it will lead you through the dark
You're just waiting for your chance to come

'Cause it's hard to feel like, you're worth something in this life
When you're walking next to me, I can hear my body speak
We're just waiting for a chance to come
We're just waiting for a chance to come

And no one's gunna get in my way
Gunna figure it out for myself
Yeah no one's gunna make me stay
Gunna figure it out for myself

'Cause I don't need nothing
I'm just waiting for my chance to come


"First Day of Spring"
  
It's the first day of spring
And my life is starting over again
The trees grow, the river flows
And its water will wash away my sins
For I do believe that everyone has one chance
To fuck up their lives
But like a cut down tree, I will rise again
And I'll be bigger and stronger than ever before
 

"Do What You Do"
 
There's a pleasure
We must all feel
And it's a pleasure I know
Of losing your heart
And then letting love grow

What can I say
Any simpler
That now is all there is
That you're free to be any person
And you're all that you give

'Cause my bones were made in the womb
And now the brains are leaving my tomb
And every piece will be consumed
By the love my heart endured

But if you do
What you do
Yeah, you'll do fine
Yeah, if you do
What you do
Yeah, well, you'll do fine

Oh, and when love comes a-calling
Don't forget the tune
And when love comes a-calling
Don't forget the tune
And just do what you do

Oh, and the ones who taught you how to live
Oh, they know no more than you
So if you trust what's in your heart
Oh, what better can you do
Than if you do what 

 

I recently came across this awesome, Tom Petty-esque band, Noah & the Whale. Their lyrics are pretty inspiring and, when I tried to choose just one song to share with you, I couldn't so I thought I'd share a bunch of my favorites with you here. Enjoy! 


"Words To Live By" is a segment on Positively Present that features my favorite quote or lyrics from the week. Every Sunday I post a quote or lyrics that have inspired me with the hope that they'll inspire you too. Comments will be closed on these posts, but feel free to tweet the post if you enjoy it or contact me via Twitter


book review: losing control, finding serenity

 

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"Excessive control represents our attempt
to change another's very nature and spirit.
But because another's true spirit cannot be changed --
except by that person alone --
our efforts to do so are not only fruitless,
they are also harmful."

Daniel Miller

 

I was recently sent a copy of Daniel A. Miller's Losing Control, Finding Serenity: How the Need to Control Hurts Us and How to Let It Go. The book draws on psychological insights, spiritual wisdom, and the real-life stories of acknowledged “control freaks" to guide readers through an honest inventory of their control patterns-whether prodding, cajoling, withdrawing, playing the martyr, or intimidating-down to the roots. I try not to think of myself as a control freak, but the more I read, the more I realized I really do like to control a lot of things in my life -- and it usually does more harm than good.   

Though I wasn't sure what I would get out of the book initially, what I found was invaluable information on: how to reduce the control triggers of fear, anger, and resentment; how to make work less stressful and more profitable; how to find (and keep) love and achieve greater intimacy; and how to lessen the struggle with your children and strengthen communication. All of these topics were things I hadn't really considered in relation to control, but reading Miller's words really helped me to understand the many ways control plays a part in my life -- and he offered some great advice on how to let go of the need for control. Miller's book addresses so many important issues, but I'm going to highlight two of the most important ones here: accepting what is and addressing our fears.  

 

Accepting What Is

As Miller says in the book, "The more we accept people and things for who and what they are, the less our need for control. True acceptance replaces the compulsion to change or control others and redirects our focus to where it should rightly be: on ourselves." There's so much truth in that statement. It can be very hard to let go of control and realize that the reason we are controlling others is because we don't want to deal with ourselves, but the more we accept others for who we are -- and the more we accept ourselves for who we are -- the happier and more positive our lives will be.

However, as Miller notes, "Accepting what is represents a dramatic shift in thinking, believing, and acting. It requires considerable effort -- and courage." It's easy enough to say you'll relinquish control, but it's quite another to really accept what's happening to yourself and others without wanting to alter it in some way. Accepting what is -- living in the now -- is a very difficult thing to do and Miller raises the excellent point that the choice to accept what is requires an entirely new way of thinking, believing, and acting. 

Miller's book provides ideas and suggestions for how to start accepting what is, living in the now, and losing control. One of the best parts of the book offers this advice: "Ask yourself: Is this something I really have the power to change or control? How important is this to me Is it something that is best left alone for now? Am I making a mountain out of a molehill?" It sounds simple, but how often do we really ask ourselves these questions? When striving to live in the moment and accept what is, one of the best things you can do is ask yourself these questions. This advice is just a small slice of what Miller offers in the book to help you overcome the need for control. 

Millers offers excellent tips for how to remain aware of our own emotions and feelings. His advice -- which I took immediately and started putting into practice in my own life -- really does work. Small, simple acts can impact the way you are aware of how you are feeling and Miller's work has served as a great reminder to me of how important it is to stay focused on what you are experiencing personally in order to control the need to control. 

 

Addressing Our Fear

"Fears are mostly fiction -- highly creative fiction that runs rampant unless harnessed by the facts... Most controllers are fear driven. They are afraid of uncertainty, the unknown, and of what the future holds. Afraid, too, of being harmed if they allow events to take their natural course or allow people to do their own 'thing'...The good news is that when you lose fear, you are able to lose control and find serenity. Being able to identify your fears is the first step in letting them go," writes Miller. When I started thinking about the concept of fears being mostly fiction, a light bulb lit up in my mind. It's true that so much of what we fear never actually comes to be. 

Too many people allow these fears -- most of which are fiction -- control their lives. Their fears dominate the way they think and act and can often hinder their chance for a truly positive life. I know that I've let fear get in the way before and I know all too well that living life based on fear can be a waste of time and can have unpleasant consequences. Fear is a powerful force, however, and not all that easy to shake. Miller's book offers advice on how to combat fear, facing it head on in order to live a life no longer dominated by fear-based control. 

Miller provides insights on how to conduct a "fear inquiry" to assess and understand what it is that you're afraid of. Doing this is not easy, but it's super effective and can really impact the need to control. Obviously we all understand the concept of "confronting our fears," but Miller provides step-by-step guidance on how to do so. Having been in therapy and had some expert advice on how to confront fears, I have to say that Miller's suggestions are pretty spot on. As Miller states, "you must becomes your own hero in order to fight your fears," and the advice he provides and the way his words will help you shift your perspective when it comes to your fears are invaluable when it comes to battling the need to control. You may need to be your own hero when it comes to addressing your fears, but Miller's guidance can certainly help. 

 

Not only does Miller address the topics I've highlighted above, but the book also tackles some very important control-related topics, including:

  • Anger and resentment 
  • Avoidance
  • Parental control
  • Love control
  • Sports control
  • Creative control
  • Work control

For more on these topics and to gain even more knowledge on how to lose control and find serenity in your own life, I'd highly recommend ordering a copy of the book, which you can do by clicking here. There are a lot of great books out there on self-help and I'm sure many are focused on this very same topic, but the guidance offered by Miller is this book is something I'd recommend to anyone struggling with control issues in his or her life. Even if it's not you personally struggling with control, a lot can be learned from reading about what it's like to have issues with control -- and how you can help yourself and others cope with these issues. Control can be a major issue in our lives and it can have a negative impact on how we live. Considering the issue of control and how it can (or does) affect you is essential for living a positive life. For more inspiration and insights on control, check out Danny's Decontrol Yourself Blog


positive change: my smiling heart


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Today's post is part of a segment on Positively Present called "Positive Change." Posts labeled "Positive Change" are featured periodically on Positively Present and will highlight the people, websites, and organizations that are striving to make the world a more positive place. Today's feature is an interview with Jen, creator of My Smiling Heart, a site dedicated to Jen's journey toward a more positive life. Her story is inspiring and her site is a great resource for anyone struggling to live a positive life.   

 

1. What does it mean to you to have a "smiling heart"?

Having a smiling heart means being so completely happy that you can feel every part of yourself smiling, as though the sun shines in you and through you, touching every part of your life. It’s about knowing what makes your heart smile, and making sure you include those things in your life as much as possible.It means being your true, authentic, raw self, embracing life and everything it brings you, and focussing on the positive.

 

2. What inspired you to create the site My Smiling Heart?

I created My Smiling Heart after a very tough period in my life. Within a few months I had moved to the other side of the world, lost my job, fell ill and was bed ridden for a month. It resulted in me living in a constant state of fear and anxiety. I felt as though my life was in ruin, and there I was sitting amongst the pieces, frantically trying to put everything back together again before anyone realised how much of a mess I had made.I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself, and I completely lost the positive outlook on life that I once had. I stopped caring for myself and allowed myself to become trapped in a negative mindset.

One night during this time, I started writing. I sat at my computer and just released everything that was making me afraid, anxious, unhappy and unhealthy. As I wrote, I started to think about how positive I used to be. I always believed that we could choose happiness, so why wasn’t I choosing it for myself? I decided then that I would do whatever I could to live a happy and healthy life again. That night, I went to bed feeling light, relieved, and the most relaxed and focussed I had been in months. That’s when I realised the healing power of writing, and the next day I started My Smiling Heart. My Smiling Heart was my light at the end of a very dark tunnel. And it has been brightening my life every since.

 

3. What advice would you offer someone who is down on his/her luck?

Don’t give up; obstacles and setbacks do not equal failure. Create your own luck by staying positive, surrounding yourself with positive things, and taking small action steps towards happiness every day.There are so many things you can do to improve your happiness, and there are hundreds of resources available that can help you maintain your happiness every day. But the most important thing is to stay positive in how you think, act and feel.

See every challenge as a lesson learned, as an experience that will only make you stronger, as a vehicle for growth. There is something to be learned in every experience, and in everyone you meet. And remember, anyone can be positive when things are going well. It takes real courage and strength to stay positive when things are falling apart.

 

4. How have you made an effort to cultivate more positivity in your own life?

Just like our physical health, happiness and positivity needs to be maintained every day, so I make sure I do the things that make my heart smile as much as possible. Here are some of the things I do to stay positive:

  • Reading blogs is a relatively new love of mine. There are so many awesome positivity blogs out there, and I have subscribed to just about all of them! I get so much inspiration from them and have even made some friends a long the way.
  • Music is so uplifting, so I sing along to my positivity playlist almost every day.
  • I also watch funny movies and television shows, because laughter really is the best medicine.
  • I made a positive printout, which I have stuck onto my walls, along with inspiring quotes, artwork and photos of my favourite people, to make a vision wall.
  • I only spend time with people who lift me up rather than bring me down, and I do my best not to get caught up in other people’s unnecessary dramas.
  • One of the best things I do is so easy but so effective – smile! It feels great, looks great, and there is so much evidence that suggests that smiling is an immediate mood booster. Whether I smile at a friend, a stranger, or even at myself in the mirror, it’s guaranteed to lift my spirits.

 

5. What websites inspire you to live a more positive life?

Positively Present, of course! Others that I follow religiously are Tiny BuddhaThe Kind LifeThe Happiness ProjectI Want Her JobThe Bold Life,Kind Over MatterOperation BeautifulThe Mad To Live, the Oprah website, and so many more! I also love the amazing photos and art on tumblr. Yes, I am slightly addicted to reading blogs, but I learn so much from all of these amazing women that I wouldn’t have it any other way!

  

6. Do you have any positive role models? If so, who are they and why do they inspire you?

Anyone who creates their own path in life and follows their bliss, no matter how many people tell them it can’t be done.In the media, I admire Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres. Online, I admire so many amazing women, such as Gretchen Rubin, Alyssa Milano and Alicia Silverstone. In writing, I love Elizabeth Gilbert and Eckhart Tolle. In music, I admire Alanis Morissette and India Arie. In art, I adore Frida Kahlo.

In my life, I admire every one I know. My family, friends, even people I only know online, they all have qualities that I admire, they all teach me more about myself and encourage me to live the life I know I deserve.

 

7. If you could choose one quote or phrase to sum up your website, what would it be?

“Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clear away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver.” - Ketut, from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love

 

8. What are your favorite posts on your website and why?

My favourite posts are the ones that I write spontaneously, I just start writing from my heart, and what results is a raw, authentic piece that brings me closer to who I am and connects with so many people. My favourite posts are:

Enough

Wise Words: Long Way Round

Peace Wherever You Go

The Importance of Self-Acceptance

 

9. How has your life changed since you chose to embrace a positive attitude?

Every aspect of my life as changed since I made the decision to choose happiness. It started in my blog, and then flowed into every part of my life, and it continues to grow every day. I am the healthiest and happiest that I have ever been. The choice to think more positively and seek out positive things leads to more confidence, better decision-making, so much more clarity, and fuels a desire to continuously improve and be better than you were.

It has also lead me to so many amazing opportunities, new creative projects, and to connecting with some very amazing women from all over the world. My Smiling Heart has grown into a community, and it has given me an amazing sense of purpose that I have never felt before, because I am helping people through my writing.

 

10. Has your love of art helped you to be more positive? If yes, how so?

Absolutely! Art is such a deep passion of mine, and there are so many times it has brought joy into my life, from drawing pictures of rainbows and butterflies as a child to seeing my paintings exhibited in an art gallery last year. Having a passion for something (anything!), and acting on it, is so vital to leading a happy, positive life. Ignoring our passions suppresses who we really are, and true happiness is only possible if we are true to ourselves.

 

To learn more about Jen and follow her journey to positivity, check out her site My Smiling Heart, follow her on Twitter @smiling_heart, or become her fan on Facebook My Smiling Heart. Today Jen has created an awesome positive printout for you. When you're in need of some additional inspiration, print out the PDF below and post Jen's inspiration where you need it most!


Click Here to Download Jen's Positive Printout