Keep Your Cool 100% Better with These 6 Steps

We have all been in a situation where we feel as though we will have a massive volcanic meltdown. Unfortunately, there are times that we actually do explode and may not behave or say these things we should. These times are tricky and it is always best to take the higher road when dealing with opposition. Try these 6 steps the next time you feel like you are about to blow your top.

1.  Breathe
When was the last time you took a nice long slow inhale and a nice slow exhale? Not only will breathing relax your last nerves giving yourself some time to breathe will improve your health overall. An exercise I practice is to breathe in through the nose nice and slow for 4 seconds and out for seven seconds through the mouth. I can feel my body calm down and it gives me time to think about what just happened.

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2. Time Out isn’t Just for Kids
Timeouts are awesome when you find your self in a confrontation. Sometimes you just need a break from the situation to think through what just happened and the best way to deal with the problem. Taking timeouts will save you in many situations and yes there will be times that this might not be an option but if you can do your best to step away and let yourself cool down.

3. Go to a Happy Place
Along with a timeout make sure to go to a place that brings you happiness. This can be any place like a park or maybe even your favorite little shop. Just give yourself time to reevaluate the situation. Happy environments bring happy energy.

4. If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say Don’t Say it at All
This is a hard one especially for me. I have had to really try and practice this very valuable lesson. Words hurt and can cause so much more turmoil than if you were never to speak, to begin with. Make sure to think about what you say and choose your words wisely.

5. People Are Human And so Are You
We are all humans and we all make mistakes. If you find yourself dealing with a situation that makes you react in a way that is not most pleasing make sure to apologize for your part. Own it and move forward knowing that this is a valuable lesson for the future. If someone has wronged you and did not handle their situation like they should make sure to forgive them. This helps you by not holding toxic resentment and it helps them by knowing that they can learn from their mistake and move on making better choices in the future.

make a move

6. Go For a Walk
Walks are wonderful things. They give you fresh air and exercise which is fantastic for the body. Walks can give you the time to think about what is important to you and help you make good judgments. The next time you find yourself going out of control walk out the door and soak in some fresh air and burn off some of that steam.

Life and interactions are not always easy. There are many times in our lives we find ourselves dealing with unpleasant situations. Instead of doing or saying something we will have to apologize for or regret later take some time and know that by doing this you are saving yourself and others from unnecessary distress.

Best Ways to Problem Solve Instead of Placing Blame

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #33
Think of how you can assist with a problem, not who to blame.

Blaming others for problems does not make you happy. I have learned this intensively through the years and have just managed recently to put this lesson to good use. It is so easy to blame anyone and not take responsibility for your part in the problem. When we blame others, we are attacking them and making them the direct fault for what is going on. Blamers reflect their issues on other people so that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions. The problem you face might be valid in placing blame, but you are also in this situation with the other party. If you have been hurt and have hard feelings to those that have hurt you the feelings you have are valid and essential but blaming that person keeps you controlled by that problem, and if you can give up the resentment, it will free you in the end. The next time you find yourself in a disagreement that places blame try these six steps so that you see yourself being a productive solution to the problem instead of adding to the negative.

1. Talk about what can be controlled
Many times we focus on what cannot be controlled, and that causes hostility in an argument. If you can come together to discuss what in the situation can be controlled, then you should be able to find a successful solution to the problem.

2. Make sure you are involved in a positive, productive discussion.
Negative conversations never get people anywhere and more than likely you will end up angrier than before you even started to discuss the situation. Positivity puts the argument in a better light and will leave you with a feeling of accomplishment when you are done.

3. Focus on the problem and how it can be fixed.
There are lots of ways to do this. You can have a sit-down and discuss what needs to happen to solve this issue. Many times it is a simple task and when you can communicate effectively more is going to get done.

4. What can be learned?
There is always a lesson, and most of the time it can be learned by both parties involved. Talk about what we can learn from this and sincerely take the experience into account so the problem can be avoided in the future.

5. Discuss how this problem can be avoided, so there isn’t a next time.
Most problems can be solved with a simple solution. Knowing how to prevent a problem is half of the battle, and when you both can figure out works best for you it makes the environment a whole lot easier to deal with in the future.

We can’t always control others reactions to us, but we can still control how we react to others. Being able to solve a problem positively gives you the benefit of being at peace with the issue. When in an argument discuss what can be controlled and make sure to use positive and productive conversation tactics, so the other party isn’t offended. Talk with the other person and focus on what the problem is and how to fix what is wrong. Discuss any lessons that can both of you can learn from in this situation and how to avoid it next time. Being able to do these things with help you to be a problem solver and not a problem starter.

How to Stand Your Ground When no One Stands With You

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #22

When both feet are planted firmly, nothing can shake you.

Sometimes it can be tough to stand your ground when there are opposing sides coming at you. I am a passionate person and when I have chosen to stand my ground the consequences of my choice to stand firm has affected certain relationships. The decisions I made were based mainly on the safety of my family and myself, and I felt that there was no budging. The result has led me to cut ties with some of my family members. I will be honest I don’t regret the decisions I have made and wished those that do not agree the very best. Even though our differences have kept us apart, I am still compassionate towards them. I still hope that one day we may also meet on good terms and be able to build the relationships we once had. A person can hold steadfast in what they believe and still be compassionate to the others that don’t agree. The reason I chose to separate myself was based purely on the fact that I was tired of being a doormat and I felt that my family was feeling the repercussions. Here are five ways that I stood my ground and can still make peace with my decision.

1. Be Compassionate

When I first had to learn to do this, it was hard for me to wrap my head around this concept. The people I had to stand my ground with were my family, and I had grown up with these individuals my whole life. I remember when I was an adult, and the situation became extremely dramatic; I wanted to blame the family that was involved. I was mad and hurt that they did not have faith in me and my life choices. After a while, the blame game gets pretty old, and with that, I started to feel sympathy for these people involved. It made me sad that they would not be able to watch my kids grow up and have a relationship with them. They would miss any of my husband’s and mine accomplishments and celebrate with us. My anger changed to sadness not so much for myself but for those that would lose these life moments. I am sure you may be curious about what I decided to walk away from that would cause me to choose to separate myself from family. My reason to stand my ground was alcoholism, and it takes a lot for someone who is dealing with addiction to gain compassion for those that suffer. It took me many years to gain an understanding of my family that struggles with this. Instead of being angry I decided to be more sympathetic although all of these feelings have to be done from a distance. It helps heal my spirit to be compassionate to the people I love and gives me comfort in my decision.

2. Learn to Have the Right Attitude

Having a bad attitude has never worked for anyone wanting to move forward. Sometimes taking a stand for what we believe in means we need to stay positive about what is confronting us. Even when there are those around us that want to try to change who we are we still need to be respectful of their beliefs and opinions. Sometimes standing our ground can get us ridiculed and we need to be able to be confident in what we are standing for. I am a homeschool mom of two children, and I have run into this in the past where I have had to stand up for my belief in teaching my children. I have had many different conversations where people believe that this can not be a good fit for a child socially and from an educational standpoint. I respect them for their belief, but it is not going to change the way my family lives their lives. Many times after these individuals have met my children and spent time with them the opinion they once had has now changed. Having the right attitude when it comes to dealing with those awkward situations can have a more significant effect on the situation instead of handling it negatively.

3. Don’t be a Pushover be Assertive

Being a pushover never got me anywhere. I began to realize early when needing to stand my ground that if I did not, I dealt with the most disrespect. Just because these individuals may be close does not mean you have to bend your rules. When dealing with my kids and their friends, I have a rule in my house that when you are in my house, you need to follow my rules. I recognize that other people have other rules in their homes and I support their rules when I am in their homes. I expect the same thing when others are in my house. Being assertive is not a bad thing and shows that you are confident in what you want for your life. It keeps those that want to use you as a doormat at a comfortable distance. When you are assertive it lets, people know that you deserve to be respected.

4. Prioritize the Things in Your Life

What is important to you? What things hold special meaning? My priorities in my life are my husband and my kids. When these things get disrupted, that is when I take a stand and don’t budge. When addiction was affecting my family, I chose to separate myself to keep my family safe and healthy. The things you prioritize in life are the things that you value most, and you don’t want those things to be affected negatively. My family is something that I have worked hard for, and it is not something I am willing to negotiate with when the negotiation may cause pain to them in the end.

4. Keep your Vision

Don’t lose sight of what you have worked so hard for. Even when there is an opposition that you must face know that you can still keep your head high and be comfortable where you stand. Keeping your vision helps you stay on your path even when a deterrent hits. It helps you work toward your primary goal and gives you a light at the end of a tunnel. If you can make it through this, you can make it through anything.

5. You do not Have to Give a Reason for Your Stance

Your reasons are your reasons and no one else’s. People should not have to explain why they decided the way they did; it is their business. Never let anyone make you second guess what you firmly believe in your way of thinking is precisely that your way. Giving reasons also shows that you may not be as set as you thought and can show a sign of weakness. If people see a flaw, they may also see an opportunity to use that against you.

Standing our ground can be difficult at times, but it is very beneficial for us to do so. While we do need to be firm, we also must show compassion for the opposite side and understand where they are coming from. Having a right attitude when dealing with a situation that questions our ideas gets us a lot farther than one that is more combative. Remember to stay strong and don’t let others push you around. By being assertive and confident, this will less likely try to force their views on you, and respect what you have to offer. Prioritize the things in your life that you treasure you will work harder and you will value them more and expect others to appreciate them in return. Never lose sight of the vision you want for your life. Keeping your idea keeps you on the path to attaining the ultimate goal. Never feel like you have to explain to others why you do things a certain way. Everyone has the freedom of choice and telling others why you choose to do things a certain way is not allowing you to have that freedom. Never feel like your less than just because you may do things differently than others, embrace the individuality that lies within you.

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6 Secrets to Bonding with Your Rabbit

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #15

A true friend is someone who is there for you when he’d rather be anywhere else.

With Easter right around the corner, I decided to write about my daughter Emma and her adorable Lionhead Dwarf Bunny Elsa. Why on earth would I pick such an unlikely pair to talk about friendship? Elsa helped my daughter bring back the sunshine in her life around the age of 9. My daughter struggled in her 3rd grade year due to an enormous amount of bullying. As you know, my children are both homeschooled, and this was the reason for my choice. Emma was tormented non stop by a group of 4 girls, and I could not do anything about it. No one helped, and therefore we decided it was best we cut ties with our public school.

After Emma was bullied, she was more withdrawn and had a tough time socializing with other kids. My husband and I decided that we should get her a pet. We thought that the responsibility would give her purpose and the unconditional love would heal her heart. We could not have a cat or dog at the time because we did not own our home, so we had to think about a small caged animal. We had some friends with an adorable bunny and decided to inquire about how to get one.

That was one of the best decisions we ever made not only for our daughter but also for our whole family. Elsa arrived at our home at 16 weeks old, and immediately Emma fell in love. Every day after school she would hold Elsa and play with her. Even on her lunch break she would take Elsa outside and read her stories. Elsa needed Emma to give her a loving home and Emma needed Elsa to love her unconditionally with no judgments. These to unlikely friends built one of the most active friendships I have ever seen. Elsa is now four years old and is a big part of our family. Elsa and Emma could not be any closer than they are today and for that, I am incredibly grateful.

One of the biggest things that I came to realize is that our furry friends no matter what they are can bring many joys to our lives. Emma bonded with Elsa instantly and she never strayed. She helped Elsa grow into a loving and trusting rabbit because of the bonding that Emma provided for Elsa. If you have a rabbit or are thinking about getting one here are six things to consider to help build that fuzzy bond.

1. Rabbits Communicate Through Sound

Rabbits can tell you a lot about themselves through the sounds they make. They will listen to the sounds around them to make sure that they are safe and don’t have to take action. A rabbit will click its teeth together to show that it is comfortable and happy. They also make purring sounds like a cat to show it feels safe and trust the environment around them.

If a rabbit starts to snort it is letting you know it would like attention. Snorting can also mean the rabbit could be suffering from a respiratory infection. If there is more snorting than average have a veterinarian take a look to make sure they are not sick.

When a rabbit whimpers or screams that indicates there is fear or pain, and this should be evaluated. Most of the time if you are not holding the rabbit securely or they do not feel that they are safe in their environment this will happen. They may also grunt and if that is the case they more than likely do not want you to handle them.

Rabbits will also grind teeth, that is a sign of pain, illness, or anxiety. Holding a rabbit incorrectly can cause discomfort for the rabbit. Also if there is sudden grinding that occurs, you should have your rabbit looked at by a veterinarian.

2. Rabbits also Communicate Through Body Language

A rabbits body language is essential in properly communicating with your rabbit. A rabbit’s ears are an indispensable way to let you know how they are feeling. If the rabbit’s ears lie back, they are feeling the safest. Elsa loves to go outside, and we have quite a bunny sanctuary for her. She loves to lay out in the fresh air with her ears entirely down. By looking at her, I can tell this rabbit is the most relaxed in this state. When her ears are straightforward, and she is staring at something that is when she is alarmed and that there is something that could be harmful to her. It helps us understand her and we are then aware and can help her if she thinks there is a danger. Most of the time she is outside relaxing laid flat and enjoying her outside play time. That’s when we know she is happiest.

3. Bunny Behaviors

Rabbits love to be close. I would have never guessed this as this was the first time we ever owned one, but Elsa is the most content when she is glued to her bunny mama. They love human touch, and they will be more gentle with the human interaction. When a rabbit nudges someone that is a sign of attention. If Emma is outside and not hanging out with Elsa, this rabbit will immediately run over and nudge her for some love. Rabbits lick, and that is a sign of great admiration. That is the best respect from a rabbit and shows that they love and trust you. They also will flop down beside you when they feel the safest and most content. If a rabbit exposes their inner eyelid that is a sign of anxiety and you may need just to keep building trust in your relationship.

4. A Bunny Home is a Happy Home

Rabbits need to have a safe space to live. Their living should be quiet and comfortable to build the best friendship. Make sure that the rabbit will receive daily interaction and that any chaos that might upset them is limited. Temperature is key to having a happy, healthy bunny. A comfortable temperature for a rabbit is 60-70 degrees. Too hot or too cold can lead to severe problems and death. Make sure that they have adequate shade on those warmer days so that they do not overheat.

5. Playtime is the Best

Rabbits love to play. Elsa has lots of toys, and she loves to frolick. Her favorite toy is a big purple bounce ball that she pushes around with her nose. She gets excellent exercise, and we like to watch her play. Rabbits love to play with balls, cardboard, and toilet paper rolls filled with hay. Rabbits need their activity the more room, the better. Make sure that no electrical chords are lying around. Rabbits seem to attract to these, and that could be bad for you as well as bad for the bunny. If the rabbit is outdoors make sure they have a fenced enclosed area so they will not be able to escape. They can be inquisitive creatures, and that can lead to problems. Make sure to supervise the rabbit and keep them safe.

6. Healthy Diet Healthy Bunny

Make sure that your rabbit gets a healthy diet. The diet should consist of Timothy grass or hay, pellet food, fresh leafy greens, and clean water. Rabbits also like apples and carrots. The amount you feed them will depend on how big the rabbit is. Rabbits six months and over need 1/8 and 1/4 cup of pellets per five pounds of body weight. They also need 2 cups leafy greens per six pounds.

Rabbits are fun furry friends that bring joy to all that come along their way. They require lots of care and lots of love so the dedication to building that relationship should be a priority. If you are considering getting a rabbit make sure to research and learn about the care and the needs of the rabbit so that you are prepared. Many times people don’t understand what these pets need and the necessary amount of love and attention that goes into caring for a rabbit. Also, if you are wondering where to get a rabbit take a look at your local animal rescue, there will be many rabbits that need a loving home. Some of these rescues are dedicated to rabbits. Many people realize later on they are unable to care for a rabbit and will end up giving the rabbit away. Many rabbits need loving homes and adoption is a great way to become bunny parents.

How to Get Out of Debt and Crush Those Money Goals

Fortune Cookie Life Lesson #14

Whatever you want to do, do it. There are only so many tomorrows.

One of the things I want to do is get out of debt. This fortune phrase hit it right on the head and I want out of debt now. Something I struggled with most of my life was my finances. I was never very good at keeping a budget and didn’t quite learn the skills to get me through adulthood. In 2008 my husband and I took a substantial financial hit, and everything came crashing down to an unforgettable end. Unforgettable because this was the time in our lives when we hit financial rock bottom and had to make a change not only for ourselves but make a difference for our kids.
We needed to wake up, and we needed to get our act together, and that is precisely what we did. It was hard, and it felt like it took forever. We kept going even when there were downfalls and unexpected events that would put us behind. With all our effort and teamwork we managed to pull ourselves out of the dark abyss of the debt black hole. It wasn’t easy, but with a little patience and a lot of determination, debt can become a not so fond memory of the past. Here are five ways to get out of debt and get out fast.

1. Goals, Goals, and More Goals
Plan some goals and stick to them. Goals help direct you and keep you focused on the essential things you want to change. Sometimes goals can be very overwhelming especially if you have an enormous amount of debt and you don’t know where to start. If this is the case, start broad and work your way to small. I know it sounds funny but taking a look at the whole picture and breaking it down will make you take a look and see how easy it can be as long as you stick to it.

Long range goals will be goals that you will have years down the road. These goals are the bigger picture. My husband and I have a significant goal to be able to travel and do some van living once we are completely debt free. We have planned to complete this task in the next five years and are working on getting to that point. When designing large goals ask yourself what is it that you want out of life? How long will it take for me to get to that point? Answering these types of questions will help you to understand what it is you want and give you an idea on how to get there.

Next, you should work on planning some medium range goals. These goals can be completed in a couple of years. These goals will help you to attain the big picture, and they can include, paying off certain debt like student loans, or cars. They can also be adding a side hustle to make a little extra income. Medium goals can be made on a yearly basis. Keeping a log can help you attain the common goals. Make sure to be as specific as possible and use positive words when writing them out as this will keep you motivated. Our common goal is mostly based on our side business and keeping it running smoothly and successfully. Our side business requires both of us to put in the time and effort. We also have a monthly budget that we follow that keeps us in check.

Last but not least is making small goals that can quickly be followed on a weekly basis. These weekly goals help you focus on the things you would like to accomplish in 6 months to a year. Our short-term goals are to get vehicles paid off which we have been able to do except for one and pay off any student loan or credit card debt, and we are continually working on this as well. We have managed to take out a pretty big chunk in both the last six months. Like I said we just keep going once one goal is made then we tackle the next. One of the things I like to do to keep me up on my weekly goals and this could be done monthly as well by using a dry erase board, and I write three categories. These categories are Want to Do, Doing, and Done and I will start my week with my task all under the want to do, and when I need to, I move the work to the next category until they are finished. I am a pretty busy lady, and sometimes all the things I think about will almost make my head explode so if I write them down and see them it keeps me organized and creates a less stressful environment.

2. Downsize Me
When we hit our financial crisis, one thing we had to do whether we liked it or not was downsize. We went from a four bedroom home with full basement, garage, and backyard to a three bedroom apartment, and yes it was interesting. We have two kiddos, and they were pretty young at the time, so they had to share a room because I had a side Ebay business that needed an office. We downsized and lived tiny for a while to get ourselves back on our feet. I will tell you my kids looked back on it and didn’t mind it at all. It brought them closer, and they had to learn to get along more. I consider this a blessing being able to do this and learning to minimalize. I became a minimalist because of the very reason of downsizing. It is incredible to realize the amount of stuff you don’t need.

3. Want a Ride
One thing that has helped us out is lowering our monthly gas expense. We live in Fort Collins, Colorado and we have to drive to Denver once a week for our side job, Which is an hour away sometimes a little longer so we have to be careful how much driving we do throughout the week. My husband’s full-time job is six blocks from our house so most of the time he uses a bike not only is it fun for him, but it keeps him in shape. I try to make weekly grocery trips and keep our going back and forth to a bare minimum. When we first needed to get back on our feet, we decided to buy a car from an auction site instead of buying or leasing something newer to save on monthly payments. It also lowered our insurance since the car was older the coverage was less expensive. There are lots of ways to downsize the amount of gas you pay each month, and this can make a big difference on what you will pay at the pump.

4. What’s For Dinner
I get asked this question every single day and more than once by more than one person. I am the meal planner and in most circumstances meal prepper. Back when we thought money grew on trees, we ate out all the time. Now I look back at it and think “Oh my gosh I wasted so much money and half the time what I ate was awful.” We do not eat out if we can help it. Not eating out can save you tons of money and not only that your waistline will thank you as well.
I am a planner, and therefore my meals are planned, and I prepare my shopping by matching coupons, sales ads, and discounts where I can find them. If you are healthy eater that is fantastic because so am I and I will tell you yes you can eat healthy on a dime and I do it all the time. I plan my grocery bill around what is on sale and where my discounts will be found. There are many nutritious foods you can eat that won’t break the bank. I also have an Instant Pot and let me just say this thing is sent from heaven above and is my go-to for most of my meals. I make soups, sauces, beans, rice, vegetables, even meat in this thing and it rocks! Not only does it help me make affordable yummy meals it is so easy to operate just set it up and let it cook.

5. Every Girl Loves Her Shopping and So Does This One
I love to shop and back in the day when I had no clue how to save a dime I did just that I went shopping. I look back now and realize that most of the time I was wasting time and precious savings. I am so thankful that I came to my senses and figured out I can still shop but just have to be more mindful in my shopping. I even have better things now than I did when I was spending money like it was water. How is that possible you ask, I am very keen on season sales and watch many of my online clearance sites. One of my favorite sites is Steep and Cheap. I am an outdoor girl, and this place has tons of outdoor clothing and accessories for huge discounts. Steep and Cheap is by far my favorite place to shop, and you can find some things as much as 90% off. I have paid that much off, and it makes me very happy when I do. To shop with them you need to get on the email list, and it is straightforward so it is easy to join. I also learned that I should only buy for the things I need and not to waste on things I want. So I wear out my jeans and keep shoes around forever. I keep the stuff I have in good shape. I am more aware of how to care for these things, so they do not need to be replaced.

Knowing your goals and planning them out will keep you focused on what you want out of your life. Making changes and downsizing things that you may not necessarily need can give you more to work with when paying off debtors. Carpool, biking, walking, or just being more aware of your driving can save you at the gas pump. Quit the takeouts and fast food and choose a more healthy and less expensive alternative. When you shop remember to ask yourself is this a want or is this a need and if it is a need try to get it at the lowest best price around.

Even though trying to control the debt monster can seem at times impossible know that with patience, dedication, and focus you can control your future. There are only so many tomorrows so instead of waiting jump in today and make those changes to give you the life you want.