Post-Traumatic Growth

Letting go of the need to control without losing your ability to plan and dream.

Sometimes we feel that we are invincible. We feel totally in control of our life and where we are headed. We have great plans and we know exactly how to implement them to get where we want to go. We have confidence in ourselves and life is flowing exactly as planned. And then…ta da! The universe throws a spanner in the works.

Now instead of moving smoothly towards what you had planned the universe steps in and says “ah hum, excuse me. I know you wanted life to head in this direction but we have bigger and better plans for you”. If we have experienced this before then we might say “sure, why not? I’ll take what you have to give me,” but usually we don’t. Usually we go down the universe’s road kicking and screaming and moaning and complaining. We know that the destination is great but the journey is terrible and so we constantly try to pick a better path.

Then we give up. We sometimes trick ourselves into thinking that we have surrendered to the situation because that sounds so much more enlightened but really we are just chucking a tantrum and refusing to play. Now instead of having some anxiety over where the universe is taking us, we now have depression that there is nothing that we can do to make it better. We begin to give up in every area of life and sit and feel miserable for ourselves. We say “there is no point making plans or having dreams because the universe is in charge and he/she/it is just going to wreck my plans anyway.”

After a time we snap out of both of these views and we start a fresh. We try to outsmart the universe. We say “Ok. I will do what you want me to do” but actually we still have our own plans at the forefront of our minds. We want the universe to believe that we are doing what is asked of us but really we are just stalling for time. We still believe that our own plans are safer, better and more satisfying. We try to prove to the universe “if you just let me show you what I was going to do you would see that it was smart.”

But the universe will have none of it. The universe has put you here to stretch yourself and to live and learn and grow and you are probably going to have these experiences whether you want to or not.

And so finally we seek to understand. We say “Ok I am prepared to listen and I am prepared to see what it is the universe wants from me.” We are able to have our dreams and our plans and then see that in order to be where we need to be, that we don’t need all of the plans that we made. We make these plans to keep our world stable but when we are where we need to be we do not need the protective plans that we made initially.

So here is the solution. Have dreams, make plans and stay flexible. Know that the universe is friendly and wise and helpful and that the universe wants you to be happy and successful and knows a way to get you there that you will thank it for down the track. Sometimes it involves hardship or heart ache but it is always something that can be appreciated.

Instead of suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress turn your experiences into Post Traumatic Growth and be proud of your ability to bounce back into something different to what you initially planned. Know that your destination has not changed, just the story you get to tell when you get there.

It is our battle scars that make us who we are. We would never choose to make life difficult for ourselves but because we do not understand our circumstances we do make life difficult.

When you can make out the reason and the direction, it is far easier to change your course for the better and when you know that the universe is telling you something over and over again but you are reluctant to act, know that you are choosing the hard path. The guidance will not go away so trust in the bigger plan and the bigger dream until it becomes the more interesting and intriguing plan.

Do not give up your dreams, your dreams are not wrong they are sometimes just too small for you.

Remembering What Life Is Actually About

Sometimes in our search for wisdom we forget what we are actually here to do and simple as it is we just need a bit of reminding. So with that in mind here it is:

Just to rehash for you. Your reason for living is to love yourself and love others. You are here to understand your own self-worth which is infinite. You have forgotten this and it is time to remember. No more doubt and no more fear. You are here to experience connection with others and to your purpose.

As far as practical day to day life, you are clearing and cleaning out your time, your things, your body, your mind and your emotions so that you have more energy and power to invest in what you are here to learn about.

When you simplify your life you understand with more clarity. Simplicity is designed to give you more time, not to distract you. You do not live simply for the sake of it; you live simply so that you are free to focus on what is important to you.

Time is important and you want to get your work out into the world but if you do this with a negative frame of mind then you are only sharing negativity. Wait until you are in a good space and then work on the projects that are important to you.

Nurture yourself. If you are too hard on yourself it shows in your body. Why do you have to put so much on your to do list? In life you can be productive by taking things slowly and mindfully. Practice this and you will begin to understand.

Enjoy the quiet times and enjoy the louder times. All are normal parts of life experience.

Rest is going to the library or reading for enjoyment not for change. Rest is enjoying a warm drink with a friend or loved one or going for a walk. These are the things that will refresh you.

Do not be angry with the world. The world is not picking on you.

Simply start again. Do not over commit yourself. Focus on one change at a time and stop researching. All of this information becomes an addiction and an opportunity for you to avoid the practice.

When you sit to meditate you should meditate. Close your eyes and follow your breath as it goes in and out, in and out. This is all that you need to do. You do not need a guided meditation or special music, simply you and the breath. That is all.

Drink your water with love and compassion. Accept and welcome the water into your body. Your body will thank you for it.

Eat little. This seems difficult at first but will pay great dividends for mental clarity. When your digestive process is clear and your body has adequate nutrition then its focus is on settling down and healing the rest of the body. If your body is constantly fighting to clear the toxins that are going into the body the healing process is slowed significantly. Remember this is not about going hungry and this is not specifically about losing weight. It is simply about eating when it is time to eat and giving the body ample time to digest and then not eating when it is time to do other things. This is not a punishment and there is no need for sabotage? If you are hungry then eat but attempt to eat those things that are easy to digest.

Walk mindfully and slowly. Use your body and focus on your body posture. When you are aware of your posture you can correct it. You become strained and develop pain from poor posture. When you are aware of your posture you can strengthen it and you will understand how and why to strengthen yourself.

Your mind has been conditioned to judge yourself and others. You need to train your mind not to judge. When you are mindful you can catch yourself in the act and put the judgments aside. You can learn to just drop it or to just stop. Have a key word to remind you. Let it go or stop, are both useful. Do not analyze why you thought what you thought, do not justify or self-critique, just let it go. Each critical thought is a weight that you have picked up. These weights are not necessary for you to hold and they serve no purpose. You do not need to discuss why you need to put something heavy down, just put it straight down and do not strain yourself. Do this often enough and you will be conditioned to observe without judgment and to act with right mind.

Conduct is important. Conduct yourself in a way that brings honour to humanity. Be kind and compassionate and treat others with respect. Walk away from those who do not respect you but do not let these people become a weight. Take care of yourself and your environment. Do not give too much of yourself to others, give wisely according to what causes the least suffering.

Trust your judgment and trust how you feel. Let your insight and wisdom guide your actions. Understand that you are practicing so you will not always get everything right; the important thing is that you are practicing towards enlightenment. Be compassionate with yourself and keep working.

Keep it simple and keep working.

Positive Emotion

We are told that our thoughts have power and that what we think about we bring about, but the truth is that it is the emotional state of mind that determines the outcome not the specific thought. When you are over run with stress or fear or worry or anxiety or any other name for the difficult feelings that you experience, then your request is held back.

Put out positive feelings and positive emotion and this pays far greater dividends.

Hold The Vision

All you have to do is hold the vision and the rest will take care of itself. You say you do not know what the vision is but you do. If you stand still long enough to hear your own voice you will know what you are here for. You spend time telling yourself that you don’t know, or that you are not sure but you are sure and you do know. Stop making excuses for yourself and start living it. Start living the life that you have made for yourself and if you do not like the life that you have made for yourself then make another one.

Thinking For Ourselves

We need to get better at recognizing the old world when we see it. It is in the old ways of doing things that seem unproductive. The old world creates work for the sake of creating work. The old world is always insisting on red tape and holding up good ideas. The old world sees the debate as the end result rather than as the pathway to change.

This is not to say that we should ever ignore the needs of others but it means that when you have a good idea that has benefit for all, then there should be no barrier in implementing these new systems whilst the energy flow is there.

When you are relying on what is already in place without asking why and for what purpose then you are getting sucked into the old world.

You do not immediately need to know how to be in the new world as the systems are still in development but you will know that arguing, fighting, contracting, paranoia and rigid thinking are all of the old world. When you have something that you need to share with the world, you should not be held back by traditional forms of advertising etc. You should not allow yourself to be bought or sold.

In the new world we operate with integrity, respect and word of mouth. Funnily enough this is something that we used to do long ago but this has been forgotten. We all need to move away from sales and instead focus on having our concept available.

We need to begin to rely on synchronicity to guide our schedule and our inspiration. We need to reduce the pace of life so that we can be more efficient and more productive. The governments of the world feel that if we just keep producing and selling and borrowing that all will be well and that if we do something radical like have integrity and be responsible then they lose control.

This is a scary concept and they genuinely believe that marketplaces would crumble, jobs would be lost and people would suffer, but this is just not true.

The new world involves a more relaxed pace, reasonable working hours and conditions, inspired thinking and simple living. It is still possible to be clean, simple, fun and productive and maintain a viable economy; we just need to do it.

We need to be personally responsible for ourselves and for helping others as required. We need to move out of the victim patterning so that we are not expecting handouts. We need to all focus on getting better in our own way without excessive reliance on doctors to make us better and schools and universities to educate us.

We need now, to begin to think for ourselves. Yes a scary thought given that I am unsure as to when we last did this. We need to ‘Google’ less and reason more. We need to be become clear on our own ideas before we flood ourselves with other people’s answers.

Today we are being traumatised on a large scale by not only seeing the devastation around us, but oftentimes viewing it live, as it happens. We see the tragedies and we seek to solve old conflicts with old solutions.

We cannot simultaneously solve all of the problems of the world at once, but if one person has a good idea and implements it and then another person has a good idea and implements it and then another and another, then maybe we actually can create change that is positive.

If you want to read five books you need to open just to one page and start there. Your eyes cannot process five books simultaneously. If you attempt this you will become overloaded. The people of today are essentially trying to do too much at once and they are breaking down.

We have been tricked into thinking that we can have everything we have ever thought of and everything that we haven’t even thought of, right now and that if we don’t then we are missing out. This is not the truth people! We need to stop believing lies.

We only have this life to live right now. There is no point in trying to do everything. The amount of information and experience available to us grows by the second. We used to feel grateful when labour saving devices became available but instead these devices have made life more complicated. All of these devices require additional features that are constantly upgraded and they all cost more and more money. We will never be able to buy something once and have it for ten years because as soon as we swipe our credit cards the item has already been out-dated by something that is newer, better and more essential.

When we finally feel that we are on top of our obsession with our regularly updated cars, houses, holidays, smart phones, tablets and gaming systems etc. we are introduced to…ta da SPACE TRAVEL!!

Now we NEEEEEEED to set our sights on getting into space because Earth is so boring now. But we don’t need to save because that is something that doesn’t exist any more. Now you buy everything on a credit card or a pay later plan and in sixty years time you will still be working to pay for the meals that you ate and the toys that you played with in the last century.
When you die it doesn’t really matter because all of your debt will be passed off to someone else and they will just add it to their credit card or their pay it later plan and continue to exhaust themselves in pursuit of all of the ‘stuff’ that is essential for their generation.

So how do you recognise the old world? Well if it feels like it might drown you if you paid attention to it then it is probably old world.

The new world is still enjoyable and fun and contains plenty for the sensation seekers among us but it is also reasonable, relaxing and balanced. It is centred around real connections with loved ones, satisfying hard work and contribution to something more than just the self.

In the new world we don’t sell, sell, sell and we don’t just buy, buy, buy. We pause and we reflect a little more. We make choices that fill us will a strange feeling called contentment. This is not stagnant or unchanging but it is empowering and fresh and life giving. When we step into the new world we do not think less, we think better. We allow ourselves to have inspiration and we get excited by life instead of dreading it.

In the new world the children actually want to grow up! They actually see the joy in becoming an adult. They want to be a grown up because it is achievable, not because they are trying to escape the torture that has become their childhood.

Children at the moment are trapped with all of the responsibilities of adults as far as expectations of education, consumerism and production, but without any of the privileges or means by which to meet their own needs. In some respects the children have had to be responsible for their unprepared parents who are still stuck in between phases of being a child and being an adult as well.

When their parents were kids they didn’t have the toys and the gadgets. They don’t want to miss out on all this new stuff so they become childlike again. The children have been born into a world where these gadgets are commonplace and so they are bored easily and are looking to their parents to show them what it is like to be an adult. What they see is a tech obsessed society that forgets to eat and move and sleep and so the children assume that this is normal.

Because we are so caught up in this world we actually expect more from our children then we expect from ourselves. We expect them to work five days a week at school and then do homework after hours. We expect them to do as we say and be respectful and attentive and we expect them to do all of this without pay and without complaint and without any of the perks of being an adult.

We however, refuse to behave in the same way as adults. We defy authority; get caught up in politics and news and technology. We push ourselves to work harder and play harder and we get frustrated with our children when they don’t fit in.

We have lost sight of what being an adult is actually about. We get angry with the government for not providing for us and we get angry that we need to spend money on stupid things like doctors and underwear and groceries. Our brains have been so fried that we genuinely don’t remember any other way to live and we can’t be bothered bursting our bubble because if we don’t think about it, it doesn’t exist.

When we get sick or breakdown and have to step out of this crazy old world that we have created, we realise that we have attempted to survive in the world sustaining ourselves only with wants and not needs and we believe that the basics like air and water can be easily replaced with take away and soft drinks. Our bodies do a magnificent, selfless job trying to keep up with these demands and when they suddenly break we want it to be everyone else’s fault.

We forget, we suppress and we deny, but the truth keeps coming back. We need to change. We need to remember a new world. We need to say no to the old world ways. We need to start thinking for ourselves. We need to retrain our brains to focus. We need to relearn how to listen and how to speak and how to walk and how to physically and mentally BE in this new world.

We need smaller houses so that they are easier to maintain. We need to cook for ourselves with local products. We need to sleep regular hours, drink plenty of this stuff called ‘tap water’; we need to walk more and move around so that our bodies do not stiffen up or shut down. We need to learn to talk to people face to face. We need to save for things and stop digging ourselves into a deeper hole. We need to let go of things that are not helping us and we need to say no to the obsession of upgrading every day. Most importantly we need to show our children how to do this also.

We may think that it is hard work but if we don’t do something different then where will we be in ten years from now??

Creating A Legacy

Love, it is important, and some would argue that it’s all there is, but how do we live a life of love? How do we actually express it in our daily actions? How do we truly communicate to someone how much we love them and how much we care, without overwhelming them or smothering them?

In our hearts we hold so much love, but sometimes it feels like it’s locked up. Somewhere in there, is the key to releasing it and sharing it. Somewhere in there, is the key to understanding. On some level we know that we would not seek something that is impossible, so we know that we must be able to find the answer somehow.

We come into this world with a unique calling and I believe that we have lost the keys to unlocking it. We are waiting for it to be presented to us, as we are used to having everything at our finger tips. Let’s be honest if the laptop takes more than 30 seconds to load we are already over it!

I think though, that we have forgotten to be persistent, and we have forgotten to give life a go. We are all striving to have the most comfort and entertainment in our lives, and we have forgotten that sometimes we need to work for these things in order to appreciate them.

Where in your life are you truly inspired? Where in your life are you working hard and enjoying the labour? What are you creating in your life that will last longer than a few minutes, months or years?

In days of old, people built empires with the intention that their legacy would live on. Today we build houses, cars, technology and tools that are designed to self-destruct in a minimum of time. We do not do this to be environmentally friendly mind you, as these things are often not recyclable. We do this because we get bored, want to upgrade or because the manufacturers want us to buy more.

We live in a consume and throw away, society, and we are treating our bodies and our lives the same way. We have developed an attitude that we are here for a good time, and not a long time, and we build a future to last 3-5 years before we decide to dispose of it and build a different one.

What is this doing to our world? What sort of stability is this providing for our children and our loved ones?

We have lost the art of determination and persistence. We have forgotten how to focus. Instead of training ourselves to get these things back, we decide that we will play and enjoy ourselves until we find our purpose. We associate purpose with hard work so we wait for someone to present it to us, rather than taking the initiative to seek it for ourselves. What we don’t realise is that when we have purpose in our lives, we can love, work, play, enjoy ourselves and create a legacy that will last forever.

Take some time today to consider what legacy you would like to create. Consider some ways that you can build some permanency in your life. Consider how you express love, and how you want others to remember you, now, today and in the future.

I Don’t Have Time

There is always time for the things that are important.

If there are things in your life that are important to you and you are not getting to enjoy them, then you need to seriously rethink what you are doing with your time.

You are the boss of you. Not your job, your partner, your kids, your house or your pets.

We all have limitations. Things that slow us down, get in the way, distract us, or just generally create havoc, but ultimately we are the ones who decide what is important to us and where we spend our time.

If you don’t feel like the boss of you it’s time to ask who is? And why?!

Where did you just spend the last 3 hours? Was it engaged in a really meaningful and important endeavour? If the answer is yes, then you do have time, and if the answer is no, then you do have time.

Time is sneaky. It stretches and contracts and sometimes disappears all together.

We are often so passive with time that it runs amok like a child with no parent. In order to gain value and meaning from life and to do what is important we need not to manage time but to master it.

Time’s greatest trick is that it is waiting. Waiting for someone to come along and claim it. Time likes to muck around and play tricks on us but works hard when it is mastered.

Become the master of your own time. Bend it, stretch it and use it to your advantage. Be clear with time as to what you expect from it. Fill it in with only the important things and it will be proud to mould and bend to your will. Fill it with cheap and irrelevant pursuits and it will run away from you.

Do not let time dictate what you will do, but rather be aware of time and use it to your advantage.

Take those small minutes and turn them into something enjoyable and productive.

Use your good memories from time’s past and happy dreams from time’s future to fill your now with joy.

A happy time means a happy you.

Master time and you will have all the time in the world to enjoy what is important.

My Power Doesn’t Understand

I have a power that flows within me. It has been with me for as long as I can remember. My power is large and all encompassing. BUT my power doesn’t understand.

My power doesn’t understand that we cannot be who we need to be all of the time. We need to be quiet and invisible to survive in the world. We cannot do what we want all of the time because life is not about embracing your passion. My power doesn’t understand that this would be selfish.

My power wants to speak the truth but it doesn’t understand how embarrassing that this can be.

My power wants me to change my life and live bigger but it doesn’t understand that the world is a dangerous place.

My power wants me to live in the moment but it doesn’t understand that there is so much that needs planning.

My power wants me to create a strong family but does not realise that this takes time and energy and money and I’m busy just trying to survive.

My power wants me to give more, be more and live more but it doesn’t see that these things are impossible.

I fight and I argue, and I punish and I control, but my power won’t give in. Finally when I have given all the fight I can give I collapse in an exhausted heap and say to my power “fine, you think you can do a better job, fine, go for it. I’m done”. And so I give power back to my power. And a strange thing happens.

I discover;

My power is responsible!

My power cares for me as well as others!

My power nurtures me and soothes my aches and pains!

My power begins to establish new habits and routines that are not so hard after all!

My power faces me in the right direction and carries me to where I need to be when I am too tired to think for myself!

As I grow stronger, and healthier and wiser, I no longer feel embarrassed by my power. Instead I feel lifted up and embraced. I feel powerful in myself and I begin to understand that this is what my power wanted the whole time.

Now I can be myself and follow my passion. I can embrace and create a strong family and make a contribution to the world. I can dream bigger and no longer need to be completely invisible.

My power was right, but it never said “I told you so”.

Now my power and I are friends. We work together and we respect each other. Now I am never alone and it feels just right.

Sometimes I have a falling out with my power and life is still not perfect, but it is better, stronger, safer and happier. I am not everything, but strangely, I no longer feel that I need to be.

How do you get on with your power? How does your power want to help you? Are you prepared to listen?


Is a guiding principal we all seek it in some way but what is it exactly?

The key to Balance is to Combine and Blend things so that you do not have too much of one thing and not enough of the other.

Adventure – Without a passion for adventure, life can become very boring. Without adventure in our lives we are not really living. We stick to the same routines and say no to the world out of fear. On the other hand if we are too adventurous, we lack stability and commitment, we become too much of a risk taker and we do not consider our future needs or those of others. A little bit of adventure makes for a nicely balanced life.

Love – We all want to love and be loved but when our desire for love becomes an obsession we enter into a string of unfulfilled relationships all the time questioning what is wrong with us. Some of us put up walls protecting ourselves from being hurt and in the process shut ourselves off from love. Having a balance of giving and receiving love allows us to more fully enjoy the adventure of life.

Acceptance – things change. Nothing in life is forever and nothing in life stays the same. If we have acceptance then we are essentially inoculating ourselves from stress. This is not being passive or helpless or cynical, but understanding that there are some things that we can change and some things that we cannot change helps us to understand where our responsibilities lie. When we know what we are responsible for in life and what we are not responsible for we can more easily reduce stress from our lives.

Needs – when we understand what OUR needs are, not the needs of others, but when we can clearly distinguish what we need, then we can love more easily and accept more easily. When we have a clear boundary between ourselves and others we can move towards making ourselves happy and then sharing this happiness with others rather than relying on others to fulfill or complete us. By understanding and meeting our own needs we are better able to love and feel love from others.

Commitment Without commitment there is only fear and anxiety. Without commitment it is difficult to consistently achieve. It is only when we make a commitment to ourselves that we can truly respect others. Making a commitment, no matter what or who, it’s to say that you care enough to make positive changes. It means that you want to be here and that giving of yourself actually means something. This is an investment that will pay off in immeasurable ways.

Enjoyment life is not necessarily meant to be easy, but it is meant to be enjoyed. We are challenged a lot in life in every possible way and life can often feel overwhelming but by remembering that when you blend your adventurous spirit with your ability to love, when you accept yourself and others without judgment, when you respect your needs and the needs of others, when you commit to your responsibilities, and when you make time for enjoyment in most of what you do then you have BALANCE. And with this comes satisfaction, fulfilment and peace.

B BLEND – Do not be all or nothing; allow moderation into your world.
A – ADVENTURE – embrace your spirit of adventure! Take calculated risks and be bold and daring sometimes. Back yourself. You are worth it and being adventurous is exhilarating.
L – LOVE yourself and be kind to yourself. Love others unconditionally and give yourself the same allowance.
A – ACCEPTANCE – Accept yourself and others without judgement. Accept that life changes. When times are tough they will get better and when times are good it’s ok to savour it.
N – NEEDS. Make time to understand your needs and to understand the needs of others. Where possible seek to meet your own needs, and then where possible and appropriate, seek to meet the needs of others. Allow others the opportunity to meet some of your needs too.
C COMMITMENT – Make a commitment to your life and to the things that are important. Making a commitment is making an investment in yourself and your aspirations. When you say yes to your dreams your dreams come true.

E Enjoyment – Pay attention to the things that you enjoy in your life. If you are not enjoying yourself approximately 80% of your time then you might need to change your circumstances or your attitude.


Boundaries are a form of protection but they are also the foundation for experiencing joy. When you are aware of yourself, your wants and needs and when others clearly communicate their wants and needs, you can more easily negotiate good solid relationships where each person is getting their needs met.

You would be silly to believe that we all have the same needs and wants. We are all unique so it makes sense that we need to be responsible for learning all we can about ourselves and then seeking to understand what others are communicating with us.

Finding balance in your boundaries means that you are open to both giving and receiving but you have the responsibility for shutting out negative or harmful influences. It means sharing with trusted others where appropriate but being responsible for your own decisions and your own feelings. No one has the ability to take your power when you have clear boundaries. This does not mean that you will not feel negative emotions, simply that you can adjust your boundaries accordingly.

Boundaries are like a filter. Some things come in and some go out and the filter needs to be cleaned. The best way to clean your filter is to reflect on what it getting in and out and question the appropriateness of this. By re-evaluating and re-affirming your boundaries regularly, your filter remains clear and functional.

If you have no boundaries others will use you as their personal tool. Your life no longer belongs to you, and though this allows you to not have to think only respond, it leads to feelings of resentment and powerlessness.

If your boundaries are too firm you miss out on allowing others to share with you and you limit your opportunities to develop relationships with others.

Balance in your boundaries brings a sense of feeling solid and strong in your own power.

Boundaries are of thought, feeling and action. They are physical and emotional and spiritual.

When someone consistently violates your boundaries or behaves poorly or offensively you need to put up clear boundaries around your thinking and around your own behaviour so you are not continually exposed to hurtful experiences.

This is your responsibility to yourself. It is important and more than that it is essential for self-preservation.

You need to physically distance yourself, or mentally distance yourself. What the other person is thinking or feeling is not your personal business or your responsibility. If they wish to talk to you about it and it is safe to do so then you need to be very honest about your feelings.

Your actions have consequences and their actions have consequences. You need to act in a way that limits harm to yourself and does not harm another.

Whether they modify their behaviour is irrelevant. The point is that while ever your boundaries are in place and consistently upheld then they can choose to cease the harmful behaviour or interaction or they can choose not to. By not exposing yourself to harmful treatment you can get on with your life.

If the person continues to behave irresponsibly, aggressively, or harmfully you need to create a stronger and stronger consequence. If you need to remove yourself completely from a situation then you are within your rights to do so.

You are not responsible FOR others. You are only responsible TO others.

Your own physical, emotional, behavioural and spiritual safety must come first.

No longer expose yourself to others that negatively affect your health.