Guidelines on How to Challenge Journaling and meditation are both gentle yet deep and potent methods for challenging your thinking, especially if you practice them both regularly. The room might be an actual physical space or it might be something virtual, say a video call or a social media platform. The key thing is that in order to build your own future, you need to be in the right place at the right time. On the face of it, that might seem obvious. But I can't tell you how many people I meet whose futures are on hold because they're in precisely the wrong place to move their lives forward. It might be that their career is stalled because they're in the wrong industry. Or they can't find love because they're living in the wrong city. Or their health is failing because they're stuck in the wrong social circle, leading the wrong kind of lifestyle. In order to create a new future for yourself, you first need to change the story you're telling about it. As part of that process, you also have to ask yourself where this new future is most likely to happen and then take the necessary steps to get yourself there. I'm now going to tell you about a few people who did just that. When it comes to establishing the limits of our boundaries, we'll all be aware of a time when we felt manipulated; While horrible to experience, we can turn those experiences into limits--we know what we find unacceptable and intolerable. Next up, it's the application of that reasoning, and consideration of all our boundaries: physical, emotional, digital, mental, spiritual, professional, and verbal. Some of these boundaries will be flexible--we might feel comfortable in trusting a friend with something confidential and not feel the same way toward another person. We might love to hug a loved one but not want to let another into that physical space. Other boundaries will be nonnegotiable; Limit Stress We've all got this nifty fear-o-meter that scans our horizon for threats.

In days gone by, this feature was incredibly useful and kept us safe from danger. This inbuilt facility has no off switch, nor has the fight-or-flight instinct quite come to grips with our current technology-rich cultures. When you're ready for a bigger challenge, the best thing you can do is make more time for online courses as suggested earlier; It can be purely for fun, or it can be to develop a vital skill you know you'll need later. As long as it gets you to look at something differently, it's done its job in broadening your awareness of choice. If this novelty serves your values in some way on top of this, then it doesn't get better than that. When looking at learning outlets, do not overlook the benefits of learning a new language, such as through an app like Duolingo, or through speaking one-on-one with a trusted and supportive bilingual friend. Language, at its core, is simply a way for us to articulate our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It's a way of telling stories. However, languages do not translate in a perfect 1:1 ratio; An example: cotton candy, in Afrikaans, is spookasem. If you literally translate it, it means ghost breath. A Whole Life Ahead, but No Future in Sight Random texts come with the territory of futurism. My phone often buzzes at odd hours of the day and night with messages from contacts I haven't heard from in months, if not years. It's no bother. In fact, I take pride in being a kind of lifeline for people in need. People like having a futurist on their speed dial. I like to imagine them uttering the old Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? So it was late one weekday when a text message came through from an old contact named Jon.

He worked as an agent at a large insurance company, one I'd been consulting with for several years in my private practice. We'd gotten to know each other over work dinners, baseball games, and other social outings. In theory, it's designed to keep us safe from threats, but it is overly sensitive, always on, and quick to activate--it doesn't risk ignoring something that could later be harmful to us just because once upon a time that could have been the difference between life and death. The hormone cortisol floods our bloodstream whenever a threat is detected, so that we're poised to react. That's typically good stress; And then there's the not-so-good side of stress. The side that, according to the World Health Organization, is an epidemic of the twenty-first century. The continual drip-feed of cortisol is a contributing factor to memory loss, decreased cognitive function, increased anxiety, decreased libido, inhibited immune system, increased size of our amygdala (the fear part of our brains), increased risk of high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke, and heart attack. Limiting stress is a boundary issue. The more we feel stressed, the more the regular bits of our everyday lives start to feel scary, and the more primed we are for action. In reality, we're frazzled and overwhelmed, acting as though we're racing through life at high speed. We adapt to this pace of life without realizing the short- and long-term implications. That's how they see cotton candy; In Dutch it's suikerspin; If learning a whole new language is too daunting for you, a fun alternative exercise is to just pick a word, or an object, and translate it into as many languages as you like. Then, take the individual components of the translated words, breaking up any compound words you find, then translate them back and see what you get. It could give you several new ways of looking at that object as it challenges your preconceptions around it. Another relatively fun exercise is to create a timeline of your life, going year by year and filling in all the most memorable events as you do so. While journaling is best done by hand, I prefer typing things out electronically for this exercise, as it makes it much easier to go back and add things to any given year should an important memory pop back up. Just make sure you back it up so you don't lose anything.

The deeper you can go with your timeline, the better, but do not forget patience; Your timeline isn't going anywhere, and you're well within your rights to choose another day to look at an event if you feel your time can be better spent elsewhere. Can you talk? That's ominous! I responded, then: Yep. How 'bout now? A few seconds later my phone rang. Hey, Jon, I answered, trying to tamp down any hint of worry in my voice. I hope I'm not crossing a line here, Jon began with a sigh. It's just that when she said it in the first person, I thought of you right away. Wait, what's happening here? Is everything okay? Nonstop stress wears us down and wears us out. Limiting stress is a boundary issue. It's about creating space and protective measures so that there's ample chance to keep up our energy levels. It's about shared responsibility, delegation, mindfully considering the demands on our time, changing our minds, and choosing wisely. It's about how things feel to us--those inward groans, the stomach drops, the knots of anxiety--and using those feelings to help us make choices that support our health and happiness, rather than working against them. It's about accepting that we're not limitless and that, like all living and mechanical things, we need to be maintained, serviced, and given a break. Prioritize Sleep Sleep is king, and that's no understatement.

When we're unsure where to begin with boundaries, we can look at the things that might be preventing us from having a good night's sleep and then create a framework around that to support getting the sleep we so need and deserve. When we're rested and refreshed, everything else feels so much more doable. Then, in-between your personal recounting, find important national or global events that happened alongside each year of your life, and write those into your timeline too. See how the external world connects to your internal world. It's a deeply personal process that tends to come with a few surprises. When writing, try not to look at any of these events with the viewpoint of Oh, I need to fix this. Simply approach the process with a tender curiosity, and work out how your discoveries can help make better future choices later. Don't be afraid to combine other things you've learned into the creation of your timeline; I prefer going by bullet points, but you might choose a literal drawn timeline with text-boxes instead, or even format it like an outline for your autobiography. If it works, it works. A final game you can try with yourself is this; For instance, how do I make a good impression on my first date? Because you don't sound okay. Sorry to be so cryptic, Jon answered, doing his own best to not sound worried. It's my daughter, Roxanne. I'm not sure what to do. How can I help? She's been going through a rough time, he explained. She just graduated from art school and she's completely lost. That can be a hard time for young folks, I said.