12 Things Happy People Do

By Jacob Sokol via Huffington Post 

1. Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness. And that’s without having to go out and buy anything. It makes sense. We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.

 2. Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times [3].

 3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous. If we’re somehow “better” than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority. Our ego inflates — KABOOM — our inner Kanye West comes out! If we’re “worse” than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made. What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place. If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.

4. Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness. How extraordinary is that? A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin. Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.

5. Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely? WHOA! There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with. We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.

6. Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the “craptastic” moments is what shapes your character. Sometimes crap happens — it’s inevitable. Forrest Gump knows the deal. It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.

7. Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you “hate” someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are toxic for your well-being. You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.

8. Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Action and awareness are merged. You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional. You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

9. Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

10. Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere. When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing. Counter-intuitively, having no option — where you can’t change your mind — subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.

11. Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever. It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists. Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”

 12. Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected [4]. Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft? Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.

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The Black Bruins [Spoken Word] – Sy Stokes

Sent shivers down my spine. Something to ponder… Enjoy.

Peace & Love,
M.

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Chennai — Day 27

Today is day 27 in Chennai. I should honestly do daily blog posts but I am literally burnt out during the weekday. The past three (three and a half?) weeks have been surreal. I’ve been to India a couple of times but this is by far the most unreal experience. I’ll elaborate on it as I go on.

Growing up in the west, you’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle, no surprise there. But India has kind of shook me in a way that I’m finding it difficult to describe at the moment. I mean, it probably has to do with living on my own in a totally different country that doesn’t live up the quality of life Canada trains you to expect, but it’s weird because there’s literally almost two whole different worlds in this country — at least in Chennai and other major cities like Mumbai and Delhi. I feel as though I have so much to talk about but it’s all coming out completely jumbled right now so let’s walk through a timeline of my move here so far.

My first week here was not all that exciting. I went to work, met a few people, fan girled over a couple of hotty shotty movie stars and tv personalities… the end. My second week here, I was joined by a friend Thusi who is here for a month working at Apollo Hospital. Since the city really is a bit difficult to explore in by yourself (a female who’s a foreigner, especially), I was excited to have him join me on all the things I wanted to do here. We went to a few places that my coworkers highly suggested we vist. They were apparently the ‘high end’ restaurants and bars of Chennai and would probably make me feel at home. So, off we went to the Radisson…

OCTOBER 3, 2013 UPDATE:

I’m back in Toronto! It’s been almost a month since I’ve been back (Sept. 8) and I know I’m such a huge fail at updating my blog but I will be back with a lengthy update… I hope!

Peace & Love,
M.

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Chennai — Day 4

Can we discuss why I’m sitting at home instead of sitting at work, nursing a damn sore throat and stuffy nose? Holy jalabees. You can’t live with AC, you can’t live without it.

All I’ve done so far is work, work, and more work. Definitely not as easy as I thought it’d be but it’s a nice change. I’m being forced to be a lot more creative and step out of my comfort zone (let’s not discuss how terrified I was during my presentation). The work just doesn’t seem to stop though — I’m currently *working* as I speak… or type.

On another note, I’ve made 2 little kitten friends. I don’t know where they roam during the day, but I can always find them at night when they’re hungry. Last year I took in two dogs, this year’s for the cats I suppose. I’ve also set up a volunteer meeting with Blue Cross, Chennai Chapter. Excited to see what I can do to help out.

It’s currently 12:55 PM. I’m going to go blow my nose and go back to getting some work done so I can free up my weekend and finally go back to my yoga class. I’m in dire need of it!

Peace & Love,
M.

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An Evening in Chennai

It has officially been 3 days since I’ve left Toronto and 2 days of being in Chennai. I’m in one of my favourite cities, surrounded by the richest culture, and working a dream job a lot of people would kill to have but yet… I feel absolutely miserable.

My internet is slow, my cell phone sim still needs to be activated, and my jetlag is making an eight hour work day feel as though it’s much longer. I feel like transporting myself back into my bed in Toronto, after a big hearty hug from my mom.

But alas, this is all apart of growing up. Nothing a (few) good night’s rest and a big kick in the butt won’t fix. There’s only 2 more months to go after all.

NTS: Snap out of it and kick-start that bucket list this weekend.

Peace & Love,
M.

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Personal Pep Talks

Note: Sorry about being so MIA recently. I have so much to write about but I can’t seem to get the right words out. I suppose this is my writer’s block. I have quite a few drafts saved on here that just need some editing and publishing so here’s the first one! xx

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The root to happiness is not money… Or so they say.

I disagree. Although I don’t believe money should dictate your life or be the utmost priority in your life, it’s a much needed necessity to live life the way you want; stress free and burden free. Yes, having too much money can result in other types of stress but that’s not the point I’m getting at.

This morning, my friend Amy and I were giving ourselves a pep talk. Sometimes pep talks are necessary. They give you that extra push you need or re-motivate you when you’re feeling down. Amy is my number one girl when it comes to pep talks. We have the most in common in terms of goals, dreams, visions and financial ambitions. We talked about how society plays up this image of being able to drop everything and ‘find yourself’ but let’s be honest — that’s not realistic now is it? It’s the whole Eat, Pray, Love shenanigans. We’re made to think that we can just up and leave our lives behind so that we can make a new one for ourselves. If only it were that easy.

Life is a struggle in itself. Money makes it that much worse. Do work that reaps benefits and work hard. Life doesn’t get any easier. Love is great, but money helps keep it great. Far too many families are torn apart because of financial burdens. You don’t need to be swimming in wealth, happiness will fill that void. But try to get to a point in your life where you don’t need to think twice about how you’ll pay next months rent or mortgage. And please, please don’t have children if they’re going to grow up feeling your hardships and go through it themselves once they hit post-secondary age. So many parents put their blood, sweat and tears into providing for their families (a lot of times that’s the only option). It’s admirable, respectable and forever cherished. But no child wants to see their parent go through all that because they’ll know. They’ll know that everything you’re going through is because you want the best for them.

So next time you have a bright idea about dropping out of school, spending your last five dollars or having kids because you were careless and adventurous.. think about the future. Life can be scary but we’ve got this.

Peace & Love,
M.

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Quick Update

I hope all the mothers and mother figures had a great Mother’s Day. It’s the hardest job in the world, no doubt about that. I’ve been trying to eat a lot more healthy recently (minus this weekend, horrible Mother’s Day dinner and party temptations), and I’ve started to go back to the gym too. It’s a nice addition to my regular yoga. My legs are unbelievably sore though, but that’s a great feeling! Here are some of the snacks and meals I’ve been incorporating. I’m not a chef or creative with food, so this is the best I can do. I also don’t believe in cutting things completely out of your life. Live the life you love. That includes eating the things you love, just in moderation and smaller quantities.

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Peace & Love,
M.

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15 Things You Can Do To Be Your Best Self Today

By: Nico Lang

1. Try to have conversations with people you casually meet in everyday life. Find out the name of the woman you see all the time at the grocery store and engage her. You can have small talk or unexpectedly talk about the big things. I once ended up having a three-hour conversation with the girl who worked the cashier at the thrift store I went to all the time. Not only did I fill my afternoon in an unexpected way, but I also made a friend out of it.

2. Remind people in your life how much they love you and mean to you. You don’t have to get super gushy all the time or reenact a James L. Brooks screenplay. Just give back to the people who give to you.

3. Text people back right away. I know we all like to pretend we’re so cool and busy, but who doesn’t love to know, in a small way, that the person on the other end of the phone is fully engaging with you?

4. Ask yourself how you can be a better friend to people or better support them. Work on making yourself a little more accountable to the people around you. Sometimes this starts by talking less and listening more or being our more authentic selves with those around us.

5. Get up early. It’s a whole lot easier to take the day by storm if you grab it by the circadian cojones.

6. Smile more and laugh more. You don’t have to smile all the time — because that’s called “When I Was on Lithium” — but you should always seek more opportunities for humor and laughter in your life. Be aware of the joy that’s already around you, and if all you see is pain, transform it into laughter. Transcend it.

7. Do something you didn’t think you could or always wanted to do. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an artist, but I found out the hard way I couldn’t paint or draw. (My human hands look like mashed potato flowers.) But over the grad school break, I found something art-related I could do with my downtime: cut stuff out. I decorated my house in crossword puzzle collages, dirty Mad Libs and made pages from a beat-up John Updike book into wallpaper. It wasn’t the greatest art that’s ever been art-ed, but it was fun and my DIY saved me a whole lot on decoration.

8. Learn how to apologize. I think there’s nothing that makes us more beautifully human than making mistakes and owning up to them, whether it’s not being the best friend you can be or accidentally bumping into someone on the train. But we should be more aware of our effects on other people and hold ourselves more accountable to being a force for good in the world.

9. Let go of our anger, envy and hatred. This is a hard one for me. I have this certain Facebook friend of mine (who I unfortunately can’t delete) that I loathe with the fire of a thousand suns, and it used to kill me whenever something good happened for him. I would transform from the gorgeous, hyper-literate vixen you see before you into a swear-spouting mean girl. But you know what I did? Blocked him from my news feed. Ain’t nobody got time to obsess over other people’s accomplishments. Go out and accomplish your own crap instead.

10. Don’t use your iPod all the time. I think there might be an automatic genetic reflex that leads us to plug into our headphones as soon as we leave our houses, and while music is great (and my boyfriend), we sometimes lack awareness when we’re so focused on Frank Ocean. We lose one of our senses and become less present to the world around us. Next time you go for a walk or ride the train, let Frank rest for a second and listen to the soundtrack of the world around you. The world makes such beautiful music.

11. Complain less and make fewer excuses for yourself. Learn to enjoy your life and not always focus on what is bad, what is wrong and why you can’t or didn’t do something. Have you seen Parks and Recreation? Chris Traeger is kind of my life model, except for that part where he got weird and sad. You don’t have to ignore the dark side of life, which (as Chris shows) might make things worse in the long run. You just don’t have to live there either.

12. Do something nice for someone else — the kind of favor you might not see returned. One of my resolutions this year was to try to do Random Acts of Kindness for people every day — to let people sit down before me on the train, actually give the homeless guy a quarter rather than lying (not because I think it’ll make a difference, but because he’s a person whose humanity deserves recognition), hold doors open for people and a lot of cliché things that aren’t that interesting. It might not affect others’ lives, but these things are a daily reminder to me that I’m not the most important person in the world, and I should continually try to be of service to others, even if that’s just letting them go first.

13. Give someone a completely unsolicited compliment. During my sophomore year of college, I sat next to a girl who scared the crap out of me. She was beautiful, confident and one of the smartest people I’d ever met, one of those people who walks into class like they mean business. She didn’t talk to anyone, really, because she came to learn; she didn’t come here to make friends. But she was so interesting, and I knew I wanted to get to know this girl. So I made sure to compliment or say something nice every chance I could, knowing that one of those could lead to a real conversation and the intellectual pickle jar being opened. And wouldn’t you know it? We were close friends by the end of the year.

14. Do something completely unexpected or spontaneous, even if it’s as simple as getting a new haircut. To use an extreme example, I recently found out that my friend’s mom went skydiving a couple years ago — because she had a Groupon for it and why not? I couldn’t picture this tiny den mother of love (who looks like the mom in That 70’s Show) throwing herself toward the earth like a meteor. But more than being concerned for her safety, I was immediately jealous. Who knew she was such a badass?

15. Try something new — just for the experience. Whenever I go out to a restaurant, I try to get the bizarrest thing on the menu. I decided to start doing this four years ago, when I realized that I was only eating bland foods. I wasn’t challenging my palate. So, now when I eat out, I always pick something that sounds gross or interesting — like tripe, lengua, chitlins, pork skin, eel or squid. Sometimes this works out — like when I found out alligator tastes like chicken, but better — or not so much — like when I found out chicken gizzard tastes like chicken, except that it doesn’t at all. It’s like chewing on an eraser. As Mom said, you’ll never know if you like something until you try it.

[Source: Thought Catalog]

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Opportunities

Happy May! I hope the weather is treating all of you beautifully

I may potentially have an amazing opportunity coming my way. I won’t know for sure until tomorrow or a couple days after tomorrow, but when I do, I will surely share it. I just feel extremely blessed for the opportunities that come my way. Hard work definitely pays off and good karma as well. I feel as though my life has been extraordinarily beautiful since last summer. Despite having experienced loss (rest in paradise thatha), everything has been nothing short of a blessing and achieved through dedication, hard work, and good karma passed along from good people.

Peace & Love,
M.

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Love is All You Need?

Imagine you lived in a world where heterosexuality was considered a sin. This video, Love is All You Need, speaks the truth on so many levels. I don’t need to say much about it, this short film speaks for itself. Please watch the entire video and share!

Peace & Love,
M.

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