How Finding Inner Peace Changed My Life

Let’s face it! We all have a preoccupied life… Our daily life is all about waking up in the morning, rushing into the kitchen making breakfast for ourselves and our family, running off to work, getting back home exhausted and cranky, falling asleep in front of the TV and then repeating the same cycle (with some ups and downs) all over again, for the rest of our life.

Well, try my version: some time ago I started combining my Master´s studies (which is a crazy amount of homework, essays, lectures and presentations), an internship at the United Nations and working in a hectic job, while I am writing my thesis and translating a book. In the past, I used to come back home, crawl up somewhere in my house and cry over this stressful situation. During this time, I felt miserable and even when I was trying to sleep I wasn’t able to as the nightmares were sneaking in to haunt me.

But on one great day, it all changed.

Being Curious Finally Paid off!

It was a boring afternoon… I went to the kitchen to make tea and started surfing the internet looking for new internship opportunities. When I was surfing the internet I came across a website that was teaching self-development and inner peace lessons for free. I got curious and signed up.

During the first lesson, I had to sit down for 30 minutes and try to think about nothing (It felt impossible as I had so much work to do).  As the lesson went on, I categorised all the duties in my head instead of paying attention. I simply could not concentrate. But after 15 minutes, I was out of duties for the day and my body started feeling relaxed and I couldn’t feel my fingers (to be honest I freaked out, opened my eyes and counted my fingers before going back to meditation again!). After 30 minutes, I felt weirdly calm. It was in the afternoon but it felt as if it was six in the morning and that I was ready to wake up and start my daily routine.

Finding Nemo

The main point of meditation method was learning how to “be at the center of yourself”. The whole concept was vague to me for a while. The teacher would count down steps to calm the body down and then ask us to find the center in our body. Yet every time I was thinking:  where is the center?!

One night it happened. I was dealing with some problems regarding my studies and was in a desperate need of some minutes away from reality. When I got home, I changed out of my uniform, lit some candles, closed my eyes and sat down in the lotus position ready to start meditating. After a few minutes, it happened just like that. I was there – in the center, looking at my meditation object (the moon). It gave me a feeling as if I was finally in my own home. I could not hear anything, I could not feel anything, I was not even thinking as I was experiencing a genuine silence from the bottom of my center and was listening to the delightful sound of “nothing”.

Turning point

This practice that I started out of curiosity suddenly became a daily habit. It was the only “me time” during the day. I could not wait to finish my work and studies, get back home and start my inner journey. After practicing the inner-peace lessons for 42 days, I started to experience unique visions. I was visualizing myself in my most favorite place on earth, sitting by the Yara River looking at the magical sunset. One day, my visions took me to a mountain, where I was looking at the clouds passing by, caressing my face. The next day I felt the center of my body, reaching neutrality and felt deeply relaxed. The feelings were so deep that I was afraid to tell someone in case they would spoil it! Little by little, it changed my behaviour. I was able to make better decisions, think more clearly and be more focused on my work and studies. How incidental it was that a small moment of curiosity could change my whole life!

Want to be a Peace builder? Start with yourself!

We all want to change the world. I used to be obsessed about United Nations, following their pages thinking, “Wow, these guys are changing the world! It’s amazing; I want to do that too”. However, if you had asked me back then, how I was going to pursue this ambition, I literally had no idea. I would simply be waiting for someone to tell me what to do instead of taking initiative myself.

I believe it is great to have ambitions about changing the world, but now that I have more experience, I know that you can only achieve your goals if you start from within yourself. It is impossible to be a famous worldwide peace builder in one night. The most important thing is that you start somewhere, whatever method works for you. For me the inner peace lessons were very helpful. It does not have to take much of your time – 10 minutes a day is a good start and then before you know it, you are ready to change the world.

How to begin your inner-peace journey?

Here are a few suggestions if you are interested in experiencing the same journey to find your inner self like me:

  • Take your meditation posture on the floor,  chair,  or a sofa;
  • Relax your body and then your mind;
  • Concentrate and be aware of your surroundings. Find a central place within yourself and imagine it is a mental object, such as the moon;
  • Reach complete silence and equanimity in your mind. From this moment onwards, neutral observation and detachment to whatever may arise or occur is important. If thoughts arise, one can combine the mental object with a phrase (i.e. “Clear and Bright”)
  • Before getting up: spread the LOVE to all beings.

See you at the center!

How to Overcome Anxiety in the Digital World

Technological advancements in the areas of communication have given us the ability to process colossal amounts of information in a short period of time. Smartphones and tablets ensure that you are constantly in touch with the world around you and your many social networks.

Recently a hot topic of discussion has been the impact that this massive degree of stimulation has on our mental health and cognitive abilities. The way we observe and react to events in our world has been revolutionised with the emergence of social media and instant news updates.

While this constant flow of information is beneficial in many ways, there is some evidence that this overload can affect the individual’s physical and mental well-being.  By understanding the human emotions of fear and anxiety, we can learn how to deal with anxiety and fear in today’s age.

Causes of Anxiety and Worry

The human mind is complex and can only process a few tasks at a time consciously. The rest of these tasks are filed away to be completed at a later date. If there are too many tasks to be completed, the mind starts to feel overwhelmed, “thinking” of all the things left pending.

This causes the mind to obsess over the unfinished tasks, only stopping once they are complete. This sense of helplessness and anxiety is only enhanced by technology.

A classic example is something you will come across each day with your smartphone. The minute you see a notification on your phone, whether it’s a message, an alert or an email, you probably experience a strong urge to check it and tick it off your list.  This is the mind experiencing anxiety over getting things done.

Unfortunately, most of us can’t have all our tasks finished at all times. Some things can take longer, and some require collaboration and the participation of others. This causes the task to remain unfinished in the mind. In such a situation your mind will remind you constantly of the task and create anxiety over the things left undone. Your stress levels get even worse when you try to juggle too many tasks at the same time. This can result in a loss of productivity and even keep you up at night.

Ways to Tackle Anxiety

Fortunately, there are small steps you can take to deal with the overload of stimuli and stress. Follow some of these habits to start feeling less overwhelmed, one day at a time.

1. Ensure You Get a Good Amount of Quality Sleep

Sleep is possibly the most important factor when it comes to your mental and physical well-being. But it’s not just about the amount of sleep you get, but also the quality of sleep. Following a few steps before hitting the sack can significantly enhance your sleep quality. Eliminate caffeine completely after 5 pm and stop using all forms of electronic media at least half an hour before bed. Keep your phone away from your pillow and keep your room dark and cool.

2. Get Any Negative Stimuli Out Of Your Life

If there is something or someone that brings negativity into your life, it may be time to say goodbye to it. If you interact with someone online who regularly uploads negative comments or posts, unfollow them. Watching the news can be depressing, so it is better not to watch it if it brings you down.

3. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

It’s a good idea to avoid anxiety triggering foods such as sugar and coffee. Caffeine prompts the release of adrenaline which stimulates a fight or flight response in the brain. This can induce nervousness and aggravate symptoms of anxiety.  If you can’t cut these out completely, try to limit your intake. Also stay away from junk food and eat wholesome meals comprising of veggies, protein, and healthy carbs. Avoid alcohol. Never skip breakfast and indulge in snacks like nuts and berries.

4. Take Up a Sport or Engage In a Workout That You Enjoy

Following a workout routine every day has numerous benefits for your body and the mind. Taking up an activity such as running will not only help keep you physically fit but also have a meditative effect on your mind.  In this digital age, there are a number of accessories that you can use to increase the effectiveness of your workouts such as fitness trackers and even virtual reality headsets!

Finding Peace and Joy 

Our mental health can affect everything from how we feel about ourselves to our relationships with others. Your thoughts are conscious decisions you make every day, so try to stay positive and optimistic. Try some of the tips mentioned above, and you’ll be able to find peace and joy in this fast-paced digital world. For more tips on overcoming anxiety take a look at the infographic below.

Rising Levels of Anxiety In A Digital World

De-Stress And Self-Express Through Colouring Books

In the past few years, colouring books have become a popular trend, and many people are surely buying them and sharing them as gifts. In this article, we will explore how colouring can be beneficial to your mind and what makes it so popular.

Like meditation

When we do anything with our hands, the attention moves from thoughts to actions, and we concentrate on what we do, letting go of toxic thoughts. This is why handicrafts, knitting, painting and other related activities are so stress relieving. It can also be related to sports, when the whole body is engaged and the attention is moved from the thinking mind to the actions of the body in the present moment.

Reducing anxiety

Anxiety can be caused by many reasons, and one of them is negative thoughts. The good news is that we can only think one thought at a time, and when we switch from negative thoughts to the thoughts of “which colour do I choose? Where do I colour now?” we tend to cool down and relax, and disconnect from our worries.

Pleasurable activity

Since the outcome of colouring is easily predictable and it is difficult to mess up while colouring, it becomes an easy and pleasurable activity, and relaxes the brain. We do not need to worry, we just need to be fully present and flow.

Reconnecting with your inner child

When we think of childhood, we often have good memories of safe and secure environment. The truth is, in childhood we received most of the conditioning  that our mind lives off right now, and no matter useful or not, one can work on his/her conditioning. Going back to your inner child, nurturing your inner child and allowing yourself to play is a healthy practice that will also take good care of the adult in you.

Martina from Slovakia has one of such colouring books and this is what she says about them: “Anytime I come back home, it is there, so I can colour something and it is connected to my comfort zone and precious self space. Once we had a colouring session together with my friends, it actually took the whole weekend and it was pretty relaxing. Did you know that there is even colouring app for your phone? It helps with concentration.”

“I don’t consider the colouring books as art therapy; I consider the colouring books therapeutic, which is not the same thing.” says Drena Fagen, an art therapist.

Photo credits: Google Pictures

There have been studies that show that it is more beneficial for people to create their own artwork rather than colour inside the designs that someone else has created. It indeed sounds more reasonable to unfold your own creativity and allow yourself to be a creative being. When you are too afraid to make the first step, I believe colouring a postcard or colouring a book can be useful too.

Have you ever engaged in this activity? Do you have colouring books at home? We are happy if you share with us in comments.

How Changing Meditation Place Can Affect Your Experience?

Every day I wake up in the morning, I realise how blessed I am to be alive and healthy. After I have sent my prayer, the second thing that I look forward to is meditation. It highly helps me get through the day without over-reacting to any situation that can tamper me in any way.

I normally practice meditation twice a day for 1 hour: 30 mins in the morning and 30 mins in the evening before I sleep.

I have always been practising meditation in my room, and it is a place where I feel more relaxed and comfortable, but I soon realised that sometimes I get distractions during meditation as I’ve always been doing it at the same place.

After I attended Peace Revolution Amandla Eastern & Southern Africa Fellowship in Nairobi this early August,  I experienced something quite new which was to meditate in different places. Especially when we meditated outside the room, we got close to the nature itself.

When meditating in the nature, I felt from my experience that it was very easy to connect to the centre and channel my thoughts to focus on meditation. When my mind started to wander, I immediately returned it to the centre.

It was an amazing feeling meditating close to the nature with fresh air and sunlight touching my skin. I realised that changing meditation place can also help improve meditation experience, and hence one can easily connect to the centre and avoid distractions if any arise.

Why don’t you try out the new experience today? Try meditation in a new place once in a while to enjoy that good, pleasant feeling.

It’s the Little Things in Life: Happiness Practices Around the World

Happiness Practices Around the World

Happiness isn’t all about grand ambitions and big achievements, it’s also about the little touches that make daily life a bit nicer.

All over the world, people have found their own ways to brighten up a difficult day without the need to spend money. Our new series of illustrations takes a look at a few that you might like to try for yourself.

Japan: ‘shrinrin-yoku’

Happiness: ‘shrinrin-yoku’ Peace Revolution
Japan: ‘shrinrin-yoku’

It may sound like an ancient rite, but Japanese forest-bathing was first developed as a scientifically verified aid to conventional medicine in the 1980s. Take yourself for a mindful walk through the woods when you feel low and you can rejuvenate mind, body and soul.

Hawaii: ‘Ho‘oponopono’

Happiness: ‘Ho‘oponopono’ Peace Revolution
Hawaii: ‘Ho‘oponopono’

Hawaiians have a good awareness for the idea that anger and resentment hurt the person that feels those emotions more than the one who provoked them. Literally meaning “to make right”, the double use of the word pono – right – indicates that you must make things right with yourself as well as the other person. When you feel your anger swell, sit down with that person and talk openly about your feelings.

Norway: ‘friluftsliv’

Happiness: ‘friluftsliv’ Peace Revolution
Norway: ‘friluftsliv’

Norwegians define themselves by their connection to the natural world and outdoors living. The winter is so dark that they have to roam a little to keep their spirits up, and summer days last so long that there’s always time to visit nature. Putting some time aside each day to walk in the park or really listen to a nearby river can help you find your place in the world.

Germany: ‘gemütlichkeit’

Happiness: ‘gemütlichkeit’ Peace Revolution
Germany: ‘gemütlichkeit’

When you picture a group of Germans sitting around and laughing, that’s gemütlichkeit. Difficult to directly translate, it describes a very special kind of social bonding where being playful and lively can create a sense of belonging. You can create this feeling with your family or friends by treating each meeting as an occasion and always taking an opportunity to dance or sing together.

Spain: ‘siesta’

Happiness: ‘siesta’ Peace Revolution
Spain: ‘siesta’

The famous Spanish afternoon nap has been around for thousands of years and, if it used to be considered a physical necessity, today it is often regarded to be a luxury. Even if you don’t live in a hot climate, a 20-minute nap after lunch can help avoid that energy dip that derails so many good starts.

Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil: ‘mate’

Happiness: ‘mate’ Peace Revolution
Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil: ‘mate’

“Yerba mate raises morale,” wrote the French Society of Hygiene in 1909, “sustains the muscular system, augments strength and allows one to endure privations. In a word, it is a valiant aid.” This miraculous tree leaf tea can be taken alone as part of your morning ritual or sipped from a calabash bowl and passed around with friends.

Turkey: ‘keyif’

Happiness: ‘keyif’ Peace Revolution
Turkey: ‘keyif’

If keyif is a central part of Turkish national culture it is also, in practice, a very personal thing. Keyif means just finding a moment to be by yourself and to quietly live in the moment. You can choose to do so on the beach, on a park bench or in the bath.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: ‘kafa’

Happiness: ‘kafa’ Peace Revolution
Bosnia & Herzegovina: ‘kafa’

The tempo in Bosnia is somewhat slower than elsewhere in Europe, and kafa – the coffee break – is a big part of that. Sitting down with this specially prepared brew means committing to a discussion of world affairs and personal gossip, and forgetting about time for a few moments to concentrate on the flavor of the coffee and on the quality of your company.

Nigeria: ‘ubuntu’

Happiness: ‘ubuntu’ Peace Revolution
Nigeria: ‘ubuntu’

The word ubuntu is taken from the Zulu phrase ‘Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’, which is the idea that a person only exists and thrives through community. If you are open and affirming to your neighbours, you can acknowledge your part in society and strengthen yourself by strengthening others.

Next time you find yourself in need of something extra to brighten up your day, remember these nine things that make people happy around the world.

Source

Shinrin Yoku (2017). Take a walk in the forest. shinrin-yoku.org
James, M. (2011). The Hawaiian Secret of Forgiveness. psychologytoday.com
Gelter, H. (1999). Friluftsliv: The Scandinavian Philosophy of Outdoor Life. Canadian Journal of Environmental Education, 5, Summer 2000
Whiteoak, J. (2007). Making ‘Gemutlichkeit’: Antecedents of ‘Bavarian-style’ Musical Entertainment. search.informit.com.au
Willis, S. (2017). Siesta. msu.edu
Trigg, R. (2017). The aperitif: All you need to know about France’s ‘evening prayer’. thelocal.fr
Smith, J. (1988). More Than a Drink : Yerba Mate: Argentina’s Cultural Rite. latimes.com
McKirdy, C. (2016). How to Drink Yerba Mate in South America. vice.com
Thomas, O. (2010). Cultural encounters in Istanbul. bbc.com
Sarajevo Times (2016). Drinking of Coffee in BiH: A Ritual that is much more than plain Need for a Drink. sarajevotimes.com
Kimmerle, H. (2012). Ubuntu and Communalism in African Philosophy and Art. rozenbergquarterly.com
Ifejika, N. (2006). What does ubuntu really mean? theguardian.com

Illustrations: NeoMam Studios

How Meditation Gave Me A Meaning

It was more than three years ago that I discovered meditation. I still remember the doubt in my mind as I sat down to meditate for the first time: why am I doing this? I could be doing all those hundreds of things on my “to do” list. But I am just sitting here, in the middle of the room, with my eyes closed, doing nothing. The only thing that motivated me back then was the Peace Revolution Fellowship in Thailand that I would attend after completing 42 days of self-development program. So I did it. After coming back from the Fellowship, it turned out to be the most life-changing experience ever – now I wouldn’t skip a day without meditation.

Paradise Island

Imagine yourself on a beautiful paradise island. You are watching the sunrise while doing yoga, eating delicious Thai food, meditating four times a day with around 30 people from all over the world, interacting with Teaching Monks and learning from their wisdom, doing different activities throughout the day that help you be mindful and see goodness in others and yourself, start noticing your habits and realize how lucky you are to be alive. You are not allowed to use electronic devices and internet, but you don’t need them, and it makes your mind feel fresh and free. You follow the discipline and wake up at 5 am for the early morning meditation, and you find it exciting and doable.

We don’t usually have these experiences in our daily life, do we? We are busy with our work, studies, personal life; we often think that we need to achieve more, earn more and possess more to be happy. But is that true? Can external things make us happy? For how long? The Fellowship in Thailand was about leaving all the desire, greed and ego behind. In fact, it was not about learning something new. The designed program, the discipline, the opportunity to be disconnected from all the worries and problems back home was all about returning to oneself: pure, happy and free.

Lost in India

Before the Fellowship, it was already some time that I felt lost in life. Despite having a good education with a great background in journalism and abundant project experience from all over the world, I felt that there was something more than that. I certainly knew that my life was not about going to an office and doing a job that I didn’t actually like or following the patterns of society and starting a family at a certain age. Therefore, having finished all my assignments in Europe, I went to India, the country that I loved and where I had worked as an English teacher before. I wanted India to somehow show me the direction, perhaps give a job that I would enjoy, find a place where I would stay and solve my problems. I was disappointed to find out that nothing was falling in my hands as I had expected. I struggled to find a place where to stay (moving from one place to another almost every day), my money was running out, no jobs came to me just like that, and my knee started to pain reminding me of an old injury that I had not fully fixed back home. With a desire to become a published writer, I realized that this would not bring me any income leading me into more uncertainty and worries about my future, about what I wanted to do in my life. When looking back at those days, I am grateful that it was exactly this moment that I joined the Peace Revolution Fellowship in Thailand and started a journey to my true self.

Finding oneself

One may wonder: why is it necessary to find ourselves? What is there to discover, when we already have a family, job, personal life, hobbies that we enjoy. At some extent we know who we are. But is it our true self? Do the labels that we wear define us? Are they permanent? We never know when we are going to lose our job, end our relationship, change our status in society or on the contrary – get a new job, start a new relationship or move to another country; we want it or not, everything in this world is changing, and nothing is forever. This is why the external factors that happen to us, the roles that we play and the labels that we wear, even the thoughts that we have, – they do not define who we truly are. Life keeps on changing all the time, so the quest for the true self and for more purity is never-ending. This is why meditation for me is this amazing tool that helps to stay aware, that allows to stop and observe, that connects me to my personal space, my inner salvage where to return and where the truth lies. Once this happens and I have meditated, it is easier then to stay mindful about every passing situation and make sure that I act in the best possible way at each given moment of my life.

Sharing with others

It doesn’t mean that after the Fellowship, my problems got solved. I would still have my busy “to do” list, and I would still sometimes feel lost searching for answers. What has changed is the way I look at life and the way I do those things on my “to do” list. With meditation, I give more meaning to everything I do, I let go things that I cannot change and I approach problems with a positive, solution-oriented attitude. And though it is not always easy to remember it amidst daily responsibilities and busy routine, I know that at the end of the day there is something to return to, something that matters the most before everything else shall happen – meditation and my inner peace. 

After completing the Fellowship in Thailand, I joined the Peace Revolution project as a Peace Coach and later became a meditation and mindfulness trainer (Peace Architect). Now as I sit down to meditate, I feel a totally different motivation. I want to take care of my mind. Moreover, meditation has become my mission: I want to share it with everyone wherever I go.

Peace Revolution Fellowship 13 participants on the deck before boarding a boat to the Mooktawan island.

You’re Good Enough, And Always Have Been

If you’ve ever struggled or still struggle with loving yourself, know that you are not alone. And more importantly, know that there’s nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. In a world full of pressures and expectations, it is easy to feel less than. It is easy to compare ourselves to others or seek perfection when it is not necessary (or healthy).

Learning To Open Up About Your Struggles

I wholeheartedly believe that it is important to be open and honest about your own struggles. Without communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthy mind. Whether this means talking to a friend, family member, therapist, or even a journal, it helps tremendously to release your emotions.

Let me start by opening up about my own personal struggles with perfection and never feeling good enough.

Throughout high school, I put a lot of pressure on myself to get spectacular grades. While it was fabulous that I wanted to get good grades, my approach was not healthy. Rather than being satisfied with my achievements, I would dwell on the smallest mistakes. If I missed one question on a test, I would see only that mistake, not the achievement. Spectacular was not even enough. In fact, perfection wasn’t even good enough–it was just “all right.”

When my high school years came to an end and I no longer stressed about grades, perfection slithered its way in differently. This time, I became obsessed with weight loss and health, never seeing myself as worthy of happiness if I didn’t achieve a certain weight or maintain a specific diet.

This struggle was with me from a young age; even when I was in middle school, I struggled with my weight and in high school I attempted diets, but ultimately made a lifestyle change. At first, I lost weight healthily but then I began to obsess over it. Weight and calories were always on my mind and thin was not enough–I had to keep losing more and more weight.

The peak of my eating disorder lasted the first semester of my freshman year of college, but the mindset took a long time to fade away. Throughout these struggles, I’ve realized that if you don’t love yourself, happiness is hard to come by.

Taking Care of Yourself, Every Day

After I began focusing more on loving myself, my mindset began to change. I replaced negative thoughts with positive thoughts, bad habits with good ones, and hatred with love. My whole mindset needed to change. It took a lot of time and work, but it paid off, and I work every day to be good to myself.

I want to repeat those last few words: I work every day to be good to myself.

Loving yourself isn’t something that happens over night. It also isn’t something that, once learned, can be thrown under the rug. We are constantly changing, so we need to constantly reevaluate our approach to self-love, and cater our efforts to the needs of the moment.

I want to remind you of a phrase that has helped me tremendously: You are good enough, right in this moment, and always have been.

I think we can easily spend too much time thinking about the person we want to become rather than the person we are right now. If we don’t work on loving ourselves in the moment, how can we expect to love ourselves in the future?

Of course, we can always improve and strive to be better people, but we don’t have to give up our happiness during this journey.

Self-love starts with this very moment.

Without caring for ourselves and communicating our struggles, fears, and negative thoughts, it’s nearly impossible to start on the road to a healthier mind.
If you want to read more by Jerry Ehlers, please visit his website Discovery Overflow.

Plan Your Happiness

Do you think it is possible to plan your happiness? Let’s see.

There are some things we can do to make sure we are as happy as possible. This is mostly about our self development, inner work and attitudes. There are also some things out of our control – such as natural disasters, actions of people around us, and to a certain degree – political and social situation. This is mostly about outer things. If we assume that we cannot change outer circumstances, but we are in charge of our inner harmony and peace, we can start a totally new path.

On our path of self love and self acceptance, we do not concentrate on blame, shame, guilt and judgements anymore. Yes, I was born into this family where I was taught bad habits, yes, I live in a country where everyone is drinking, but I cannot do too about it if I start complaining. Instead, I will become in charge of my actions through my words and thoughts. I will change my habits through changing my behaviours and emotions, and I will be in charge of my own happiness to the degree to which it is possible.

So, how exactly do we plan happiness?

1. Make a powerful intention

If you want a new incredible lifestyle, you will have to do things you have never done before. This may be tough, and your habits and lack of motivation may start dragging you back into your old daily routine.

A possible intention may be:

  •  I will meditate every morning.
  • I will practice yoga every morning.
  • I will do a good deed – something for a person who could not do this to themselves – every day.
  • I will smile to those who frown in the streets.
  • I will hug ten friends daily.

Your intention can be about anything, but make sure you believe in what you do and you know it will make you happier. Once the intention is made, never question it again. At least for a year.

2. Choose your power-word that will support you every day. What is it that you need from life the most at the moment? Here is a list of example power-words, or you may choose your own too.

Live. Focus. Health. Purpose. Compassion. Stability. Kindness. Celebration. Confidence. Peace. Mindfulness. Change. Positive. Grace. Consistency. Commitment. Hope. Trust. Courage. Presence. Patience. Meditation. Believe. Be. Freedom. Healing. Self-love. Extraordinary. Action. Routine. Adventure. Integrity. Positivity. Fearless. Work. Growth. Discipline. Listen. Balance. Intention. School. Original. Magic. Harmony. Dedication. Dream. Giving. Calm. Awaken. Faith. Joyful. Equanimity. Accomplish. Gentleman. Partnership. Effort. Persistence. Communication. Alive. Inspire. Passion. Ritual. Learn. Acceptance. Actualize. Playfulness. Aware. Union. Flow. Respect. Intention. Frugal. Social. Wellbeing. Tend. Risk. Travel. Productivity. Complete. Friends. Control. Strength. Fruition. Congruence. Impact. Determined. Resilience. Explore. Art. Bravery.

3. Make a list of activities that make you happy

For someone it may be skiing, for another – it is writing. Once you have written your list, plan to do at least one of these activities regularly and at least one exciting activity each month.

While writing this article I have drafted my Happiness boost year plan and I share it as an example.

To do regularly: find time for writing every week

To do monthly:

July – ride a water zorb

August – ride a hot air balloon

September – go to a meditation retreat

October – practice yoga every day

November – learn how to make chocolate

December – study a new language

Remember – no matter what you do, even the smallest things – everything you read, hear, see, smell and taste – remain in your subconscious memory. Everything you encounter in your daily life constitutes who you are, and it is good to make such resolutions to empower yourself.

Remember – when you make an intention, may it be strong and full of inner responsibility. It is you in charge of your life, and with your power of choice you can always always make it better.

5 Ways Writing Can Lead You to Mindfulness

writing mindfulness

Mindfulness is a technique that helps you let go of your worries and concerns, and live in the here and now. If you find you’re often upset or anxious, then mindfulness can help you let go of the ‘what ifs?’ and come back to the present.

Writing can be a fantastic way of practising mindfulness, and it needs nothing more than a pen and paper. If you have those, and a willingness to try it out, then you’re ready to go. Here are 5 ways writing can help you achieve peace in your life.

1. Use a journal

When it comes to writing, many people start on a computer or laptop. After all, you spend all day at a computer, hence typing on a keyboard is basically second nature to you. However, the best way to practice mindfulness is to write using a pen and paper. This is because it forces you to slow down and really think about what you’re writing.

If you want to get started, buy yourself a nice journal and pen and use that to write every day. This book will be the place you’ll go to when you want to relax and understand yourself better. Make this investment now, and you’ll feel the benefit.

Of course, if you’re really not comfortable, it is alright to use a computer to write. When you do write, ensure that you’re taking your time over it. Give yourself the time and space to really explore how you feel.

2. Try writing exercises

So you have your journal. Now what? If you’re not sure where to start, try some writing exercises. They’re the best way to get the creative juices flowing and start expressing yourself on a paper.

For example, try using photos as inspiration to start writing. Fridge poetry words are another good option, as they can be mixed up, then two or three can be selected and used as a prompt. You can even write the phrase ‘I remember…’ then write whatever comes to your mind. Just see what comes out.

Don’t worry about how the writing comes out. The point is, you’re looking to just get anything down on a paper. If you want to edit it afterwards, use software such as Hemingway Editor, Academized or Pro Writing Aid to help you.

3. Use free writing when you’re stuck

If you’re really struggling and the writing exercises can’t help you, the best way to start is with free writing. This is when you set yourself a timer, and just start writing whatever you’re thinking about. Set a timer for ten minutes and just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

At first, you’ll find yourself writing things like ‘I have no idea what to write about’ and ‘this is ridiculous.’ However, your mind will soon start making connections and you’ll not notice how ten minutes fly by.

If you’re worried that what you write is nonsensical, it’s not a problem. Just get it written first, then edit later. Readable or Big Assignments will help you get it looking good.

4. Decide if you want to share with others

This step is really up to you. Some people like to share their writing with others, and discuss what they’ve learned through writing it. Others like to keep their writing for themselves, and use it for personal reflection. Either way is fine, but you need to decide what’s the best for you.

If you decide you want to share with others, then editing your writing will be important. That way, it’s easier for others to read what you’ve written and give you honest and useful feedback. If you want help, tools such as Write My Assignment or UK Writings can all lend you a hand.

Sharing with others can be a really uplifting experience. Writing can help you work through your feelings, and put names and words to those feelings. When you share them, you’ll soon see that you’re not alone in how you feel.

5. Take your writing further

If you’re finding that you’re having success with your writing, then you want to expand on what you’re doing with it. There are several ways that you can use your writing in order to help yourself and others. For example, if you’re under the care of a mental health professional, you can take it to them and share it. You can also use blogs and articles to share your findings.

If you choose to do this, your writing will need to be polished first. Use Easy Word Count to sweep for errors, and Cite It In to cite any sources you use properly.

If you’ve found that writing has helped ground you in the here and now, you may have the skill to communicate this to others. Try describing the prompts and techniques that you’ve used in the past, and how they’ve affected your mindset now.

Writing is just one tool that you can use when practising mindfulness, but it is a powerful one. Put it to good use and you’ll see just how much it can benefit in observing and understanding your mind.

5 Powerful Ways Meditation Can Change Your Life

Show of hands – don’t you think our difficult experiences always cause us to deeply ponder how we got there? Those experiences may not have been the most favourable circumstances to begin a meditation in the first place – but it is true that the moment we sit down and genuinely think about what has happened is crucial in helping us move forward, overcome pain, and ultimately find inner peace.

By definition, meditation is “bringing your mind to a calm and peaceful state”. However, meditation is what you make of it and sometimes you need to let yourself rage in emotions before going straight into peacefulness. This goes to show that meditation isn’t strictly limited to calming the mind, but it is a mental outlet that aids in handling uncomfortable emotions, thinking through difficult situations without pressure from outside sources, and overall finding the answers to questions that make life so hard.

In retrospect, the idea of simple thoughts profoundly affecting our lives and actions may seem a bit far-fetched. But truthfully, our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. We are dictated by what we feel and believe in, and we should care to make sure they all come from a good place. Additionally, the complete self-awareness in ourselves and the world around us contributes to our lives in only the most positive ways. Here are five of the many ways meditation can change your life.

 1. You develop a transparent and honest relationship with yourself

Developing self-awareness is one of the most difficult things we can do as human beings. That’s because facing inadequacies head-on and focusing on the present moment may not exactly elicit the fondest of feelings. We are all prone to insecurities and doubts and that is completely okay (and expected). With meditation, you are able to be honest with yourself in a way that you aren’t with others. You have no one’s opinion to rely on but your own. Don’t be frightened by that fact, you’re a lot smarter than you give yourself credit for.

A transparent and honest relationship with yourself enables you to learn and recognize what you deserve and should not tolerate in life. Honesty is powerful because you learn to see yourself and things for what they actually are, causing you to think twice before making a decision, make you choose the right people as friends, and acknowledge everything for what it truly is – just to name a few circumstances. Consequently, you come to understand that the world is a lot more painful, but also more rewarding at the same time.

2. Episodes of anxiety and stress become less severe and intimidating

How often do we go into a panic mode during difficult moments, allowing our bodies to completely surrender to negative emotions? More so than we all like to admit, that’s for sure. With meditation, you can analyze your mind and realize that any trigger of stress or anxiety is temporary and you will get through it. Additionally, you can equip yourself with mental tools to combat these sources of anxiety! You learn that allowing your emotions get the best of you is going to happen sometimes, but being hard on yourself isn’t necessary anymore. Stress is a part of life, just like happiness.

3. Thinking rationally will come naturally over time

You find yourself making more concise, logical, and reasonable decisions. You can roll with the punches of your emotions, knowing that they shouldn’t completely dictate a choice. Not to say that emotions are a concerning element when making a decision – in fact, they might be the last deciding factor in making one. They are only toxic if you let them be, meaning you allow the wild nature of emotions to lead you into expressing an outburst that may actually hurt you and possibly others.

For example, you can scream everything you find wrong about your relationship with your significant other or friend in a violent moment of anger. You may mean everything you say, but does that make things better or damage the relationship? Making a sound choice requires both the equal balance of logic and emotion – therefore, making you understand the best possible choice can be both logical and not regretted.

4. You liberate yourself with emotional freedom

 How many of us are actually afraid of our emotions? It is common to prevent ourselves from feeling everything we actually feel, because we sometimes deem those emotions as useless, embarrassing, or a waste of time. Emotions should never be perceived in an inferior way. We’re human beings and will be prone to emotions no matter how much we try to avoid them. Neglecting emotions would only be detrimental and bottling up what you actually need to express will only make a person feel worse. By meditating on emotions, you can come to acknowledge and appreciate where they come from without judgement and strategize how to handle them.

5. The practices and philosophies of meditation translate into your everyday actions and thoughts

The connection between meditation and your everyday life is a prominent one. The ability to wake up and be grateful for the day, drive to work without raging at a person for not using their turn-signal, and shrugging off an embarrassing moment is self-empowering. In a deeper and personal perspective, meditation can also help one ease the symptoms of a chronic condition, such as mental illness or cardiovascular disease, and overcome addiction. We all co-exist with different lives that include situations and events specific to only our uniqueness of existence.

In conclusion, meditation helps us see life, our emotions, and difficult experiences as allies and opportunities to develop maturity and compassion, rather than enemies and infuriating things we naturally have assumed them all to be in the past.