Showing posts with label Lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lifestyle. Show all posts

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Happiness: A Key To Life’s Satisfaction


According to Wikipedia, "Happiness, in the context of mental or emotional states, is positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. Other forms include life satisfaction, well-being, subjective well-being, flourishing and eudaimonia."

 

According to VeryWellMind, "Happiness is an emotional state characterized by feelings of joy, satisfaction, contentment, and fulfillment. While happiness has many different definitions, it is often described as involving positive emotions and life satisfaction."

 

Psychology Today says, "Happiness is defined differently depending on who you ask. Some people define happiness as a positive emotional experience. Others define happiness as having two parts called hedonia (pleasure) and eudaimonia (thriving). Outside of the scientific world, most of us define happiness as a mixture of positive emotional experiences and a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in life."

 

According To PursuitOfHappiness.org, "Leading Positive Psychologists claim that happiness has three sources, i.e., that the “Happiness Pie” has three slices: Slice 1: Our genetic makeup. Slice 2: Our environment. Slice 3: Our actions.”

 

Sonja Lyubomirsky, an author and researcher on positive psychology, describes happiness thus, “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”[2] So, there is an evaluative component here, along with a felt one. How we think about what we feel matters as much as what we experience.

 

In a rather unhelpful fashion, dictionary.com defines happiness as “the quality or state of being happy.”Fortunately, the second definition elaborates with “good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.”[1] What’s clear is that happiness is a subjective experience, it is something we feel, and hence it is lived individually, isn’t guaranteed, and can be transitory.

 

What does happiness mean to you?

 

Days Go By Swiftly

 

This experience becomes more evident the longer you live. Amidst the rush of seconds, minutes, and hours filled with work, family, and friends, it can be easy to lose track of where we are. Without care, we can end up in places we didn’t intend to, simply because we weren’t paying close enough attention, steering deliberately, and sometimes pumping the brakes.

 

To go where we want to go takes conscious effort. Most of us would like to experience a fulfilling life. A key way to achieve this is through doing things that bring joy to our worlds. Herein, we’ll discuss how to cultivate happiness and in doing so, unmask the key to living a satisfying life.

 

How To Cultivate Happiness

 

To make happiness a lasting feature of your life takes a bit of self-knowledge. Are you communally minded? Then harmony will be a necessary ingredient for you. Are you more of an individualist? Then a lived experience of personal joy will drive you.

 

In any case, the context you live in, complete with work, friends, family, home situation, cultural elements, and personal values, will all factor into how you find satisfaction. In addition, how you look at the world and treat others plays a role. These factors put your happiness, at least partially, in your hands.

 

According to Psychology Today, “regularly indulging in small pleasures, getting absorbed in challenging activities, setting and meeting goals, maintaining close social ties, and finding purpose beyond oneself all increase life satisfaction. It isn't happiness per se that promotes well-being, it’s the actual pursuit that’s key.”[3]

 

In other words, life is a process, and when we make the process itself valuable, rather than focusing on destinations, we create the potential for greater enjoyment. 

 

Furthermore, when we consciously develop our ability to see the good in our lives, even amidst hardships, we can begin to master ourselves, fostering an internal equilibrium. In doing so, our happiness is no longer in the hands of others or circumstances outside our control. Instead, we see that it is a lived thing that we must continuously cultivate.

 

The Takeaway

 

When you become clear about what matters to you, and you focus your efforts on pursuing those things, you bring meaning to each facet of what you do. Missteps and foibles don’t throw you off your game because you understand them to be a natural part of life’s equation. This internal locus of control gives you a sense of efficacy, something that benefits everyone. 

 

Since you experience happiness from within, make it a goal to prioritize helping it to grow. Foster ways of thinking and behaving that increase your enjoyment. You may not be able to control the world around you, but you can have a say in how you interpret it. So, choose happiness and watch your life’s satisfaction multiply. 

 

References:

  1. “Happiness Definition & Meaning.” Dictionary.comhttps://www.dictionary.com/browse/happiness. Accessed 19 October 2022.
  2. Lyubomirsky, Sonja. The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want. Penguin Publishing Group, 2007. Accessed 19 October 2022.
  3. “Happiness.” Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/happiness. Accessed 19 October 2022.

 


6 Hobbies For Physical Health


It’s an appealing idea to embody the Vulcan words of farewell, “live long and prosper.” However, navigating the creation of a long, healthy, and prosperous life can feel overwhelming, or worse, tedious. To combat this, it helps to make things that are good for us both accessible and fun. To that end, the following six hobbies for physical health have you covered.

 

1. Dance 

 

Incorporating dance into your life can be an organized event, such as taking a class, attending salsa night at a Latin club, or heading to a concert. However, it can also be more impromptu, like putting on music that gets you moving and dancing like no one is watching.  Regardless, it will be good for you.

 

A study for Complementary Therapies In Medicine found that exercise is as good as drug interventions for reducing the risk of overall mortality. In addition, they found that dance was a more enjoyable, easier-to-maintain, form of exercise that helps people to lose weight, improve flexibility, gain muscle tone, improve cardiovascular health, and convey social/emotional benefits.[1]


2. Cycling 

 

You can ride a cruiser, invest in a peloton, downhill race, road bike cross country, or some other variation on the theme. There are many ways to cycle and each of them offers health benefits, a community of like-minded enthusiasts, and an enjoyable way to move your body.


3. Couples Yoga 

 

Yoga is good for you. Few would bother to argue that point. In this case, the more can definitely be the merrier. There are postures you can try with a partner that would be impossible alone. Plus, the social aspect reinforces relationships, another key component of overall health.


4. Running

 

The wonderful thing about running is that you can do it anywhere.  All it takes is you, a pair of shoes, and the will to get going.  When running in a new place, you see it in ways that you couldn’t otherwise. It’s immersive and personal. There’s also a meditative quality to it, an awareness of breath, gait, and environment that can firmly plant you in the present, enriching the moment and your life as a whole.

 

5. Swimming

 

This is an activity that provides it all: challenges, intensity, myriad variations, low impact, and immersion in a fundamental element. In addition, there is something comforting about being in the water, perhaps an unconscious reminder of the womb.   

 

6. Birding

 

Being in nature has been proven to benefit the mind, body, and spirit.[2] When you add to this experience the mindful awareness of another species, the benefits multiply.  In a simple sense, you create a kind of treasure hunt as you attune your eyes to picking out new feathered friends. 

 

Each additional identification deepens and broadens your perception of the world around you. This connection increases your capacity to care for yourself and others by expanding your scope of care. Inclusiveness is good for everything.

 

The Takeaway

 

Making play out of the physical activities you engage in makes them more enjoyable and hence more sustainable over time. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do, what’s important is that you keep moving. Use these six hobbies for physical health as a springboard and explore some ideas of your own.  This is your adventure, make it a good one.

 

References:

  1. Lakes, K. D., Marvin, S., Rowley, J., Nicolas, M. S., Arastoo, S., Viray, L., Orozco, A., & Jurnak, F. (2016). Dancer perceptions of the cognitive, social, emotional, and physical benefits of modern styles of partnered dancing. Complementary therapies in medicine26, 117–122. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.007
  2. Robbins, J. (2020, January 9). Ecopsychology: How Immersion in Nature Benefits Your Health. Yale E360. Retrieved September 27, 2022, from https://e360.yale.edu/features/ecopsychology-how-immersion-in-nature-benefits-your-health



5 Ways to Simplify Your Life


Do you dream of simplifying your life? Are you always looking for ways to help you stay on top of work, keep your home organized, and keep up with family and friends? All while juggling bills, eating right, and social media?

 

If you’re nodding in agreement, then know you’re not alone. Luckily, I’ve put together a list of tips and tricks to help you simplify your life and finally manage this balancing act we call life.

 

Let’s get started.

 

1. Set Simple Monthly Goals

 

It’s become a custom to make a list of New Year’s resolutions. Then, a couple of months later, we lose interest and, then, are racked with guilt.

 

So, why not save yourself the hassle and set 1–3 goals each month? Breaking down your goals into smaller, more manageable chunks makes them easier to get through.

 

This way, you can tick them off your to-do list, boost your self-esteem, and don’t have to deal with any guilt.

 

2. Apply the 50/30/20 Budget Rule

 

Managing your finances can be tricky and make you feel stressed, especially when you don’t know what to do and what not to do. Unfortunately, many of us were never taught how to budget our money once we get out into the real world.

 

As I was doing research, I came across the 50/30/20 rule. So, I decided to try it out. After all, it couldn’t be worse than what I was going through.

 

Yet, I’m happy to report that it actually works! This is coming from someone who’s never been good at saving, so for this to work for me means anyone can do it!

 

Here’s what you do: spend 50% of your income on living expenses. Then, 30% of your monthly income should go on lifestyle expenses, and the final 20% should go to your savings.

 

3. Declutter Your Closet

 

You might be surprised at how simple your life becomes once you declutter your closet. So, get real with yourself and start getting rid of clothes that have been around for years and still have the labels attached.

 

Think of it this way: you get to free up some space in your closet for new clothes. Plus, you also get to experience what it feels like to have a well-organized, clutter-free closet.

 

4. Prepare Your Lunch The Night Before

 

Making your lunch the night before may remind you of your school days when your mother used to do the same thing. But it turns out that she was onto something!

 

First of all, preparing your lunch ahead of time means you save money because you buy everything you need for the week at once. Plus, you won’t order out as much, which is also a great money-saver.

 

Not only that, but you’ll also be able to make better, healthier choices. You know that feeling when you’re so hungry that you can’t wait to make something nutritious? That’s when it’s so easy to grab a donut from the fridge or reach for that bag of chips sitting on your kitchen counter.

 

The best part is that you won’t have to stress over what you’ll have for lunch or how it’ll cost you.

 

5. Save Files To The Cloud

 

Are you having a hard time finding files and documents on your computer or smartphone? Why put yourself through the hassle of searching through piles and piles of digital files when you can just save them to the cloud?

 

Thanks to the numerous cloud service applications, you can now upload almost all types of files and save them to the cloud. Then, once they’ve been safely uploaded, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Then, delete them all from your device and save tons of space.

 

The best part is that, now, you can access them from anywhere at any time and from any device. If that’s not simplifying your life, I don’t know what is!

 


Wednesday, 21 December 2022

10 New Things to Start Doing Immediately for a More Interesting and Inspired Life


When life gets dull, there’s no need to succumb to a mundane lifestyle. Instead, just mix it up! Here are 10 new things to do when you’re trying to spunk up your life. 

 

1.    Visit a New Town 

 

Variety is the spice of life, and one way to achieve that is by exploring. You don’t have to trek across the globe to mix up your whereabouts – you can travel to a neighboring town or your closest metropolis. Either way, experiencing a different culture is a great way to make your life more inspired. 

 

2.    Branch Out with Food 

 

Food culture is upon us – let’s relish it! Change up your daily routine by cooking a new meal or going to an exotic restaurant. Here’s the best part: You can do it alone or in good company. It’s your call! 

 

3.    Make a Trip to the Museum 

 

Unless you’re a museum buff, you probably don’t pay frequent trips to the local museum. When you have some extra time on your hands, and you’re looking for new things to do, take a walk-through history or art at the museum. 

 

4.    Spend Time with Someone New 

 

Socialization can be the source of great ideas and inspiration. Give your neighbor a friendly wave or call up an old friend for a coffee date. You never know what could come out of a friendly chat! 

 

5.    Go for a Bike Ride 

 

Fresh air, exercise, and some good ole Vitamin D. A bike ride may be just the thing you need! 

 

6.    Take a Day Trip 

 

When your budget doesn’t allow for a vacation, you can take a day trip to a fun place nearby. Experiment with different foods, visit a few shops and make memories at a new place. 

 

7.    Get Crafty 

 

You don’t have to be an artist to enjoy a good arts and crafts session. Bring out the paint supplies, and glitter and inspiration will hit! 

 

8.    Host a Barbecue 

 

… depending on the weather, of course. When you’re looking for a change of pace, it’s always a good idea to host a gathering with your favorite people. 

 

9.    Go Shopping 

 

There’s nothing like retail therapy! And if you’re working with a budget, you can go thrift shopping. 

 

10.  Pick up Scrapbooking 

 

Sometimes “new” comes from the old. As you piece together your scrapbook, you can look back on your favorite memories. It will boost your inspiration to go make more memories! 



Sunday, 11 December 2022

Heal Yourself: Get Back to Nature


Even the most anti-outdoorsy type has to admit that they feel calmer when they smell the fresh air and see the sunlight filtering in through the leaves. It fills us with a sense of comfort and relaxation.

 

Not only does it make us feel good, but it also heals us from the inside out. It shows in how we think more clearly and how our moods are restored when we’re around nature.


Keep reading to learn more about how to heal yourself through nature.

 

Why Do We Feel Good When We’re in Nature?

 

Getting back to nature acts as a reminder that we’re all part of the natural world. We’re all connected somehow, which is why you feel at peace when you’re in a quiet forest or a meadow.

 

Think of when you walk barefoot on the beach or a patch of green grass. You know that pleasant feeling you get? It feels like you’re home, comfortable, relaxed, and at ease.

 

The best part is all the stress and tension you’ve been holding onto melts away somehow. It’s like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and you feel freer and lighter.

 

How Can We Reconnect with Nature?

 

Finding opportunities to reconnect with nature and take advantage of its healing benefits can be a challenge in our hectic lifestyles. Yet, you don’t have to go camping in the middle of nowhere to enjoy nature. Instead, there are ways you can do just that right in the comfort of your own home.

 

Take a look.

 

Gardening

 

Don’t lose hope if you’re not into hiking or camping outdoors. You can still be close to nature but in a different way.

 

For example, you can plant a vegetable garden in your yard. Tending to plants allows you to spend a good deal of time with nature and connect with the earth.

 

You get to breathe in the fresh smell of the soil and the plants themselves. But, of course, that’s even more enjoyable if you’re planting fragrant plants, such as jasmines, roses, or lilies.

 

You also get to connect to nature in a hands-on, visceral way that, for some people, can become very personal. In fact, many gardeners say that when they’re tending their gardens, they feel a deeper bond with nature they hadn’t felt before.

 

Many also feel that gardening makes them feel that they’re part of something bigger than themselves. This special connection allows them to bridge the gap between our hectic, modern world and the natural world.

 

Mindfulness Meditation

 

Being outdoors is such a wonderful opportunity to slow down and breathe. Look around and see all the colors around you. Take in how the light plays through the leaves or reflects off a big, shiny rock.

 

Next, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Inhale as much fresh, clean air as you can to cleanse out your lungs from the smog and fumes, we’re so used to taking in.

 

Then, stop and listen. Really listen to the birds and crickets chirping, as well as any other creatures, big or small.

 

Also, if there’s a brook or stream nearby, pay close attention to the sound of the water. Studies show that the sound of running water is calming and can even have an anti-depressant effect.

 

Yet, the best thing to listen out for in nature is nothing. That calm quietude has become so rare that we sometimes don’t know just how much we miss.

 

Forest Bathing

 

Forest bathing,’ or ‘shinrin-yoku’ in Japanese, is the art of moving slowly and mindfully through a forest. The aim of this Asian practice is for you to engage all your five senses along the way.

 

So, with each step, you take in all the sights, sounds, and smells of your surroundings. This experience is similar to mindful meditation, which we mentioned above.

 

Yet, it goes beyond stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system or reducing your stress levels. Forest bathing also helps increase anti-inflammatory properties in your body and boost your immune system, all thanks to the terpenes you inhale as you’re walking through the forest.

 

Conclusion

 

More and more, people are starting to realize that the best way to heal themselves is by getting back to nature. It’s true that the more time we take to relax and unwind in nature, the better off we’ll be.

 


How To Make Healthy Food Choices On The Go


Try as you might, it’s not always possible to prepare all your meals. No one has the time or energy to spend hours preparing dishes packed with nutrients.

 

It’s also not easy sticking with a diet plan when you’re busy rushing from one meeting to the next. Sometimes, it’s just easier to grab food on the go. But the problem is that fast food isn’t always healthy food.

 

Because we know how important your health is, we rounded up some practical tips to help you make healthy food choices on the go.

 

Let’s get started.

 

Be Honest with Yourself

 

As with any new habit or lifestyle change, the first thing you have to do is be honest with yourself about a few things. Have an open, serious conversation about what your schedule is like and assess your busiest days.

 

These will probably be when you don't have time to prepare healthy meals. Thus, you’ll need to prepare a couple beforehand, so you can just grab them and go.

 

Another thing you have to be honest about is the types of food you eat. Luckily, we now live in a time when almost any food can be healthy.

 

Craving a burger? Try a veggie burger or use lettuce instead of patties. Need some chocolate in your life? Grab a bar of dark chocolate for your sweet tooth and a nice boost of antioxidants as well.

 

Understanding your likes and dislikes can go a long way in helping you make healthy food choices on the go.

 

Get the Right Tools

 

Making healthy food choices isn’t just about knowing what to buy at the grocery store. It’s also about getting suitable tools and materials to help make the process easier.

 

For example, two great buys are to-go boxes, such as microwave-safe bento and lunch boxes. Simply fill them up the night before. Then, just grab them from the fridge, pop them in your bag, and you’re set for the day.

 

For batch cooking, consider investing in a Dutch oven, Instant Pot, or crockpot. Each of these cookware is guaranteed to make meal prep quick and hassle-free. You just add the ingredients, set the timer, and leave it to their thing.

 

Think Ahead

 

Why not take a couple of hours out of your weekend to organize a meal schedule for the busy week ahead? You can go old school and use a pen and paper.

 

Or you can take advantage of today’s technology and download one of the many meal-planning apps available. These apps help you schedule meals, prepare shopping lists, and even help you manage your budget.

 

Other benefits of using a meal-planning app include the following:

 

  • Focus only on the items on your grocery list, so you only buy what you need
  • Suggest new and fun recipe ideas
  • No more stressing over what you’ll eat or how much time it’ll take you
  • Calculate how much carbs, fat, proteins, and other nutrients you’re consuming each day
  • Know your total caloric intake for the day

 

Choose Wisely

 

It’s hard choosing healthy foods when you’re eating out or passing through a drive-thru. However, the good news is that now almost every fast-food place has a handful of healthy food options to choose from.

 

Thanks to the growing demand for healthier food choices, fast-food chains have amended many of their items. Some have even added brand-new ones that are all about being healthy.

 

In the meantime, try these tips:


  • Pick the smaller portion sizes
  • Opt for a side salad instead of fries
  • Choose the grilled chicken instead of fried chicken or a beef burger
  • Order water, diet soda, or unsweetened coffee or tea

 

Be a Smart Snacker

 

Sometimes we’re just so swamped with work that we don't have time to eat. So, we go to the vending machine and get a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate with a bazillion calories.

 

Sure, it’ll satiate you for about 15 minutes. But then, because they’re also loaded with carbs, your blood sugar levels will take a nose dive. Soon, you won’t be able to focus on your work, and you’ll be dying to take a nap.

 

To avoid putting yourself through all that, learn how to snack smart. This means choosing snacks that keep you feeling full for hours without all the loaded carbs, sodium, and fat.

 

Below is a list of some nutritious snacks you need to have in your bag at all times. From the sweet to the savor, these yummy snacks will ensure you always make healthy food choices.

 

  • Trail mix
  • Nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, and walnuts
  • Chopped vegetables with a side of salsa or hummus
  • Cut-up or whole fruit
  • Rice cakes and granola
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Sugar-free protein bars

 


Saturday, 10 December 2022

Should You Keep Your Dreams to Yourself?


In 2010, Derek Sivers participated in a TED Conference. His speech lasted just three minutes and in it, he encouraged people to not share their goals with their friends, family, co-workers, or anyone around them. Derek backed up his reasoning with several scientific studies (listen to his presentation here).

 

In his speech, Derek says, “When you tell someone your goal and they acknowledge it, psychologists have found that’s called a social reality. The mind is kind of tricked into feeling it’s already done. Then because you’ve felt that satisfaction, you’re less motivated to do the actual hard work necessary.”

 

Derek goes on to point out how talking about an important life change or goal can make you less likely to succeed. But those aren’t the only reasons you may want to keep your latest ambition a secret from everyone else. Here are three more reasons you should consider keeping mum:

 

Talking about a Goal Destroys Your Stamina

 

How many times have you told someone else you were going to do something hard? Maybe you told a co-worker that you’re planning on losing 50 pounds. Perhaps you told a family member that you were going to get out of debt this year. 

 

You may think doing this pumps you up and makes you more likely to accomplish your goals. But talking about doing something hard can actually drain your energy. You start to come up with all the reasons you won’t achieve it. You might tell yourself, “Well, I just can’t say ‘no’ to sugar. I don’t mind debt that much and I don’t want to change my standard of living.”

 

Sharing a Goal Can Discourage You

 

You’re really going to do it. This will be the year that you quit the factory job you hate so much and start your work at home business. Then you make the mistake of sharing a goal with someone else. 

 

The problem is the other person is negative and quickly points out all of the reasons you’re bound to fail. They may say unsupportive things like, “You don’t have a degree. You don’t have the time. Where are you going to get the money?” 

 

Within a few minutes, you start feeling discouraged. You’d felt so energized and were determined to act on your motivation earlier. But now, you’re filled with self-doubt and negativity.

 

Telling Others about Your Goal Can Damage Your Reputation

 

You’re always the one in your circle of friends with the big dreams. You love sharing your visions and ideas with other people. After all, your new goal is going to work out spectacularly.

 

The only problem is your goals change frequently.  You’re always pursuing something new and you rarely see a goal through to completion. While being a dreamer has its advantages, if you don’t pair your goals with follow-through, you can end up damaging your reputation. People will describe you as flaky and no one will trust your word.

 

Before you tell a friend or family member about your next goal, consider carefully if you should do that. You may accomplish this dream and become more successful if you keep it to yourself rather than sharing it with someone else.  

 


What’s the Dream You’re Afraid to Share?


You have a dream in your heart. It’s the one that’s so precious, so fragile, and so important to you that you don’t share it with others. You hold it close, in the hopes that by protecting it, you’ll one day get the chance to live it. 

 

That’s what Maddie did. She’d dreamed of being a writer since she was a kid. She wanted to write books and see them sold at bookstores around the world. She never shared the dream with anyone and by the time she graduated high school, she decided she needed a practical career.

 

So, she went to college for years and got a degree. Then she began a career as a dentist. She enjoyed getting to help her patients but she still went home every night, feeling unfulfilled. She daydreamed in the quiet moments about the books she’d write.

 

Why Does This Dream Scare You?

 

Are you like Maddie? Do you have a dream that you’ve managed to quiet over the years? Maybe you’ve told yourself that you’ll write that book when the kids are grown. Maybe you’ve decided that you’ll have time to travel when you retire. Maybe you’ve said that one day you’ll go back to school and pursue that career dream, just as soon as you have enough money.

 

But stop and think. Ask yourself what you’re really afraid of. What makes you so frightened of going after the dream? Are you afraid of what people will say? Do you worry that your spouse won’t be supportive? Are you concerned about being shunned by others in your community?

 

How Will It Change Your Life?

 

Sometimes, we fear fulfilling our dreams because it means change. Even good changes – like finally working in a career that makes you happy or making room in your life to travel as often as you want – can feel scary. 

 

Before you can go after that dream, you need to ponder how your life will change. You need to imagine the day you’ll leave your job. You should visualize the moment you step on the stage and receive the diploma you’ve always wanted. You need to close your eyes and create the life of your dreams in your mind.

 

Are You Ready to Pursue It?

 

There is a chasm between the life of your dreams and your life now. The space in between the two will be filled with hard work, bitter tears, crippling setbacks, and intense pain. But if you’re willing to persevere, you’ll find the life you want is on the other side.

 

Maddie followed after her dream of becoming an author. She started writing books. She took writing classes. She networked with other authors. She began submitting her work to publishing houses and got feedback that helped her improve her work even more. She hasn’t sold a book yet, but she’s close. 

 

It takes courage to pursue your dreams and it’s tough. But it’s not nearly as hard as sitting on the sidelines of your own life, hoping that one day you get a chance to live out your deepest longings.