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Self-Help Reminders: An Easy Way to Cultivate Awareness

self-helpDo you set reminders on your iPhone or PC, so that you do not forget about work meetings, medical appointments, relatives’ birthdays and other important tasks?

And what about self-help reminders that help you to stay grounded, optimistic, creative and focused throughout the day?

I have plenty of these around my house. They might not make sense to anyone except for me, but they help me to cultivate awareness and stay focused on things I would most likely forget to do.

For example, I have a note by my laptop that says, “Remember to blink”. I put it there after I read that we tend to blink less when we look at a computer screen or a TV monitor, which makes our eyes feel tired and irritated and strained. Reminding myself to take a few minutes and just blink rapidly is one of my resolutions to keep my vision from declining again.

There is also a big poster in my bathroom that says, “The poor long for riches, the rich long for heaven, but only the wise long for tranquility”. It is hard to explain why, but this quote by Swami Rama leaves me feeling peaceful and relaxed at the end of the day.

Maybe you have such reminders around your house as well?

I recently walked into my friend’s office and saw a piece of paper attached to the wall that said, “Find a way”. Chris told me that whenever he was facing a problem or had to make an important decision, staring at the blank wall in front of him, made him feel even more stuck. Having a sign there that said “Find a way” had helped him to stay focused on possible solutions and stay more productive.

This is not as strange as it may seem at a first glace.

Psychologists have long known that such reminders, catchphrases, positive affirmations and inspirational quotes hold the power to influence our subconscious beliefs, boost our mood and develop better lifestyle habits.

If you have never tried incorporating them into your daily life, I suggest you give it a try and see if they work for you.

Below is a list of catchphrases and self-help reminders I like using:

“Life is what you make of it.”

“There is plenty of time.” – I have to repeat this when I feel rushed and start making stupid mistakes.

“Order and clarity”

“Will I regret not trying it?”

“It’s a meditation” – I often say it to myself when I have to do the tasks around the house I do not particularly enjoy.

“I can do anything for 15 minutes”

“Find a way!” – Thank you Chris. I borrowed this one from you. 🙂

“There is no bad weather, just wrong clothing”

“Remember, everyone's doing their best all the time.” – I read this quote in a book a long time ago and it was a revelation to me.

“Don’t worry, be happy”

“I’ll think about it tomorrow” – A little inspiration from Scarlett O’Hara that does not let the level of my stress affect the quality of my sleep.

“All things come to an end”

“Arguments achieve nothing” – This one saves me from many ‘speeches’ I know I would regret.

“Practice what you preach” – Not always easy to do, but very motivating.

“Pay attention!” – I like saying it to myself when I am doing something out of habit, like turning off the stove, locking the door or riding a bike to the nearest supermarket.

“Be easy to please” – This one is from Gretchen Rubin, an author of the wonderfully-contagious Happiness Project book.


“Serve rather than help” – This is what my mentor always reminds me of. There is a great difference between the two and keeping it in mind helps me to do things for others with a completely different attitude.

“It’s a beautiful day!”

You might have your own favorite saying and affirmations that you have found helpful. If you do, please share them in a comment section below!

  • Regi Dinesh
    December 8, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.

  • Chgreen2010
    December 8, 2011 at 5:48 am

    Mine is “Live the now”

    • Arina
      December 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      This is so true… Too often we let the present slip away, allowing beautiful moments to rush past unnoticed and unseized simply because we let our thoughts dwell on the past or contemplate events that may happen to us in the future.
      I’ve recently read a study published by two Harvard University professors that demonstrates one curious thing – the more we let our thoughts wander, the unhappier we are. So let’s make a conscious effort to “Live the Now” and enjoy every little bit of it! 🙂 

  • Leenah
    December 9, 2011 at 1:39 am

    mine is anything righteous is followed and anything wrong is left behind.

    • Arina
      December 12, 2011 at 1:13 pm

      It’s a very profound lesson, Leenah. We should all try to live by it. 

  • Jeff
    December 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    A couple of Henry quotes I keep in front of me – 

    When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

    Don’t find fault, find a remedy – anybody can complain. 

    Vision without execution is just a hallucination.

    A couple of my own –

    Move into the situation

    Is this a distraction or is it helping me to achieve my goal?

    • Arina
      December 12, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      Thank you for the wonderful quotes, Jeff. 
      I loved your “Move into the situation” mantra. There are so many lessons ( from “stepping out of the comfort zone” to “welcoming change”, to “practicing acceptance”) hidden in these 4 seemingly simple words.

      • Jeff
        December 13, 2011 at 1:51 pm


        I actually have “move into the situation” laminated in plastic on something the size of a business card that I keep in my shirt pocket (or pants pocket) to refer to multiple times a day. 

        On the flip side of the card I put something else that I need to work on, then change it every couple of weeks or so. It only costs me $1 USD to laminate it – pretty cheap way to constantly remind me.

        BTW regarding your statement “stepping out of the comfort zone”,  how about saying
        “expanding your comfort zone”? Sounds a bit more inviting to me.

  • Ajen
    December 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    …may favorite call to remembrance is “…breathe”.  It makes a world of a difference when I consciously do this. 

  • Deb
    December 29, 2011 at 10:24 am

    As I work at the front desk of an animal shelter, my daily mantra is “keep calm and carry on”.  I also use a word taken from Star Trek, “Engage” to me it reminds me to be focus and get moving. 

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