Tag: Happiness

3 Tips for Dealing With Change

We, humans, are simple creatures.

Despite the fact that your neighbour claims he hates routine and is slowly dying in front of his office desk, he’s more than happy to just get home, turn on TV, grab some chips and ponder about the future while doing nothing for a few hours.

And admit it, so do you.

lazy_man
Human brain is not programmed to make us take risks, change our lifestyles and challenge us constantly. Our brain is designed to STOP us from doing all these things that biologically speaking are or might be a threat to our survival.

Challenging yourself and agreeing to things you are not certain about is extremely scary. But also, a hell of a fun.

…and now imagine the scenario that your neighbour suddenly starts jogging (after being a couch potato for years), stops buying his favourite chips and snacks on raw carrots with hummus instead. His oxytocin levels rise, he feels happier and more powerful and then – BANG – he decides to quit his job and actually do something he’s always been passionate about.

It took him 10 minutes to get dressed for his first jog that got him hooked.

It took him a few weeks of meal prep to get used to the new routine.

And it’ll be months or even years of joyous moments filled with self-satisfaction and pleasure.

Starting something new is difficult; achieving change requires a sense of urgency and active involvement in change efforts. But it’s not impossible if you focus on positives, talk to others and break the big, scary change into small, manageable pieces.

1. Focus on positives

Instead of focusing on the hurdles that you will face, focus on the positives that you will enjoy. Leave the difficulties aside (they will step in no matter what), but rather learn to see the positive aspects of each situation.
E.g. it might be costly and difficult to move from the US to China, but I’m sure it’ll broaden my knowledge, will challenge me and I can’t wait to try the wonders of the local cuisine!

2. Talk to someone who’s done it

At first, you may freak out about your resistance to change. But you’re not unique here – it’s completely normal; we are afraid of the unknown. To eliminate the fear of the unknown and to familiarize yourself with what’s coming next, give it a try and talk to someone who’s been through the same experience – it’ll help you prepare mentally.
E.g. I am intimidated by what it will bring, and I would like to know how my life will change. I know my friend’s cousin went through the same experience – why don’t I talk to him!

3. Break it down to actionable steps

Starting big is way scarier than starting small. Preparing yourself fully for the change is close to impossible, but making yourself aware of the change and starting to prepare is.
E.g. I have to move to China in two months. Why don’t I start a Chinese crash course now, to prepare myself for the upcoming change? I might as well find a few pen pals now to get myself introduced to the culture.

Accept that there will be a new chapter in your life that is meant for you, have an open mind and accept everything as it comes your way.

Because change, after all, is scary.

It’s terrifying.

But it can also be the best thing you’ll ever do.

How to “Better Up” Life in 2 Months?

Two months. Nearly 61 days. Around 1464 hours. Over 87,840 minutes. And 5,270,400 seconds. That’s plenty of time to form new habits that will lead you to better, fuller, more interesting and happier life.

Scientists claim that it takes approximately 21 days to form a new habit. Of course, the time can vary widely depending on the behavior, certain circumstances and the person, however but it takes on average 21 days to get into the routine of doing something new, and 66 days to wire yourself to perform it automatically.  So 2 months (=61 days) is plenty of time to experience something new to program yourself to better, fuller & happier life.

1. Face Your Fears. Then, Conquer Them.

Are you afraid of heights? About time to challenge yourself and try bungee-jumping. Cannot stand public speaking? Join the local Toastmasters club. It takes guts to realize your flaws, and courage to deal with them. Research has found that repeated exposure to one’s fears lowers the psychological fear response until it is more manageable. Even more to that, it boosts self-confidence to the roof.

Fear limits your potential and is a great waste of your energy. Every moment you spend thinking of your I cannot, rather focus on bettering yourself to I can. Don’t dismiss your fears. Face them & conquer them instead!

2.Refine Your Goals

Setting goals and objectives is essential in any project. Even more so, if that project is… your life.

It’s a seemingly small change, however everything starts with baby steps: before you can change your life, you have to know who you are, where do you want to head and what really matters to you.

Refine your objectives and cultivate your goals. Once you have the “big picture” where you’re headed, it’s time to start planning and acting upon. Focus on an end objective (e.g. I want to become an engineer) and spare those 2 months on systematic improvements that will lead you towards your objective. It might seem that you have very little time, however every hour matters. Spend your time wisely.

We, humans, are visual creatures: if you can define your objectives on a vision board, even better! Move the visuals along the path to see and differentiate between the “start”, “in progress” and “done” sections.

3. Learn a New Language

How many times have you told yourself “I’d like to learn xyz language, but…”? I’ve yet to hear a single reason for not learning a language.

Learning a new language opens up a world of new, exciting opportunities – allows you to understand a certain culture(s), helps to find new friends and gives your brain a boost. Actually, numerous studies have demonstrated the cognitive benefits of learning another language, which are plenty – memory improvements, longer attention span and a significantly reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline.

2 months of constant (i.e. every 2 or every 3 day) language classes will allow you to at least learn the basics of the chosen language which would be quite pleasing and encouraging to use if you decide to visit the country where that language is used. And hey, resources are plentiful and even free – just turn on YouTube and start learning now!

4. Invest

One of the best and perhaps most important things you can do to ensure your healthy financial state is to start investing now. Don’t wait for the better time, don’t wait for the raise or the next salary: better start small, but start now.

2 months is a significant time to educate yourself to feel more knowledgeable and financially literate. Use that time to learn and experiment with small amounts.

The best time is not going to come because the best time is already now.

5. Believe in Yourself

If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?

2 months or 8 weeks is enough time to build your self-confidence that will develop long-term mental health benefits.

If you are not self-confident enough, you’ll break like a twig the first time you’re challenged and face an obstacle. If you want to go far, you have to learn to trust yourself, believe in yourself and have the courage. To do so… look at #1 – facing your fears.

You are your own masterpiece. Only you are both the master, and the piece at the same time: it is up to you how you create yourself and which direction you head. Choose the habits wisely!

Can Getting Rid of Things Lead to Happiness? Science Says Yes

A lot of people would argue that money, power, and fame are the crucial attributes to one’s happiness but well… think again. Do you think people who are rich and influential feel uplifted all the time? Nah. Do they feel joyous and cheerful every day, every minute? Nope. Not at all.

Happiness is neither money nor influence. Happiness in itself can be explained as an appreciation of your current situation. Bad news – you’ve got to work on your happiness day after day to feel good. Good news – everyone can do it despite their age, education, experience, the level of wealth or circumstances.

Laughing Man

Take Less, Give More

Neurologists suggest that our brains are wired to derive pleasure from giving: numerous studies have shown that giving, rather than taking, makes us far happier. The paradox of generosity suggests that regardless of income, individuals who spend both time and money on others are significantly happier than the ones who spend on themselves.

We, humans, are social species – we take pleasure in both verbal and non-verbal contact with other people. We appreciate when others notice us, talk to us and praise us, so the psychology behind happiness in giving can be explained quite easily: giving gifts and doing pro-bono work produces endorphins (since you see another person happy because of your effort), and endorphins make us happy in return. Voilà!

Live, Laugh, Love

Have you ever looked at an uncontrollably laughing person? I bet he looked happy, free and careless. Perhaps even had healthy red cheeks and you found yourself not being able to resist giggling for no reason at all. The human brain is wired to respond positively to smiles and laughter: the wiring is so strong that we, in most cases, cannot stay non-responsive and usually join in with the great enthusiasm. It’s highly infectious.

Yet another infectious thing is appreciation. If you’ve ever traveled to India or have seen footage of people living in slums you’ll get where I’m heading to: people who seem to have very little in their lives seem to be happy and satisfied. Even more than that, if you happen to be around a slum, you’ll realize you get “infected” with happiness and appreciation, too!  People living in slums are very verbal about their small successes and tend to appreciate and share those small bursts of happiness at all times, with everyone. They praise, compliment, laugh and sing. Actually, slum-dwellers are said to be happier than an average British child. How can they shine with happiness when there seems to be no reason at all? The reason behind is experiencing and appreciating joy in small, every day things: family, kids, neighbors or a fulfilling meal.

If you laugh your lungs out and appreciate yourself & people around you, you’re kind of “doomed for happiness.”

Dance in the Rain

Being more spontaneous, living in a moment and saying “yes” more often could be one of the elements that add to our happiness. Adventure does not necessarily translate into traveling around the world; it could be just waking up at 5 am and watching a sunrise from the rooftop of your house with a cup of hot, fragrant tea. Or perhaps going on a road trip to a nearby town if you feel like.

Happiness is highly infectious – happy people tend to attract other happy people, success, and popularity without even trying. Happy people also have a tendency to infect other people with smiles, positivity, and appreciation. And that’s probably the only “infection” that I’d highly recommend for everyone to get infected with.

How to Die Happy?

grand adventure

The top five regrets of the dying are quite simple – they wish they had the courage, didn’t work so hard, had the guts to express their feelings and had felt happier throughout their lives. So I’d say the question could be rephrased from “will you die happy” to “will you live a happy life.” And while all of us have different measures and criteria to what a happy life means to us, here are three things that anyone can apply, under any circumstances:

1.    Improve Yourself & Don’t Postpone

Might sound slightly dull, but we, humans, usually stop evolving once we stop learning. Our whole life, generally speaking, is one big learning project. If you stay hungry for new knowledge that brings you joy – you’ll “work yourself happy”. Passionate about sewing? Try sewing courses. Wannabe artist? Get some pencils and start sketching now.

Don’t postpone your hunger and curiosity. Remember how excited you were when you were a kid? Bring that feeling back. Use the time that you have to discover and re-discover who you are, what do you like and where do your talents lie.

2.    Use Your Chances

Life is all about circumstances and situations, but these conditions and situations don’t happen on their own if you spend your time sitting on a couch eating chips and watching telly. Get out more often, meet new people and be open. Don’t overthink and over-analyze.

3.    Be More Adventurous

Have you seen a “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey? If no, worth giving it a try. Long story short – a miserable man lived a miserable life until he started saying “yes” to anything he was scared about and his life started changing and bringing opportunities.

Same goes with our lives – human brain is not programmed to make us take risks, change our lifestyles and challenge us constantly. Our brain is designed to STOP us from doing all these things that biologically speaking are or might be a threat to our survival. Challenging yourself and agreeing to things you are not certain about might be scary but a hell of a fun.

Being adventurous doesn’t require that much of an effort or funds – all you might need is a backpack, some canned food, good shoes and a passionate, hungry for adventures, fast-beating heart.

10 Habits Of Healthy People

 You’re tired, busy and definitely don’t want to follow yet another “to-do-list” as you have no time at all. But guess what? All those successful and healthy people are also busy as hell but they manage to implement some healthy habits that sustain their happiness, health and wealth. Also, they don’t only try to sustain it, they try to improve it. So here’s a cheat sheet – copy them. They don’t take forever to implement and picking up these simple eating, exercise, and lifestyle habits can change your life.

1. Setting Goals

Healthy people plan their time. They know that some deviations from the initial plan are OK (we don’t want to stress and get frustrated, right?) but setting goals and following them step by step is crucial. Note a few small, achievable objects for a week, month, six months and a year to begin with: fx. finish reading that book til the next Sunday, start exercising in April, run a marathon by July and learn Spanish to be able to communicate in basic language for your next trip in November. Setting up a certain deadline (fx. no refined sugar for a month/ bi-weekly language classes for 3 months / more exercise for one month) along with an objective (fx. losing 5 kgs / being able to swim) will make you more focused and determined!

2. Taking Care Of Your Nutrition

Undoubtedly, when it comes to physical health nutrition and sports are in the ‘must-do’ list. Healthy people aren’t just born that way – they make the choice to live a healthy lifestyle one day at a time, one meal at a time. It doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy a glass of wine from time to time or snack on chips on a Friday evening – it rather means balancing your diet and choosing healthy, nourishing meals most of the time. Food selection (i.e. selection of a healthy meal over junk food) is important, but controlling portion sizes is even more important – it will improve your digestion and control your waistline. And I guess most of us could do with some reduction in this area…

3. Exercising

Living in a digital age when our computers, phones and notepads are full of notifications and news and our diaries are full of planned meetings it’s important to set up at least an hour few times a week to “cleanse” your mind from all that craziness and dedicate it for some physical activity. Physical activity improves mood and works as a fantastic “thought detox”. If you’re wondering what are the benefits of sport – there are plenty! Dedicating some time for a few days a week at the gym and following a meal plan does wonders. If you’re a newbie and have just started getting a bit more interested in your health (both mental and physical) try experimenting with your diet and mental focus a bit: try giving up refined sugar and focus on positive thinking at least for a week.

4. Expressing Gratitude

Appreciating little things make us happier. Showing and recognizing how grateful you are for a number of things in your life can actually reduce depression and increase your immunity. Don’t only focus on the whole but rather try noticing small things. Even more to that – you can start writing a “gratitude diary”, noting down 1-3 positive things daily. Good emotions and increased self-confidence guaranteed!

5. Having “Me” Time

We all get dragged into routine – work, home, cleaning, making food, dish washing, bed… It’s important to follow a plan and get used to that but what’s even more important is breaking that plan from time to time to fully dedicate at least half an hour for yourself and nobody else. Spend at least 30 minutes a week (or bi-weekly) doing something you enjoy – reading a book, going for a long walk or simply sipping some aromatic tea while trying to “empty” your mind. Give yourself a break, you deserve it.

6. Being Adventurous

Have you ever seen a “Yes Man” with Jim Carrie? If not, then you totally should. It will make you think and re-consider why saying “no” to most of the thing in your life is simply unhealthy. Healthy people seek for new experiences, fresh ideas and discoveries. They know that quietly sitting in your comfort zone does not bring changes and improvements, stepping out of your comfort zone does. Many of us feel comfortable when we do things we know and are good at BUT doing something new and stepping out of your comfort zone brings joy, new experiences and that (sometimes) even gives a crazy addictive rush of adrenaline. Saying “yes” to new things means a different thing to different people and it totally depends on you. Whenever you say “no” you miss an opportunity to discover something new, to try something you haven’t tried before and to learn and grow. Next time when somebody suggests something crazy and your comfort zone kicks in with “hell no” try giving it a chance – after all, we live once, right?

7. Seeking Engaging Company

It is no doubt that communication plays a vital role in human life – it does not only help to facilitate the process of sharing knowledge and information, but also helps people to develop relationships with others. Humans are social animals and social life is one of the most important influences on our mental health. Without engaging, positive and durable relationships we feel lonely and not appreciated. To be your best surround yourself with socially engaging, motivating people that encourage, motivate and challenge you both mentally and physically.

8. Laughing

Being able to see the funny, humoristic side of yourself and others (yourself first!) makes life simply easier to live and also makes you look happier and friendlier. Positive people who are not afraid to laugh are usually the ones liked most, as they are able to see the “happy” side of any situation and are not afraid to look or be perceived as careless or silly. A good sense of humor won’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive aspects laughter can do: it soothes tension and stimulates many organs (enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air & stimulates your heart). Laughter is also a powerful stress-relief medicine.

9. Sleeping Well

Don’t underestimate the power of a good sleep and naps. Sleeping around 7-8 hours is optimal for a grown up and that’s the amount of sleep you should always be getting. Sleeping plays an important role in your physical health – sleep is a “body recovery time” after a long day and sleeping is involved in repair of your heart and blood vessels. Aim at sleeping at least 6 hours every night.

10. Saving

You don’t need millions to live a happy, fulfilling life but you do need an extra coin to set aside cause… you can never know what might happen tomorrow. Young Chinese are a good example of how to save an extra penny even when it seems close to impossible. Always try to save a bit (even 5 or 10 euros) from your salary – you can always skip buying a candy or soda and rather put that coin into your savings account. Control your impulse spending and always re-ask yourself whether this item is something you really need.

How To Relax Better After Work

Even though it’s 7pm and you’re at home sipping your favorite tea, your head is full of thoughts on unfinished projects, approaching deadlines and some annoying co-worker you had a chat with earlier today. It seems like today you’ve had a tough day and all you wanted for your personal time is to simply “turn off” your working mind and relax but… no, not happening. And I believe we all are familiar with this situation that we are still mentally working at home even though we wish this wasn’t happening.

Here’s some good news: you are not alone and it’s perfectly normal to be anxious about your job and keep mentally “working” out of your work space. Studies actually show that 7 out of 10 adults experience work-related anxiety that is felt regardless of time and environment.

Here are a few simple ways to let your mind and body enjoy some self-time to prepare for the next day.

1. Take A Walk

One way to include yourself in a relaxing environment is to seek it out in nature by taking a walk. If you happen to live around 2-6 kilometers away from your work then take a walk back home instead of driving or using public transportation. A cool breeze and a long walk with refresh your mind and will “prepare” it for the full relaxation at home. Take that time to digest your thoughts and turn your “work mode” off once you go through your doorstep.

2. Train The Muscle

Continuing your difficult and tiring day training might not sound like the best idea ever but it might actually be! Many people get anxious when they are not doing anything that gives them purpose. Physical exercise releases endorphins (also knowns as “happpiness hormones”) so you will feel happier and even more energetic. Only if you don’t overdo, of course.

3. Read

One good way to relax at home after work is shifting your focus from problem solving to rather something creative, such as reading or painting. By stimulating your imagination you will not have to physically transport anywhere, but you will be able to “live” and lose yourself in the story. Reading relaxes your mind and diverts your thoughts from stressful issues to something beautiful.

4. Seek Company

Company is underrated. Most people after a tiring day assume that they would like to spend some time alone, reflecting on their thoughts and actions. But there is nothing more relaxing than having a long, meaningful conversation with somebody you care about or playing with the kids. Nurture their company, give them a long hug and engage in a meaningful conversation. It will be easier to get rid of stressful thoughts if you concentrate on other people, their lives and stimulate yourself socially.

5. Treat Yourself With Food

If your day was filled with meetings and running around, you have probably not had quality time to just sit, relax and enjoy your meal (have you had any at all?). A hungry mind is an angry mind – so divert your thoughts into something pleasant and useful. You don’t have to be a master chef to create something mouthwatering – try a simple Chopped Salad or One-Bite Snacks. A good meal will replenish your calorie supply and some chopping action will help you “let it go”… :) You know what I mean.

6. Relax With Music

Hearing is one of the senses that have a strong direct effect on our mood. If you want to relax, dissociate yourself from noise and surround yourself with positive, uplifting sounds.