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Put a spring in your step with mental exercises, affirmations and meditations from these three world-renowned self-help experts.

Let go of critical thinking

Criticism breaks down the inner spirit and never changes a thing. Praise builds up your spirit and brings positive change. Let’s examine beliefs about critical thinking. Be as open and honest as you can.
1. What did you learn about criticism from your mother?
2. Did she criticise you? If so, for what?
3. Was your father judgmental?
4. Did he judge himself? Or you?
5. When is the first time you remember being criticised?
6. Did you have supportive teachers, or did they always tell you what you lacked?

Can you see a pattern? I believe that criticism shrivels our spirits. It only reinforces the belief that we’re not good enough”. It certainly doesn’t bring out the best in us. I also believe that should is one of the most damaging words in our language. Every time we use it, we are, in effect, saying that we are wrong or were wrong, or are going to be wrong. I would like to take the word should out of our vocabulary and replace it with the word could. This word gives us a choice, and then we’re never wrong. Think of five things you “should” do. Then replace should with “could”. Now, ask yourself, “Why haven’t I?” You may find that you’ve been berating yourself for years for something that you never wanted to do in the first place, or for something that was never your idea. How many “shoulds” can you drop from your list?

Mirror work is a simple and very powerful way of letting go of critical thinking. It simply involves looking into a mirror when you say affirmations. As children, you received most of your negative messages from adults, many of them looking you straight in the eye and perhaps even shaking a finger at you. Today, when most of us look into a mirror, we’ll say something negative. To look yourself in the eye and make a positive declaration is one of the quickest ways to get results with affirmations.

In order for a child to grow and blossom, he or she needs love, acceptance, and praise. We can be shown “better” ways to do things without making the way we do it “wrong”. The child within you still needs that love and approval. Practise looking in the mirror and saying the following positive statements to your inner child:
“I love you and know that you’re doing the best you can.”
“You’re perfect just as you are.”
“You become more wonderful every day.”
“I approve of you.”
“Let’s see if we can find a better way to do this.”
“Growing and changing is fun, and we can do it together.”

If a child – or your inner child – is used to being constantly “wrong”, it may take a while for him or her to accept the new, positive words. But if you make a definite decision to release criticism and you’re consistent, you can work miracles. Give yourself one month to talk to your inner child in positive ways. Use the affirmations listed above, or make up a list of your own. Carry it with you. When you notice yourself becoming judgmental, read it. Better yet, speak it aloud in front of a mirror.

Louise L. Hay is a metaphysical teacher and author of Experience Your Good Now! (http://www.hayhouse.com.au/) from which this extract is reproduced with permission. www.LouiseHay.com

Ground yourself

Being grounded - feeling connected to your emotions and expanding your awareness - is an ongoing way of being. Regular practice of a grounding meditation will create a shift in your personal balance and wellbeing; eventually, you also develop an internal alarm system that tells you when you are disconnected from your higher self.

Give yourself permission to imagine Visualise your thoughts as made of multidimensional light, which can connect you to the Earth’s energy. Picture a beam of light coming from you and connecting to the core of the Earth. Allow the imagery and sensations to filter through your consciousness.
Ground yourself to the planet Feel through your feet, the ground, the water and the rock. Feel the molten core of the Earth and attach to it.
Receive the Earth’s energy At the same time your energy is extending down into the core of the Earth and grounding you, the Earth’s energy is radiating out from the core and passing through you.
Extend your energy Staying connected to your ground, imagine your energy extending out into the galaxy. Now you are connected to the universe through your higher self, your body, and into the Earth. Feel everything around you – the floor, the room, see, hear, taste, touch, smell all that you are connecting to. Are colours brighter? Does your body feel different? Allow yourself to receive extrasensory information without editing or judging your experience.
Keep your eyes open With your eyes closed, you may experience all this as imagination. Having them open helps you tangibly experience your present conscious connections with the Earth.

Todd Cunningham teaches and practises energy healing, and is the author of Energy Work 101 (Balboa Press), from which this extract is reproduced with permission. www.personalgrounding.com

Live in the present

* Begin to do more things simply for enjoyment rather than as a means to an end.
* Whenever you catch yourself drifting into thoughts about the past or future, shift your focus to the present moment. Where possible, integrate lessons from the past and your awareness of the future into the present moment.
* Use your breathing to anchor you to the present moment. Every time that you notice yourself breathing, quietly praise yourself for being present.
* If you feel angry or stressed, take a few deep breaths and realise that your actions can come from one of two places – your presence or your ego. The choice is yours.

James McWhinney is the founder and author of The Wellbeing Revolution, from which this extract is reproduced with permission. www.thewellbeingrevolution.com