Monthly Archives: June 2013

10 ways to get Happy now!

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Photo Source: http://www.inmagine.com; blue jean images

One day I was feeling rather blue and thought I need to have list of ways I can keep myself happy. Sometimes, I feel, when we get into a funk, we can’t immediately think of how to make ourselves feel better. It helps to have a handy list that reminds you what you can do to cheer up. Here are some suggestions:

1. STOP worrying. Worrying is unproductive and does nothing whatsoever to change an outcome, but does succeed in making us blue. Easier said than done but it comes with practice. Some tips here to combat worry.

2. Sing or hum a tune or if you’d like to, dance! It is impossible to remain upset when you are singing or dancing to your favorite tune. You may not feel like it but when you get started, you will cheer up.

3. Eat well. Chocolate is OK, by the way. Go for dark, it has more of those mood-boosting chemicals. Certain foods like dark chocolate, nuts, and berries have been shown to improve mood. A list of 11 mood-boosting foods.

4. Get into your favorite hobby. If you are not able to do it immediately, put it on your schedule to engage in it soon as possible. You will have something to look forward to. For me, I love to read and I do it almost everyday. Losing myself in a good book is a great way to get a reprieve from my troubles.

5. Hug someone everyday. Hugging has been known to cheer you up instantly. Holding a hug for an extended time lifts one’s serotonin levels, elevating mood and creating happiness.

6. Pick your battles. Try to reduce the number of fights you have with loved ones or co-workers. Conflict and anger only increases your negative feelings as the arguments escalate. If you can let it go, let it go. If you have to push the matter, do so diplomatically.

7. Listen to Music. We all know the calming, soothing and healing effects of music. Feeling stressed and anxious? Listen to some of your favorite tunes, upbeat or soothing, whichever suits you.

8. Exercise. Get those endorphins coursing through your bloodstream. Studies have indicated that exercise helps you be healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, improve work performance and have delayed onset of dementia. It also gives relief from anxiety and mild depression. Find the right type of exercise for yourself. What works for one person may not for another.

9. Talk to someone. Burdens shared are burdens halved. Just get it off your chest and you will be amazed how much better you feel. It is not so necessary to get solutions to the problem so much as getting someone else’s understanding and compassion.

10. Be nice to someone. It may seem like the last thing you want to do at the moment. But put that smile on, do something kind or nice for someone. Even a friendly gesture like a good morning or helping someone out with something will perk you up. The feeling that we have done something positive for others is a great mood-booster.

What is your Happy List like? Share your suggestions!

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Quote of the Week

There is only one way to happiness, and that is to cease worrying about things that are beyond the power of our will – Epictetus

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June 26, 2013 · 12:57 PM

Making Choices at Crossroads

Many a times in life, we all reach crossroads. We end up having to choose between two paths. Which path is better? What is the definition of better anyway?

I have come across a lot of articles and books telling us to not worry too much about which is the right choice, because there is no one right choice and that we can learn and grow from each choice. Be that as it may, the fact remains we all want to make a good choice, one that we can justify to ourselves later on when things don’t go as expected.

Here I have a list of questions I have asked myself when trying to make a choice. You may find it useful. While it may not necessarily result in the best decision (because it is true, there are no best decisions, only those that you can live with), it will give you reasons which you can remind yourself of if/when you question the decision.

What feels right? What does your gut say? Very often I find that our gut instincts are right about something.

What are your core defining values? What values/ideals do you hold dear?

What is it that you ultimately hope to gain from each option? Which ultimate end can you live with or want more?

Which choice is aligned more to your true nature? Examine your true nature.

Are you leaning toward a particular option because society expects it of you or because you expect it of yourself?

Related to that, are you expecting something of yourself because you think that is the right way to be or is it your true nature?

Does this option need you to step out of your comfort zone or rather does it require you to act against your fundamental nature?

Stepping out of your comfort zone promotes growth and that is good, but changing your very nature is not sustainable in the long run. For example, if you are just not someone who is comfortable with numbers, you cannot take a job as an accountant just because it is lucrative and it provides good career prospects. There is a fine line between comfort zone and true nature.

There would be many other questions you yourself will come up with once you start on it. One thing I have learnt is that you cannot be happy with a choice that goes against your true nature and your core values. Figure those out first.

At the end of the day, no matter what you choose, there will be doubts about whether you took the right decision. This is known as “post-decision dissonance” and is completely normal. In response to this our mind starts thinking of reasons why we made this choice. It helps to have already gone through this process so that the reasons are handy.

A favourite author of mine, Gretchen Rubin, says “You Can Choose What You Do, But You Can’t Choose What You Like To Do”.

With that happy choosing, folks 🙂

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6 Reasons you need to Relax!

1. Reduced bodily defences When we get stressed, our nervous system goes on red alert, and produce “stress” hormones that, in the long term with repeated exposure, impair our bodies’ ability to heal itself, making us susceptible to illnesses. Eeks!

2. No need to “fight” off stressors  “Stress” hormones, namely, cortisol or adrenalin, is produced in the fight-or-flight response of our body. It is a natural and useful hormone in dangerous situations. But do you really need to gear up and “fight” that work deadline or that annoying guy who cut you off in traffic? I think not, so try to engage the relaxation response of our nervous system (deep breathing, exercise, meditation, yoga, etc) which will work just fine to deal with the issue.

3. Save your energy Negative thoughts and feelings manifest in the brain, and sap our energy. It gets us down, dispirited, angry, frustrated, need I say more? Put on that smile or at least actively kick out the nagging inner voice that says DOOM!

4. More things get done It’s easier to get things done when we are not rushing around to multi-task and get all 100 things done at one go. Put it all down in a do-to list, and attack them systematically. When you know you have a list to keep track of things you don’t need to hold it all in your head and so that frees up some energy. Your brain can relax for a bit!

5. A good night’s sleep Countless studies have concluded that a relaxing bedtime routine is essential for a good night’s sleep. The more relaxed you get the higher the chances you will get good Zs. Stressful circumstances or worry about life problems can keep us awake at night (I know, guilty as charged!) or cause us to wake up in the middle of the night. What you can do:

  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Have a fixed bedtime and follow it as much as possible
  • Put the worrying issue temporarily out-of-mind- push it away each time it comes back (here is where procrastination is useful). You are unlikely to come up with a solution the next several minutes and sleeping on it may help!

6. You are happier! A mind in a relaxed state is happier, and in turn you will be happier.

Do you have anything else to add? Any useful stress-busting tips to share?

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Give yourself an Optimism Boost today!

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. – Helen Keller

Ms Keller got it right. Though blind, deaf and mute, she achieved so much in life. We need to believe in ourselves more. A lot of the times I find that people (me!) think that certain dreams are beyond our reach, or that we should take the safer path. To be optimistic is easier said than done, I think. To believe is easier said than done. But it can be done, step by step, little by little.

Everyday, give yourself an Optimism Boost.

Is there something today that you want to get done, something you dread perhaps or you think is a difficult task? Look in the mirror and tell yourself – I can handle this. I can do it well. Feel the optimism in your bones for a minute. I promise it will help 🙂

Perhaps there is something you are trying to make happen in life, starting a new business, reaching a particular career goal, improving your relationships. There are uncertainties for sure. Say to yourself – Uncertainty will not stop me. I will give my best, follow a plan, and hope for the best. For our best weapon against uncertainty is Hope and Confidence.

Optimism (and the optimism boosts) doesn’t guarantee a successful outcome. Nothing guarantees a successful outcome. But what it does, though, is give us the courage and inner strength to carry on, to plough on with doing what needs to be done and to follow our dreams. Optimistic people don’t always succeed in everything, however, they do bounce back from failing better.

Let me declare here that I am not an optimist by nature. I want to be though and I am learning everyday. Believe in yourself and most importantly, be kind to yourself! If it doesn’t work first time around, or second time or third time, its OK, pat yourself on the back for trying and keep the optimism up. It’s the only way forward…

Here’s to an optimistic day!

I’d love to hear what you guys have to say about my insights, so do feel free to comment!

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