Important self-improvement tools

February 26, 2012

Journaling, Meditation, Self-improvement

Journaling allows you to express your thoughts, desires, pain, disappointments, likes, dislikes, etc., on paper.

by Irene Conlan — 

Someone asked me what I would consider the single most important tool for self-improvement. Yikes! What a question. “I will have to get back to you on that,” I responded, knowing that I would need to wrestle with it for a while before answering. Below are some of my ideas.

Meditation — Meditation is an absolute must when it comes to self-improvement. This practice helps you become acquainted with the “inner you;” calms your body and mind; enhances creativity and intuition; and makes you more receptive to Divine guidance. Meditating opens your subconscious mind and spirit, and allows the work to continue long after you finish. Many books have been written about the value of meditation and how to go about doing it. Videos of guided meditations are available on YouTube that allow you to experience it first-hand.

Journaling — Journaling allows you to express your thoughts, desires, pain, disappointments, likes, dislikes, etc., on paper. If done in a relaxed state where you simply allow the words to flow, you can tap into the riches of your subconscious mind. Journaling lets you express whatever is on your mind; provides a record of your progress; and enables you to see patterns and develop ideas. It is an outstanding self-improvement tool.

Awareness and self-awareness — Can any self-improvement occur if you are unaware of who you are, what you want and need, and the changes that are taking place? If you are unaware of your strengths and weaknesses, how can you develop a plan for improvement? Being aware means noticing and understanding what is taking place both around you and within you. It is unlikely that progress can happen in the self-improvement arena without awareness and self-awareness.

Positive thinking — For most, a key to lasting improvement is the changing of thinking patterns from negative to positive. If you gain insight into what makes you stressed, and a major stressor is your job, for example, then you may need to change your thinking.

Letting your mind dwell on how much you hate your job, how you dread going to work, how tired and stressed you are going to be, how your boss is a jerk and your coworkers are incompetent slobs will increase the stress level that you are trying to relieve.

If you cannot come up with something positive about your coworkers or job, try focusing on something in your life that makes you happy — your partner, your children, a walk in the park, sitting at the beach or whatever it may be.

In the meantime, you might start looking for another job, but before you do, be sure it is not your negative reaction to the job and people, rather than the job and the people themselves that are frustrating you. Get to know your coworkers better. You know the old adage about not judging until you have walked a mile in someone else’s shoes.

These are the big four when it comes to self-improvement tools. Which one is best? I still do not know that answer. We are holistic, and we are unique. What works for one person may not work for another. What works for you right now may not be as effective next week.

What I do know is that if you begin to employ each of the tools on a regular basis — practice meditation; journal your thoughts; become more aware of what is going on around you and within you; and change your thinking from negative to positive — you will begin to see some of the positive changes you desire.

If you have an opinion on your favorite tool for self-improvement, I would love to hear it.


Irene Conlan has a master’s degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past-life regression therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 29, Number 4, Aug/Sept 2010.

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