8 Self Help Ideas – That Are Not So New After All

Self Help Ideas – Not So New After All

You might be surprised to learn that most of the modern self help ideas that we practice today aren’t new ideas at all. Every modern book that you’ve read on self help, including The Secret, The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and so many others, came from ancient ideas.

Not only are many “modern” self help methods not so modern, but many ancient practices are experiencing a Renaissance in contemporary society, although often in a watered-down form. Did I just say that? Yes, I did. There’s nothing wrong with something being watered down if we can recognize the we’re only eating a bite of the meal and not the entire meal itself, as in the case of most yoga courses, qigong, and a few other things. Having been trained by a Qigong master and having spent years researching these and other traditions, I feel confident in making this claim.

Let’s look at some of the current trends in self-help:

  1. Yoga – This method of “self help” has been around for eons and originated in India There are many different types of Yoga practiced today that help people to care for mind, body, and spirit. Most people who practice Yoga do so in Yoga studios or gyms and primarily take a physical form of yoga that involves stretching and holding poses. Yoga has a long history as a transformative practice for the mind, body, and spirit. Practitioners throughout the ages have used the “technology” of yoga to achieve states of mental, physical and spiritual peace and well-being that most of us only feel envious about as we read about them in books.

Other cultures have long histories of using physical posture to induce and change mental states.  This idea popular today and is used extensively in Neuro Linguistic Programming and by Tony Robbins.

A book which describes the revival of this method from its Shamanic origins where posture was used to induce trance states is Ecstatic Trance.

This has also been popularized and studied recently by Amy Cuddy in her book Presence, but really, isn’t the idea that posture and movement induce certain brain changes as old as human history itself? Oh, yeah. For another interesting take on Yoga, check out Trul Khor, the Tibetan Buddhist version

So, nothing new here. Just kidding, there’s plenty to discover on this topic which has a history as old as humankind.

2. Prayer – “Dear Lord, please help win the lottery!” – That’s what so many people pray, and while those prayers may not be answered, studies have shown that prayer changes brain chemistry and help people who pray to have more positive lives and feel happier. Prayer has been around since civilization started and likely before. By giving over problems to a higher power greater than ourselves, or just fully letting go, humans have found ways to become happier, healthier and more fulfilled. (“Ummm, God. I’d still like to win the lottery!”).

3. Meditation – Now here’s another interesting one – Most people in the west believe that meditation started in Asian countries. That’s certainly true of Mindfulness meditation which has received a great deal of well-deserved popularity recently. Again, however, wherever there have been human beings there has been evidence that we have engaged in various forms of meditative practices ranging from visualization to concentration and other forms of practice. Meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, improve well-being and has a host of other benefits. Here’s a link to a good primer on Mindfulness meditation.

Getting Started With Mindfulness

4. Positive Thinking – You might think of this as new-age, but nothing could be further from the truth. The idea of positive thinking started with the Greek philosopher Aristotle and probably before, but was clearly articulated by him. Today, positive thinking can be seen in books and programs like The Secret.

5. Stoicism & Acceptance – Some people believe that everything is derived from fate and that our lives are preordained. So, to be truly happy you should accept whatever happens in your life, and control your actions through self-discipline rather than try to control what happens to you. Stoicism is a related philosophy that flourished in the Greek and Roman world and is currently experiencing a revival. Ryan Holiday wrote a great book called The Obstacle is The Way, which is about Stoic philosophy. This book has become extremely popular with sports teams and CEO’s. Here’s a Wikipedia link to Stoicism


6. Self-Sufficiency – Epicurus taught that the best way to be happy is to try to experience a lack of pain by surrounding yourself with friends and family and experiencing pleasure as much as possible (but not in a hedonistic sort of way). Keep in mind that we are responsible for our happiness, not outside forces. Surrounding yourself with positive friends has clear benefits backed by Science.

7. The Golden Rule – Confucius is said to have come up with the idea of treating others as you would have them treat you. Today, this can be said to be the Dr. Phil-style idea: that you show people how to treat you by how you treat them and yourself. You set the standard and the idea of what can be done to you and around you.

8. Self-Actualization – The Greek philosopher Plato came up with the notion that you needed to study yourself deeply to understand and uncover the gifts that you have so that you can find your true purpose. You can find some of these ideas presented in the book The Purpose- Driven Life by Rick Warren and many other books out there on the same topic.

As you see, most of these self help methods were started long before we were born. They were just repackaged by various authors, doctors, and others as their own ideas. Some of these self-help masters are not so straightforward about where their ideas came from, while others quote directly from the ancient philosophers. Either way, the important thing is to absorb the wisdom of those who have gone before so that we can live healthier, happier, more fulfilled lives!

Here’s one exploration of ancient wisdom that uncovers the secrets from three lost masters who had the ultimate “Self Help Formula”…

Secret of Kings

I’d love to hear your thoughts, so comment and share!

15 Tips For Better Mood and Energy

15 Tips For Better Mood and Energy

People often ask what to do with negative moods and low energy levels, so here are 15 tips, all supported by research, to help improve mood and energy levels.


  1. Exercise – Moving around each and every day, whether it’s a quick walk, a swim, or going to the gym, is really good for getting the endorphins flowing in your blood stream. If you start each day with just a ten-minute, brisk walk, you will be surprised at what a difference it can make in your life. Shoot for thirty minutes of activity each day for the best results.
  1. Meditate – Sitting quietly and breathing deeply while focusing on the sensation of your breath at either the tip of your nose or the movement of your abdomen can have amazing benefits. Sit in a comfortable position that enables you to breathe easily, and allow yourself to observe whatever thoughts and feelings arise without judgment. Note them and return to focusing on your breathing. This can be a challenge at first and will take practice. Aim for 20 minutes a day, but start with five minutes and work your way up from there.
  1. Smile – It might seem silly, but something as simple as being aware of your facial expression can help you feel more positive. You don’t have to force the smile; remember positive times, people or circumstances. If it helps, put a mirror near your desk at work to remind you to smile at yourself. You’ll definitely smile more if someone catches you doing this; you might even blush!
  1. Listen to Positive Music – Hardly anything is better at lifting the spirits than music. It’s one reason music is so popular and has been for centuries. Music has very powerful effects on the emotional centers of the brain. Make sure you pick music that is energizing and uplifting.
  1. Keep a Happiness and Gratitude Journal – When we are in a negative mood or low energy state it can become difficult to see the goodness around us. Start and end your day with your happiness/gratitude journal. Write five things in it each night before bed that you’re happy/grateful for or that you noticed today. Each morning re-read what you wrote the night before.
  1. Find Positive Friends – The saying that misery loves company is accurate. Look around you and determine whether you have some positive friends. If you don’t, it’s time to cultivate some new connections. Join a book club or other group to help you find positive people.
  1. Notice your thoughts and learn to ask if the assumptions you are making have evidence behind them. For example – I’m always unhappy. Is this true all the time? Are there times I am happy? This is done not to control thinking but to correct thinking that is distorted, which we all have at times.
  1. Take Responsibility for Your Life – If you tend to blame others for your failures or problems, try to realize that you have a lot more control than you think you do. In fact, it’s the idea of lack of control over one’s life that breeds discontent and negative thoughts. When you realize you are in control, you can turn it around.
  1. Get Out of Your Own Life for a Day – Helping others can do wonders for your mindset and self-image. Take the focus away from yourself and put it on someone else for a day.
  1. Realize that Perfection is Overrated – No one is perfect, and you know that. You likely do not expect perfection from others, so why expect it from yourself? Be at least half as patient with yourself as you are of others. Striving for excellence is understandable, but setting the bar too high will only lead to disappointment.
  1. Watch Positive Movies – Find a go-to movie that you can watch that makes you feel hopeful and positive. Even if it is just a silly movie that makes you laugh, laughter is excellent for breeding positive thoughts, feelings, and energy.
  1. Read Positive Quotes – Collect positive quotes that you can read. If you memorize the positive quotes, so much the better. Then, you can call on them when you’re in a low energy state or negative mood and remember the positive associations you have to the quotes.
  1. Eat Right – It is amazing how much poor eating habits can play into negative moods, feelings and energy levels. If you eat a lot of processed, sugar-laden food, try to eliminate those foods from your diet at least 80 percent of the time. Add in more whole foods, fruits and vegetables to fill you up and keep you nourished.
  1. Get Sunshine – Many people around the world suffer from something called Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. This is feeling sad or depressed for no apparent reason during dark months or wintertime. Some people who don’t get enough sunshine even feel this way in the summertime. Ensure that you get at least 10-20 minutes of sunshine each day. This will not only help keep you more positive but will also ensure that you get enough vitamin D.

Following these tips for better mood and energy will help you feel energized and positive. But remember that practice makes perfect. If you have a bad day,  tomorrow is a brand new day, and a brand new chance to feel better.


5 Tips for Mental and Emotional Health

5 Tips for Mental and Emotional Health
In this post I’m going to be talking about 5 tips for mental and emotional health. For some reason, in today’s society, we equate being healthy only with being physically healthy. Being healthy only means getting the right amount of exercise along with eating the right foods, according to most people. This might be the case with our physical body, but health includes far more than that. Everyone has emotions, and everyone has a mind, and both affect everything about our physical health. In fact, we cannot separate physical, mental and emotional health and well-being from each other; to do so is a mistake.

We exist as a whole person who inhabits a physical body with feelings, thoughts, passions, and a host of intertwined functions and processes that cannot easily be separated out despite our desire to do so.

Sometimes people think that they must control how they feel. Most of the time this is due to an uncomfortable or painful emotion that they have that they would like to go away. This leads to the first of 5 tips for being mentally and emotionally healthy:

  1. Accept the feelings that you have without trying to change them. Feelings are like the weather; they come and go. Just like a sudden rain shower can break through on a sunny day, so too can negative moods and feelings. Trying to control feelings may work for a brief time, but it always backfires in the end which is clearly supported by research.

While it’s not the best idea to try to control your feelings, it turns out that it’s a great idea to practice savoring positive experiences, which leads to the second of 5 tips for being mentally and emotionally healthy:

  1. Savor positive experiences. Remember the positive experiences in life that you have had. Take pictures, write a brief description, have a small token that reminds you of your experience. When you are in a negative mood, these can be useful reminders of positive experiences you’ve had. Keep in mind you’re not doing this to control your feelings, but to build up your storehouse of positive memories and strengthen the part of your brain that processes positive emotions and experiences.


Now the next tip is a bit harder to do because it involves removing people or circumstances from your life that you may be hanging on to by sheer force of habit, guilt, or other reasons. Here’s the third of 5 tips for being mentally and emotionally healthy:

  1. Start letting go of negative people in your life. If someone is a constant drain on you and brings you down most of the time have you asked yourself why they are still in your life? This is not a judgement; maybe you have good reasons. However, with a negative person comes negative thinking and speaking and acting which will constantly bring you down. None of us need that or want to be that type of person. So, consider removing negative people or circumstances from your life.

neg people

The good news about removing negative people is that it can leave more room for the next recommendation – Here’s the fourth of 5 tips for being mentally and emotionally healthy:

  1. Add positive people and circumstance to your life. You need to be around other positive people. This works best when you spend time with your friends or other loved ones who care about you and have your best interests at heart. If you’re not sure where to meet people here’s a few places: If you are a church goer, find a church you like, and meet people who have similar interests and beliefs. Otherwise try joining a club, participate in a museum activity, hobby, or online group, or google ways to meet people. Being around positive, caring, supportive people has a tremendous impact on mental and emotional health.

pos people

This last tip is especially important as it promotes a protective effect on brain health and can be of benefit in your job, career, or personal life. Here’s the fifth of 5 tips for being mentally and emotionally healthy:

  1. Learn something new and keep learning as much as you can. When you are learning new things, you will feel a sense of accomplishment which will give your self-esteem a boost. Learning is fun for most people, especially when it is a subject of interest to you. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from mastering a new subject or skill can do a lot for your mental and emotional health. This is an excellent way to boost brain power, learn new skills and improve your mental and emotional health.

learn to dance

These 5 tips for mental and emotional health are great, but are no replacement for a trained mental health professional, so if you are having more significant problems, please seek out a professional.

In the meantime, however, these 5 for mental and emotional health can help you feel better on a day-to-day basis.

PS – There’s a a sixth tip too – Use affirmations – The’ve been effective for millions of people. If you want a software package that automates the entire affirmation process and a whole lot more might take a look at this: Automatic Affirmation Software

10 Great Motivational Quotes & A short lesson in success


10 Great Motivational Quotes & A short lesson in success.

Today I wanted to do something different. So, I decided to combine three mediums, the printed word, quotes, and pictures to create a short lesson on the principles of success.  If you like them, feel free to download them. They are designed to be twitter friendly. Let me know what you think. Enjoy my short visual success lesson using quotes that I really like.

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Take action towards your dreams and values – success will follow.



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You have to take risks to move out of the ordinary and into the extraordinary.





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Daily action is the key to success.



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If what you’re doing isn’t working try something new.



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If you cannot control yourself you cannot succeed.



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Courage is the ability to feel fear and take action regardless.



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Don’t let fear hold you back.



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Cultivate gratitude and celebrate your accomplishments.



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A person of value is a success.



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Let go of your worries as you follow your path.


Innovation & Overcoming Obstacles – It just happened today!

Innovation & Overcoming Obstacles – It just happened today!

Here’s my story of overcoming obstacles. Yesterday I had worked for several hours on two blog posts. One was on writing articles for a marketing blog and website that I have, and the other was on self-esteem and how to improve it. Both articles had a unique twist to them. For example, in the self-esteem article, I wrote about the dangers of an inflated self-esteem and the need for esteem to be based on competence and real word results. They were both coming along nicely, and I had worked on them for about five hours. Then, I noticed my computer seemed to be freezing up. A spinning wheel appeared where my cursor was.


I started to feel a bit anxious, as the cursor stopped moving altogether. Then, the computer stopped completely. It froze, and there was no unfreezing it. I tried everything.  Finally, I had to turn the computer off. Normally documents can be auto-recovered, but no, not this time. Wow, was that a disappointment. Five hours of work and research wiped out in a moment and poor planning on my part, as I thought autosave was enabled, but alas it was not. Can you feel my pain?


I was upset, angry, irritated, but what could I do. My work had disappeared into cyberspace, never to be seen again. It was late, so I moved on to other tasks, and when I woke up this morning, I realized it was an opportunity. An opportunity to write something better and more substantial.

The point of this is that obstacles are opportunities. What at first was painful and irritating turned into an opportunity to think more deeply about the subjects of obstacles and innovation. You see, obstacles and innovation go hand in hand. Obstacles are innovation waiting to happen. But here’s the thing, people often follow prescribed solutions to deal with obstacles. They look for the six simple steps, etc. Those solutions exist, and they are useful. There are plenty that I take full advantage of in my life. I write about many them here.


There’s something deeper though that can be sought after and that’s innovation. Innovation isn’t found by following the rules, by walking down the path everyone else has followed. Innovation is about blazing your own trail. In martial arts and music and many other disciplines, there’s the notion that you master the fundamentals and then at some point you go beyond them, you innovate, the art becomes yours.

In my own life when I decided to open a private practice I didn’t take insurance, and people told me it couldn’t be done. I innovated. I did no direct advertising, but I did let people know that if they had someone, they were working with who they felt was too difficult for them, to send them my way. I was able to get results with these clients, and I never lacked for referrals.

In the National Best Practices that I helped to create, I didn’t get them to happen by copying others. I innovated and did something new. So, consider how to put your own unique spin on something. How you can innovate. It doesn’t have to be a massive national campaign. What can you do to innovate in your life? To make your life different and more uniquely your own? To follow the path “Less Traveled,” as Robert Frost said.


Don’t worry about taking the time to learn something from others if that’s what you need to do to develop your skills. Your time will be wisely spent, but when you are ready…Innovate!

Here’s a link to the video that started me on the road less traveled with online marketing.

MLSP Mastery and University