Creating The Perfect Healthy Vegan Diet

With vegan diets becoming more and more the healthy alternative to the meat eating mainstream, health-conscious eaters are looking at how to make meat and dairy-free products a part of their daily lives without missing out on nutritional necessities. Whether you want to lose weight or help control your blood sugar, the vegan diet has a lot to offer and isn’t as hard to follow as you might think.

Not One Size Fits All

Not everyone who follows a vegan diet will enjoy nuts and seeds, and others will definitely opt for fried tofu over raw plants any day, but that’s fine and is indeed the secret to a healthy vegan diet: eat what you like, not what you think you should like.

Blogger at Writemyx, Kim Gordon explains: “With veganism there is a lot of thinking that you ought to stick exclusively to one type of food or other but if your tastes tend toward vegan cheese and vegan meats, then eat them. If you want to steer clear of one type of food, that’s completely fine. Obviously you need to check that you are getting all your vital nutrients from somewhere but that doesn’t mean you have to eat food you dislike”.

The best way to start a vegan diet is through careful planning.  Think ahead to what you’re going to eat for the week and start there with a trip to your local health food shop or supermarket, if it has what you need. Planning will also help you see where you might need to boost your intake of calcium or fibre, for example.

Live A Little

If you’re swapping in vegetables for meat, you may need to completely re-think your eating styles. Don’t just leave a gaping hole where your sausages once sat but instead look at cooking up completely different meals and experimenting a little bit with flavours and cuisines.

Thankfully, there are literally hundreds of recipes online for you to peruse and try out. If you’re missing your spicy Mexican food, try a vegan jackfruit taco and see what difference a little extra effort can make. You should find that rather than shrinking, and your dishes become a whole lot more interesting not to mention colourful.

Check out some top vegan restaurants near you and take ideas from their menus, the more tasty recipes you have in your personal vegan cookbook, the less likely you are to feel you’re missing out on meat and dairy.

Alejandro Garcia, a health writer at 1day2write said: “Rather than feeling like you’re giving up or losing something, look at going vegan as an opportunity to become more creative and adding more colour and flavours to your palette. Incorporating unusual and exotic plants, fruits and vegetables can open up a whole new world and if you’ve never been much of a cook, might inspire you into the kitchen”.

There’s no doubt that cutting out all animal products from your diet is a big challenge . However, it’s well worth it, living a more ethically conscious lifestyle and the reported health benefits make the challenge of going vegan a battle worth fighting.

Clearing out your cupboards and stocking up on vegan-friendly ingredients will signal the start of a new you and a lifestyle where the advantages far outweigh any of the perceived problems. Get planning and set that new vegan to discover a whole new world of colour and flavour.

Going vegan for any of the reasons above can also be a part of the online self development program , where you can learn how one can combine a cruelty-free existence with personal well-being.

How to Drink More Water for Body and Soul?

How to Drink More Water for Body and Soul

Ah, water – clear, pure water, with a tricking sound like music. Home to the fish, salvation to the thirsty, relief to the sunburned vacationer. But who does actually give this life-giving substance the attention it deserves? Not most of us.

Get tired and don’t know why?

Water is ‘basic.’ It’s not something that crosses the mind much at all. Yet, that doesn’t prevent water from giving. Water gives life, health, serenity. As long as you drink enough of it. Two-three litres a day for a woman and up to four for a man should do the job. Any less, and you may be compromising your health and well-being.

If you don’t have a habit of counting how much water you drink, there are immediate symptoms you can look out for that you’re not getting enough. Headaches, dizziness, and dry-eye are all common complaints that seem to have no cause. Could be dehydration. A salt craving, cramps, or dark circles under the eye are some of the odder signs that you need to drink more water.

Let’s just take a look at what water can do for you. It lubricates your joints, because cartilage is four-fifths water. This helps you keep moving and reduces pain. Water also lubricates your mouth, nose, and eyes. Without it, you can’t eat or breathe. And when your eyes get dry, guess what: you feel tired and you don’t know why.

Water is also essential to your brain and nervous system. It helps you think straight. It keeps you calm. It cushions blows from the outside world, as a shock absorber for your brain and spinal cord.

And 90% of your blood is water. Blood is good, right? Low water intake can lead to high blood pressure. That in turn can cause a stroke or dangerous clotting.

Getting around with alarms and reminders

So we’ve agreed, water can make you feel better and actually be better. But it’s still kind of a chore to remember to drink it. That’s why it can be useful to work out some ways of changing your habits to drink more.

Actually, it’s not too tough to change your schedule. Making the decision to do so is a good start. But you may need alarms and reminders to keep you on track until drinking water regularly becomes your second nature.

1) Drinking a glass when you get out of bed is the best start. You know it’s the first thing you need to do, and also it will dehydrate you after a long night. After that, make the effort to drink a glass of water every hour, on the hour. Or at least fetch yourself a fresh glass of water to sip for the next hour. That way, every time the clock strikes, if you still have water in your glass then you need to drink it up so you can catch a refill!

2) One sip of water per email! If alarms and hourly alerts are too square for you, try attaching your water habits to other things you do regularly instead. Take a sip with every email you send, or – if you spend much of your day reading – fetch a new glass of water for every chapter you read.

3) Coffee and tea as a bonus! If it’s the taste of water that fails to excite you, there are ways around this. Despite the myth that coffee dehydrates you, it actually counts as water intake up to a point. As long as you’re not drinking unhealthy levels of caffeine, tea and coffee hydrate you. But it can be best to think of these as bonuses to your cold water intake.

4)That cold water can be improved by infusing it with fruit or ginger. Put berries or citrus fruits in your water bottle (or buy an infuser) and don’t think about it as drinking water at all; think of it as your fruity liquid treat. Mmmm!

Okay, so it’s tough to get excited about water. But water’s basic nature means it’s quite simple to slide it into your lifestyle. Check out this infographic with tips to drink more water, and you’ll soon realize that upping your intake is one of the simplest ways to feel better and be healthier inside and out.

What are your habits for drinking more water? Let us know in the comment section!

 

What are the Benefits of Yoga for Anxiety?

Anxiety is caused by different external factors. It can be a result of stress from work and school. Your marriage or relationship can also contribute to this condition. For people who are sick and are expected to take medication, this can also be one of the side effects. Anxiety may not be considered as a critical disease but it needs attention.

No matter what factor is causing your anxiety attacks, you need to do something about it. Aside from doing different activities that make you feel happy, yoga is one of the exercises that you can try. Yoga is an activity that involves mental, physical and spiritual aspect, perfect for all gender and all ages. Unlike exercise, the main point of yoga is to relax the body and to help oneself in finding inner peace.

How Does Yoga Help Cure Anxiety? Yoga includes different techniques to help you relax and meditate. There are studies showing that yoga can help relieve stress and anxiety. If you are thinking about how yoga can be helpful to you, here are different ways on how it can help cure anxiety:

1) Yoga Reduces Tension and Promotes Relaxation When you are anxious and stressed, your physical body reacts negatively. You will feel how your neck, your shoulders, and your muscles become stiff. This usually happens when you have worked the whole day. As a result, this tension is transferred to your brain. Your mind will react to the muscle tension by sending a signal that will make you feel uneasy. The goal of yoga is to reduce tension and promote relaxation.

2) Yoga Helps to Regulate Breathing When you are anxious, you will notice that you have rapid and short breathing. This is how anxiety affects you and makes you feel uncomfortable. Yoga breathing technique can help you with this. Remember that breathing can help you calm down. Here is a very simple yoga breathing practice that you can try:

  • Breathe and focus on how you do it. This is called breathing awareness.
  • Now shift your focus on the movement of your ribs and abdomen as you breathe.
  • Just try to feel how your ribs expand when you breathe out and how it contracts when you breathe out.

3) Yoga Increases Bodily Awareness In yoga, you will need less force and more sensitivity to your body. This is what you need after days of stress and a lot of work. As we do our daily jobs, we fail to notice that the tension in our body is piling up to the point that we already suffer physically and emotionally. In yoga, you will be stretching without using force. As you try to explore a pose, you are becoming fully aware of yourself in the process. You are putting effort without pressuring yourself. With this activity, you will be able to learn to find what is good for your body.

4) Yoga Helps Increase Productivity at Work

Most companies and employers are considering yoga as one of the best activities to help their employees become more productive. Just by doing the simple poses and breathing techniques you are already working on your productivity. Here’s how yoga can help:

  • It can improve your mental, physical and emotional well-being. With this, you can be more energetic and you can stay focused on doing your work.
  • It can make you more creative. It enhances concentration and let you think outside the box.
  • It can help you relieve pains such as a headache and muscle tension. The simple yoga poses can help you avoid the feeling of fatigue.

5) Yoga will Help You Feel Fresh Yoga is not a simple exercise. It has a philosophical background and it is capable of making you feel fresh. It establishes a link between the emotion, your breath, and your movement. Your heart, brain, and muscles are connected as you do the different poses. Deep breathing can help in eliminating the toxins and in purifying your blood stream. When the mind and the body are at peace, you will definitely feel fresh and more relaxed.

Anxiety and stress cannot be totally eliminated from life. These are results of the frustrations, problems, and issues of life. Instead of looking for ways to free yourself from the responsibilities, you need to learn how to manage yourself and your emotions. Yoga can help a lot in managing your emotions and stress. You can integrate it into your regular activities and you will definitely be happier every day. Give yourself 10-30 minutes daily for yoga, and you will have a more relaxed day ahead.

Honra tu verdad y siéntete feliz

Los seres humanos llegamos al mundo con total pureza y con la verdad más sincera de quiénes somos. Llegamos como un vaso completamente vacío que a medida que nos hacemos mayores, vamos llenando con mensajes que escuchamos de nuestro alrededor.

Estos mensajes con los que llenamos el vaso, terminan siendo nuestra personalidad. Por este motivo, podemos afirmar que dicha personalidad no somos nosotros en estado puro, sino que es el resultado de una mezcla de situaciones de nuestro entorno. A la vez, nos damos cuenta que nuestra personalidad no es algo con lo que nacemos, sino que es algo que creamos para amoldarnos a lo que nos rodea.

A veces ese carácter que creamos y ponemos dentro del vaso, no se parece en nada a nuestra verdadera esencia. Cuando esto pasa, nos sentimos vacíos e infelices sin saber muy bien por qué. A mi esto también me pasó, y te lo cuento en el siguiente link.

En estos casos, debemos verter del vaso lo que nos molesta y llenarlo con lo que realmente nos hace sentir realizados.

A continuación, comento unos consejos que ayudan a conectar de nuevo con nuestro YO más auténtico, el YO de verdad:

-Hacer lo que se dice y decir lo que se hace

Muchos son los que ya han escuchado antes esta frase, pero realmente decirla no permite sentirse mejor, es integrarla en nuestras células y actuar de esta manera lo que marca el cambio. Las personas que se han tomado esta frase en serio, han experimentado verdaderos milagros en sus vidas.

-Seguir nuestros valores

Muchas personas hablan de valores, pero pocos saben qué son realmente los valores y lo más importante: cuáles son los suyos. Nuestros valores son nuestras prioridades, aquello que para nosotros es tan importante.

Hay que decir que no todas las personas tenemos los mismos valores y esto está bien, porque lo importante es que cada uno de nosotros actuemos según los nuestros.

Por ejemplo, una persona que considera el valor de la libertad como muy relevante, le puede costar trabajar en una oficina donde le dicen lo que tiene que hacer y qué horario seguir en todo momento. Le dolerá seguir en este trabajo porque no tendrá la libertad que tanto aprecia. De todas maneras, este trabajo sigue siendo ideal y perfecto para otra persona.

-Decir siempre la verdad sin miedo

Esconder la verdad, significa no honrarla. No debemos tener miedo a no ser queridos, aceptados o gustados por otros, al fin y al cabo, no tenemos que gustar a todo el mundo. Pero si nos aceptamos, nos queremos y nos respectamos a nosotros mismos, ya tendremos el apoyo de la persona que más necesitamos.

-No decir sí cuando se quiere decir no

Muchas veces respondemos que sí para complacer a otra persona, pero realmente después nos arrepentimos y no nos sentimos a gusto. Decir que no apetece o que no se quiere, no significa hacer daño a nadie, siempre tenemos la opción de decir no con compasión y palabras amables.

-Responder en vez de reaccionar

La diferencia entre responder y reaccionar se encuentra únicamente en 3 segundos. Contar hasta 3 antes de dar una respuesta, permite dejar el tiempo suficiente para escuchar y contestar lo que realmente somos.

-Eliminar “tengo que” del vocabulario

La verdad es que no tenemos que hacer absolutamente nada, nosotros hemos elegido hacer lo que vamos a hacer. Así que podemos cambiar perfectamente el “tengo que” por el “yo elijo”. Cuando decimos “no puedo venir porque tengo que trabajar”, en realidad, esta es sencillamente la opción que hemos preferido.

Una persona auténtica es aquella que siempre honra su verdad y sabe que tiene elección de tener y hacer todo lo que le plazca en cada momento. Una persona auténtica se responsabiliza de su vida y crea su propia historia. Una persona auténtica abraza sin miedo el papel del jugador, el áarbitro y el juez en su vida porque está convencida de qué ella mejor que nadie puede afrontar todos estos papeles.

Una persona auténtica únicamente escucha su verdad, porque es la única que le permite sentirse libre y feliz.

Hay más información sobre el camino hacia nuestra verdad aquí.

Fulfilling Changes to Improve Your Lifestyle

What does it mean to feel fulfilled? For each person, the answer may be different. You might not find a specific “answer” at all, or it may be fleeting, changing often, or stemming from some unknown source. However, there are small adjustments you can make to your behaviour and the way you interact with the world around you that could help maintain a healthy, happy mindset. Here are some strategies for finding satisfaction in many areas of your life.

1. Organize Your Spaces

With the busy lifestyle many of us lead, it’s easy for things to begin to pile up.  Letting your home and work spaces get out of control can happen in small increments and may seem like a low priority at the time. However, researchers and philosophers have pointed to a connection between the physical environment we create for ourselves and our emotional well-being.

Put simply, your physical environment may be a reflection of your state of mind. If you leave your clothes strewn in piles on the floor, maybe even stepping on them, does that mean you don’t care about your appearance? Maybe not, but it’s a habit that might form from convenience, laziness, or necessity, and you might not even think about how it affects you on a subconscious level.

Consider the same sort of question about leaving dirty dishes in the sink, keeping your books in odd stacks, losing important papers in piles, or allowing clutter of any kind to accumulate. At some point, these areas may become confusing and unusable.

Disorder impacts everyone at some point. Especially in the wake of life changes and other distractions, small tasks and responsibilities can slip out of sight. However, if you make a point to be aware of your physical spaces and intentionally work to keep them clean, clear, and organized, you can achieve a better peace of mind and create a more positive relationship with your home.

Consider trying out minimalistic storage and organization strategies in order to simplify your home. Practicing minimalism doesn’t mean you have to get rid of everything you own. Instead, you can take less drastic steps to declutter your home – one area at a time – and create habits that will make it easier to maintain these spaces in the long term.

For example, you might start by sorting out clothes you haven’t worn in a long time and deciding if they are really something you plan to wear or if they should be donated. Paring down your wardrobe to the most essential items will reduce the confusion you might face when choosing an outfit. With this space cleared, you’ll eventually buy more clothes, but it’s possible to choose items that will fit well with your downsized wardrobe.

When purging items from various areas of your home, a best practice is to consider whether the object truly makes you happy or if it’s just taking up space. Whether it’s a chair that isn’t comfortable anymore or a piece of art that doesn’t bring you joy, clearing space can allow for new opportunities and a simpler, more fulfilling home life.

2. Get Some Exercise, Even Small Amounts

Just as our homes can fall into disarray, it’s easy to neglect our bodies and miss out on the effects self-care can have on our physical and mental health. Exercising regularly is something most of us know we should do, yet it can feel like a chore — even when it stands to reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve mobility, physical health, and appearance.

It’s difficult to find the time and motivation. However, starting small is the key here. Even taking a brisk walk for 10 minutes in the morning could help you begin creating a fitness routine without requiring a gym membership or extensive planning.

If you think you simply hate all exercise, it might be because you haven’t found the right activity for you. The most obvious exercises that come to mind are things like lifting weights, running, and bodyweight exercises like push-ups and sit-ups. Going out of your way to perform these activities might not sound like fun, which means you’re less likely to keep up a steady routine.

Instead, you can get a solid workout from activities like yoga, hiking, gardening, swimming, dancing, cycling, and even shopping. Instead of forcing yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, try experimenting with some of these fun exercises or anything that gets your body moving.

3. Be Mindful of What You Eat

Like exercise, maintaining healthy eating habits can be challenging. Many people choose to go on specific diets because they want to lose weight or change their appearance, while others might go on a diet to combat medical conditions like diabetes. The sheer number of diets and nutritional fads available can be overwhelming and may seem too restrictive. However, healthy eating habits don’t have to revolve around any goal bigger than simply giving your body the nutrients it needs.

Rather than starving yourself or choosing an extremely restrictive meal plan, the best way to promote a healthy body and mind is to focus on a balanced diet. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply put, a balanced diet involves eating some of each of the following food groups:

  • Whole grains, such as pasta, bread, and cereals. When choosing these products, look for “whole” or “whole grain” on the packaging’s nutritional information.
  • Fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Broccoli, sweet potatoes, spinach, bananas, apples, and blueberries are all great choices.
  • Protein helps to build and repair tissues in the body. You can get protein from meat, fish, eggs, beans, soy products, and nuts.
  • Dairy, which provides calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Yogurt, cheese, and low-fat milk are a good place to start.
  • Fats help your body absorb certain vitamins, improve your energy, and contribute to brain health. Try to limit the saturated fats you’ll find in fatty meats and fried foods as these can lead to heart disease. Instead, aim to eat unsaturated fats that are present in avocados, nuts, and oily fish.

You may already eat some of these on a regular basis, but making a point to include each of these can make a huge difference in your life. In addition to understanding the major food groups, here are some general strategies for eating a healthy diet.

  • Pay attention to your hunger levels and aim to eat until you are full, not until you are completely stuffed.
  • Try to eat mostly fresh foods, avoiding processed foods when possible. Processed foods often contain added ingredients like dyes and preservatives. In some cases, the act of processing foods can destroy nutrients.
  • Limit added sugars whenever possible as these can lead to heart problems, weight gain, blood sugar imbalances, and other medical conditions. It’s okay to enjoy a sugary foods occasionally, but next time you’re craving a sweet treat, try reaching for fruits instead of cookies or ice cream. (Mixing yogurt and berries is my go-to dessert!)

4. Don’t Avoid Professional Help

It’s difficult to be happy when we’re not well. Too often, we wait until an injury or illness becomes unbearable before seeking medical attention. By that time, the condition is likely much worse than when you first noticed it. This makes the condition more difficult for doctors to treat, creates longer recovery times, and causes you more suffering in the long term.

In some cases, waiting too long to seek professional help can result in irreversible effects. For example, early detection of lung cancer can mean the difference between life and death. This is true for many forms of cancer and other serious diseases, and unfortunately when symptoms begin to show, it may be too late to treat them effectively.

Seeking medical attention may seem scary and expensive. However, consider that talking to a doctor is less scary than becoming deathly ill. It also costs much less to treat a condition early rather than paying for expensive treatments and surgeries later.

Instead, seeking out opportunities for preventative healthcare can allow nurses and doctors to catch conditions in their early stages and create a more effective treatment plan. Preventative healthcare includes regular checkups, blood tests, physical examinations, and immunizations. Even if you aren’t sick or noticing symptoms, a medical professional may notice patterns in your health that point to a specific, preventable or manageable condition.

Beyond in-person visits, new technologies in the medical field are helping healthcare providers better track, treat, and communicate with patients. For example, wearable health trackers and mobile apps can report changes in a condition remotely and in real time. This allows doctors to shift their approach to treating an illness on a moment-to-moment basis without forcing you to visit the hospital so often. Similarly, telemedicine options including phones, email, and other remote communications can allow healthcare providers to communicate with people who may live far away from a medical facility or specialist.

5. Take Part in the World Around You

This may be the most important thing you can do to improve your life. It’s too easy to shut out the world around us, especially when we’re busy. You may move from task to task, from home to work, and back, day after day. But it’s important to take time for yourself — to do something out of the ordinary to wake up from the repetitive cycle. This could be as subtle or drastic as you like.

For example, you may normally spend a lot of your downtime on your smartphone. You might be listening to music, watching shows or movies, or scrolling through a never-ending stream of social media posts. These activities are convenient, and it’s nice to tune out from time to time. However, if you’re always on your phone, your mind never has a chance to rest and you’re more likely to ignore the people and places around you.

The effects of overusing social media, in particular, can be subtle yet devastating. Because of the ways people present themselves online, social media can distort your self-image and lower your self-esteem. You may feel disappointed when you compare your life to other people’s photos of extravagant meals and vacation spots. You can also compete with yourself in a negative way if you struggle to live up to the exciting life you’ve presented online. And, of course, spending all your time taking photos and thinking up clever taglines can distract you from what’s happening around you.

You don’t have to give up social media altogether, but planning a week out of each month when you won’t use social media can help reset your brain and help bring you back in touch with the world around you. If taking a week off is too big of a step, at least be conscious of how much time you spend in the digital world and try to be present in your surroundings.

Sometimes you need to get away from your routine and surroundings altogether, and travelling is one of the best things you can do to invigorate your life and interact with the world. There are so many beautiful places to see, and each can offer you the chance to immerse yourself in the unfamiliar, learn about new cultures, sample exotic dishes, and take in breathtaking landscapes.

Travelling can be a life-changing event that will help shift your perspective for years to come. Having found a new way to see the world, you can come back home refreshed and better able to accept the challenges and the beauty of your daily life.

Why I Love Meditation Retreats

Sukkhothai Retreat

If you are one of those people (just like me) who always seek for something else than just relaxing holidays far away from daily routine, then you should consider this kind of retreat. Not only will you enjoy cosy accommodation, beautiful surroundings and delicious healthy food, but also precious time to have a real encounter with your true-self.

Suggestion from a cousin

When I used to think of holidays, I always imagined going away from daily life, resting an endless amount of hours, and lying on the beach. Basically, doing nothing. And I was lucky enough to do that many times. But sometimes I ended up more tired than when I arrived. Why so?

Because my mind did not take rest seriously. While I was drinking coconut and sunbathing, my mind was still jumping agitatedly from one thought to another. I was recalling everything I had left behind, stressing myself even more just because I had more free time to overthink.

Therefore, I always ended up having this taste for more. But what was it exactly that I was searching for?

Just randomly as awesome things happen in life, a cousin of mine suggested me to take a look at an article about a retreat taking place in Thailand. Although I had never participated in a meditation retreat before, I decided to take part in the one organized by WPI in January 2016. That was when I found a perfect balance: impeccable combination of relax, re-energizing activities and life wisdom. Later on, I participated in many more.

Connecting East and West

I felt this retreat was a synthesis of many aspects of my life that had always been there, latent, hoping to be awakened. Taking part in it gave me the opportunity to look back at myself, my emotions, and my essence. To enjoy some silence and be able to listen to whatever my body, my mind and my soul were trying to tell me.

Sukhothai Retreat view

Organized in a delicate way, the retreat made me feel relaxed, comfortable, encouraged, inspired and embraced at the same time. My wandering mind had no chance but to finally surrender to the possibility of taking some rest.

What’s more, I had always been interested in learning about different cultures, connecting Eastern and Western philosophies. The retreat gave me an incredible chance to gain valuable knowledge about life from Buddhist wisdom.  Face-to-face lectures with Teaching monks allowed me to find pragmatic keys to have a different approach to my problems. I learnt about the way my thoughts, emotions, and actions are interconnected and how responsible I am for my own sake of mind.

Creating my reality

Basically, meditation taught me that I am the creator of my reality. Difficult and challenging situations will always be there and I cannot change them. However, I have absolute responsibility of the way I am reacting to those situations. Hence, I have the chance to build up my reality from a perspective connected to peace, freedom, truth and dignity. In this way, I am creating my own reality, I can stop assuming myself as a victim of external circumstances. Consequently, I am able to start considering myself as an active agent of transformation of my own life.

I understood that meditation actually requires just a little investment of time that brings countless benefits to my life.

If you are also passionate about diving into profound life experiences and would like to give rest not only to your body but also to your mind in a precious and tranquil environment, I would highly recommend you to take a look at this 7 Day Mindfulness and Meditation holidays for ultimate happiness that will take place in Thailand in July.

Be sure to enjoy the fulfilling experience of nourishing your true-self.

4 Ways Travelling Makes You Grow

grow

One day I went snorkelling on a boat in Vietnam, and met an Australian couple who travel permanently. They have retired and dedicated their life to travelling, and I was very surprised to hear from them that “travelling was hard work”. Years have passed since then, and today I perfectly understand this sentence. Not only do we laugh, enjoy, post on instagram when we travel, but we also become disciplined, overcome our fears and grow.

How exactly does travelling help you grow?

1) Out of your comfort zone

Your comfort zone is where you do not have to make efforts. Please agree that to arrange a trip, you need to search, compare, book, communicate, plan and make a lot of effort. When you start fearing, this is when you go in the right direction – fear and discomfort are indicators of growth, of expanding your comfort zone. When your comfort zone expands, you start feeling comfortable in more places and situations, and your mind expands too.

Facing your fear helps you grow.

grow travel

2) New perspective

Have you every eaten salty pig fat? If you visit Ukraine, you may think this is the best dish ever. Have you ever eaten corn and beans for dessert? This is what they eat in China. Have you ever dressed in a skirt as a man? In Burma it’s a national costume, and all men in the streets wear skirt.

It does not matter if you pick up the new perspective or not, but you learn to notice it, and appreciate it. Sometimes lessons from another culture really help change your life – I learnt from Thai people how to be ‘sabai’ – not to worry about anything and just chill out.

Learning new perspectives allow you to grow.

3) New skills and habits

I love travelling so much that I decided to make it my lifestyle. I managed to give away most of my things and live out of the backpack. This is my shower and make up kit, only the things I need and very well packed. This is how travelling can discipline you!

travel grow

You can learn how to ride a bicycle instead of using public transport in Beijing, because it is the easiest way to get around. One can study yoga in India, because this country is breathing yoga. You can learn free-diving in Koh Tao, the conditions for it are the best there. It is very often that places where we go create the best environment for learning a new skill. 

With new skills and habits you grow.

4) Understanding others – understanding yourself

Sometimes you come to a new country and freak out because things are done differently. In Thailand everyone is smiling at you and does not show their emotions. Being polite is a top priority, emotional intelligence is not trendy there. In Vietnam people are so open and sincere that it sometimes feels rude. One of my Vietnamese friends once told me – ‘You got a bit fat and your skin is so dark’ (which was her disapproving that I went suntanning). She was very sweet and I did not get offended, but she expressed it so honestly that it may feel inappropriate in other cultures.

Seeing both perspectives helped me put myself in the shoes of a person from another culture, and I could easier understand both cultures.

When you understand, you grow.

How does traveling make YOU grow? Please comment below.

Enjoyed this article? Read about 5 Ways nature can heal you.

grow travel

 

6 Ways A Working Mother Can Have A Great Start To Their Day

When you are a working mother, the domestic organization becomes a daunting task. Mounds of dirty laundry, school homework, hungry kids and breakfast-to-dinner meal planning make your head spin. Anticipating hectic hours at the office makes it even worse and doesn’t do much to make for a happy start to the day. So what can you do to reorganize your daily routine and make your mornings smooth – and peaceful?

Every working mother faces her own set of challenges and circumstances. A healthy morning routine, therefore, becomes incredibly important for a productive day.

Sometimes, I get asked how I ‘manage it all,’ which is simple enough to answer: I don’t. But making the most of the wee morning hours goes a long way towards a rewarding and stress-free day.

Forever chaotic mornings

When I was still new to this ‘working mom’ scenario, the only important thing I learned at the time was ‘mornings forever will be a bit more chaotic.’ If I thought that getting to work on time was a hurdle before the baby was born, then I didn’t know what was coming. I am naturally obsessed with anal-organization, setting everything down to its most minute detail. So, you can imagine how I approached our ‘new’ morning routine with an infant.

My son is growing up fast which means he’s becoming low-key unmanageable by the day. However, my day plan includes some key rules that help me keep my sanity intact and stay on track:

1. Become an early riser

As a parent, you are probably already waking up at a very early hour. Sometimes, however, even an extra 20 minutes can make things more smooth.

Figure out how much time you need to get everyone up, fed and dressed, then set your alarm accordingly. For me, those extra minutes are a blessing in disguise. On a pleasant morning, it means 20 minutes to play together or savor my milk tea, while a comparatively bad morning means I’m only 5 minutes behind schedule; hinting towards a rough day ahead.

2.Keep your breakfast healthy but straightforward

You don’t necessarily have to whip up an omelette from scratch – though scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast and fruit make a relatively simple and equally healthy breakfast. Oatmeal, cereal or yogurt can also do the trick.

If your kids prefer pancakes or waffles like my two-year-old, make a batch over the weekend and freeze them, then reheat in the microwave or toaster. Most of the time, I go for a packaged, frozen, whole-grain version; simplifying the breakfast routine even further.

3.Limiting time-consuming tasks

As crazy as it sounds, I have tried to eliminate anything that takes time in the morning. If it’s a shower, it needs to happen a night before. Before I hit the bed, my outfit and lunch for the next day are ready.

I have been trying to proactively think about which activities can possibly be done the night before and luckily for us, most of the things can be easily managed this way! I also pack my son’s bag and cloth diapers to take to his morning-babysitter the following day.

4.Get used to list-making!

I never realized that making lists would make my life so much easier. Balancing a 40+ hour work week, running a mom-blog and all of the other endeavors that flood my daily life can make remembering everything at 4 a.m. (time when I usually wake up) a bit daunting.

Therefore, write out your list of things that need to be done every day, stick it on the kitchen refrigerator or even on the bag itself and the daily hassles will ease out to a huge extent.

5.Watch out for unpredictable events

This might seem like a ‘duh’ thing to suggest, but it still amazes me how unforeseen morning events can be. A few examples from my house would include missing the alarm call, an unexpected feeding session that can’t wait, or the dress I laid out having an unnoticed stain.

Whether you are a stay-at-home child-bearer or a working mother, take your morning routine as a challenge to engage in every single day. If you don’t get it right today, you can always try again tomorrow.

6.Dole-out smart rewards – you deserve it!

If you manage to spare 10 minutes before heading out, do something fun. Read a light-hearted story, some quotes about love or play a quick game on the phone. Personally, I prefer reading a few pages of my favorite book coupled with a nice hot cup of raspberry green leaf tea. The extra kick you get from herbal drinks in the morning can keep your brain awake and fresh for the large part of the day.

In the end…

As I was writing this article, I was smiling. Mornings, unarguably, are overwhelming for a methodical mother. And if you have a fast-approaching deadline, I can pretty much guarantee that it will only get harder.

You might think that after countless hours of getting my kid (and husband) prepped up and ready to go, I would have it down to a science. Sadly, I don’t. Therefore, from a mother to a mother I would like to offer this single piece of positive advice: laugh. Blowing up the morning-waffle maker is kind of funny the first few times.

Let go of the mythical perfectionism and embrace flexibility with all your heart. Even if nothing goes according to plan, something or the other definitely will on another, better day.

Photo credits


Resources

https://www.workingmother.com/blogs/millierainer039s-blog/handy-tips-help-working-mom-organize-her-home-and-life-better#page-2

 

Want a happy life? 5 tips advice from Google’s Chief Evangelist

How do you know that you are alive?

 

 

(Pause)

 

 

 

Perhaps, it’s because you are reading this, you are breathing or you can see what is written here!

Now, most people can tell you this, yet, very few can really make what they call life truly meaningful.

In a recent interview with Peace Revolution, Gopi Kallayil, the Chief Evangelist at Google, touched on the core of living, with his life as an example. Choosing to call himself a happy being, he says everyone who intends to get the most of life ought to integrate certain principles and boundaries into the way they live and experience life.

Consider this…

How do you say yes to things in your calendar? Is it because you have time, or the activity serves your purpose?

The world is quickly moving towards more and more distractions and Gopi shares essential tips on how to focus on what matters most in life.

    1. Do you have a personal spiritual practice?

Spirituality means different things to different people. Whatever the definition you choose, Gopi says spending some amount of time to connect with your inner self and the core of who you are is essential to make sense of the impermanent nature of the world.

2. Do you have a core group of family…?

“When I say family, it’s not just blood family, but a core group of family, friends and people who support you…” explained Gopi. Adding that, spending time with this group of people occasionally is useful to our growth and development.

3. How do you take care of your health?

Health can be physical; as we all know it, yet our emotional balance, and financial wellness are essential aspects of our health too. Having a balanced diet, exercising and learning to keep watch of our emotions are core to our happiness. Similarly, financial wellness routines such as saving, wise investments and having clarity of our needs and wants are all an integral part of what we can all do to start attracting more happiness into our lives today.

4. What is your Professional passion?

It’s now becoming common that we all have a contribution to make the world a better place. The intersection where our passion meets the world becomes our mission. This mission could be our profession when we are paid to offer these services. An example is Gopi’s professional path finding the intersection between technology and business for greater good at Google.

5. Do you have a Personal passions?

On the other hand, some of the things we love do not necessarily attract any pay; we still do them. These become recreational passion that we do to grow and take breaks from the professional life. They also become points of connection to other people who share the same passion as us. It could be travelling around the world, dancing or sports.

It’s now your turn…

Do you have essential aspects of your life? The guiding principles that determine how you spend your time, energy and attention?

You don’t have to crack your brains now, take some time

and make or refine them following Gopi’s advice above and share with us your insights in the comment section below.

 

Watch the full interview replay here:

 

 

Integrating Mindfulness meditation into daily life

Meditation is good. Actually great!

Here  are 76 scientifically proven benefits that you may not be aware of; not to mention the ones that you feel when you close your eyes right now and suddenly feel blissful and relaxed!

It does not stop at the cushion or yoga mat in the morning or evenings!

Think of meditation and many people think yoga mats and cushions and a lotus position. What picture does meditation evoke when you meet it the first time? Leave your comments below.

Good news is; there’s more to it than simply sitting down and closing the eyes! The satisfaction and presence found within a lotus position can be created anytime and anywhere. As Jon Kabat Zin proposes, wherever you go, there you are! But how can we make it a routine? Routine projects a kind of boredom and since that’s far from our definition of routine, we shall call it a way of life!

How do I make mindfulness, meditation my way of life?

Good question! Oftentimes, we may get lost in the big words. Trying to comprehend mindfulness and all that meditation is and isn’t. Two things stand out in meditation, the presence that comes with being in the NOW and the choices that emerge from what is happening NOW! The presence, we can call that awareness! The choices, we can call it intention or what I choose to focus on NOW! Simple, right?

Now, we are asking ourselves, how do I become present to what I choose to focus on NOW?

What we all need to understand is that everything good and bad that we aspire to acquire calls for time, attention and energy! And when I say everything, I mean everything! Unless you have a counter opinion, which I would really love to hear in the comment box below…

You claim not to have time?

Do you get distracted? To your phone, Social Media or a chitchat with a friend? For that, you have time, why? Because you have allowed it to happen. How  can we also allow an intentional distraction to bring attention to the present? Here are simple ways to do it:

  1. Set a reminder on your phone or a mindfulness meditation APP  to secure 3-5 minutes breaks to reconnect to the present.

a) How about every 60 minutes?

b) … or based on your concentration span at work, you can set every 20-30 minutes to remember to come back to the present

Whatever works for you is what you choose. You can pick a time-frame and adjust every week or month as you deem fit. A soft tune reminder will do.

2. Ding Dong! Wow! Time travels so fast! I can’t imagine 1 hour is gone!

You set the reminder and… Phew! Now what?

You have a lot of options to choose from based on what you find most appealing, and interestingly, what you connect with. Here are some of them:

a) Paying attention to my body and breath at this moment.

b) Spend some time observing the content of my thoughts and feelings at that moment (What am I thinking right now, How do I feel at this moment? What am I creating at this moment)?

c) Use a meditation object:

i) A personal mantra such as “clear and bright”, love and light” or any other you choose.

ii) A visual object such as the sun, moon or a flower…

d) Reaffirm my intention or a specific quality I am cultivating using the “I am”. An example could be “I am kind, I am Love” I can smile and relax more, acknowledge in gratitude support systems around me among others.

e) Always finish with a smile of gratitude and get back to what needs to be done, with more presence and intention!

Simple as it may seem, nothing will happen unless you take your trigger seriously! You cannot “snooze” the APP or alarm. If you are lacking motivation, or inspiration, which is very important by the way, why not inspire these qualities during your 5 minutes moment of silence? You can reaffirm your motivation too!

In summary, life is complete in itself. The benefits that one gets with bringing more presence and intention to their life are evident at experiential level. No book, blog or article you read will explain it to you any better than you feel it when you try for yourself! But to try, we got to step out of our comfort zones and dare try it NOW! And in case, you lack an inspiration, that too, can form a part of your moments of mindfulness.