GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others’ stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing “secret weapons” that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony, or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to look at the GPS Guide below, visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.
Between the laughs and the stunts, The Muppets shared stories that inspire us. With heartwarming songs and quotes, Jim Henson created a group of puppets that remind us to keep believing in ourselves and how great the simple things in life should be. Click through the slideshow below for encouraging quotes from Kermit The Frog, published in the book It’s Not Easy Being Green. And Other Things to Consider from Jim Henson.
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My own grandmother lived to be 103. While not particularly educated or sophisticated, Mama de la Mintiu — as we called her, Romanian for “mother from Mintiu village” — seemed to guard an elixir of wisdom in her throat. She spoke only when necessary, but her seldom words were guaranteed to resonate great truth.
We all have a “grandma” tale to tell, and chances are our grandmothers’ life truths overlap. That’s because wisdom is a universal language far superior to discordant knowledge. I’ve committed my grandmother’s invaluable wisdoms to memory and recall them whenever faced with uneasy decisions. These quick, practical proverbs have helped me resurface from turbulent times. It’s amazing how a few simple words which we believe with conviction can enrich us with an incredible power to act and an unimaginable strength to recover.
Take a few minutes out of your day to contemplate these 21 profound truths. They can get you back on track, guide you towards the right choices and simplify your everyday life:
Silence is golden. Sometimes it’s not necessary to retaliate with words. Silence is the speech of the soul. Understand that, in many situations, you are better off practicing silence than harsh speech which may further fuel negativity.
Respect yourself and others will respect you You will be treated by others in the same ways you treat yourself. Be mindful of the manner in which you carry yourself and present yourself to others. Command respect from those around you through your actions.
Don’t become too attached to the material world. This is difficult to do, granted, but it’s a lesson we all learn sooner or later. We frequently see celebrities go from billions to zero, and this should serve as a reminder never to hold material wealth too close to our hearts.
If you climb too high, you will suffer a great fall. Living in a society which takes everything to the extreme, it seems we’ve lost the essence of moderation. Practice a humble harmony in all that you do, from controlling your emotions to balancing your behaviors, from grounding your finances to solidifying your relationships. Moderation is key.
Life is algebra. I was taught over and over again that life comes with pluses and minuses, a constant flux of highs and lows. The most critical lesson to learn from this truth is that out of difficulties do come miracles.
Tolerate others. People will always be, well, people. They will make mistakes and even do things to make us shake our head in disbelief. But remember, you never know what someone else is thinking or feeling. Don’t take the actions of others too seriously or personally. Tolerate a person as they are and inspire them to improve by improving yourself.
You will reap the seeds you sow. Take responsibility for your deeds, both good and bad. The thoughts, intentions, and actions you plant today will always have consequences in the future.
Forgive your enemies. One of the greatest signs of strength and resilience is forgiveness. This is because when you forgive, you detach — from the pain, bitterness or anger associated with past experiences. Forgive those who have hurt you, even if it’s the last thing you want to do. You will feel a liberating energy, as if you’ve broken free of something holding you back.
Never surrender. If there’s one tidbit of wisdom my grandmother drilled into my mind, it’s the notion of being strong. Never give in or give up, even if your efforts aren’t manifesting. Opposition is often a sign to re-evaluate your approach, but never an indication to quit.
You must evolve. The number one law of life is evolution. Everything in the universe progresses and changes with time, and anything which remains stagnant dies out. You, too, must evolve into a better version of yourself, little by little, growing and expanding each day.
Honor your family. Good or bad, normal or dysfunctional, you were born into your family for a reason. Your family members teach you critical life lessons. Accept your family for what it is and embrace the people you call parents and siblings, children and cousins, spouses and in-laws, flaws and all.
Think before you act. If we thought before we acted, there would be much less mistake-making. But often our emotions get the best of us, and we react on a whim which we later regret. Even when you’re emotionally charged, take a deep breath and rationalize your situation before proceeding forward.
Inspire and serve. Live as an inspiration for others. See your duty on earth as one of teaching, expanding, and sharing your talents with the world. You were given gifts beyond your imagination, and understanding this can help you live up to your potential.
Build your foundation. A house cannot stand unless its foundation is well-grounded. Similarly, you must ensure your building blocks are firmly in place. In terms of business, family or personal life, always secure your anchors before building upward.
Believe in the unexpected. Just when you think you’ve got something figured out, something totally unexpected happens and you’re left scratching your head. But this is the beauty of life. Have faith that there is a greater reason behind everything and that you will know this reason in time.
Never envy another’s success. Being envious of someone else’s success entails that you’re comparing yourself to them. In reality, you’re as unique as your fingerprint and should never measure yourself against anyone else. Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Be a person of your word. At the end of the day, your word is all you have. Make it honest and reliable. Your word becomes your guarantee to your integrity.
Give generously, take sparingly. Give with an unselfish heart but take with a cautious hand. Pride yourself on being your own provider. Never take what isn’t yours or exploit a person for what they have.
Don’t take shortcuts. Work done right is work done right. There’s no way around it. Nothing beats performing your work correctly. It’s much easier to get something done the easy way, but much more rewarding to do it the right way.
Stand up for yourself. Do not allow others to affect your well-being. If you feel someone has wronged you, don’t keep quiet. Stand up for your value and defend your self-worth in a non-violent but firm way.
Everything comes full circle. Nothing begins which doesn’t end, and life moves in perpetual cycles: the same situations, circumstances, and challenges occur over and over again. But each time they return, you are equipped with more experience than before.
A deep-rooted sense of wisdom can endow you with inspiration, tranquility and a way forward. Consider adopting some of my family’s wise words into your everyday life for a bit of extra guidance. They are given to you with love.
Dr. Carmen Harra
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Sometimes it can be hard to look on the bright side of life — and those are the times when it might be most important to do so.
More From YouBeauty:
A recent research paper published online in September 2013 in a journal of the American Heart Association shows that even for people dealing with heart disease — the number one killer of adults in this country — a positive outlook means living longer and stronger, or as we say, living younger.
The study, which looked at 607 patients in a hospital in Denmark, found that patients whose moods were overall more positive were 58 percent more likely to live at least another five years. These people exercised more, too. The scientists can’t say for sure if positivity led to exercise or if exercise improved mood, but we say that the important message is the same either way: Positive thinking and regular physical activity are really important for life (and beauty, too).
One of the reasons we love this study so much is that we’ve been saying this the whole time! Having the right attitude is even more important for your body than daily sunscreen and a weekend spa getaway, every other week — yes, that important. Humor improves immune cell function, helps you ward off illness and decreases your chances of cancer — and apparently also increases your chance of living after heart disease hits. Not bad! (We’d rather you change your exercise, food and stress management programs now so heart disease is unlikely in the first place).
And the chicken-or-egg thing doesn’t bother us at all. Physical activity improves mood, so if working out makes you feel better, that’s great. It does us. The other side of this two-headed coin is that feeling happier and more optimistic helps motivate you to engage in healthful habits. That might mean a hike in the woods, hopping on a treadmill, eating more vegetables or all of the above. It’s a win-win as we see it.
How to Get on the Positive Track
It’s not like you can go to your doctor and get a prescription for positivity. (What would it say, “Tell two jokes every 4 to 6 hours”?) You have to take the initiative to inject humor into your life. There are some obvious ways and some less obvious ways. First, the obvious ones. TiVo Letterman and the Daily Show (because sleep is important for health, too), read a blog that makes you laugh, or hang out with friends who never fail to boost your mood, no matter how much of a sourpuss you’ve been. Go to the park with your dog, play dress up with your kids; anything that’s going to bring a smile to your face is good medicine.
Some less obvious choices? Studies have shown that helping others helps you, too. Volunteering is a great way to give as much as you get and get as much as you give. Practice gratitude, which means thinking of, or writing down the things that you are grateful for in your life. Positive affirmations remind you of the wonderful things in your life and make you feel happier and more satisfied.
It’s a positive cycle: The more you do it, the easier it gets — and the younger you’ll feel and look.
“So I started thinking, my mom died at 82,” Nyad says in the above video. “Does that mean, really, I have 22 years left? And maybe those last two or three or four aren’t going to be too vital, I don’t know.” she says. “But the clock is, like, choking me now. And it wasn’t so much what did I want to do. It was who I want to be.”
“Whoa,” Oprah says.
“That’s what it was,” Nyad says. “There’s a Henry David Thoreau quote that really grips me hard, and it says when you achieve your goals in life, it’s not what that gets you, it’s who I am,” she paraphrases.
Nyad says forget about the fame or the money. “I don’t care about that anymore,” she tells Oprah. “As you know, those things — as you get older, who cares?”
She explains what’s truly important to her: “Am I living the life that I can admire? Am I going to leave this earth, maybe as you do, leaving it a place where it’s a little more just than it was, and human rights have been fulfilled more?
“Those are my values,” she says. “And never giving up. And finding a way through your obstacles, and finding your grit and your will. … At [age] 60, it wasn’t about swimming, and this swim for me has never been about swimming. And I don’t think to anybody out there it’s been about swimming. It’s about those values,” she says.
“And you know what? I am that person. Swimming or not. And I proved it to myself and that’s why I did this swim,” Nyad says.
“What you showed us all,” Oprah says, “is what a real warrior looks like.”
1) The check splitters who agonize.
It is a toss up who I dislike more: the people who always order the most expensive things on the menu and then suggest we split the tab, or their polar opposites who whip out a calculator and lets you know to the penny just how much you owe — tax and tip included — and trust me, they aren’t big tippers.
People’s attitude toward money speaks volumes about who they are and how they live their lives. When it comes to dining out with others, I would prefer to just relax and enjoy the company as well as the food and not get too hung up on what is generally chump change. If I invite you to my house for dinner, I don’t expect you to pay for half the grocery bill, so what’s the big deal if we go out to eat and I wind up paying a disproportionate share of the tab?
Well, actually, the big deal comes with how it makes us feel. Nobody wants to feel they are being taken advantage of, especially not by a friend. And we all know people who are habitual restaurant over-orderers who then want to split things 50-50 when the check comes. Why should we have to pay for their four martinis when we nursed a diet coke? The stakes are, of course, much higher than just a few dollars here and there. The stakes are whether we will continue to be friends with the people who make us feel this way.
For the most part, my regular dining companions and I all pretty much order within the same price range: Nobody has more than two drinks, dessert was something we ate in our 20s, and if someone orders an appetizer, it is understood that everyone at the table will have a bite. We just split things evenly and if it someone overpays by a dollar or two, no one loses sleep over it. I never want to suffer angst over a dinner check. People who quibble over a couple of bucks aren’t people I want to spend time with, any more than I want to spend time with people who would regularly stiff me on the bill. I prefer to save my displeasure with bills for the plumber.
As for my un- and under-employed friends, dinner is on me — don’t even think about it. I remember that just after I lost my job in 2009, two friends from my former office invited me out to lunch at our old hangout. When the check came, I froze, realizing that the $15 I was about to shell out for my meal now represented a significant dent in my family’s food budget. Fortunately one of my friends read the situation and insisted on buying my lunch that day. The other guy, who had whipped out his phone calculator and was already doing his check-dividing thing — I haven’t spoken to him since. I suspect he wouldn’t like what I’d say.
2) Penny-pinchers who squeeze the life out of living.
My father believed that if you wanted something, you saved up for it and then bought it. He regarded people who used charge cards to be of weak character. When you had enough saved — then and only then — could you “afford” to buy it. When relatives gave him cash as a gift, he put it in the bank. He never traveled, rarely went out to eat, and the family’s annual summer vacation was a one day trip to Jones Beach. Watching him watch every penny was painful for me growing up.
I now understand that spending didn’t feel good to him, but saving did. The only way he enjoyed his money was to watch it grow on a monthly bank statement.
Me? I didn’t inherit his savings gene. I believe that there are times in our lives when I need to watch how I spend, but for the most part, it’s OK to enjoy the money I worked so hard to earn. Actually, it’s more than OK; it’s essential to me being happy.
When it comes to trying to get bargains, I ignore the nickel and dime stuff and focus my attention on the big purchases — homes and cars. I don’t clip coupons but I will bargain like I was raised in a souk before I buy or sell a house. And heaven help the car salesman whose dealership I enter; my husband has suggested I charge the public for my services as they relate to car-buying.
I don’t want to sweat the small stuff when it comes to spending my money. Clipping coupons is small stuff. But you just try and sell me your house and I will wear you down until you beg for mercy and hope I allow you to leave with your clothing and toothbrush.
3) Public transportation users who don’t offer up their seats to those who need them more.
Giving up your seat on the bus or subway is one of those small acts that reap large vats of goodness for all concerned. For one, it reminds the able-bodied to be grateful that they can still stand and balance in a jerking train. It also matters a great deal to the less-abled who need to sit and for whom a fall would be a very serious, if not life-changing, event.
I recently had the occasion to ride a crowded public bus. A man using a cane boarded and not a soul stood to offer him a seat until I did. My action shamed the man next to me to insist that I sit back down and let the cane man take his seat instead. Then both my kids leapt to their feet and offered other standing adults their seats. Two college-age young men then stood and offered up their seats as well. A very pregnant woman who had been standing thanked me and said I had just changed the whole social dynamic of the bus. It became a happier place, a small community where people were watching out for one another. I guarantee you that people exited that bus in better moods and paid the gesture forward.
Compare that to the jerks who pretend they don’t know or don’t see elderly people standing in front of them.
4) People who are unkind to my kids.
I don’t like people who are unkind to any kids, but mess with mine and Mama Bear will come gunning for you.
I especially don’t like people who assume that all children are poorly behaved and disrespectful. Here’s a little reality check for you: Kids are here to stay, which is a fortunate state of affairs for the future of mankind.
Kids need to be taught to behave, but then again so do some adults. So, to the woman who cursed at my daughter for using the restaurant’s one toilet — an act that forced this woman to wait her turn — you really should have apologized when I asked you to. Take your misplaced anger where it belongs — to the restaurant’s management that only provides one potty for women. Or do what I always do: Liberate the men’s room. But cursing at a kid because in your opinion she took too long — clearly you didn’t order the raw oysters — is just unacceptable. And pretty stupid when her Mama Bear was within earshot.
5) Drivers who play games with you.
With all the talk about gun control, the equally dangerous weapon of our automobiles gets largely ignored. I would remind everyone that cars don’t kill people, crazy and drunk drivers kill people. The number of people killed in traffic fatalities has long exceeded the number of people who die by firearms — although guns are expected to beat out cars by 2015, says the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
Every day on the roadways, we encounter irresponsible drivers who risk our lives and then speed off before anyone can so much as snap a photo of their license plate with their cellphone camera.
In the past year, I have had someone throw an empty beer bottle out of their sunroof that bounced off the hood of my car; a limo driver in Beverly Hills attempt to force me into on-coming traffic because I didn’t let him enter my lane fast enough; and countless drivers who cut me off and then slammed on their brakes in front of me just to “show” me.
Drivers who play games with you is an insane problem for a civilized nation to have. My friend Vani arrived shaken at my door the other night after a guy passed someone on our winding one-lane mountain road and nearly hit her head on. Why? He was in a hurry. So rather than be delayed to his destination by 10 seconds, he risked his life and the lives of everyone coming in the opposite direction.
Road rage is real. Road rage is serious. The only thing different between a crazy guy with a gun and a crazy guy with a car is the size of his weapon.