Avoid clocks if you can as watching them can build up stress; And, finally, communicate with those around you beforehand so that interruptions are minimized; But then one day a massive storm kicked up the ocean bed, and the rocks were covered with sand and debris. The islanders couldn't see the rocks anymore, and they all panicked. The money was gone! They had lost all of their money! Fascinating, I chimed in. Don't worry, the story has a happy ending. Paul chuckled. After a few days, the sand and debris were washed away and they could see the rocks again. Their money was back. The moral of the story is that money is nothing more than a notion of value that is agreed upon between people. It also meant I tied my worth to receiving that praise, which I held in such high esteem; We won't ever be everyone's cup of tea, but boy, I tried. Inevitably, someone somewhere wouldn't like me, and I would replay every word, every look, every action to understand why and what I must have done wrong. The onus, in my head, was always that I was at fault, that I was to blame, that there must be something wrong with me. Notice, too, that I didn't give space to how I felt about others and whether I liked them or not. Anyone and their dog were welcome to take up my headspace. I learned to become a chameleon: I identified behaviors that I could change into, like one might change an outfit for a different occasion. These behaviors meant I could adopt and adapt and align with whomever I was with.

The result? I never really felt as though I fit in anywhere. To give you a practical example, this article wasn't written in one go; Organizing publishing was made its own task, counted separately and similarly split up into manageable chunks. Likewise, if you want to form a new routine in your life, rather break it into chunks by looking at each individual habit your routine will need, then work on building them one at a time (or however many at a time you can comfortably and realistically manage; Remember, it's not about perfection or expectations, it's about results). Taking a Further Bite Off Negative Thoughts Negative thoughts can be tricky to root out entirely. Squashing them down or suppressing them doesn't make them go away, it just makes them sneakier. We all process our failures, pains and griefs at a different pace; It may be that you're still healing, or that you have a lot more to process than you initially expected. This is okay, don't fret. The currency, the physical thing, doesn't matter at all. It's the agreement between people that matters. Paul's point is an important one when you start thinking about the future of your finances. It shows the importance of people to the whole process. For me, I find it incredibly empowering that money is not money. It only has value when people agree to give it value. Okay, back to Maddox. We were making our way down to the water.

I'm supposed to be the genius, Maddox started. He's a big guy with a big personality, and a booming voice to go along with it. Being a chameleon is awkward; And you're impressionable. If my peers liked a band, I'd buy the album--even if I didn't really like the band. In my quest to be all things to all others, I ended up compromising myself. I lost any semblance of identity; I tried to become what others wanted and needed me to be. Talk about making a rusty rod for my back. It was a fearful way to live. There was no room for mistakes, nor for the natural messiness that occurs as we all grow and muddle our way through life. I spent an awful lot of time inside my head, dwelling on things I'd said or hadn't said. Releasing Tension As stated earlier, exercise is a wonderful way to relieve yourself of stress. It grants you a rush of endorphins that helps put your life in perspective. The movement of your body and the focus of your breath causes nagging thoughts to be sidelined and, when we see them crop up again, we wonder why we were so worried with them in the first place. Exercise, much like a good risk-assessment session, helps us eliminate abstract what-ifs and brings us back down to the facts of a situation. However, exercise isn't the only way to release tension. Perhaps it's not your muscles you wish to stretch, but rather the expressive energy of your soul. With its use of pen and paper, journaling can seem antiquated, especially when the most famous journals are often seen as historical artifacts, placing them on a similar pedestal to castles, steamships, or longbows.

However, journaling is just as relevant today as it was a hundred years ago. Its mental health benefits, such as enhanced memory, heightened self-awareness, and improved emotional strength, are so vast that if the effects could be distilled into a pill I'd hail it as the wonder-drug of the century. Even though he'd claimed he would deny ever having this conversation, I was pretty sure everyone on the block could hear us. Doug isn't exactly a finance whiz either. Doug is Maddox's husband. They have two kids: Willa and Jeff, both in grade school at the time. I'm pretty sure there's an app for that, I joked. I'm serious, BDJ, Maddox continued, obviously not in a joking mood. The future terrifies me. How do I make sure Doug is okay? What about the kids? We're gonna be talking college in ten years. Things that had happened eons ago would play in my mind. I was overwhelmed by feelings of guilt. I felt guilty for everything--even the stuff I'd had no hand in. Guilt became a baseline, and I would do anything to avoid it. I took responsibility for things when I had no right, authority, or need to do so. In some ways, I was giving away my power, but in other ways, I was letting myself believe I had a more influential role in other people's lives than I could--or should--ever have. It was an apologetic paradox. Sorry became my most-used word.

You bumped into me? I'm so sorry I was in your way. A Cambridge study has shown that even journaling as little as a quarter of an hour a day once a month reduces your stress enough to improve your blood pressure. When practiced consistently, the stress reduction becomes sufficient enough to improve your immune system, and the resulting reduction in headaches, coughs, and similar symptoms will make it easier to stay on top of things and come by happier thoughts. To journal effectively, you can follow these guidelines: Be expressive. Do not censor yourself, and do not be too finicky with spelling or grammar. No one needs to be able to read or understand this except you, the important thing is that you just get your thoughts out there. There is no defined journaling length. It can be a single sentence, or an entire article. So long as it is an accurate reflection of your thought process during your journaling session, it is perfect. It can be banal. Maddox ran his hands through his thick dreadlocks. I mean, how do I take control? I was freaking out last night, and Doug reminded me that your whole thing is looking ten years out into the future. Do you ever talk to people about this stuff? Sure, I said. I think I can help. Bring it on, BDJ, Maddox said, grabbing me by the shoulders. Ahh, the Bring it on moment--always my favorite part of futurecasting.