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5 Essay Writing Tips To Relieve Your Study Stress

Essay writing tips The Short Advice

Study Stress

According to results from a recent survey, the majority of TAFE and university students in Australia between the ages of 17-25 are stressed/anxious. Workload, grades, future uncertainty, career prospects etc… A long list of pressure-factors that can create an unhealthy and unmanageable amount of stress for some students. With all of these pressures, approaching a 5000-word essay can be a difficult task. Sometimes one that seems so enormous that it’s hard to know where to start. So, before you go leaving your next paper to the last minute, ease your stress-levels with our 5 essay writing tips below.

Essay Writing Tips

Hopefully you haven’t landed at this page looking for tips on how to get an essay done in one night. If you have, skip straight to step 1 now – you don’t have time to read the intro! … Of course, no one essay is the same. Sometimes, there are different requirements to meet that can make an essay quite unique, or even difficult to research. Whatever the case, the following tips will likely still apply! Our 5 essay writing tips are essay-specific, rather than being tips on ‘how to get stuff done’. So, we’ll just leave this supplementary ‘time-management tip‘ here: Don’t leave it to the last minute!

1. Preparation

Do the reading, and do the research. If you want to produce a quality piece of writing, you can’t expect to be cutting corners. Lecturers will read your bluff, and take it as an insult to their intelligence. So be sure to complete the work that has been set throughout your course of study, and familiarise yourself with the content. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find the task of essay writing far less daunting. Ideas will flow, and you’ll actually be retaining some of the knowledge which is a plus! Good grades are usually a reflection of good preparation.

2. Drafting – Key Concepts

Brainstorm the key concepts of your essay topic. Put it all down on paper (or device) and break them into ‘tiers of importance/relevance’. Consider some of the most important concepts that you’ve covered so far in your course. Are they relevant to the essay topic? If so, how and where might they be of valuable? Also brainstorm any other supporting information that will help to meet the essay topic/question. What further research is required? Remember, you’re not looking for filler-material here, but rather specific, valuable and relevant content.

3. Drafting – The Blueprint

Now that you’ve got your key concepts listed and have a better understanding of research requirements, it’s time to structure your essay. You’ll need to consider the style of essay that you’re writing; persuasive, narrative, expository or descriptive. This stage of drafting will have you organising headings and subheadings, planning out paragraphs, and considering where particular information will sit within the text. Creating an ‘essay overview’ or blueprint will provide you with the blank template to populate with your key concepts, and researched information.

4. Elaborating

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, you can begin to develop your essay in detail. When taking this approach, you’ll often find that you need to shave some words off, rather than add filler content. So, always keep the topic in mind, and be as specific and relevant as possible. Link your arguments and facts back to the purpose of the essay, and you’ll end up developing a valuable resource of information. If you do fall short of your word count, you might consider if there are any key concepts that you’ve overlooked in the drafting stage.

5. Referencing Tools

You pretty much can’t write an article on essay writing tips without listing a reference generator… There are a number of great referencing tools online, although one very trusted resource is citethisforme.com. You can reference as you go, or keep a reference list while you research and then do it all at the end. If you’re using Google Chrome, they’ve also got a great extension that you can download for free that allows you to generate a cite for the website you’re currently browsing. If you can think of a better idea, we’d love to hear it!

Final Note

Hopefully you’ve found enough value in this article to implement these five strategies when approaching your next writing piece. For some other helpful information to get you through your studies, check out some of our other tips here: Productivity vs Procrastination, Tips to Increase Your Energy Levels, and our Top Ten Time Management Tips. Thanks for reading, and good luck!

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The Winter Blues: 5 Ways To Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Simply put, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a mood disorder brought on by the changing of seasons. In the colder months, it’s commonly referred to as the Winter Blues. Whatever you call it, both terms refer to feelings of depression and a lack of energy. So, is this really a disorder? Or are we again trying to diagnose ordinary life? You be the judge. Regardless of your stance, it can be agreed that what we are talking about are patterns of behaviour, and emotional states which are affected by our environment. Fortunately, there are a number of natural remedies to help counter these feelings. Below, we’ve listed our 5 strategies to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder for good!

1. Exercise Goals

Should we hibernate throughout the Winter, like big brown bears? It seems to be how many people choose to deal with the cold… However, it doesn’t seem to be contributing to our health and happiness a great deal. So instead, try setting yourself an exercise goal to improve your wellbeing. This study suggests that goals relating to personal development and improvement can create sustainable happiness. Set a specific exercise goal, give yourself a time-frame to reach it, put the required systems in place to achieve it, and get SMART.

2. Sunshine

If seasonal affective disorder in the Winter can be attributed to a lack of sunshine, then it only makes sense to seek it out when you can! Get outside during your lunch break and soak up some rays whenever the opportunity presents. According to studies, it’s all about our body’s ability to produce serotonin, the ‘happy‘ chemical. It seems our brain can produce more serotonin on bright, sunny days. So don’t hide indoors all Winter, get outside and give yourself the best chance at producing mood-lifting serotonin by seeking out the sunshine!

3. Find Your Winter Activity

Winter isn’t all bad everybody! There are lots of great Winter activities that you can find to keep you motivated. Like snow sports – so much fun! Or winter hiking, considerably less-expensive. There’s also nothing wrong with enjoying the sound of rain pouring outside while you stay in and watch movies all night long. You could even take up a new hobby, like woodworking! Point is, whatever you’re into, try to look at the positive aspects of Winter, even if you consider yourself more of a Summer person. You’ll find it far easier to enjoy yourself during the colder months if you choose to make it work.

4. Can the Comfort Food

Don’t over do it this Winter. It’s pretty easy to throw a few chocolate blocks back while you’re indoors doing a whole lot of nothing. So, make a conscious effort to maintain a sustainable, healthy diet all year round. You don’t have to be so unbelievably strict that the chocolate in your pantry turns a bit cloudy. Just be a little more in tune with your food choices. It really depends on your health and fitness goals of course. So perhaps consider these next time you’re tasked with a recon mission to the fridge on movie night.

5. Respect the Balance

Unfortunately, the universe is not here to serve you. And the weather doesn’t particularly care how you feel about it either. It’s going to turn whether you like it or not. So, respect the balance. There is no happy without sad, no light without dark, no Summer without Winter. Each positive’s seemingly negative counter-part presents opportunities to build and earn your own little piece of sustainable happiness. This is also the birth place of resilience and mental toughness. Don’t drop your head, embrace the changes and turn them into positives by implementing the strategies mentioned above. The good times are just around the corner…

Final Note

Don’t let seasonal affective disorder wreak havoc on your mental and physical wellbeing this Winter. Take an active role to ensure the sustainability of your happiness year-round, and combat these environmental factors by putting a plan in place. Don’t hit the pause button on your life just because the Winter Blues are knocking at your door. Get outside, get active, eat properly, find something fun to do, and respect the opportunities you’ve been given! A simple and drug-free method is never a bad place to start… As always, thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear what Winter activity you partake in to combat the Winter Blues! Let us know in the comments section below. Good luck!

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5 Great Songs You’ve Never Heard With Powerful Words

Powerful Words Guitars The Short Advice

Powerful Words in Music

If you listen carefully, some of your favourite tunes might also have important messages to share with you. Music can teach us about life, history, society, philosophy etc… But unfortunately, being a fantastic song with powerful words is not the prerequisite for mainstream radio-play. So, below we’ve listed 5 songs of vastly different genres (and eras) that you’ve probably never heard before. Each song has some brilliant life-advice to take-away, which we’ve broken down for you in some detail. We’ve also included links to each song in our headings, so be sure to listen with an open mind…

End of the Movie by CAKE

Powerful Words: “… But you still don’t like to leave before the end of the movie.”

CAKE lyrics are often quite cryptic, and include wacky metaphors that can sometimes make it difficult to understand the underlying meaning. Which is always a lot of fun! But this track however, gives it to you pretty straight… The song is about a person who never gives up. Someone that is resilient and mentally tough. Regardless of how bad the circumstances, they are always willing to see things through to the end, no matter how bitter it may be. If you haven’t already done so, check out the linked video on YouTube and read some of the comments… This song may have genuinely helped save a life.

Man of the World by Fleetwood Mac

Powerful Words: “… And how I wish I was in love.”

The story of fame and fortune. The life of a travelling rockstar that so many long for. And yet still, the individual described in this song is lacking… In this case, the love of a good woman is what he truly desires. Perhaps the pressure of finding a relationship has begun to mount. It’s a classic case of ‘the grass is always greener’. The lesson? Value your relationships with the people you care about. They are more important, and more rewarding than any level of fame and fortune could ever be. Appreciate what you have, instead of wishing for what you don’t have.

What it’s Like by Everlast

Powerful Words: “… God forbid you ever have to walk a mile in his shoes, ’cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues.”

This track has some very powerful and confronting lyrics. It explores some quite extreme hardships, in order to make the listener consider how they might feel if they had to face those difficult situations. The moral of the story here, is to not condemn another person until you’ve walked in their shoes. A valuable lesson that should be remembered every single day. You might pass judgement, and make assumptions based on the information you have, and the things that you see. But the reason behind it all is something you’ll never know unless you’ve been there.

Tremendous Damage by Big Boi

Powerful Words: “… But like the Wright brothers, you gotta crash and burn before you take flight…”

Big Boi gives us an insight into his life, and the trials and tribulations he’s faced. Through it all, he’s come out the other end strong and confident. The lyrics encourage the development of resilience and mental toughness, reinforced with the line “I suffered tremendous damage, got me tougher than a (use your imagination)”. The powerful words listed below the track title above encourage the listener not to fear failure, but rather view it as a necessary step towards success. Great advice Big Boi.

Who’s Gonna Save My Soul by Gnarls Barkley

Powerful Words: “This is a shame that someone else’s song, was totally and completely depended on.”

A brilliant look into the mind of the heartbroken. This track demonstrates how somebody who is extremely emotional can be so overwhelmed that they have an inability to consider feelings other than their own. The sort of emotional whirlwind in which we’ve all been caught before. It encourages the listener to reflect on their own emotional experiences, and consider how their emotions affected their ability to rationalise a situation. The other powerful message in this track, is ‘don’t rely solely on others for your happiness‘. A relationship should be a source of happiness, not the source of happiness. ***Definitely checkout the film clip WARNING: Graphic Content.

Final Note

Music can help us to understand and interpret our emotions and thoughts. Artists share their experiences with listeners, so that they might relate. Even the darkest of songs can be a source of motivation, just knowing that someone else has felt the way you’ve felt. That negative emotions are normal, and that they can be overcome. We hope the above list of songs will help you to find the powerful words hidden in your favourite tracks, so that they may motivate you to continue earning happiness. As always, thanks very much for reading, and we’d love to hear about some of your favourite lyrics in the comments section below.

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4 Ways To Successfully Achieve Your Wellness Goals

Sasha Wellness The Short Advice

About the Author

Sasha Layton is the founder of Sasha Yoga & Health, an experienced yoga & mindfulness meditation facilitator, and a certified Holistic Wellness Coach. She works with private and corporate clients all over Australia, and specialises in mindset and mindfulness. She believes that through education & knowledge, self awareness, and understanding the power of mindset, anybody can live a happy healthy life.

Steps to Achieving Your Wellness Goals

In a society where we are time poor, yet have more resources than we care to shake a stick at, being in a state of overwhelm is extremely common. Does this sound familiar? Reaching for that chocolate bar or fifth coffee by 3pm? Missing your third gym session this week because you got held back at work? Too tired to catch-up with that friend you haven’t seen in months? Or worse still, too tired to play with your children after work? I get it, there always seems to be so much to do yet so little time…and our health & wellness seem to take a backburner. Yet what if I told you that it has a great deal with what you VALUE and your attitude to wellness, that is key to whether you will achieve your goals or not? Read on…

1. Eat Healthier

It can be very tempting to eat crap when it’s surrounding you, so an overhaul of your cupboard and fridge to get rid of all the processed nutrient-lacking foods is the first step to eating healthier. Stocking up on fresh fruit & veggies, REAL food (i.e. not from a can, plastic packet or box), getting back into the kitchen, and learning how to cook, are the 2nd and 3rd steps. Not sure where to start? Booking some sessions with a certified Wellness Coach can help put you in the right direction. They can guide you on where and what to shop for, simple and quick nutritious recipes, and how to make it work for your lifestyle.

2. Move More

If you’re struggling to get to the gym or make that class you keep booking into, it’s time to ask yourself a couple of questions…and answer them honestly: 1) when am I most likely to exercise? 2) do I really enjoy this form of movement I’m currently doing?

If you answered no to the second question, ask yourself “what do I really enjoy?” There is no right or wrong time to exercise, because we’re all bio-individuals. Sure your best mate might enjoy getting up at 5am to attend their favourite yoga or HIIT class, but be honest with yourself on whether that’s really for you too? Finding the right time of day, what you really enjoy, and also what fits in with your schedule, is key to sustaining your daily movement habits.

3. Journal Your Thoughts

This could be via a food diary to keep track of your eating habits (particularly great if you get a lot of cravings), a movement log to track how much (or little) you’re exercising and at what times, or just a simple notebook where you write down thoughts, feelings and happenings that come up on a daily basis. By doing this, it will not only be helping you to brain dump, but also gives you greater insight into habits and patterns that may be holding you back. I personally love a pretty notebook and pen to physically write, but if you’re more an ‘online’ kind of person, check out this cool site http://750words.com where you can journal PLUS it tracks and gives you stats on your state of mind. It’s also password approved so completely private and no chance of anyone finding out your deepest darkest thoughts.

4. Get Accountability

Whether it be a friend, family member, partner, your FitBit app, or a Wellness Coach, using one (or many!) of these avenues is a sure fire way to keep you accountable to the goals you set. If it’s with a friend or loved one, you could even hold a monthly competition with each other so you have something to work towards and keep you inspired. If an exercise app, you can set daily or weekly goals which will remind you with notifications.

Final Note…

Being healthier doesn’t need to be difficult, it’s just about finding what works best for YOU, what inspires you, and understanding what it is in life that you really value. When you get to know yourself in this way, it really gives you the power to make the right choices.

Thanks you for taking the time to read my guest post for The Short Advice. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about my Wellness Coaching services, please get in touch or write in the comments section below, where I’ll be more than happy to reply.

Don’t forget to check out Sasha Yoga & Health here.

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4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Compare Yourself To Others

Don't Compare Yourself to Others The Short Advice

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

… Especially on social media! There are a number of obvious reasons why you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, and these are just a few. Well, four, if you want to get technical. The big message to take away from this article however, is not how many reasons there are… It’s do not gauge your happiness on the perceived happiness of others. Happiness is something to be earned. So, the next time you find yourself setting unrealistic expectations after marvelling at the magical lives of Instagrammers, remember these four reasons:

1. Success isn’t a Conversation

We’re not saying you can’t share your success stories and achievements with others, but there is a right way and a wrong way. Some people will even tell you all about how successful they are, even when they’re not successful at all. But don’t get upset at them. This is a success strategy that they’ve been taught by our society’s most influential people, like reality tv stars. Shameless self-promotion might help these people sometimes, but it’s not how true success is bred. It also doesn’t tend to help the people who have to put up with it. Promoting something of value rather, is a much better strategy. If you explore how you can enrich lives, rather than enrich your pocket, you’re probably a better chance of achieving both goals. So, don’t get down on yourself if your best friend tells you that they’re earning X, and you’re still earning Y. Because it’s not a competition, and they’re probably not earning X anyway!

2. Social Media Professional Liars

Don’t compare yourself to others that don’t even exist in the real world! If everyone on Instagram were a successful entrepreneur, then there would be more Ferraris on the road than Toyotas. This is simply not the case. There are however more liars on social media than there are Toyotas on the road. We’re not sure what it all means, but one thing is for certain… Don’t believe everything you read, see or hear, especially on social media. Lying has proved a viable business model for many social media ‘influencers’. It might even be a way to make some money, but it certainly won’t earn you respect. If you measure your value in the world based on all of the brilliant things these people are doing on social media than you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The reality that we live in is very different to the reality that we see on social media. Learn how to make the distinction between the two, and you’ll live happily ever after…

3. Helpful Internet Bloggers Are Wrong

This is a very negative outlook. There are an abundance of brilliant and helpful blogs out there, of course. But, many blog websites would have you believe that achieving success in just about any field is fast and easy. Nothing worth attaining is fast and easy. Understand this. There are lots of successful people who make it look easy. But generally, that’s because of how hard they work when nobody is looking at all. Lets look at blogging, for example. Hours, and hours of work must be put in before you can expect anybody to take you seriously. You need to build credibility, and trust. Build a network and a community. This quite often takes years to do. And yet, every pop-up ad you’ve ever seen is offering you a 6-figure income working online from anywhere in the world. Even though we know it’s too good to be true, part of us wants to believe it’s that easy. It’s not, there are no shortcuts. So whatever you do, enjoy it now, and keep working towards achieving your goals.

4. Unsuccessful People Can Look Successful

So many people are brilliant at looking successful. They drive nice cars, live in nice places, and holiday at exotic destinations. But when they’re not doing the work required behind the scenes, sometimes they file for bankruptcy too. This would definitely have to be on the list of ‘less-enjoyable’ activities in which these flamboyant self-proclaimed success stories partake… Now, we’ve all heard the saying ‘perception is reality’. And yes, if you want the part, you do need to look the part. But once you’ve got the part, there is work that must be done. If you’re not willing to put in, and you opt to live outside of your means, you will lose the part. So, don’t envy what others have, be grateful for the things you’ve earned, and continue to earn more (if it pleases you).

Final Note

You can research what works for successful people in your field, but don’t compare yourself to others. You are what you do, not what you say. So, stop listening to what everyone else has to say about themselves, and start doing the things that will put you back on the road to success. As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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5 Simple Ways To Increase Your Energy Levels

Energy levels The Short Advice

Why is Energy Important?

An oversight for many people, energy is something that needs to be generated. We often expect that our mind/body will give us a particular amount of output, but neglect the process of energising ourselves to perform. Consider the work that goes into an F1 race car. In order to perform at staggering speeds, it needs constant maintenance. It performs best on a bitumen track, and in low humidity. It doesn’t take regular unleaded petrol… It needs the right fuel. Just as a race car has particular needs in order to perform at it’s best, so too do our minds and bodies. Below, we’ve outlined five considerations for getting the most out of yourself, by energising yourself. It might take a bit of trial and error to get systems in place that work for you, so be patient. Now that you’ve set your goals, and you’re on the ‘Road to Success‘, you need to implement strategies that allow you to perform at your best and increase your energy levels.

1. Location

Never work where you relax, and vice versa. A great tip that cartoonist and author Scott Adams, shares in his book How to Fail At Almost Everything And Still Win Big. The reason for this, is that people tend to associate particular places, with particular activities. Your couch, for example, might be a place for relaxing, or even sleeping. So, working on the couch may not be the best way to motivate you, and increase your energy levels. Instead, you should find a place that is conducive to hard work, and encourages you to focus on the task that you’ve set for yourself.

2. Energising Tasks

Identify which tasks drain your energy, and which tasks energise you. If reading helps you to regain focus and gives you the motivation to continue being creative, do more of it. Maybe hangovers sap your energy and are particularly challenging for you to manage… Drink less, and less frequently. Basically, do more of the things that give you energy, and less of the things that drain your energy. This will help to optimise your output when it comes to putting in work.

3. Give and Receive Energy

We’ve all heard instapreneurs bang on about ‘finding your tribe’, and ‘surrounding yourself with positivity’. Well, it’s sort of true. But it doesn’t mean burn everyone you’ve ever cared about in order to reach your goals, as too many people do. It’s not solely about absorbing the energy of others either. It’s about giving, too. Maybe you’ve got a friend who loves hearing your new ideas, and contributing to them. Call them! Tell them all about it. Your excitement might also inspire them to start working harder.

4. Sustenance

It almost seems cruel that cake is not considered to be healthy. But, at the end of the day, most of us have a fair idea of what we need to fuel our mind and body. Whilst there are many delicious options these days, whole foods like fruit and vegetables are what we really need. And water is probably the only liquid that our bodies actually want. So, be smart about your choices. Sugar highs and lows are very real, and much of your daily energy is reliant on what you put into your body. Don’t diet, just find a healthy eating plan that is sustainable for you.

5. Exercise

Regular exercise, teamed with a sustainable healthy diet, is a tried and tested way to increase your energy levels. Sometimes, just taking a walk can be a more effective strategy to reenergise your drowsy-self than having a nap. Exercise releases endorphins that give you energy, and it sort of makes sense right? “Hey Brain, I’m engaging in some exercise here, can you give me a little something extra?”, “Sure Body, here are some endorphins that will make you a bit happier, and give you the energy to sustain that activity for a bit longer.”… True story.

Final Note

When it comes to developing systems and strategies for improvement, one size doesn’t fit all. You’ll need to do some field research to find out what works best for you, and makes you feel more energised. The good news however, is that it does work. If you are willing to put in the effort, you will get more out of your mind and body, and give yourself a better chance at achieving your goals. If you’ve already found some strategies that have worked for you, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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How To Overcome Bullying: 4 Sensible Strategies

Bullying The Short Advice

Bullying Doesn’t End When School Does

School, workplace, sporting clubs, online communities… Bullying exists everywhere. And it always will. You can remove yourself from a situation of bullying, but it won’t change the fact that you are a victim. Wherever you go, you will still be susceptible to the same tactics. Running away is simply not good practice if you want to avoid this type of attention in the future. So rather than simply allowing ourselves to be forced out of our environment because of somebody else’s insecurities, we need to stand up and take action. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Some forms of harassment can be more intense, and some personalities are more vulnerable than others. Like anything that we need to overcome, it’s difficult. You’ll need to develop some resilience, and mental toughness. Below, we’ve listed four different approaches that can be used in conjunction with one another to overcome bullying.

1. Respond

How you respond initially to a situation of bullying will have a big impact on repeat offending. Generally speaking, an emotionally-charged response would be a satisfying result for a bully, as would a meek and timid one. The term bullying itself implies that one individual is asserting dominance over another. If you’re not comfortable being the individual that is made to feel lesser, it’s best to express this sooner rather than later. Calmly, and controlled, where the situation allows for it. But always directly. Directly addressing the issue, directly addressing the individual. Stick to the specifics of what is upsetting you, and leave any personal attacks aside. By demonstrating your sophisticated conflict resolution skills, you might be able to change the game altogether. This person may not show you the same courtesy, but they might actually understand. They’ll possibly even gain respect for you, because you aren’t the weak individual they’d once thought you were.

2. Reflect

What cause is there, if any? Did the bullying stem from a misunderstanding? Regardless of what actions may have brought upon this poor behaviour, it’s never justified. Having said that, finding a reason could be the beginning of uncovering the root of the poor behaviour. You can’t change a person’s very being, or the way they react to certain things. But you can encourage them to consider your point of view. For most people however, that will require you to tell them some things that they want to hear first. You may have done something unknowingly to upset them, that you’ve now come to realise. Perhaps you could offer an apology? It’s not a sign of weakness, nor is it a justification of their behaviour. Although, many people do mistake it to mean these things. So, it’s also a good idea to mention that despite your apology, you feel that person’s behaviour was unwarranted, and you’re happy that you both have a new way to communicate more effectively.

3. Interpret

Try to understand why that person is the way that person is. Put yourself in their shoes. It’s not easy when you’re harbouring such negative emotions towards somebody, so lets put that aside. Bullying is the result of unchecked insecurities, and a poor environment as a young person. What has this person been through, and what fears were they unable to overcome for them to behave so poorly? Simply by trying to understand, you’re showing a level of compassion that this individual might not have ever experienced. Next time they are looking to upset somebody, perhaps you can ask them if they’re okay. The other side to this point, is how you interpret the situation itself. Don’t give power to this person in your mind, because then they will have power over you. The offender is just a human being, like the rest of us. If you perceive them to be a big, scary, horrible beast, then that is exactly what they’ll be. If you can humanise that beast by sympathising with their insecurities, then you’ll have a better shot at understanding them, helping them, and in turn, helping yourself.

4. Support

Support goes two ways… Are you supporting others who are being bullied? If you support them, they might support you too. Helping other people to deal with their problems is a great way to strengthen your knowledge of conflict resolution skills. It also creates a network of people that care about one another, and can share ideas and similar experiences. You can look to friends and family for support, but it’s always you who should resolve your own issues (or at least try). Sometimes, a person’s behaviour is so irrational that we do need to seek the help of others. If it’s a matter of health and safety, then it’s certainly a good idea. But, for the most part, difficult situations present brilliant opportunities to learn. They help us to develop resilience and confidence and can build self-esteem too. Whatever the issue, there is always a solution, you just need to look for it.

Final Note

Bullying presents in many different forms, so there can be no one solution to overcome it. The strategies mentioned above encourage us to exercise control where we can, and use understanding and critical reflection to overcome situations of bullying and harassment. Just remember, that bullying is led by fear. And those being bullied, are allowing themselves to be bullied because of their fear. Overcoming our fear is no simple task, but doing nothing certainly won’t get us anywhere at all. So if it’s not working, try something different. There is always a solution that can improve your circumstances.

As always thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear if you’ve ever used any of these strategies in the comments section below.

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Building Resilience And Self-Confidence: The Military Perspective.

The Short Advice Army Man Flag

About This Article…

This week we’ve been lucky enough to interview active military personnel to quiz them on resilience and self-confidence. We’ve gained a good insight into some of the practices used in the military designed to build resilience and confidence, and how it applies to everyday people too. So, lets start by looking at how resilience and self-confidence is valued in the military.

What does the military know about resilience and confidence that we don’t?

Resilience and confidence are two of the strongest fundamentals of a well-rounded capable person. They feed and strengthen each other when either is high, but can also negatively affect other aspects of your life when either is low. The effort of building, maintaining and exuding both resilience and confidence is therefore necessary to success. Without confidence, would you have the guts to approach your future husband/wife at a bar? And what if you did have the confidence to speak and are promptly rejected? Would you be resilient enough to speak to another potential date?

A Brief History of Resilience and Confidence in Militaries.

Militaries have understood the importance of resilience and confidence for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. For all of recorded history, civilisations have depended on their armies to either protect them from hostile civilisations or to further their interests by invading others. The Romans would not have been the powerhouse they once were and held influence over the known world without a strong, resilient and confident army. All those that faced battle did so with resilience to brace them against their fears and marched with the understanding and confidence that they and their colleagues had the skills to defeat their enemies. So, what did The Roman armies, and every other successful military, do in common to ensure their people had the resilience and confidence required to make important decisions, do difficult things and risk their lives to win victory for their family, friends and fellow countrymen?

All Armies Share Three Basic Techniques to Toughen Their Soldiers into Confident, Resilient War-Fighters:

1. Rigorous Physical Training.

Have you ever worked out to the point where you feel like you’re going to be sick or pass out? It’s a feeling that most of us can relate to, we’ve worked particularly hard that day and now we’re ready for a rest. Most modern militaries utilise Physical Training (PT) to push their personnel past their previous levels of strength and endurance not only to improve them physically, but also to improve them mentally. Mental toughness is significantly more valuable to a soldier and the military than physical toughness. Interestingly, rigorous PT that stretches you beyond what you thought was your capacity pushes more mental boundaries than anything else. You can almost always work harder than you think you can. So get working. This will make difficult things seem easier and therefore make you more resilient against hard work and leave you confident in your abilities. Checkout these bootcamp programs to start pushing your limits today.

“Why do I have to carry these jerry cans for five kilometres?” “Because, I said so!”

2. Military Exercises and Tasks.

Practicing the rigours of being on a military campaign – going out into the field, camping, eating rations and enduring harsh climates – is exhausting. It is here that you can build a real confidence in your ability to withstand the harsh realities of warfare. Obviously, not everyone will partake in military exercises within their lifetime, but essentially the underlying message here is, learn to live outside of your comfort zone. All of us inadvertently seek the ‘easy way’, the path of least resistance, but more often than not, that is not the path that is actually most beneficial to us.
Get out of your comfort zone, try something you find difficult and relish the challenge. If you fail, take a different approach and try again. This will help you to build resilience and prove that life’s challenges are often the biggest rewards.

“Why are you so upset? There was only a little bit of dust!” “How can I expect you to protect your team mates if you can’t even be trusted to dust your room properly?”

3. Mandatory Shared Accommodation.

Who likes privacy? Everyone. The hot tip: there is very little to no privacy in initial military training. For many new recruits, living amongst a bunch of other new recruits means being ripped away from family, friends, comfort zones and essentially, all previous support networks and being placed into what can seem like a hostile environment. It is uncomfortable, stressful and frustrating, which is entirely the point. Learning to self-manage and problem solve by yourself, as well as with others, is an important skill. Military training teaches this through simply separating you from how you’ve always problem solved or managed your life. By suddenly altering your lifestyle, you are put in a sink or swim situation that requires your immediate attention.

“How am I supposed to get to sleep when my bunk-mate snores?” “Figure it out.”

B.L.U.F (Bottom Line Up Front)

(Yes, that was some military lingo that we picked up along the way). The point of all this stress and frustration is designed to build resilience. So many of the ‘pointless tasks’ required of soldiers in training are not pointless at all. They build resilience, cohesion amongst the team and give the instructors confidence that their soldiers can operate as required, when required, as opposed to when the soldiers feel like it. Bottom line, push yourself to solve problems in ways you wouldn’t normally. Put yourself in difficult (albeit safe) situations and test yourself. Avoid using the support networks you normally use and test your abilities when under stress. And the best part is that all of this can take place in everyday life too, outside of the military.

As always thanks for reading, and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

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The 5 Step Best-Approach To Get Fit And Stay Fit

The Short Advice Get Fit

About the Author

Hayden Moloney is the owner of Fit & Firing, and a published author on Amazon with his title ‘A Bootcamp Program A Week‘. He has worked in the fitness industry in Melbourne, Australia for nearly 10 years and specialises in corporate health and wellness. In other words, he helps everyday people get fit and lead healthier, happier lifestyles. Hayden not only aims to help his clients get fit, but also to stay fit. Sustainable exercise and nutrition is a key area of focus for Fit & Firing, and such is the tone of this guest post! Without further adieu, we present…

The 5 Steps to Get Fit and Stay Fit

This article will highlight some things you probably already know, but need to read again, to remind yourself just how much this ‘get fit’ situation is within your control. I’ve trained people with permanent disabilities, from different backgrounds, and with minimal to no exercise experience. The people who really wanted it, were able to get fit and have stayed fit as a result. Regardless of your experience or condition, there is always something you can do. Don’t excuse yourself because it’s more difficult for you than it is for others. You may need to seek medical advice first, or work harder than the next person, but it is possible for everyone to get fit and stay fit. 

1. Start.

The first step to get fit, is to just get started. If you are someone who doesn’t have much experience exercising, it might be a good idea to seek the advice of a trainer, an experienced friend, or even join an exercise group. Perhaps you’d prefer to have a go on your own? There are plenty of resources for that too. The main idea that I’m trying to get across here is that it doesn’t particularly matter what you do to get started. Just get started. Stop putting it off and waiting for the right opportunity to exercise. It’s already there, all you need to do is go out and find it. Not tomorrow, but today.

2. Ignore the Fads.  

Being healthy is not a fad. It needs to be the lifestyle that you choose if your fitness is going to be sustainable. There will be a new superfood pushed to the masses every year, or a new celebrity diet, or mode of exercise. Don’t get caught up in the hype, and try to remember why you began this health and fitness journey in the first place. I’m sure it wasn’t just for the juicy hashtags. Hopefully it was to improve your quality of life and make you a happier, healthier and more valuable person for the people that you love. Your justification will be a major source of motivation for you, which brings us to point three…

3. Set Goals.

In most step-by-step processes you might find this point at the top of the list. But you don’t always need a goal to get started. You do, however, need a goal to keep going. So, in the context of this article, why do you want to get fit? Your answer to this question needs to be the motivating factor that will help you stay fit, once the getting has been gotten. You might have more than one fitness goal to keep you motivated. For example, a long-term life goal (abstract) might be to exercise with your kids, and grandkids one day. A more immediate and specific goal might be to run sub five-minute kilometres by Christmas. If you want to understand goal-setting best practice, just read up on The Short Advice’s SMART goals article here

4. Find an Activity You Enjoy.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this point. Some of the best experiences you can have in life are those you create by undertaking physical activities. There are lessons to be learnt, and much fun to be had. So, find something that makes you happy, and motivates you to get fit. The social side of team sport/group exercise can be a great way to challenge and unite people. Often, there are many metaphors to life that will help your personal growth and development at the same time. Finding something you can do individually is also a great idea. Don’t rely solely on others for motivation, find something you can do whenever you choose. Such is the internal happiness strategy.

5. Embrace the Trial and Error Process

There are two ideas here. The first, is that what works for someone else may not work for you. There will always be contradicting, scientifically-proven studies selling you on the latest best-practice… ‘Eating your own hair increases metabolism’, or ‘backflips proven to reduce risk of cancer’. I made these headlines up, but I haven’t put them into Google Search yet, so who knows… Don’t believe everything you read, but don’t be closed off to new information either. Find what works for you in terms of nutrition and exercise, this is idea number two. Don’t be afraid to change it up now and then to improve and refine the process. If you’re always open to learning, you will allow yourself the best chance to get fit, and stay fit. 

Final Note…

Thanks for tuning in to our guest post today! For more information on nutrition you can view Fit & Firing’s ‘Don’t Diet’ article here. As always, thanks for reading and we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.