the 2016 reader survey + GIVEAWAY

 Reader-Survey

All year long I've been thinking about how to make the most of Positively Present -- the website content, the books, the products, the new ideas -- and now I want to hear your feedback. I'm so incredibly thankful for each and every person that visits the site or buys my books or follows along on social media, and I want to continue making this site the best possible place for insight, inspiration, positivity, mindfulness, and self-love!

In order to do that, I need your help! Please take a few minutes to fill out the 2016 Reader Survey. If you do, you'll be entered to win all of this Positively Present goodness (some of which isn't even available yet)! A winner will be chosen on JUNE 20, 2016.

 

Reader-Survey-Giveaway

If you want to enter the giveaway, be sure to leave your email address in the survey and you'll be instantly entered to win. (You can also fill it out anonymously if you prefer.)

I can't wait to hear your thoughts and feedback and, even more so, I can't wait to share some of the exciting changes I have coming to Positively Present later this year! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading, commenting, emailing, and just generally being awesome. And an extra big THANK YOU to those of you who take the survey. I'm so grateful! 

 

Survey-Time

 


7-day gratitude challenge + giveaway!

7-Day-Gratitude-Challenge

If you've been following Positively Present for awhile, you're probably familiar with the annual 30-Day Gratitude Photo Challenge that takes place every November. It's obviously not November, but this week I'm hosting a mini Gratitude Photo Challenge to promote the launch of two of my four new books from the Effortless Inspiration series

Not familiar with the Gratitude Photo Challenge? Basically it's this: you take a photo of something you're grateful for (use the prompts below or post anything you like), post it on social media with the hashtag #PositivelyGrateful, and that's it! You don't have to have any special photography skills or tools -- only a desire to be grateful and to share that gratitude with others. 

There are two differences between the annual challenge and this one: (1) this one's only seven days, and (2) every time you share a photo, you're entered to win two books: Gratitude and Living in the Moment! Yay! See below for prompts and giveaway details. 

 

THE PROMPTS

Below are prompts for the 7-Day Gratitude Challenge, but you definitely don't have to stick to these. Feel free to post photos about anything you're grateful for. Just be sure to use the #PositivelyGrateful hashtag if you want a chance to win the new books! 

 

DAY 1: WISDOM

Wisdom is such a wonderful part of life. Consider, for a moment, how much you've learned since you were born. It's amazing how much knowledge and inspiration we carry inside ourselves and, too often, we forget to be thankful for all that we've learned from others and from our experiences. For Day 1 of the challenge, share some wisdom you've learned (or maybe even some that you're still trying to master!). 

 

DAY 2: HOME

Home is where the heart is, they say. I say, home is where you feel most at ease and most like yourself. Home isn't always a place. It might be a person or a feeling that you call "home." Today, think about what home means for you. Is it a physical location in which you feel empowered? Is it a place inside yourself that makes you feel peaceful? Use today to document, and feel thankful for, where you feel most at home. 

 

DAY 3: LOVE

Love is one of the greatest experiences in life and it comes in so many forms. Each and every moment of love is deserving of your recognition and appreciation. On this third day of the challenge, think about how you share love in your life? How do you feel when you act in loving ways? How does it feel when others share love with you? What things, people, places do you love most? Share an image today of what love means to you. 

 

DAY 4: NATURE

The world we live in is a magical place, but all too often we take our surroundings for granted. Connecting with the natural world brings about feelings of inner peace and can help us be more mindful. Be thankful for your experiences with nature by sharing them today. Look around you. What kinds of nature can you see? How has nature inspired or empowered you? Are there certain aspects of nature you connect with more than others? Photograph what moves you most. 

 

DAY 5: FOOD

To survive, we all need food. At its most basic level, it provides us with nutrition and vital resources to keep our bodies and minds functioning properly, but for most of us, food also comes with a certain level of mindful joy. Today, reflect on some of your favorite dining experiences and, if you can, try to really take time to enjoy whatever you're eating today. So many of us take the amazing experience of eating for granted; today, celebrate and be thankful for it. 

 

DAY 6: WORK

Being thankful for work can sometimes be a challenge in and of itself. Not everyone has an enjoyable job and even those who do face work-related hardships. Whatever your career (or student) status, take today to be thankful for your current job situation. What are the things you enjoy about it? Are there any people there that you're happy to see each day? Are you grateful for the money your job brings you? Even if it's tough, share what you love about your work today. 

 

DAY 7: SELF

How often do you pause and reflect on how amazing it is that you're you? Consider all of the many paths you could have taken, the various roads that would have led you to different experiences and people, things that might have shaped you in entirely different ways. Everything you've ever done, said, or felt has brought you to this day, has created the person you are right now. Today, focus on your best qualities and document what you appreciate most about yourself. 

 

Now that you've got the prompts, you're ready to begin the challenge -- and enter the giveaway! Two winners will be chosen on Monday, May 9, and each winner will receive a copy of my two new books: Gratitude and Living in the Moment. See below for entry rules and details. 

 

7-Day-Gratitude-Giveaway

  

HOW TO ENTER

Enter by doing one (or all!) of the following. Each counts as an entry!   


GIVEAWAY DETAILS

  • Every follow / share / tweet / like, etc. counts as one entry
  • Enter as many times as you'd like to increase your chances
  • Two (2) winners will be chosen + notified on May 9, 2016
  • Each winner receives Gratitude and Living in the Moment

 

I'm so looking forward to seeing your gratitude-themed photos, and I can't wait to share mine this week as well. And, of course, if you don't feel like participating, you can still check out the hashtag #PositivelyGrateful to be inspired by others' gratitude!  


keep calm: 5 tips for preventing panic

Calm
 

As you may have read in previous posts, anxiety is something I struggle with from time to time. Sometimes it's not so bad -- just a bit of a tickling annoyance at the back of my mind -- and other times it's drive-me-mad frustrating, keeping me from doing things I want to do and preventing me from living the positive, present life I spend so much time writing about. There are a lot of unpleasant aspects of anxiety, but one of the worst parts is feeling panicky.

Even if you don't have anxiety on a regular basis, you've probably experienced panic at some point in your life -- those moments when your heart is pounding and your mind is racing with ideas (some completely irrational) about what's happening. It's not a pleasant experience and, even if there's something legitimate to feel panicked about, panicking never helps make a situation better. It only heightens anxious feelings and makes it more difficult to take positive, productive action.  

Once panicky feelings start, however, they can be tough to get control over, which is why it's important to try your best prevent the panic before it begins. Of course, sometimes this isn't possible, like if you're sudden, dangerous, actually-life-threatening situation. But, more often than not, things we panic about are a result of the way we're seeing a situation, and don't necessarily reflect what's actually happening.

Because tomorrow is the second annual International Day of Calm, I wanted to spend some time reflecting on how to keep calm on a regular basis. This way, if you are presented with a situation that makes you feel panicky, you'll be better equipped to cope with it. Here are five of my best tips for preventing panic...

(And stay tuned for two awesome keep-calm goodies mentioned at the end of the post!)

 

TRY TO FIND CALM DAILY. 

We usually hear the phrases "keep calm" or "calm down" only when there's already an anxiety-inducing situation right in front of us, but if you want to reduce panicky feelings in the future, it helps to practice calm on a daily basis. Creating calming routines for yourself (especially at the beginning and end of your day) can be really helpful. Also, taking advantage of calming resources: books like Calm or Stay Positive and apps like Calm are great places to start. Anything you can incorporate into your life on a daily basis to make you feel more peaceful will help add to your state of calm whenever you feel panicky. 

 

RECOGNIZE YOUR REACTIONS. 

When it comes to preventing full-blown panic, one essential step is to recognize how you're reacting to a situation so you can understand (and rein in) your emotions before they get to an irrational place. One of the best ways to do this is to pay close attention to your body. Is your heart beating faster? Are your palms sweaty? Are your muscles tensing? Is your breath coming more quickly? When you're aware of what's happening to you physically, you can put yourself in a better mindset to avoid panic. You can remove yourself from a situation or ask someone else to talk you through what you're experiencing. 

 

CENTER YOURSELF IN REALITY. 

One of the most vital steps for preventing panic is to ask yourself, What's actually happening? So much of panic is a result of what we think is going to happen, not what's factually right in front of us. For example, let's say you're going through a breakup. It's common to start in with panicky thoughts like, I'm going to be alone forever. Oh god, no one is going to date me now. I'm never going to find love again. Those thoughts are all based on the future -- and a very dismal future at that. In the present moment, the only thing that's happening is you're suffering from heartbreak, which you will recover from. Bring your focus to the present and it becomes much more difficult to launch into panic mode. 

 

ACCEPT WHAT'S HAPPENING. 

Part of panicking is detaching yourself from reality, allowing your mind to spiral into a maze of irrational thoughts. As unsettling as these thoughts are (usually of the all-or-nothing variety, like, Everything is ruined! No one will ever want me! Nothing will ever be the same!), we often use the panicky thoughts to distract ourselves from the real pain right in front of us: the heartache, the loss, the realization that we've done something wrong. It's hard to do, but acceptance of the actual situation is key for redirecting panic into a more productive outlet. Yes, you might have lost your job, but thinking, no one will ever hire me now is certainly not going to get you a new one. What will is accepting the loss and striving to move positively forward by taking action in the present (going to a job fair, applying for new jobs online, etc.). 

 

FIND A SELF-SOOTHING TECHNIQUE. 

Acceptance is hard, but once you do that, you're in a much better place to prevent panic. Still, it can creep up on you sometimes, like a stealthy little snake in the grass, and when that happens, it's a good idea to have a self-soothing technique that helps to take your mind to a calmer place. Your self-soothing technique can be anything from taking a few deep breaths to using a mantra (like "keep calm" or, my personal favorite, "you're okay") to calling up a calming friend for a quick chat. Whatever your calming weapon of choice, make sure it's something you can always have in your holster -- an easily accessible tool that you can whip out whenever you might feel a bit panic-stricken. 

 

*KEEP CALM GOODIES!* 

Calm-book-meta

For the second annual International Day of Calm (April 5, 2016), I've partnered with Calm, a popular meditation app and book, to provide you with some keep-calm goodies!

  1. Get 25% off a yearlong subscription to the Calm app by visiting Calm.com/PositivelyPresent.
  2. Pop on over to my Instagram account for details on how you can win a copy of Calm the book!  

 


PPGTL-Get-the-Book
Want to explore how to have even more calm in your life? Pick up your very own copy of my book, The Positively Present Guide to Life. The book is all about how to stay positive and present in various areas of life including: at home, at work, in love, in relationships, and during change. I've turned back to it often this year as I've gone through major changes and it's been tremendously helpful. The book is filled with inspiring images that make it even easier to stay positive and present. You can learn more about the book and find out where to buy a copy here. (You can also get a sneak peek at the book, access a free download, and watch the book trailer!)