Train Yourself to Be More Positive in 5 Steps

Today´s blog post is written by featured guest blogger, Zohaib Akhlaq, the founder of


We often come across tough times in our life where it’s difficult to stay positive.

When your job is miserable, money is tight and life is just generally challenging, it’s often easier to slide into a funk, thinking that things are never going to get better and you’re destined to be a grump.

But if you let that happen, you open yourself up to a whole host of problems, ranging from strained relationships (who wants to hang out with a Debbie Downer?) to serious health problems, including cardiovascular problems and substance abuse.

The good news is that you can take control of your thoughts and shift your thinking from “negative” to “positive.”

Try practicing a few of these behaviors the next time you catch yourself spiraling into negativity, and watch your mental and physical health improve dramatically.

1. Practice Mindfulness

In today’s always-open, 24/7 world, it’s easy to be pulled in multiple directions and feel like you need to keep multiple plates spinning all the time; however, constantly trying to pay attention to the messages coming in on the phone and the computer while you have a conversation and watch television is a sure fire way to cause stress and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Instead of constantly multitasking, take time to notice the world around you — pay attention to the sound of leaves rustling as the breeze blows or how the sun feels on your skin as you walk to work.

Focus on one thing at a time and be in the moment, and you’ll see your stress and negative feelings diminish.

2. Is This Real?

One simple trick that forensic psychology graduate programs recommend to immediately defuse negative thoughts is to ask a simple question: Are these thoughts true?

Many times, we get caught up in negative thoughts that aren’t really true. Perhaps you hear a voice saying that something terrible is going to happen or that you aren’t capable of doing something.

Before allowing that thought to take hold, stop for a moment and consider whether it’s really true. Unless there is a compelling reason for the thought to be true, dismiss it.

Turn it into something positive: “I’m going to try my best on this project” instead of “I’m doomed for failure.”

3. Make a Gratitude List

It’s quite simple: When you acknowledge and feel grateful for what you have, you don’t have time for thinking about what you lack.

And if you’re like most people, when you start listing everything good in your life, you’ll immediately start feeling better and more positive.

4. Help Others

Helping others accomplishes several things when it comes to shifting how you think.

First, giving back to those who are less fortunate — or even just easing someone else’s load — provides perspective.

You might be frustrated with your job and wish you had a bigger or nicer place to live, but spending some time volunteering in a homeless shelter can help you see how much you have.

Second, being kind and helpful to others increases the chance they will extend the same courtesy to you, helping you feel better and more positive about your life and the world around you.

5. Picture Your Safe Place

There’s no denying it: Maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude is good for your health. Multiple studies and anecdotal evidence have proven those who stay optimistic, even when facing setbacks, are generally healthier and less stressed.

Sometimes, taking a short “mental break” can help you get your thoughts back on a positive track. Taking a few moments to slow down and picture yourself in a relaxing place — whether that’s the beach, the mountains or simply a quiet room — helps you refocus your thoughts and clear out any worries or negative feelings that threaten to take over.

Focus on your breathing, and visualize yourself relaxing. Once you do so, you’ll feel the negativity floating away.


Some people are naturally positive thinkers and don’t have any trouble keeping a cheerful and upbeat mindset.

However, even the happiest and most positive people have rough days, so having some go-to strategies for stopping negativity in its tracks can stop problems before they start, and keep you healthy mentally and physically.


Zohaib Akhlaq is the founder of where he teach entrepreneurs and startup owners something new daily. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


Shortcut To Happiness

happinessMost individuals need to feel that they are a part of something bigger. They want to care about – and feel cared for – by others beings.

Close relationships are one of the most meaningful factors in happiness, even more so than personal satisfaction or your view of the world as a whole. Research has showed that if you feel close to other people, you are four times more likely to feel good about yourself than if you do not feel close to anyone at all. Experiencing closeness with others actually explain about 70 percent of personal happiness according to the researchers.

So deepen your current relationships and expand your friendship base in the knowledge that it will not only increase your level of happiness but also others. And remember that relationships are built on mutual appreciation – there is no better way to show that appreciation than to tell someone how much you care.


Conscious Leadership – Awareness for Greatness

Character is the essential facet of leadership that allows leaders to earn their employees’ trust and to exercise influence both within and outside their organization. Throughout their day-to-day activities and actions, leaders communicate symbolically to their employees about who they are as individuals and what the organization represents in terms of its values and purpose.

Conscious leaders focus on identifying and meeting the needs of others rather than trying to acquire power for themselves. They embrace a holistic approach to leadership, one that also demonstrates humanistic values such as self awareness and empowerment of others. The awareness that conscious leaders possess enables them to easily understand what their employees need to be performing at a high level and they are working hard to get them to that level. These leaders also recognize and value the interdependent relationships they have with their stakeholders, such as business partners, vendors and the community in which they exist.

“Conscious leaders focus one ‘we’, rather than ‘me’.”

One of the most central principles of conscious leadership is listening to the people around you and listening well. However, conscious leaders not only listen well but they are also experts at recognizing what is going on beyond that which is being said. These leaders seek to discover the truth, decide what is right and then demonstrate the courage to act accordingly.

Here are suggestions for ways to build the conscious leadership mindset into your day-to-day activities at your workplace:
– Take time in the morning to meditate on your intentions for the day
– Ask your employees what you can do for them to make their jobs easier
– Stay thoughtful throughout the day
– Strategically place others where you fall short
– Create a safe and sustainable work environment
– Ensure that any employee, regardless of position, feel comfortable to bring forward new ideas and ask questions
– Listen, listen and listen
– Before going to bed, reflect on how your day was: what was good, what was less good and what can you learn from it
– Practise gratitude

Do you want to know more about conscious leadership and what it is? Get in touch with us for a dialogue about how conscious leadership can improve YOUR leadership and organization!



Are you experiencing too much stress in your life?

mindfulnessThere’s help to get! Check out our team’s favorite mindfulness tools. Not only are they great for lowering your levels of stress, you also bring them with you wherever you go.

“Being mindful is a way of life.”

Mindfulness is basically training in being present in the now. Does it sound like something strange? It’s not really. Mindfulness is an eastern way of living that reduces worry and stress. It’s a way to live in harmony with yourself and others. Mindfulness is simply a way to improve your quality of life.

The purpose with mindfulness training is to practice being as aware as possible, moment to moment. Practicing mindfulness improves both mental and physical health. Research has showed that some of its effects are that it: – reduces stress, – makes you less prone to develop acute illnesses and infections; – aids your body’s ability to heal and – brings mental clarity,

Also, with mindfulness training we develop a healthier perspective towards our thoughts and feelings. You could say that we get a “filter” through which we learn to see, feel and choose how to react on our thoughts and feelings, rather than just act instantly. Mindfulness makes you freer to choose the life you want to live.

Our team’s favorite apps

There are many great mindfulness apps on the market. Here are some of our team’s favorite ones:

The Mindfulnessapp 
One of the first mindfulness apps on the market and it’s been downloaded over 900 000 times. Developed by the two Swedes Magnus Fridh and Martin Vikfalk, the Mindfulness app has recently been improved even further.

This American app is like ”a gym for your mind”. It offers a free version with 10 mindful days, with different meditations. If you like the app, get a subscription and they’ll give an app for free to a person in need. We love that!

Meditationernas Spotify  
Omvana is one of the world’s most popular meditation apps. It’s like a Spotify for relaxation, stressreduction and meditation. As a member you get to create your own meditation and you’ve got so many choices that you’ll never run out of new options.

Simply Being
Meditations app developed primary for relaxation and stress reduction. Simply Being includes several different meditations with music or nature sounds. The meditations are 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes long respectively so they are perfect to use “on the go”.

Sign up

Are you afraid of losing your job or are you really afraid of failure?

Happy living
Many Americans only take half of their paid vacation because they are afraid of losing their job if they are away longer. In the UK a fifth of employees fear job loss. And in Sweden employees are afraid of speaking up against wrongdoings because they fear they will be replaced, even though they have a legally protected right to their job.

But does it really have to be this way? Are you simply a victim of external forces, a global culture where there’s no job security to find? Or could it be that the fear of losing your job is a sign that you are not fully living the life you should be? There’s an easy way to find out.

Ask yourself, are you doing what you most want in your life right now? How would you live if you had no fear at all? If your answers are not the way you are living your life right now, take an honest look at why you haven’t changed that. What is it that you’ve been afraid of?

“Fear and ‘pain’ are touchstones for all spiritual growth.”

The most common explanations people give for not stepping up and changing something, is fear of failure. However, being afraid to fail is in reality an excuse in disguise for your failure to work through your fear. Fear is a powerful instinct that serves a valuable purpose in some circumstances, but it can also misfire badly in situations. Fear tends to paralyze most people or at the best, slow us down to the point of non-action. Remember that fear and “pain” are touchstones for all spiritual growth. Make friends with your fear and learn to use it as an indicator for action!

When you are doing your lifework, you will no longer be governed by fear of losing your job. The courage to live consciously will far exceed any fear of loss. You will be living with the knowledge that you will be taken care of, regardless of the circumstances. When you are living your true purpose and are of service to others, there will always be “more to come” positively for you. So step into action, be courageous, take charge of your life and live your purpose!


The Road to Success: 10 Of My Favorite Quotes Of All Time

fitness-332278_1280All successful people get inspired and learn from others. Fuel your own creativity and be motivated to action by some of my own favorite quotes.

What you think, you become.”
– Buddha

The power of your thoughts is astonishing. Not only do your negative thoughts drain your energy but they also block your development. What you think about – where your focus is – is crucial to your success in life, and in business.

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

– Marcel Proust

It is so easy to take the people closest to us for granted, yet they are the ones that makes life extra meaningful. Tell the ones you love how much they mean to you – and then show it in your actions.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
– Abraham Lincoln

Many roads may go to Rome but there’s only one foolproof road to success – preparation. There are no shortcuts.

“It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t care who gets the credit.”
– Harry S. Truman

If you want to be truly successful, drop your Ego and live from your heart. Be supportive and encouraging of other peoples achievements. What goes around comes around. Besides, do you want the acknowledgement of being successful or do you want to be (genuinely feel) successful?

“There’s no ‘ifs’ amongst believers. Anything can happen.”
– Jesus

Whatever you perceive you will achieve. There are no boundaries, no limits at all, to what you can create in your life. Anything is possible!

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
– Gandhi

The way we treat other beings says a lot about our true essence – more so than any external showcases of practicing religion. What you sow, you shall reap – that’s just the way it works.

“When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree.”
– Vietnamese proverb

Remember that everything that you have in your life – and I know that you have a lot – you have simply because of someone else’s efforts and hard work. Acknowledge and be grateful for what’s in your life, be it things or beings.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
– Aristotle

If you don’t know your true self, how can you genuinely know someone else? It’s first when you know your deepest desires and dreams, that you can take the next step in achieving them.

“When we have nothing left but God, we discover that God is enough.”
– Unknown

There are many people who at some point in their lives got themselves into a situation where they ended up with absolutely nothing. I am one of them. It was through that situation though, that I – by the grace of God – managed to rise from the ashes like a phoenix. And it was with the comfort, security and knowledge that God is always within me and God is enough, that I moved forward with such success that I created a life beyond what I thought was possible. With God, all things are possible.

“The struggle ends when gratitude begins.”
– Neale Donald Walsch

Be grateful for what you have as opposed to focus on what you have not. Make a list of everything in your life that you are grateful for – don’t leave anything out. If you at any time still feel like you don’t have anything to be grateful for, take a look at that list. Show Gratitude for what you have, no matter how little, and God will provide you with more to be grateful for.

Do you have any favorite quote of your own? I’d love to know about them! Send me an email to gustolifegroup[at]gmail[dot]com and I might include them in a future post as your personal favorite quote (if you consent).

Accessing the Power of Gratitude

The practice of gratitude as a tool for happiness has been in the mainstream for years. Long-term studies support gratitude’s effectiveness, suggesting that a positive, appreciative attitude contributes to greater success in work, greater health, peak performance in sports and business, a higher sense of wellbeing, and a faster rate of recovery from surgery.

But while we may acknowledge gratitude’s many benefits, it still can be difGratitudeficult to sustain. So many of us are trained to notice what is broken, undone or lacking in our lives. And for gratitude to meet its full healing potential in our lives, it needs to become more than just a Thanksgiving word. We have to learn a new way of looking at things, a new habit. And that can take some time.

That’s why practicing gratitude makes so much sense. When we practice giving thanks for all we have, instead of complaining about what we lack, we give ourselves the chance to see all of life as an opportunity and a blessing.

Remember that gratitude isn’t a blindly optimistic approach in which the bad things in life are whitewashed or ignored. It’s more a matter of where we put our focus and attention. Pain and injustice exist in this world, but when we focus on the gifts of life, we gain a feeling of well-being. Gratitude balances us and gives us hope.

There are many things to be grateful for: the ones in your life who really care about you and your wellbeing, the ones who don’t care about you and your well-being but through that gives you the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson, your unconditionally loving pet(s), a cozy warm jacket on a chilly winter day, your great computer, the ability to read, the free3b75c22 education in great schools and universities that you got – and that your children are getting, good health, free healthcare for the times you’re not feeling well, unlimited fresh spring water running through your kitchen tap, a hot bubblebath. What’s on your list?

Some Ways to Practice Gratitude

  • Keep a gratitude journal in which you list things for which you are thankful. You can make daily, weekly or monthly lists. Greater frequency may be better for creating a new habit, but just keeping that journal where you can see it will remind you to think in a grateful way.
  • Make a gratitude collage by drawing or pasting pictures.
  • Practice gratitude around the dinner table or make it part of your nighttime routine.
  • Make a game of finding the hidden blessing in a challenging situation.
  • When you feel like complaining, make a gratitude list instead. You may be amazed by how much better you feel.
  • Notice how gratitude is impacting your life. Write about it, sing about it, express thanks for gratitude.

As you practice, an inner shift begins to occur, and you may be delighted to discover how content and hopeful you are feeling. That sense of fulfillment is gratitude at work.

What are your favourite ways of expressing gratitude? Share some inspiration with us – we’d love to hear about it!

How Well Do You Maintain Balance?

If trying to maintain balance in your life makes you feel like a tightrope walker, you’re not alone. Most of us have so many feng-shuiiiiiiiiiiidemands on our time and energy, life can feel like a three-ring circus. Take this quiz to see how well you are meeting responsibilities, while also recognizing and fulfilling personal needs and wants.

True  False

͏    ͏   1. The only way I can successfully manage my life is to take care of myself physically and emotionally.

͏    ͏   2. Nurturing myself enlarges my capacity to help others.

͏    ͏   3. I eat healthfully and exercise regularly.

͏    ͏   4. I get check-ups, go to the dentist, and take preventative precautions.

͏    ͏   5. I set aside personal, quiet time for myself, whether I’m meditating or simply letting my thoughts drift.

͏    ͏   6. I experience the gifts of each season: ice skating, sledding, bundled-up beach walks; gardening, hiking, more time outside; camping, swimming, barbeques; harvesting the bounty, gathering wood, spending more time inside.

͏    ͏   7. Creativity nurtures me, too. I do what I love, whether that’s cooking, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, singing or another creative pursuit.

͏    ͏   8. Reaching out to others enriches my life. I spend quality time with family and friends.

͏    ͏   9. Contributing to the world provides connection and purpose, so I give my time, energy and experience where it is most useful.

͏    ͏   10. I notice and heed the emotional signals that tell me I’m out of balance: irritability, overwhelm, resentment.

͏    ͏   11. If I feel that I’m catching a cold, I realize I may have stressed my immune system with overactivity, so I stop and take care of myself.

͏    ͏   12. When I need or want to, I say no to requests for my time.

͏    ͏   13. I listen to and honor the requests my body makes for such things as a nap, a walk, green vegetables, hot soup.

͏    ͏   14. If I have something planned for myself, I don’t just toss that aside when someone makes a request of me.

͏    ͏   15. I’m busy, but I find time to do the things I want to do.

͏    ͏   16. I’m happy. I regularly experience well-being, contentment, even joy.

If you answered false more often than true, you may want to take a look at the questions to which you answered false and see if you can incorporate something of its message into your life. Please don’t hesitate to call if you’d like to explore this issue further.

Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications


Friday’s Wisdom: Awareness


Last night…

…I was reading the beautifully written book “What about love” by Gina Lake and, must I say, it was very interesting reading. As a matter of fact, as I was reading I caught myself nodding agreeable to the insights shared by the author! I remembered why I so long ago found this book to be such a sweet source of inspiration on how to truly evolve a loving relationship and I’d like to share an excerpt from the book with you. Enjoy and be inspired:-)

“[…]Judgment is probably the most destructive force in relationships. It maintains ego identification, which is incompatible with love and relationship. Judgment is the primary way the ego sustains its sense of being separate and superior. The ego puffs itself up through comparisons and judgments of others. It makes itself better than others by hauling out a rule or a conditioned belief that proves its superiority. Relationships can’t thrive in such an environment.

Judgment and criticism prevent love from flowering and kill it if it’s already there. No one could possibly match every idea we have for our ideal partner because many of our ideas are unrealistic and contradictory. Even if someone has the qualities we’re looking for, we still have no control over how or when they are expressed. For instance, you may love it that your partner is adventuresome, but you don’t want that quality showing up when the taxes need to be done. Or you may love it that your partner loves to cook, until you realize that cooking and eating is all you ever do together.

It’s not enough for someone to have all the right qualities if he or she doesn’t express them as we would like. It’s also not enough for someone to have all the right qualities if he or she doesn’t feel the same way about us! Finding a partner with all the right qualities, which are primarily features of the personality, just isn’t enough to make a relationship work. The ego has its list of qualities and attributes it wants in a partner and in a relationship. To the ego, these seem to be reasonable and useful criteria for relationship. The ego can’t imagine being in love with someone who doesn’t fulfil most of its criteria.

The ego is so sure of what it needs in relationship, and it probably does need these things to be comfortable and as happy as it can be in relationship.Nevertheless, meeting the ego’s criteria isn’t enough to bring real happiness because its criteria are too narrow and shortsighted. The ego lacks the vision to understand what is necessary for real happiness. It knows only what it wants, according to its conditioning, and those desires are its basis for relationship. When we are identified with the ego, being around others brings out judgments. Because the ego feels separate from others, it needs to feel superior to feel safe, so it sizes up the competition and brings the competition down to size by judging. Bringing the competition down to size allows the ego to relax a little in the company of others, but at a great cost, because there’s no joy in maintaining this position.

Making others small makes us feel very small and only increases our need to feel better than others. This strategy actually backfires and leaves us all the more entrenched in the egoic state of consciousness, which is a state of contraction—of feeling small and impotent. So the more we judge, the more we feel the need to judge. But judging never gets us the peace or love we long for. The inability to resolve differences causes many relationships to crumble, either slowly or quickly.

Judgment undermines relationship little by little (or more quickly), but the result is the same—the demise of the relationship. A little bit of ongoing judgment is just as bad as a lot of it, because, over time, it’s enough to kill a relationship. Judgment is more pernicious than we would like to think. It seems rather innocuous in minor doses or over small matters, but like poison, a little is enough to kill when administered repeatedly over time. Not only is it not our business to change others, but it’s also harmful to relationships to try to do so. Ideas are just not worth the price paid in love lost.

Love is more important than any conditioned idea or belief, but if you take your conditioning more seriously than love, you will lose love. The other person will withhold love from you because it will be too painful for him or her to love you. Letting others be here in all their glory (or otherwise) makes it possible to have a relationship with them. However, rather than doing that, we tend to relate to our ideas about them instead of to the reality, not only the reality of what they are actually presenting to us, but also the real reality—their true Self.

The image we have of someone isn’t real—it’s only an image, an idea. To know someone, we have to look deeper, and when we do, we find the same blessed divinity in everyone. It’s not our partner’s responsibility to change just because we have conditioning that demands that. Wanting our partner to change is not enough reason for him or her to change, although the ego thinks it is and tries to manipulate by claiming, “If you loved me, you would change.” If we want a loving relationship, we have to take responsibility for our conditioning and the feelings generated by it, and choose to give up our judgments and attempts to change our partner. When we do this, we discover true love because our partner will love us for being so loving, accepting, and allowing.

Once we drop into Essence and feel love, it seems so easy to love and be at peace. And when we are identified with the ego, it seems so hard to get back to this place of happiness and love. What’s the secret, the key, to moving into Essence from the ego? It’s always a choice. You choose love over whatever the egoic mind is telling you about life, the past, the future, yourself, someone else, or what you should do. You recognize these messages as coming from the ego, and you choose not to listen to them.

The egoic mind takes us away from love. It causes separation. When we feel love, Essence is at work, not the ego. Love is how we can recognize Essence. Likewise, separation, contraction, negativity, and the absence of love is how we can recognize the ego. When we feel these, then we know we are identified and being led by the egoic mind, not Essence. It’s easy to tell when we are aligned with and listening to the ego and when we are aligned with and listening to Essence. One corresponds to the human condition and suffering, and the other to the divine condition and love.

Love isn’t something we can understand because it’s not able to be grasped by the mind. Love is not in the mind’s or the ego’s domain. It’s a quality of Essence—of who we really are—and that is too mysterious for the mind to be able to contemplate. And the mind doesn’t want to. Yet love is where fulfillment lies and why relationships are so important to us. The real you—Essence—is willing to allow the beloved to live life as he or she sees fit. It may ask for what it prefers to have happen (“Would you mind putting these things away, or do you mind if I put them away now?”), but it accepts responsibility for having this preference and doesn’t belittle the beloved in an attempt to get him or her to comply. It doesn’t use judgment and anger as a weapon to manipulate others.

The most fulfilling relationships are ones in which the individuals are fulfilling their life purposes, either jointly or individually. The perfect relationship for you—the one that will make you most happy on the deepest levels—is one that supports what you came into life to do. That is the best basis for relationship.”