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Relaxation 101: How To Be Relaxed

how to be relaxed

Photo credit: Zach Betten


The driver that cut you off.


The train being delayed.


The train being canceled.


That obnoxious colleague who always makes stupid comments.


The person who is walking slowly in front of you.


I could go on…


There are too many things in the world which have the potential to get us agitated and completely throw our mood off each and every day.


If you are reading this, I take it that you recognise that you are relatively agitated and stressed, and want some help to be more relaxed.


In this resource, I am going to delve deep down into the methods and techniques that I have personally used which have helped me stay calm, cool, and collective.


So, let’s get to it!


What does it mean to be relaxed?


For me, being relaxed means thinking clearly and freely; my mind is not clouded by negative emotions and energy. Instead, I feel a sense of peace and an ability to look at events open-mindedly.


During times when I am feeling relaxed little things do not get to me. A million bad things could happen to me in that day and I would still be serene.


This is the sort of feeling I am striving to reach consistently.


Being completely relaxed and calm is not only the ability to simply to be able to let a bunch of little things go; personally, I feel it is the ability to also truly understand and appreciate the positives of these events.


The way I see it is like this:


Every day you will receive a stream of negative-based energy hitting you.


The reason I say negative-based energy is due to the events not typically being something you would associate with positive feelings, like someone yelling abuse at you, or your boss giving you way too much work which you know is going to be a challenge to achieve.


The immediate feeling that most of us have to these events are related to negative feelings, such as stress, agitation, and anger – this is completely normal.


However, something being normal does not necessarily mean it is good; personally, I have found that letting myself get dictated by these emotions tend to do more harm than good – I’m sure you can resonate with me on this.


Below I am going to detail the approach I have personally used to handle negative events in a way which allows me to not let my feelings be negatively dictated by them.


1) Recognize how destructive negative energy can be


First, let us understand what I mean by being affected by negative energy:


These are the moment when you react abruptly, irrationally, and unnecessarily to an event occurring as a result of letting yourself get emotionally controlled by it.


Prime examples of this are when we get pissed off by the person who cuts us  off on our way to work or the fact that you ran out of milk this morning.


Over the course of the day, month, or even year, we can so easily let these events build up and negatively affect our mood; it can easily get to a point where we start to project these feelings externally – this is the point where it starts to be destructive.


Multiple negative interpretations of negative-based events may lead to an internal build-up of stress and agitation which may cloud our judgment – both short-term and long-term: it may make you unnecessarily yell at your significant other or unreasonably not like someone; not because of anything they did, but due to your negative frame of mind.


Is this how you want to live life? Not only letting your mind be clouded by insignificant events which will worsen your quality of life, but also worsen the quality of life of the people around you?


I hope your answer is no; it is not a way we want to live life.


Of course, being angry at a particular event is completely understandable, but as soon as you let it start to control your base emotional state is when it simply does more harm than good.


The above really resonates with me after experiencing both the 2016 UK referendum and the 2016 US election:


I am not into politics, nor do I like to judge or criticize people for the way they think or feel about things. However, I cannot help but be fascinated by how passionate people were about, not so much irrational, but illogical arguments – immigration in particular.


In both the UK and US I watched countless people speak with such emotion about how foreigners were essentially the main issue regarding their nations.


It is not the fact that I disagree with the argument, but that you could tell that the source of their feelings came from irrational anger and other negative emotions; the sort that would develop from being emotionally annoyed that a foreigner is running your corner shop for example.


As we can see, this sort of emotional influence causes unnecessary tension and divide, between people, families, and nations.


Another issue with being so emotionally affected by negative events is that it tends to make us more of an angry and temperamental person.


A key element that impacts happiness is gratitude and appreciation. Letting ourselves get unnecessarily angry and temperamental on a daily basis will bring us away from our goals of being more relaxed and at peace with ourselves.


2) Work on letting the negative energy flow through you


By default this is a positive action – you are not letting the negative energy have a negative effect on you; instead of letting it block your emotional drain your plumbing is on point and the energy is flowing right through!


This is my base point for handling my daily dose of nonsense.


The way I neutralize this negative energy is by getting into the habit of forcing myself to take a step back and think logically about the series of events which have just occurred.


When something annoying happens I normally think to myself the following:


‘Am I really going to let that annoy me?’


‘Could I have done anything about that?’


‘What is that person thinking?’


Let’s take my favorite example: someone cutting you off for no reason.


The way I would handle this in my head is as follows:




‘Mike. Wait. First, could you have done anything about it?’


‘Well, No bu-’


‘Why let your emotions be controlled by things you can’t control?’


‘Uh, good point Mike…’


‘Also, what if that guy was rushing his dying child or pregnant wife to the hospital?’


‘Stop! Now you’re just making me feel bad…’


Those are the sort of internal dialogues I tend to have with myself in my head whenever I am thinking about getting annoyed at an event that I cannot control; it really helps me look at the situation from all angles and appreciate that looking at the event negatively is only one way to see it; there are a myriad of other interpretation which can be taken from it, many which will allow you to look at the event from a calm and neutral perspective.


The above especially applies to the third question; when you start to think what someone else is thinking, without the implication on yourself, you develop an element of selflessness and an ability to look at a balanced picture; an essential skill to reduce irrational bias.


Next time something annoying happens I urge you to follow a similar procedure; take a step back and let the peaceful and calm you (we all have one) do the talking. Think about the event from all sides and angles, recognise that it does not have to be interpreted negatively, and then strive to not let yourself get unnecessarily affected by it.


3) Convert the negative energy to positive energy


This is by far the hardest and most challenging task.


This does not have to be done to every negative event. However, when applied it may help you reach new levels of appreciation and gratitude.


For those who may not be sure what I mean by converting negative energy to positive energy let me go a bit further:


Essentially, this is building upon that third question of step 2 again: ‘what is that person thinking?’.


The difference this time is that it is not just understanding and accepting what the other person is thinking, but going that extra step and associating positives to this.


Let’s go back to the person cutting off us; we have accepted that he potentially could have been rushing his dying child to the hospital in one of the many scenarios that could actually be happening.


Let’s go that step further and hope that he is okay; let’s wish the best for him and hope everything will turn out the best for him – let us clear all negative emotion we have with them and restructure our interpretation of that event.


In regards to more personal scenarios, such as being completely overwhelmed with work, take a moment to appreciate all you do have.


This applied to me recently; I was absolutely drained by having to work quite a few extra hours and having to wake up over an hour earlier than usual… I then realized that my cousin works significant more hours as part of her standard contract than I would ever work, and gets up before that time every single day…


Taking the time to appreciate everything you do have enables you to express that gratitude and appreciation I mentioned before, as well as helping us see the bright positive side of life.


The ability to the positives out of events, no matter how naturally negative they are, is key to staying relaxed, calm, and happy – this is how I want to feel all the time.


I feel that when you are able to be in this state of mind all the time you are almost guaranteed to constantly be in a relaxed and calm state, as no matter what happens you are able to mentally see and appreciate the event from a positive angle, allowing your internal state to not only stay balanced and composed, but also be in a mode where you can project this positivity to others around you.




The most important point to remember is that being relaxed is a choice.


No one is forcing us to be annoyed, stressed, or angry at anything – it is a decision.


That being said, these are not decisions we actively tend to make. However, with some practice we can identify when we are about to make these negative decisions and use the techniques listed in this article to change our frame of mind.


Another point to remember about staying relaxed is simply not letting unnecessary things get to us. Life is too short to be constantly stressed by insignificant life events; let us spend our time and energy on the things that really matter in life.


Finally, managing to stay relaxed is a lot down to our interpretation of events. We rarely ever know the full picture of the things which annoy us; as a result we fill these gaps with preconceived assumptions.


Identifying this and taking a step back to appreciate the myriad of all the potential different outcomes will help us realise that a negative association to the event is not the only option.


I hope this resource helped shed some light on my interpretation of being relaxed.


I would like to quickly stress that by no means am I the most peaceful guy you will ever meet; I still get annoyed, frustrated and stressed. That being said, the techniques used above have really helped me make huge improvements to my base state of mind and the way I see and interpret events.


You really start to see how long you have progressed when you see someone helplessly lose their temper or act irrationally at an unnecessary event where you would have acted in a similar fashion before; you will be so thankful to yourself for taking the time to invest in yourself to make an effort to improve your emotional state.


I hope you enjoyed the article!


If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at




Do you want to know the techniques and methods I use to overcome my fears? If so, check out my 2500 word article on my personal journey to understanding, embracing, and overcoming my fears.

Fear 101: How To Overcome Fear

fear of public speaking

Fear is such a beautifully complex human mechanism which has a significant impact on our lives.


My aim is for us to understand fear to a point where  we can control how fear affects us and not the other way around.


This resource will dive deep down into helping us understand what fear is at the core, and guide us on what we can to overcome this powerful force.


Are you ready for this? This article is 2500 words long… we are going in.


What is fear?


You momentarily freeze.


You feel your heart beat.


Your palms get clammy.


A warm wave flows through your body.


You start to shake.


Your mind can’t think straight.


You become aware of every little action you are doing.


You feel frightened.


This is fear.


Fear is a feeling we get when we are uncertain of what lies ahead. More specifically, it is a feeling we get when we are uncertain of the negative consequences that may lie ahead:


Who are these people?


Will they like me?


What if they don’t like me?


What if they think I’m weird?


How will my speech turn out?


What if I mess up?


What if everyone judges me?


The uncertainty of what lies ahead takes us out of our comfort zone, which often encourages us to back out and avoid the scenario in order to not risk facing that negative event from potentially occurring and affecting us.


Take a moment to think about some of the times you have backed out of a scenario in fear that something negative may happen. It may be so insignificant such as declining to do a little speech back in middle school in fear of being laughed at, or something incredibly impactful like deciding not to move city or country in fear of having to create new connections and relationships.


Regardless of the decision made, fear is the threat of the negative implications that may be caused by that particular scenario.


An important point to note is that fear is the threat of an event potentially occurring; in a lot of instances, the negative scenario that we conjure up in our minds is unlikely to happen. That being said, we still often opt to avoid the event completely and miss out on all the positives that could be gained from it.


Why do we feel fear?


Fear can be frustrating when it stops you from doing you want to do, like wanting to deliver a speech at the conference you were invited to, or joining a club society where you do not know anyone.


Why are we getting this feeling when we know doing that action will most likely be beneficial?


In the most simplified and un-sciency way possible, fear is a stress stimulus unconsciously generated by the brain which prepares us to deal with a threatening scenario, also known as the fight-or-flight response.


This response helped us survive as a race many years ago and still plays a role in modern times by preventing us from getting into harm’s way.


The point to take away from this is that we have no control over the development of fear; whether in physically or emotionally threatening scenarios this fear response will be generated – there is very little we can do to prevent it from happening.


Before moving on to the steps we can use to actively work towards learning to overcome our fears, I want to quickly touch on something:


Why do you want to overcome fear?


The answer to this seems pretty obvious, but I want you to actively think about it:


Write down 5 reasons why you want to learn to overcome fear. Here are mine:


I want to be able to make friends effortlessly wherever I go.


I want to be able to confidently speak publicly in front of thousands of people.


I want to be able to try out new skills without caring whether I’ll be good at them or not.


I want to not be scared to go to an event just because I do not know what to expect.


I want to be able to think and act rationally.


Whether  jotted on a piece of paper or in the comments section, write it down. Doing so will help define why you want to overcome fear which will , in turn, provide the motivation to persevere with it.


Generally, learning to understand and control fear opens up opportunities; just like how a negative result may happen from a scenario, an incredible amount of positive opportunities may arise as well.


Take public speaking for example:


The negatives that could happen could be that you mess up your lines, you stutter, your forget what you have to say and/or people think you’re boring and disinteresting… now let us look at the positives:


You deliver an incredibly captivating speech.


You motivate and inspire people to go out and better themselves.


You impress acknowledged attendees who want to hire and work with you.


You end up meeting some incredible people at the event who you build long-term connections with.


So many good things can happen when we chose to not succumb to fear – this is why we want to learn how to not let it control us.


What can we do to overcome fear


Sure, we now have a fairly good understanding of the core characteristics of fear, but what can we actually do about it?


Embrace it


As mentioned earlier, fear is a subconscious response; we have very little control over when we get this feeling.


Therefore, trying to push fear down into a deep corner of your brain, locking it up, and throwing away the key will not likely work as it will always be a core part of you. If anything, doing so will likely lead to developing more internal complexities.


Instead, opening up and embracing your fears will help you be fully aware of your feelings and emotions; trying to hide fundamental parts of you from yourself only makes things worse in the long-term.


Get everything out in the open. Be fully aware when you feel fear and why you are feeling it, no matter how silly or shameful it may appear to be.


Personally, I find that writing or saying things out loud really helps me clarify and understand my emotions as you have to structure your thoughts – I suggest you do something similar; whether in writing or speech answer the following questions whenever you are feeling a form of fear:


What am I scared of?


Why am I scared of it?


What is the worst thing that could happen?


What is the best thing that could happen?


Let me bring this to context with the sort of dialogue I had with myself in the mirror the night before I was invited to speak at an event.


“Okay, I have this public speaking thing tomorrow. Wow. Okay, this is going to be scary because I have no idea what I am getting myself into. Knowing me I’m going to mess up a lot, I’m going to stutter, and definitely make a fool out of myself. But then again this is going to be an incredible experience for me; this will give me an amazing platform to get over this stupid fear and let me carry on progressing with my public speaking. If I don’t do it now when will I ever become amazing at influencing and connecting with others!?”


Doing something along these lines helps clarify exactly how you are feeling, why you are feeling the way you are, and your core purpose for wanting to embrace the fear but still persevere. Personally, I find this a lot better than trying to ridicule the fear out of me as it will still be there waiting to haunt me another day.


The break-it-down method


I am a huge advocate of taking things slowly and progressively. Diving into the deep end often leaves you completely overwhelmed and pushes you further away from your goal.


Wherever possible I suggest you try and take baby steps to tackle portions of the fear bit by bit.


Referring back to my public speaking event; I did not simply jump into it without any work beforehand –  I worked up towards it consistently and gradually:


When I reflected on why I was scared of public speaking I realized it came down to two things: the fear of messing up and the fear of being judged.


After I identified these two elements I made a conscious effort to slowly get out of my comfort zone a little whenever I had the opportunity, such as making a fairly strong opinioned comment when speaking to friends and letting them criticize it, or taking the opportunity to be more vocal during discussions with my family.


These sort of seemingly insignificant actions play an important role in helping you move in the right direction; as long as you are taking a step forward each day, no matter how small, you are making great progress towards your objective.


Fear is just interpretation


How can one person absolutely love roller coasters yet another completely hate them with a passion?


It is all about how we interpret and associate the feelings we get from these experiences; the physiological arousal generated is the same, however, the state of mind that  associate with this feeling determines whether we feel fear or excitment.


This resonated with me when it came to piano concerts:


The first few times performing I was pretty petrified; I would feel butterflies, my hands will sweat, my body will shake on the inside, and I would generally feel uneasy.


As the years went on I started to really enjoy the positives to performing; the feeling of accomplishment and entertaining felt incredible – I started to feel excited.


That being said, I still felt the same emotions as I used to before; I would still get butterflies and sweaty palms. However, as I started to associate these emotions with a positive feeling the fear faded away.


I still recognized that the concert will be frightening and there was a risk that I could mess up, however I simply did not let it get to me as I knew the positives were definitely worth that risk.


The transition from feeling fear to feeling excitements comes when you truly recognise that the potential positive outcomes are worth the potential negative outcomes that may occur.


Using the break-it-down method mentioned above really helps with this as you are putting yourself in only slightly uncomfortable situations where you know the negatives are not too severe; as a result of handling that situation and benefitting from and appreciating the positives you can slowly scale up and tackle more daunting tasks.


Skateboarders are a prime example of the break-it-down method: do you think the first time they hop on a skateboard they just fly off huge ramps straight away? No; they start off very small and slowly build up over time as they begin to be more confident at handling the feeling and appreciate how good it feels.


You can apply this to your life. Do not try and face your biggest fear immediately. Start off with a simplified scaled down component of the fear which you will only feel the tiniest bit of discomfort handling it, no matter how small it may be.


Once you get accustomed to the feeling, gradually up the ante and take on slightly more daunting tasks. Still keep it only slightly out of your comfort zone; you will naturally build up to your primary fear as you get more comfortable with being uncomfortable.


Expect The Worst


Note: this applies mainly to emotional fear, not physically dangerous fear.


This is a fairly unusual method which I find quite effective in scenarios where you are chucked in the deep end.


The premise is this: most of us know fears are irrational and the worst scenario probably will not happen.


That being said, what if it does happen? It is all we are going to be thinking about anyway, so instead of trying to hide away from it, we may as well prepare for it; a skydiver will always have an emergency chute just in case – we should too.


In a lot of social instances, the worst case scenario is revolved around people judging you and not liking you; insecurities likely play a perfectly normal part in this.


For my public speaking event, the worst case scenario was that I would freeze, forget my words, and have everyone thinking that I am an incompetent and useless human being.


I started to question myself over how bad that potential situation was; the worst case scenario was that 100 people that I’ve never met in my life and probably will not meet again will think I’m incompetent – is that the end of the world? No!


This realisation of  just how unsevere my perceived worst-case scenario was really helped me relax and perform better – when you feel you have nothing to lose you can just go for it.


Bear in mind that although I performed better I still blundered a lot; my zipper was undone for one of the speeches, I froze for 20 seconds, and  I did not know how to answer some of the questions asked… it was far from perfect, however as I prepared for the worth to happen I was a lot more comfortable in dealing with the situation.


Next time you are facing a social-based fear think to yourself: ‘what have I got to lose?’ If it is the loss of respect by other people does it really matter more than the amount you will gain from that opportunity? No is most often the answer.


Expecting the worst was what really helped me tackle that speaking event head on – I do not regret one second of it.




Fear is a feeling we get when we perceive a potentially dangerous situation may occur – it can be either physical or emotional.



Fear is a subconscious human mechanism; we have very little control of when we feel it.


That being said, we want to learn to overcome fear to let ourselves experience amazing opportunities and not get held back from negative events that will likely never happen.


We can do this by embracing the fear, breaking it down into manageable components, recognising the feeling is just an interpretation, and preparing and expecting the worst (once we realise it is not that bad).


I really hope this resource gave you some great insights into my personal journey with learning to overcome fear, which hopefully may shed some light on yours!


If you have any questions drop them down in the comments below.


Thanks for reading!




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3 Questions To Ask Yourself To Tackle Insecurities


Insecurities suck.


They make you needy, paranoid, self-conscious and fearful – this is not how we want to live life.


Let’s first define what an insecurity is from my perspective:


When your actions and thoughts are evolved around seeking approval from external sources.


At this point in time this for me sums up what an insecurity is; essentially when your fundamental thought process and emotional state is dependent on impressing others.


As a result of this we end up performing actions with the intention of pleasing others instead of ourselves.


There is nothing wrong with wanting to dress up nicely or to make someone like you, however, when you start to craft your life around it a fundamental problem arises; you are not living life for you.


I had this issue myself – I was heavily influenced by other people and had a need to always want to impress.


For example, my insecurities were one of the underlying reasons I was fixated on getting big, strong, and pursuing a corporate career; I thought it would impress others and achieve what was expected of me.


Admittedly these insecurities did give me a huge drive to want to make me successful. That being said, it did not contribute to happiness, which is far more important.


If you feel that you are often constantly thinking about what others think of you and/or constantly try to impress them you made be somewhat insecure – this is completely normal – even I am still a bit insecure! However, I  have come a long way mentally from where I used to be and have felt a lot happier and freer as a result.


So how did I stop being insecure?


First and foremost I was honest and aware of myself and made a conscious effort to not only embrace the idea that I could be insecure but to also actively work on it.


If you think you may be insecure and want to overcome it, take a step back at the end of each day and reflect on your thoughts and actions.


Below are the 3 questions which I have found have helped me out the most along with the reasoning as to how:


Am I doing what I am doing for me?


Think about the things you do any why. For example, are you going to the gym because you want to truly become the best version of yourself or are you doing it to look good to impress others around you? I used to be that guy who would do the same exercise as someone else, try and lift more, and hope they notice (sad I know…)


In a lot of instances the same action on the surface can have different underlying intentions; working hard to impress your boss is completely fine provided you are not dependent on his approval – it only becomes an issue when you feel incomplete without it.


Did I feel a need to over exaggerate and/or boast?


This is one of the most common traits which is the most evident, clear, but easiest to actively work on.


I am still prone to this; on paper I am fairly accomplished, and would always try to name drop bits and pieces of my achievements throughout daily conversations… Sure you should be proud of your achievements, but do you need to tell everyone about just how amazing you are in everyday scenarios?


Restricting yourself from unnecessary bragging is great to tackle the issue of wanting to impress everyone around you and helping you appreciate that you do what you do for you and not anyone else.


 (Also, bragging also often makes you come across as arrogant and cocky too – it would not be bad to cut back on it regardless!)


The good thing about this trait is that it is easy to identify and stop in its path; when you’re in a conversation with someone and they mention something which you could use to show yourself off, take a step back and think to yourself: ‘does this person really need to know my CV?‘ In most instances the answer is no; use it as an opportunity to overcome your need to impress.


Did I judge someone for something I wouldn’t do?


This is an interesting one; you may be thinking how judging someone may show signs of insecurities:


Often it shows that you want people to think and act the same way as you as you want to be sure that you will be accepted and embraced by other people.


This was ridiculously relevant to me; I used to get so annoyed when others would not agree or align with my thoughts and opinions and I didn’t know why. In hindsight, my inner need to seek approval from others explains a lot…


Work on understanding that everyone has had different exposures to each other; different things make us happy, sad, excited, fearful etc. – appreciate that everyone has their own thoughts and feelings and has no effect on you; no one needs to think, act, or be the same.


If someone does not agree with you then so be it; it does not mean you’re no less or more of a person.


Be open and acknowledge others thoughts, opinions and actions, but do not try to change yourself just to be in line with someone else if you don not fundamentally agree with it.


Closing Thoughts


The underlying theme here is to be independent: at the core you should be emotionally stable and complete.


Imagine your emotional state is a cup of water: if you are only able to fill it half way and need others to fill it up you will start to emotionally depend on them; this leads to you becoming needy of them which leads to developing insecurities as you want to impress them to ensure they stay in your life.


Instead, fill your own cup up to the top then let others overflow the cup; you are you and not anyone else.


Think and act independently to everyone else and be proud and secure of who you are.


Need more help overcome insecurities? Check my free guide on more actionable steps to overcome insecurities.




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How To Handle Situations

beautiful river

I’m going to keep this short and sweet.


Be like water – let yourself flow.


Have you ever lashed out at someone for no reason because other events annoyed you during the day? Don’t worry, I have too…


The question I asked myself which helped me sort myself out was this: ‘How can I live life being so significantly affected by insignificant events?’


It actually kind of scares just how easily our mindsets can be skewed and how a number of independent and meaningless events which should have no impact on our mental state can build up and actually affect our mindset and actions.


I have started to notice it more when speaking to some people; they can get so emotionally affected by tiny things such as people walking slow or someone acting in a particular way… why are they letting it get to them? As a result of letting themselves get affected by it clouds up their mindset – this could potentially negatively impact the way they make important decisions and the relationships they have etc.


Ultimately for me it just feels like a waste of energy – focus your time and energy on the things that you can control and the actions you can take to live your life to the fullest.


Random external events will happen every day – they will try and interfere with your life; someone will say a comment which you may find insulting; you will miss a train; you will accidentally purchase Apple Music when you didn’t mean too (happened to me last week…)


It is important to let these events flow through you instead of letting them clog up your system so you can think and act freely.


If you think you have a right to be emotionally affected by some events give this a read.




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