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Its effects have in recent studies been likened to those of smoking and obesity combined. Centenarians living in Blue Zones' around the world, those living happily and healthily into old age, are invariably living in community. <a href=''>(Blue Zones' are areas around the world acknowledged for dietary and lifestyle practices that contribute to lower rates of illness and disease, greater overall health and longevity.) It is the very experience of belonging that they attribute to nourishing their joy, youthfulness and vitality. Knowing this, we are called to open our hearts and connect with each other. We often have no idea just how lonely others may be feeling, and we are called to practise generosity of spirit. We can reach out to others with our love and care, involve ourselves in community, include the excluded, and make time for each other. We can listen to each other's stories, sense our collective magic, and marvel in the inevitably common ground we share. As mindfulness teacher Sri Chinmoy asks, if our lives do not give joy to others, then how can we expect our hearts to give any joy to us? The more we disconnect, close our hearts and clip our wings, the less we live and the less we grow and sparkle. The more we listen, connect and grow together, the more reason we have to know our oneness and connect our sparkles into magnificent constellations. We shine all the more brightly when we shine together. Expectations are only one ingredient when it comes to success. You need to take concrete steps to make your expectations a reality. Expectation without action is merely idle thought, which is something people do all the time! You have countless expectations every day, but unless you match action to thought, the seeds of positive expectations will never come to fruition. One conclusion I've reached is that in order to achieve your expectations, you'll need to have a plan of action. First of all, your game plan needs to be well thought out. Personally, I believe it helps to write your expectations down in the form of goals, dreams, and ambitions. When you put things down on paper, you are taking the first step in concretizing your aims; in this way, they become part of your life as a driving motivation. I've always written my goals and aspirations down, and that helps me meet my expectations.

Concertizing steps like this keep your eyes on the prize. Have you ever made lists of Post-It notes of the day's goals and stuck them to your computer monitor? That's the same idea! They're your goals that you expect to meet. Keeping your expectations front and center crystallizes your mental, physical, and spiritual resources. Post-It notes, journals, or other daily reminders can help you focus and develop the habits you need to achieve your aims. Put simply, anything that reinforces your goals ensures that your expectations become entrenched in your psyche. There is great power in keeping your aspirations center stage. Expectations are ennobling, empowering, and inspiring. They have guided man from the beginning of time, and they have existed in every age and culture. Needless to say, their impact is immeasurable. Consider the expectations an Olympic athlete, an inventor, an entrepreneur, or an ambitious student has; ponder how their high expectations will shape their lives and impact humanity. Think about the goals you'd like to set for your life. Remember: how you approach expectations, whether from faith or fear, makes a world of difference. When internalizers get sick, they are likely to believe that they had some part in the onset of their illness. They take responsibility for getting sick and they will also take responsibility for getting well. For example, some patients with heart problems will declare that they got sick because they got too fat or did not exercise enough. They might feel that they had put themselves under too much stress or were smoking too much. By the same token, they would view their rehabilitation as part of their responsibilities, as well. They would take on the majority of accountability for healing themselves, including changing their lifestyles and faithfully taking their medication.

Those are the internalizers. Externalizers, on the other hand, might lie there in the hospital bed, blaming their heart trouble on any number of factors other than their two-pack-a-day habit or the two jumbo cheeseburgers they'd enjoyed every night for the past ten years. They might blame their parents ("I have terrible genes") or they might blame God. You might hear an externalizer explain how he was "hexed" by an enemy, doomed by the environment, or targeted for attack by a government agency. And as you might expect, they cannot be held responsible for their recovery. Rehabilitation, after all, is a job that belongs to doctors, nurses, and physical therapists--not to them. An old African proverb teaches that if we want to go fast, we should go alone. If we want to go far, we must go together. Our collective human suffering is our call to recalibrate and to go together. A call for community and togetherness. For kindness, compassion, imagination, faith and courage. Our longing is collective and, just as our problems are collective and shared, so our solutions will be. Supporting ourselves and each other to find magic in modern life and carve out space for listening, compassion and connection is key to the health and happiness of human beings and our planet - after all, we are all made of the same stardust. Together with our wise and ancient earth we are calling for faith, meaning and healing now; to experience the belonging and wellness we intuitively know is possible. Our lives are ours to live, and they are best lived together. With open eyes, hearts and minds we can respect, welcome and elevate each other. We will find like-minded people on our path of joy; the people with whom we can truly celebrate the magic of life. If we find ourselves with more than we need, now we are being called to build bigger tables rather than taller fences. We are being encouraged to see ourselves and each other lovingly. A beautiful passage in the Letter to the Hebrews reads: `Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby many have entertained angels unawares.' In my eyes, we are all angels incarnate on our journeys through life.

We are all here unequivocally worthy, utterly loveable and timelessly divine. When thinking about the meaning of expectations, the key values to keep in mind are faith, open-mindedness, and creativity. Individuals and communities need goals that transcend themselves. Understand what goes into expectations. Eliminate fear, and your faith and open-mindedness will create new possibilities and outcomes that you never imagined possible. The ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote about the importance of regulating and managing emotions. More recently, the work of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio has shown how emotions are the key to cognitive functioning and sound judgment. Today, the centrality of emotions to success in life is recognized in fields as diverse as psychology and business. In fact, cultivating emotional intelligence is vital to achieving your expectations. Our current era is dominated by web-based interactions and digital communication. However, one of the foremost complaints regarding our current state of affairs has centered on the impersonality of electronic correspondence. From e-mails without a distinct tone to misinterpreted and indecipherable text messages, our culture has suddenly found itself in the midst of a digital world devoid of the emotional connections that are so inherently crucial to the human existence. Of course, not everyone seems bothered by the transition toward more distant and muted forms of communication and interaction. Nevertheless, many individuals find that certain aspects of technology are disconnecting and alienating them from a portion of their humanity, particularly their emotions. Even if you enjoy being able to keep your true feelings at bay, where others cannot access them, our culture is gradually losing touch with emotional intelligence in a detrimental way. Now, we don't have to become this great at drawing, but I think we can still learn something. Drawing frees your mind from the constant verbalization. I started drawing the images for my blog posts over a year ago. My drawing skills haven't improved, but my articles have. And one of the reasons is that I take time to think about how I can visually share my idea.

I want readers to immediately "get" what I'm trying to share in the article by looking at my drawings. That's why I think a lot about visualizing an idea. Sometimes I draw a graph, sometimes I emphasize a sentence or word, and I even make simple cartoons. After I make the drawing, I often edit my article to make my idea clearer. And some articles even start with a drawing. Let's look briefly at bipolar II disorder. It's a cyclic disorder, meaning that you can experience frequent unexplained mood shifts, moving from being hyped up and full of energy into a more depressive episode. These shifts can happen at various rates. (I haven't included another form of bipolar disorder, bipolar I, due to the fact that its symptoms are more dramatic and thus not as likely to be discounted as due only to PHD.) So if you're someone who can get an incredible amount accomplished, have oodles of energy, have problems turning your mind off, struggle with anxiety, and don't sleep much, is that perfectly hidden depression or the more energetic stage of bipolar II disorder? Bipolar II disorder must meet criteria for a current or past hypomanic episode and criteria for a current or past depressive episode, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association 2013). Hypomania is a distinct period of abnormally and persistently elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased activity or energy present most of the day for at least four consecutive days. Not surprisingly, the people who fall under the chance category are the most difficult to help. They take no personal responsibility for their recovery, they have no faith in any treatment, and they see no reason for setting goals or for trying to get better. Lacking a reason for effort, they have little or no motivation. The onset of disease is an accidental occurrence, a card played from the game of chance. Nothing and no one is responsible, other than the accidental combination of events. It was just the luck of the draw. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. As important as your health is, make no mistake: The issue at hand is about far more than your health. Understanding and addressing your own locus of control has implications for your physical well-being, certainly, but it touches on every other area of your life.