Gratitude, Appreciation and Thankfulness
Arguments are Stressful
I don’t know about you, but most people really don’t like to be wrong. I am beginning to learn not to get attached to how what I have to say is understood or received. Can you remember the last time you had a heated argument with someone? How did you feel afterwards? Most often arguments lead nowhere. When it appears that you are losing an argument, you become unhappy. You develop some dislike for the other party. Even after the duel, you may continue to have mental dialogues about what you should have said.
On the other hand, can one really win an argument? Recently, I watched as two men had a heated argument over something both had no control over, and which was of no importance to their lives. I have also witnessed married couples struggling to prove their case.
Trying to win an argument creates a lot of unnecessary stress. Even when your intention is to correct an obvious misconception, heated arguments are counterproductive. The need to be right and the need to make other person to be wrong pushes people away from you. People are defensive and the more you disagree with someone, the more defensive he or she becomes.
When you find yourself in a heated argument, when you have that urge to be right, calm down, listen, (not with that attitude of, ‘I already know you are wrong’!), and try seeing the other person’s point of view. I have come to practice this strategy, and I find it more uplifting.
Just listening to the other person’s point of view brings him or her closer to you and moreover, you may even learn something new! When you are willing to listen to people, they feel a sense of value, and would more likely want to listen to you and get closer to you. Do not prolong an argument. In this way you can reduce unnecessary stress and maintain your sense of well-being.
Remember, being right does not always make us happy. Ask yourself, “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?”
Service to Others
It is the New Year 2015. I wonder what to post on my blog. Perhaps, I thought, something that indicates the changing pattern of life, the circle of life. All things come and go, the good and the bad, pleasure and pain, success and disappointments, achievements and mistakes. Everything that has a beginning has an ending! 2014 had a beginning, now it’s ended. Each year, we have a new chance either to continue, or to begin again. What we do today is what matters most because there is an end.
At times like this, ask yourself, “What is really important?” I believe that what is important in life could be synonymous with the purpose of life, and in this case, your purpose in life. One of my inspirational writers, Dr Wayne Dyer, in answer to the lingering question of finding one’s purpose wrote,
“..you come into the world with absolutely nothing. You will leave this physical world with exactly the same. All of your acquisitions and achievements can’t go with you. Therefore the only thing you can do with your life is giving it away. You’ll find yourself feeling purposeful if you can find a way to always be in the service of others.”
‘Service of others!’ The purpose of life is therefore about serving others! How can you serve others? What ever you are good at and enjoy doing should be in service for others. This should not be confused with just earning a living. For instance: you teach because you love to teach, but you teach to educate others. You build because you love to build, but you build to make others happy. You cook because you love to cook, but you cook to feed others. You write because you love to express yourself in words, and these words inspire others. Even a smile is something if you give it away. Each of us has a personal calling or purpose that is unique. Develop what you love doing and then find a way to offer it to others in form of service.
This brings to mind, the interview of Steve Jobs’ wife, Laurene Jobs, after the death of her husband. When asked what she thought was Steve Jobs’ legacy, she replied, “… His ultimate aim was to create tools that allow people to work at the highest level”. We all continue to enjoy these tools today, but Steve Jobs has come to the end of his life on earth!
How can you serve others in 2015?
Happy New Year!
Breathing Right and Meditation for Well-being
You hear and read on many occasions, ‘Breathe deeply’ or ‘Meditate on your breathing.’ Breathing is the natural, inborn physiological process that indicates life in animals with lungs. When this process stops, you are dead. The Bible teaches that God ‘breathed life-giving breath into the man’s nostrils and the man began to live.’ Breath is life. Breathing is however taken for granted and most people never pay attention to it. The implication is that most people do not breathe right. Clinical research shows that optimal breathing contributes immensely to our overall well-being and life span.
Breathing is an important part of respiration in man. Breathing as we all know, is the intake of oxygen, into the lungs, and the giving out of carbon dioxide. Oxygen is needed in respiration, for metabolism in the body and for physical activities. It is needed for the the optimal functioning of all organs and cells in our bodies. Breathing and respiration connect us to plants and other forms of life, and to the universe itself. You may recall the Oxygen Cycle in your elementary biology (See fig.).
It is important to breathe right. Not breathing right means that you do not deliver to your body, the optimum amount of oxygen that it requires and you are not removing most of the carbon dioxide given out by the cells during metabolism. Many people breathe with their chest and neck muscles instead of with the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. Breathing with the chest is known as chest breathing or shallow breathing.
The Diaphragmatic Breathing
Right breathing involves the muscles of the diaphragm. It means literally breathing into your guts. If you have ever watched a baby sleep, you notice the raising and lowering of the abdomen as he inhales and exhales? That is the natural way of breathing. Through our stressful life, and the fight or flight responses, many of us tend to tighten the muscles round the gut and this prevents proper breathing mechanism. Click on the video clip below for an illustrationof the mechanism of diaphragmatic breathing.
Discover the way you breathe. You can do this by lying down on your back. Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Watch which of your hands moves up and down as you breath in and out. The hand on your abdomen should be the only one moving up as you inhale and down as you exhale. If the hand on your chest moves, you are having a Chest or Shallow breathing. Learn to correct this.
The video below may help. You can also find more videos on the YouTube.
Breathing deeply means that you let your abdomen extend gently to the fullest, as you inhale, and let it deflate slowly and completely as you exhale. Try counting 1–2–3 slowly in your mind as you breath in and 1–2 –3 slowly as you breath out. Do this five times and then increase to 1–2–3–4 … and so on.
Meditation and deep breathing usually go together. Meditation is a practice in which an individual trains the mind to quieten down and reach a higher level of awareness and inner calm. It enables the practitioner to relax and enjoy a calm sense of well-being while engaging in any life activity.
I know that the word meditation, in the Western world, conjures the image of the Buddha monk, or Hindu priest sitting in a lotus position and chanting some magical words. I used to think so too, but this is wrong. Meditation has been practiced for thousands of years, all over the world, by those that knew its benefits. The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ, after his baptism, went to the desert to meditate. The Bible also tells us that He often withdrew from the people and his disciples to meditate. Meditation therefore is an essential part of living a balanced conscious, non-agitated life.
You can meditate anywhere and at any time, allowing yourself to access a sense of tranquility and peace, no matter what’s going on around you. You can meditate in various positions, sitting on a chair with the feet to the ground, sitting in the lotus posture, sitting on the ground with your legs stretched out, kneeling, or even lying down. The important thing is that you have to be comfortable.
There are different types of meditation. It could be guided. It could be reflective or prayerful. It could be mindful, in which case you focus on an object or on your breath. Though I recommend meditation because I experience the benefits, I am not an expert on that. Here is a simple breathing meditation.
Breathing Meditation – You focus on your breathing. You take deep, long gentle breaths and count your breathing. The aim is to clear your mind and ventilate your organs and entire body, and become calm and relaxed. You may use a gentle music that resonates with your being as you breathe. You can also use some positive phrases or affirmations, (mantras), as you breathe in and out. Here are a few phrases I have used.
I say slowly in my mind, as I inhale, ‘I – f-e-e-l’, and exhale slowly, through my mouth and say, ‘g–o–o–d’.
I say in my mind, as I inhale, ‘The Lord is my shepherd’, then exhale and say in my mind, ‘I shall not want’. You can also use your own positive phrase that makes you feel good or you can just focus on your breathing.
Meditation could be guided, in which case you use a pre-made recording or with the help an instructor or guide.
Benefits of Breathing Right and Meditation
Clinical results affirm that Breathing Right and Meditation have the following benefits:
* Give more energy
* Strengthen the immune system
* Help reduce high blood pressure
* Reduce anxiety, stress and depression
* Help cool off anger and frustration.
* Improve the regulation of sugar levels in diabetes
* Help with weight loss and improved digestion
* Help improve concentration and memory
* Relieve headaches, migraines and back aches
* Improve sleep
* Give deeper inner peace.
The following simple video clips on meditation may help you. You can find more on the You tube.
Breathe right and deeply as often as possible and especially as you meditate. Enjoy the miracle of life!
Your Thoughts Create Your World
I can’t stop thinking!
Everyone thinks all the time. We think while eating, walking, driving, alone or in a market place! Even while we sleep, our thoughts turns into dreams. We cannot stop this ‘Self-Talk’, which we carry out in our minds in monologues and dialogues, but we can become conscious of what we think about.
Human behaviour and positive psychology have always fascinated me. The realization that human behaviour is mostly influenced by thoughts and thinking patterns, led me into studying thoughts and thinking patterns in humans. It is interesting to see how two or more individuals can look at the same issue or event and think differently, and feel differently about it.
The ability to think is what differentiates the human being from other animals. Thinking is an intellectual or mental exercise aimed at finding an answer to a question or the solution to a problem. Thoughts are pictures of the mind that have constructive or destructive possibilities.They are more than imaginations. Thoughts are created by you, deliberately. They can hold you bondage or liberate you.
Thoughts Create Reality.
All human achievements and creativity are as a result of thoughts. Everything created by man came from someone’s thinking. If you look around your home, your office, or school, every concrete thing you see was first conceived as a thought in the mind – the chairs, the windows, the flower vase, the electronic devices, even your clothes, – everything first appeared in someone’s mind! Whatever you do, you first conceived in your mind as thought, whether you want to go shopping, write a letter, make a sandwich or just sit down. You think of these things before you do them. Your thoughts then become your actions. Thoughts also become words. Thoughts include both the words you hear in your head and the words you speak out loud. Your thoughts determine whether your words and actions will be positive or negative.
Thoughts, can become negative and distorted, and the outcome therefore can become destructive and self-defeating. What we think about affects us physically and emotionally. “You feel the way you think.”
Positive and Negative Thoughts
- Positive thoughts are thoughts of what you love, what makes you happy, what leads to constructive action.
- Negative thoughts are thoughts of what you do not love, what you do not want, and what makes you feel bad.
It is believed that the average adult has over 60,000 thoughts a day. Over 80% of these thoughts are negative! ( Aha! It means that only less than 20% of your thoughts are used for positive constructive purposes). In most cases, the 80% of your thoughts may not necessarily be relevant to the situation you are in at the time. It may be reliving some things that happened in the past or rehearsing or imagining possible future situations. More often than not, it imagines things going wrong and negative outcomes.
Thought is associated with the mind and therefore plays on your emotions and feelings as well as all associated unconscious mental-emotional reactive patterns. The way you think about aspects of your current life or past experiences can move you from healthy, normal distress to problematic psychological disturbance and ultimately ill-health.
According to neurologists, 80% of the illnesses that plague us today are as a direct result of our thought life. ‘Research shows that 75-98% of mental, physical and behavioral illnesses come from our thought life. We are constantly reacting to circumstances and events, and as this cycle goes on, our brain’s become shaped by the process in either a positive, good-quality-of-life direction or a negative, toxic, poor-quality-of-life. It is the quality of our thinking and choices and reactions that determine our brain architecture and resultant quality of the health of our spirit, soul, and body.’ (Dr. Caroline Leaf, neurologist).
I have listened to people who came to me in obvious distress, weeping, complaining, angry, and moaning about one thing or the other, – their workplace, their spouses, their children, or life in general. I listen with patience and can’t help sympathising with them, knowing that they are creating more of their misery through their mindset and negative thinking patterns. They are blaming, judging, accusing, fearful, and exhibiting hatred. They do not realise that all these emotions and feelings that they send out do not do them any good. I have tried to get people challenge these thinking errors. Many do not believe anything is wrong with the way they think. One distressed lady once said to me with great emphasis, “I am thinking right. It is my thinking that has brought me this far in my life.” She didn’t realise how true this was! She has been creating the misery she was in by her own thinking habit. Not much could be done for her because as the saying goes, “Until you can change a man’s thinking, you cannot change his life circumstances for the better”.
Thinking errors are thoughts that follow a negative and destructive path, at times leading to depression, stress, fear, insomnia, eating disorders, stomach ulcers, addictions, anxiety, and other wrongful and disturbed feelings or negative outcomes.
Negative or sad events can naturally create negative emotions but the thinking pattern can make the these emotions healthy or unhealthy. Healthy negative emotions are the response to a negative event , like the death of a loved one. It should be appropriate to the event, lead to a constructive action, and should not significantly jeopardize the rest of your life.
You may be familiar with these old sayings:
- “As a man thinketh so he becomes.”
- “You Feel The Way you Think”
- “You become what you think about.”
- “You attract things that you think about to yourself”
- “Your thoughts create your world.”
These sayings not only suggest, but indicate that thoughts are powerful, they are magical.We are consciously or unconsciously creating the reality we experience. The way this works can be explained by two of the Universal Laws, The Law of Vibration and The Law of Attraction.
Relationship between Thoughts, The Law of Vibration and The Law of Attraction.
I am not an expert in quantum physics, but I will try to explain in a very simple layman’s language. Research and experiments in quantum physics, and neurobiology seem to indicate a connection between the mind and physical matter. Quantum physics shows that at the sub-atomic level, there is nothing like matter, everything is pure energy and there is no void between us and our outer world. Some call this the Unifield or the Matrix.
The Law of Vibration states that everything in the Universe is pure energy that vibrates all the time and at different frequencies.
This includes us, humans! However your frequency is different from the frequencies of other things in the universe. This differences in frequencies make you believe that you are separated from what you see around you – both animate and inanimate things. We are not separated but in a Unifield of energy. Our thoughts affect our emotions and feelings and these are also energies in the vibrating universe.
Everyone now talks about The Law of Attraction, but The Law of Vibration is the law that serves as the foundation for the Law of Attraction. As energy vibrates it attracts similar energies. In quantum physics, like attracts like. Therefore, positive energy will attract more positive energies and negative energy will attract more negative energies. These will clump together and attract similar frequencies into our reality. Positive thoughts will attract more positive thoughts, calling into reality, positive circumstances. On the other hand, negative thoughts will attract more negative thoughts, calling into existence, negative realities.
Our mind is like a garden. What you sow, you reap. If you sow thoughts of prosperity, abundance and health, these are what you reap in your physical world. If you plant thoughts of fear, lack or failure, these you will reap in your material world.
These new discoveries show that our bodies and our world work from real to the unreal and from the unreal to the material world.
Positive thoughts make us feel good while negative thoughts make us feel bad or low. Our emotions and feelings are indicators of the type of thoughts we are having. Positive thoughts vibrate on higher frequencies than negative thoughts. Feeling is vibrational and when we say we feel good, it simply means that we have a high vibrational frequency, and we tend to attract into our reality, ideas, people, things and circumstances that will keep us feeling good. When we have negative thoughts, we feel bad and so attract negative energies that translate as negative ideas, events, people, things and circumstances that will manifest in our material world. If you want to raise your vibration and manifest good things to your reality, choose thoughts that cause you to feel emotionally good, – thoughts of love, prosperity, good health and abundance.
Become aware of your Thoughts
We cannot stop thinking but when our thoughts are not used for positive creative purposes, it becomes necessary to control or manage them. When you know that your thoughts and emotions are vibrating ( Law of Vibration) and you know that “like attracts like” (Law of Attraction) you will endeavour to create what you want in your life just by altering your thoughts and emotions. Unfortunately, your beliefs and upbringing feed your thoughts. But you are the captain of your thoughts. When you catch ourselves thinking negative thoughts, you could deliberately steer it around. This may not always be easy, because when you feel angry, upset, offended, depressed, you actually want to dwell on these negative feelings caused by negative thoughts which in turn create more negative feeling! It becomes a vicious circle. With some practice we can create a habit to minimise negative thoughts in our lives.
Tips for creating through our thoughts
- Become aware of the train of your thoughts
- Learn to recognise how your beliefs and upbringing feed your thoughts, which then influence your feelings, attitudes and behaviour.
- Have clear ideas of your desires in life.
- Use your emotions or feelings as indicators of your thought frequencies.
- Focus on thoughts that make you feel good, thoughts of the good things you want in your life, thoughts of what you love.
- Learn to Ignore negative thoughts that will not serve your ultimate desires in life, thoughts of fear, lack, disease, and failure.
How can we keep our thoughts positive? The aim is to develop a habit of doing or focusing on things that make you feel good, things that will raise your vibrational frequencies, things that will attract positive energies. Here are a few tips:
- See in your mind’s eye, the desires of your heart. As often as possible, visualize what you desires in life.
- Challenge negative thoughts. Do not believe every negative thought that flies into your mind. “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
- Try to live in the present. Living in the present means giving your full attention to the good aspects of what is happening now – whether you are eating, at your work place, with your spouse, or your children, in a bus. Enjoy this NOW. Focus at what is good about these things now. Most of our negative thoughts are of things in the past, (what we should have done or not done , what had happened to us or what did not happen to us, etc), or the worry of things in the future, (how is this going to turn out? What if ..).
- Always show gratitude and appreciation. Be thankful. Count your blessings often. Think on what you have. Seek out something to be grateful for. Replace a negative thought with this.
- Believe that deep down everything is alright. No matter the situation, know that all things do work together for good, even when it does not seem so. Our spiritual beliefs are based on this.
- Do something you like or enjoy – read, paint, or listen to your favourite music. Music is an amazing vibrational tool that raises energy frequencies. Read inspiring books.
- Dance if you can, on your own, or with a group. Dancing has been documented as one of the good-feeling activities.
- Exercise. You don’t have to join at a fitness club. Simple long walks, cycling, stretching, or yoga movements are good for the mind. Focus on the good images you witness.
- Choose your friends carefully. ‘Be careful who you are yoked to’. Avoid friends that make you feel bad or friends that tell you things to make you feel bad.
- Attend interesting shows or visit places of interest and just enjoy the atmosphere.
- Stop judging, minimise complaining and playing the ‘victim’ game. Don’t think everybody and everything is working against you.
- Practise random acts of kindness. Do something good for someone. When you radiate pure love outside, it raises your vibration and brings love back into your life.This in itself helps you feel good.
- Make a Smiling Face and Laugh! This is one of my favourite tools. I use this most of the time for myself and with my clients. Make a smiling face each time you catch yourself harbouring negative thoughts. Hold the smile and count to 10. You notice that the train of thought is broken and you might end up laughing. Try this now!
- Wear a rubber band on the wrist. Pull this band to snap on the wrist each time you fall into toxic thoughts. The shock stops the thoughts accumulating and gives you the chance to realign your thoughts.
- Inhale deeply and hold your breath for a count of 10. Exhale slowly. This dissipates the train of negative thoughts which are released when you exhale. You can then replace with a thought that makes you feel better.
You may have other ways you use to control negative thoughts and feel good. Please share these with us. The use of drugs or medication is not an option!
Think right, feel good and create a happy world for yourself and others!
Self-Awareness – Who am I?
Who Am I? Who Are You?
You have been asked on several occasions to introduce yourself. ” Who are you?” Your response would probably be, “My name is so-and-so. I am a Nigerian, or British, or Japanese, or I am the Director of So-and-so Company.” All these answers refer to your self-image or to an object outside yourself: a name, a place, circumstances. This process of identifying with your self-image or objects of your experience is called Object-referral.
Who you usually refer to as I, is often the illusionary self we call Ego. This ‘I’ is not who you are. It is the ‘I’ with whatever you have identified it with. We identify as something outside of ourselves, President, Chief, Honorable, Senator, Director, Engineer, etc. We try to keep up appearances to suit the Ego we identify with. The way we talk, dress, walk and even smile, in most cases, are carefully chosen to match the Ego we want to present. This is role playing.
Most often we act out roles. Most of the people who are in positions of power in the world, such as politicians, TV Stars, Actors and Actresses, etc, are identified with their roles as VIPs. There is nothing wrong with this, but in the world of role-playing personalities, those few who do not project a man-made image but function from the deeper core of their being, those who do not attempt to appear more than they are, but are simply themselves, stand out as remarkable and are the only ones who truly make a difference in this world, no matter how small. What ever they do becomes empowered, because it is in alignment with the purpose of the world. Examples are Sister Theresa, Nelson Mandela, Doctors Without Borders, Aid workers, etc. All great work of science, exploration of creation, progress in medicine and health, development in technology and communication and travel are by individuals that did not project a man-made image but functioned from the deeper core of their being; people like Einstein, Isaac Newton, James Watt, Steve Jobs, etc.
The Authentic Self
When you don’t play roles, it means there is no ego in what you do. As a result, your actions have far greater power. The Real Self, or the Authentic Self is meant for the good of the universe. It is like the cell in an organ in the body. Each cell functions for the good of the entire organ and ultimately for the good of the entire body. Illnesses like cancer are caused by cells that have refused to function in alignment with the rest of the organ. If we function wrongly, we contribute to the chaos in the world. We experience conflicts both with ourselves, within ourselves, and with others. There would be mediocrity, not to talk about the illnesses, stress, depression, hatred and wars. When we are aware of who we are meant to be, we help create harmony and peace. We are at peace with ourselves and therefore we radiate peace. We are able to manage our emotions because we understand our purpose.
Each individual is uniquely made with special gifts, talents and creativity. But we become influenced as we grow, by Family, School, Friends we associate with, the society we live in, the media, our cultures etc. By the time we are grown we have become completely brain washed to believe what others made us into. We begin to see ourselves as a woman with limitations, as black, as white, as unintelligent, not supposed to do this or that. We are narrowed down into what we are not! The sad thing is that we believe it! 90% of what we believe is what others told us or made us believe. These beliefs go into our subconscious and form our Core Beliefs. This is sad, but we can change all this when we know who we really are, when we become Self-Aware and challenge beliefs that do not serve us. We are spiritual beings in human body trying to connect to the spirit within and all nature around us.
Self-Awareness therefore simply means, knowing who you are, becoming aware of why you feel the way you feel, act the way you act, and react the way you react. It is understanding your personality traits, your strengths, weaknesses, your beliefs, your skills and interests. As you develop self-awareness you are able manage your thoughts, emotions and behaviour in order to create what you want and take control your life and live out your purpose.
So many people go to jobs they never enjoy. I often hear people say, “ I hate this job” yet they go there everyday. I was like that till I asked myself questions. Sadly the world is full of such people, sad depressed, angry, frustrated. Is there any wonder there is chaos in the world today?
Who are you? And why are you here – on earth? Why were you born? These questions opened my eyes several years ago. I went from working as a Research Scientist to becoming a Wellbeing Counsellor and an Inspirational Speaker, which I believe is my calling.
Some people have been fortunate to discover themselves. If you are one of these, enjoy the happiness and self-fulfillment you feel in what you do – in the service of humanity. Unfortunately, a greater number of people have never thought about why they are here.
You are created for a reason and all features needed to attain this purpose are there within you. Knowing who you are and living your dream means using those inborn and unique qualities to fulfill your purpose in life, and this is what brings happiness, peace of mind, fulfillment wellbeing and ultimately success, real success.
You may like to consider the following reflective questions in uncovering Who You Are, the ‘Authentic’ You and your Life Purpose:
Personal: What do you believe are five of your greatest strengths? Are you using all five of those strengths in your life today? If so, when? If not, why not?
What are three of your greatest weaknesses? Which of these three are causing the most trouble in your life today? Do these cause problems for you or for others? In what specific ways would your life change if this weakness did not exist?
Which of your skills or talents give you the greatest sense of pride?
You are ____What two personal accomplishments fill you with the greatest sense of pride? How often do you think about these accomplishments?
What are three specific situations where you feel the happiest? What are some of the core components of those situations? How often do these situations happen in your life? What specific changes could you make to have these situations happen more frequently?
What is one specific situation where you feel the most angry or frustrated? What are some of the core components of that situation? What beliefs do you have about that situation that contributes to your anger or frustration?
What are your core beliefs about life? What are your fears and dreams? This section will help you discover what’s hidden in your subconscious.
Social: Who Are You in Public? – Who are you with people? What kind of impression do you try to make? What kinds of people do you like to hang out with? The purpose of this section is to understand who you are in social situations.
Work: What Is Your Calling? – What kinds of work do you enjoy? What types of activities did you love to do as a child? The purpose of this section is to help you figure out what activities bring out your best talents and skills.
Financial: What Do You Believe About Money? – What does money mean to you? Where did you get your beliefs about money? How do those beliefs affect your behavior? This section will provide you with a clearer understanding of your perspective on money.
Spiritual: What Do You Believe About God? – Do you believe in God? How do your spiritual beliefs affect your day-to-day life? Explore your ideas about the universe and the meaning of life.
Reflect on moments in your life when you felt the most fulfilled, proud of yourself, and really happy. Don’t take anything as insignificant. You may discover that these moments, which I call ‘Peak Moments’, not only made you happy, but also made other people happy – periods that involved giving of yourself! These moments, or work could be clues to Who You Are meant to be.
When we discover Who We Are, the whole world works for us. We are happier, content, more spontaneous, lacking prejudice, and emotionally balanced. We are more creative, more giving, more in tune with everyone and with nature.
Please share your comments.
Happiness has been defined as a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. The ultimate purpose of life is to be happy, to find fulfillment and contentment. Unfortunately, not so many people achieve this purpose or know how to be happy. Happiness is a choice. There are people who choose to be happy and there are people who choose to be unhappy.
Happiness does not come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. You alone have the ability to make yourself happy. We have seen many rich and famous people being miserable, some committing suicide, while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
How do happy people keep themselves happy? Here are 20 ways:
1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings overshadow their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Be kind to everyone; Perform a selfless service.
It has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier. Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Develope the habit of giving freely as an act of kindness. Moreover, treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges.
Happy people view a problem as a challenge. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable negative situation, while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge that could have positive outcomes. Most times, they do.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
You may be familiar with this saying: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have. Avoid murmuring and complaining.
5. Don’t dwell on the petty stuff
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting go of little irritations will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
6. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
7. Never make excuses.
Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
8. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They enjoy the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
9. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
10. Choose friends wisely.
It is important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
11. Have personal Control and Never seek approval from others.
Happy people are not bothered by what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting others discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but follow your heart. Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
12. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel. A good listener also attracts friends and heightens relationships.
13. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, or friends.
Happy people take time to be on your own in solitude, preferably in nature. Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
15. Eat healthy.
Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment. Take time to be in nature – watch the sunset, smell the rose ..
17. Avoid Clutter and hoading.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Give away what you do not need.
18. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of being obsessed over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better. Leave what you cannot change and accept it.
19. Pray, Join a church or believe in something greater than you – call it God, the Universe, The Source.
Prayer does not always mean kneeling and asking for one thing or the other. It is being thankful to God. Happy people are always thankful and giving praises to God.
Happy people laugh a lot and find humour in just anything. They do not take life too seriously. Laughter is a great form of stress relief. A good laugh can stimulate many organs by enhancing your intake of oxygen-rich air. This stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the release of the ‘happy’ hormones, endorphins. The result is a good, relaxed feeling and improved immune system.
Stress is the body’s method of reacting to a challenge. It is a physiological ‘fight or flight response’ to an environmental condition, an event or a problem.
Everyone, one time or the other, goes through stress. There will be a lot to be done, bills to be paid, repairs to be done in the house, your career and family responsibilities will always be demanding. It seems that there will never be enough time in the day. You seem to be losing control. But you have more control than you might think. In fact, the simple realization that you’re in control of your life is the foundation of stress management. Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems.
Stress management starts with identifying the sources of stress in your life. Look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses.
Do you blame your stress on other people or on events outside your control?
Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining the high stress level in your life, it will remain outside your control. Each time you suffer from stress, try to examine the patterns and likely causes.
What caused your stress (make a guess if you’re unsure)
How you felt, both physically and emotionally
How you acted in response
Note also what you did to make yourself feel better. Focus on this. Since everyone responds to stressful events differently, ways to cope and manage stress also differs from on individual to another. There are however Four ‘A’s to dealing with stressful situation:
Avoid the Stressor
Alter the Stressor
Adapt to the Stressor
Accept the Stressor
1. Avoid the Stressor:
Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed. You may be surprised, however, by the number of stressors in your life that you can eliminate.
Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. Do not take on more than you can handle even in your personal life.
Avoid people who stress you out – If someone consistently causes stress in your life and you can’t turn the relationship around, limit the amount of time you spend with that person or end the relationship entirely.
Take control of your environment – If listening to the News makes you anxious, turn the TV off or to something more pleasing. You do not miss anything by not listening to negative or horrific News. If traffic’s got you tense, take a longer but less-traveled route.
Avoid hot topics – If you get upset over religion or politics, cross them off your conversation list. If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.
Prune down your to-do list – Analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.” Drop tasks that aren’t truly necessary to the bottom of the list or eliminate them entirely.
2. Alter the Stressor:
If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future. Often, this involves changing the way you communicate and operate in your daily life. Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way. If you don’t voice your feelings, resentment will build and the situation will likely remain the same.
Be willing to compromise. When you want someone to change their behaviour, be willing to do the same.
Be more assertive. Deal with problems that upset you as they arise, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them. If you have work to accomplish at the moment and a friend wants to come visit, be bold to suggest another date.
Manage your time better. Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. But if you plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself, you can alter the amount of stress you’re under.
3. Adapt to the Stressor
If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.
Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective. Rather than fuming about a traffic jam, look at it as an opportunity to pause and regroup, listen to your favorite radio station, or enjoy some alone time.
Look at the big picture. Take perspective of the stressful situation. Ask yourself how important it will be in the long run. Will it matter in a month? A year? Is it really worth getting upset over? If the answer is no, focus your time and energy elsewhere.
Adjust your standards. Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress. Stop setting yourself up for failure by demanding perfection. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”
Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, things you have achieved, including your own positive qualities and gifts. This simple strategy can help you keep things in perspective.
4. Accept the Stressor
Accept the things you cannot change. There are some causes of stress that cannot be changed or avoided. Events like the death of a loved one, failure in an examination, a serious illness, etc.In such cases, the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.
Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Many things in life are beyond our control— particularly the behavior of other people. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.
Look at the bright side. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.
Share your feelings.Talk to a trusted friend (a friend who will tell you the truth rather than tell you just what you want to hear) or make an appointment with a therapist. The simple act of expressing what you’re going through can be very cathartic, even if there’s nothing you can do to alter the stressful situation. Opening up is not a sign of weakness and it won’t make you a burden to others. In fact, most friends will be flattered that you trust them enough to confide in them, and it will only strengthen your bond.
Learn to Forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes. Let go of anger and resentments. Free yourself from negative energy by forgiving and moving on.
Show Gratitude and Appreciation. Gratitude lets you celebrate the present. Studies have shown that gratitude blocks toxic emotions such as anger, envy, resentment, regret, and depression. Grateful people are more stress-resilient. Gratitude strengthens social ties and increases self esteem.