How Does Priority Setting Help The Mind?

Success is something we all are moving to. We all want to get to our project destination; a successful end of what we do. Regardless the size of what we manage, our daily happenings and responsibilities, we set goals to attain a successful completion of our project. In this process, priority setting cuts across all domains of life and once practised, it increases concentration and focus, the mind gets less stressed as we know what we are up to and what we expect to reach.

Many of us have more than one activity to carry out each day, some may have different deadlines to meet on daily basis. Multitasking which in most cases comes with some sort of stress can still be managed, and we can still find balance if we learn to set priorities in what we do. In these few lines, we explore how priority setting in our tasks aids our mind to feel relaxed and still while dealing with many issues at the same time.

Urgent vs important

Before we start the journey, we must know where the road leads to. We need to have our destination in mind. Next, we need to know what means we can use to get there faster and easier. Some of our tasks are urgent, some are important. The dilemma comes when balancing the value, trying to know which one will have more value if done first. Among the two equally important ones, getting to know which is complex and engaging matters. Hence, establishing a roadmap or drafting a framework of schedules are the first steps towards setting priorities. Of course, being clear on our goals helps so that we can swallow what we can chew.

Knowing what is urgent and what is important is the starting point. First, we may need to clear the one which is urgent and needs immediate attention as the rest of our activities may depend on whether that is done or not. Knowing the very important, important and non-important tasks enables us to know where to put the line and deal only with important ones. The non-important  tasks can easily be postponed and rescheduled to later times as their non-completion may not affect our project much.

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Priority among other priorities

I recently got to know that self-discipline plays a role here. When we are that person who set the goals, classify our priorities, set all kinds of execution plans, and we are that person who can’t say NO to him or herself, our set priorities may change because we need to be strict on ourselves and deny to ourselves anything that can alter our plans. However, flexibility may help only when it comes to setting priority among other priorities. In that case, one can be adaptable and flexible to choose either of them, provided they all will be done. This reduces stress because we get to know what we are doing, we become aware of the resources on our disposal to accomplish it and we are sure it will be done. No panic, no sweating under high performing air-condition, we gain control over our tasks. Our mind becomes calm, hence we can concentrate and focus much better.

Start when you go to bed

We may not need to be managers of big offices, firms, enterprises, organizations to exercise setting priorities in our life. All starts in that very moment when we go to bed. As many people say, it is the starting time of a new day. Taking your pencil and jotting down few lines of planned activities of the next day in the order we want to accomplish them often prepares us to become managers of our own life. We get to know what does not need to come on the list and what must be done by all means. Then, during the day, thriving to do what we have planned will make our mind in control, and gradually as we keep doing that, it becomes a part of us. Once we are self-made managing directors, we can see how beneficial this can be to us and those around us.

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Life is only as good as your mindset

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Henry Ford

Is our mindset fixed?

Life is only as good as your mindset. The good news is that the mindset is not fixed. It can be changed and shaped so that it serves life and a higher purpose.

Through our beliefs and experience, we come to live according to some patterns. Every day we can program ourselves.

By understanding the program and the patterns of the mind, we see it is possible to achieve certain goals in life by changing one’s behaviour and mindset.

The mind is the meaning making machine

Some beliefs are mental habits based on irrational fears with no evidence to support them.

These patterns of thinking often turn into limiting beliefs. Beliefs that a person has, especially limiting ones, have an impact on the likelihood of success.

Every behaviour has value and serves the need of the rational mind to protect one from suffering.

Therefore, there is a positive intention motivating and justifying every behaviour.

Behaviours are good or bad when considered for their ability to achieve a certain result or purpose, to prevent putting oneself in a hurtful situation.

How do you know a belief is limiting? It causes you to be unable to do specific actions.

Some of the most common limiting beliefs are:

Fear of rejection, failing, not being good enough, abandonment, not being smart or beautiful, being a procrastinator, not having the skills.

Examples of thoughts that a person repeats in the mind and that lead to limiting beliefs: I am too old, I am too young, I don’t have the connections, I don’t have the support, I am not a leader, I don’t have the time, etc.

Steps to overcome limiting beliefs:

  • Gain awareness
  • Start defying limiting beliefs: identify and create experiences that prove them wrong
  • Invest in yourself
  • Heal the inner child
  • Trust your intuition
  • Find mentors
  • Dare to take risks
  • Celebrate success, no matter how big or small
  • Always use positive, encouraging inner talk

Photo credits: Irina Kostenich

How to practice patience when facing negative emotions?

I like to define patience as peace + science, or in other words, the science of peace.

Patience is the ability to overcome challenges without reacting with anger. You can show patience with a good attitude in front of life difficulties. Being patient is also the comprehension of life facts without forcing anything or anyone, without getting attached to anything or anyone, without any effort.

If the patience is part of our natural state, why do we “lose” it?

Patience is lost as we allow what does not correspond to our real nature. The enemies of patience are negative emotions such as ANGER AND HATE, which bring suffering. These negative emotions are created in the mind because the mind is like a sponge; it absorbs both the positive and the negative, unfortunately, it is proven that the mind absorbs more quickly the negative than the positive.

In the world we live in, we receive daily hate messages such as wars, abandonment, and injustice. In social networks and television, they show us a reality full of falsehood and materialism called “mass consumption“. All of this is absorbed and accumulated by mind daily. It is as if the mind were a glass of water and each negative thought is a drop of ink that falls into the water and becomes cloudy and dark.

When we faced difficult situations, the mind is cloudy and dark and, instead of responding assertively, it reacts with anger and hatred.

If something happens that I do not want, I get angry …

When someone says or does something that I do not like, I get angry …

When situations do not go as I expected, I get angry …

If we analyze this pattern, there is always “something” or “someone” that “steals” our peace or patience. If we let everything that happens around affect us, we end up suffering. And this is because we are so dissatisfied with life that we always want something more and we do not even know what that something is.

As the Chilean psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo says: “People find it difficult to be happy because they think happiness is to be happy with everyone and everything, be happy and nothing more, laugh at everything. But if we could realize that happiness is to be serene. And that serenity is obtained when one is on the path he chose. Not exactly because he does well, that would be very easy. But we expect so much from the happiness that we have made it impossible.”

In order to end the suffering caused by anger and hatred, we need to change our DESIRES. Desires are another cause of suffering, and uncontrollable desires can lead to death. People hurt themselves, self-flagellate, suffer from depression, anxiety and end up losing patience altogether.

We all face obstacles; if they have a solution, there is no reason to be angry, and if they do not have it, how does it benefit us to get angry?

But here is something important, NOT all suffering is bad, the small daily sufferings that affect us physically and emotionally, such as pain and illness, also prepare us to endure great adversities. If we become familiar with the challenges every day, we become stronger, and it becomes easier and easier to solve them.

How to cultivate patience?

One of the most effective ways to cultivate patience is to have TRUST, trusting that everything we need comes to us at the time and in the right way, without any effort. This we can call waiting, “wait patiently.” If we return to the example of the glass with water, if we let the ink settle in the bottom of the glass, we can see clearly and choose to respond assertively to the challenges, instead of getting angry.

Confidence allows us to understand that everything arrives at the perfect moment and time. For some strange reason, humans have developed the need to control everything, including others. This creates great disappointments of how life is according to what we expect from it. Through the practice of trust, we let everything flow without the need to control; flow with life is much more relaxed and effective than go against the flow!

One of the best ways to cultivate that natural state of patience is by means of meditation. Meditation is an exercise for the mind, which is, as I mentioned earlier, the source of negative emotions and uncontrollable desires. Meditation allows us to:

-Learn how to deal with our thoughts and emotions

-Connect with our natural state of inner peace

-Clean the impurities of the mind

-Control the desires

-Accept the nature of the world that is UNCONTROLLABLE

3 affirmations to cultivate patience

After recognizing the origin of the loss of patience and understanding that we can control our desires to stop suffering, we can pause and transform our life experience into a conscious experience of peace and serenity. Positive affirmations are the opposite of the negative thought patterns that we normally use and are the starting point for personal development.

For this reason, I want to share the following affirmations to cultivate patience in all areas of life:

  • Practice acceptance

Today I accept the people, situations, and circumstances as they occur. I know that this moment is as it should be because the whole universe is as it should be. I will not fight against the whole universe by fighting against this moment. I accept things as they are and not as I want them to be.

  • Take responsibility

Today I take responsibility for my situation and for all the events that I see as challenges. I avoid blaming others or myself. I recognize that every challenge is a disguised opportunity, which allows me to take this moment and transform it for my growth and expansion.

  • Remain defenseless

Today, I renounce my point of view, and I have no need to persuade others to accept my opinions. I remain open to all points of view and I am not rigidly attached to any of them. I choose to be kind before being right.

Would you like to know more about meditation? Please follow here.

Dances of Universal Peace

A crowd of people in a circle, meditative music, simple dance movements, and mantras from a wide variety of world faiths all meld together… Attending a Dance of Universal Peace is an unforgettable experience. In hundreds of dances across the globe, people around the world gather in spiritual centers, churches, schools, therapy groups, and even prisons to participate in this event. There is usually no audience; everyone, regardless of skill, is encouraged to join.

By blending sacred phrases, scripture, poetry, and the beauty of nature, participants are able to strengthen their connections to each other, the earth, and their own spirits. In other words, the dances bring them closer to universal peace, step by step.

Samuel L. Lewis, known by many as Murshid S.A.M. (the title being Arabic for “guide”), was an American Sufi who introduced the Dances of Universal Peace on June 24, 1968 in an attempt to unify people — to lower the arbitrary veils that separate us. This year, nearly 150 events were held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Dances.

Each year, the scope of the movement grows to include new areas and people. How have the dances evolved in recent years? How has the current political climate affected this movement? Let’s dive into the issue:

Finding Peace Amidst Geopolitical War Games

Lewis’s home country has changed a lot since his death in ‘71. Trump’s administration, increased racial tensions, the Me Too movement — the face of the politics in the U.S. has changed drastically in the past several years. Due to a wide variety of factors, from food and water scarcity to America’s national security policy, the country has been politically fractured.

In spite of these divisions, people have sought ways to call for unity and harmony. Dances permit communities to demonstrate their tolerance and acceptance of diversity in the face of an intolerant administration. In a manner, these events are a form of passive protest. Rather than responding to discrimination with violent action, participating in these dances signals that peace is always an option.

Of course, political unrest isn’t unique to the U.S. In recent years, the Dances of Universal Peace movement has gained traction around the globe. In areas like Russia, Turkey, and many Latin American countries, political unrest has spurred people to find an outlet. Dances of Universal Peace work as a valuable collective healing practice in these troubled times. The Dances allow people to find common ground and connect with each other on a deep level, regardless of race, religion, or nationality.

When Murshid began guiding students in dance, he started with only a few students. As the movement he started has expanded, it has grown to encompass thousands. The global expansion of this movement is a product of the fact that many people have become discontent with the arbitrary lines between nations. Globalization in the business world and technology have also facilitated this mindset, as they have opened new lines of communication and exposed us to new cultures.

How These Dances Create Peace and Love

Recent years have shed light on why these events have worked so effectively. In our individual journeys, we must commit to self-love, and attending a Dance of Universal Peace is a great step in that direction. There are many reasons why they improve our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Dancing and music are powerful tools for improving our holistic health. As Murshid S.A.M. once said, “(Dance) takes us beyond ourselves, bringing an initial taste of the state of non-being, which is really a balm for the soul.”   However, as recent research has proven, it can also heal the mind and body.

The physiological changes that occur within us when we engage in these activities can improve our mood and overall well-being. Listening to music and dancing can increase the amount of dopamine in our brains, a neurotransmitter responsible for making us feel happy and rewarded.

Dance and music also affect our bodies in many therapeutic ways. In fact, it may even be helpful for treating disease. According to an article on Medical News Today, “Dance and music therapy is being investigated for its potential use in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s and autism.

Finally, these events allow us to create and strengthen social bonds. In recent years, specialists have found that socializing improves our holistic health, even reducing our likelihood of developing dementia. There’s no question that the life-long bonds that these dances create have led to healthier, more social lifestyles.

Given these insights, it’s no wonder that Samuel Lewis’s movement has grown into the worldwide phenomenon it is today. As this movement continues to expand, it will doubtlessly open dialogues, forge new social connections, and improve our well-being. In addition to helping us find inner-peace, it will continue to inch society closer to worldwide peace.

Are you interested in attending a Dance? Let us know in the comments below.

This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.

8 Calming Mantras That Can Ease Depression

More than 350 million people in the world suffer from depression, according to the World Health Organization. Even though you can’t and shouldn’t compare situations since no two are alike, a symptom everyone experiences is hopelessness that at times can be overwhelming. The anxiety that often comes without a warning can be physically and mentally draining, so you ask yourself: how do I get through this?

Most of us live in societies where it’s common to suppress our negative emotions, however, some cultures have a much more efficient approach. For example, Buddhists suggest to not ignore the negative emotions nor over-analyze them. Instead, just acknowledge them and give them your attention, that way you can make the feeling lessen or even disappear completely.

A lot of people use positive self-talk or repeating words when depression and anxiety strike. The repetition of certain words and phrases known as mantras work because they help you become consciously aware of what you’re doing and remind you what you want to do. The trick is finding the right one for you, so you can either create your own or use ones that have been around for hundreds of years.

In the book Harnessed: How Language and Music Mimicked Nature and Transformed Ape to Man, the author Mark Changizi, a neurobiologist, talks about how when we hear certain things, we visibly experience those events – per instance, how a scream instantly brings feelings of terror and alarm, or how the laugh of a baby makes us happy.

Mantra originated in the Sanskritic language, from the word manas, which means “mind,” and tra, which means “to transcend.” Mantras keep the mind occupied when chanting them, and as a result, you’re distracted from your worries. It’s not a silver bullet for depression and it’s not going to make it magically disappear, but it’s a great way to cope with anxiety and clear your mind. Even if you’re sceptical about it, you can’t know until you’ve tried it. Sit in a quiet place and close your eyes, repeat the words and get your mouth and tongue to learn the movement of the words. Be patient and focus on listening.

To help you with your mantra experience, you can use apps such as, Affirmations – Inspired by Nature, Jinglow or Positivity with Andrew Johnson, which offer a range of positive affirmations that can help you combat negative thoughts.

1) I Will Get Better

Think about the life ahead of you, there’s so much to be happy for – good times with friends and family, learning new things, jobs and partners, amazing adventures waiting to be experienced.  All feelings are temporary, and this too shall pass.

2) This Is a Moment of Suffering

If you didn’t encounter any type of tragedy or disappointment at a certain point in your life, what would shape you into the person you are today? We shouldn’t expect a perfect life, because there will always be ups and downs. However, we should take away something from every situation. From our low points we will gain strength and knowledge, and from our high points, we will learn how to be humble and happy.

3) Be Not Afraid

The feeling of fear is entirely made up in your mind, and if fear is only in your mind – you’re the person that can control it. When you learn to overcome what you fear, there will be nothing holding you back.

4) Face the Situation and Fight

Every time you avoid a fearful event, you just add another experience of failure to your weaknesses. You might feel discomfort while facing the situation, but it’s worthwhile if you keep in mind your long-term goals.

5) Just for Today

The fear of commitment can be overwhelming at times, and the voices in our heads may be telling us that we’ll have to give up a piece of our lives or our freedom. The phrase Just for Today takes the pressure off and makes the commitment more attainable.

6) Let It Go

Will over-thinking the situation make it any better? Will your worrying have a positive outcome or keep the bad thing away? Chances are, you’ll only feel worse, and the event you’re thinking about might not even occur in the future. In times of rumination, remember the simplest sentence – I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

7) There Is No Danger

Although the thoughts and feelings you’re having seem way too real, the brain is being tricked that you’re somehow in danger, but you actually aren’t.  Focus on making the present better so your future can be anxiety free.

8) Learn From Mistakes and Move Ahead

Even though making mistakes isn’t fun, remember that each time you don’t succeed serves as a proof you’re pushing yourself to new limits, and each failure is a way to grow stronger and become better.

Beyond Happiness, Above Rainbow

I remember way back while in high school, I would get sick just from worrying. I had a harsh inner critic that challenged most of the things I did and planned to do. It was very easy for me to appreciate and admire others but seldom did I find anything I did good enough. Even when people praised me for something I did, it didn’t make me feel any better or less depressed. This negativity that plagued me affected every aspect of my life and eventually I would go to sleep hoping to wake up in the skin of someone I admired. Often I would imagine myself chasing happiness like it is a rainbow, hoping to catch it―wear it round my neck like a shawl against self-loathing―then live happily ever after.

Most people can attest to have experienced depression, stress or anxiety at some point in life. It is the silent ail of humanity no one bothers to talk about because unlike cancer, it is not visual―maybe not as deadly―but this is a misconception. Daily we search for happiness. It is our human nature to do so, but too often, we get lost on our journey to finding it, habitually due to expectations from family, friends, work and relationships.  In an effort to please everyone we lose our focus and in the process; lose ourselves. To which I would say “There is no greater tragedy!”

In the words of Steve Jobs: “If you want to make everyone happy, don’t be a leader, sell ice cream!”

In our quest for social validation, we shift our attention to material possessions. We fill our wardrobes with designer clothes and shoes; get a fleet of cars, amass academic diplomas, get married, have kids, tick off every item in society’s happiness checklist. Still, we lack inner peace, that little ingredient that makes life valuable.

Because we are here to live our best lives, we owe it to ourselves to live consciously and deliberately and most importantly, wean ourselves from the delusion that happiness is a destination because it is not. Happiness is an infinite journey with beautiful surprises, it is you when you free yourself from worry and fear; it is you when you realize that your happiness depends solely on you. That is when you do not need to chase the rainbow anymore; – it is always there!

Photo by Leo Wieling on Unsplash

Small Things To Be Thankful For

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” —Oprah Winfrey

In today’s society, people generally capitalize on the importance of things that are huge. We regularly see in the media people praise celebrities for donating a large amount of money, yet they don’t think to thank the person in front of us in line who is giving a dollar. Because it has become the norm to believe: the more massive something is, the better something is. If someone opens the door for you, you say “thank you” and might think they have to open the door to be polite, but no one has to do anything for you. Saying “thank you” for complimenting a person can literally make someone’s day a whole like better. It makes them feel as valid as a person, and everyone wants to feel valid.

Another thing is being thankful for what you have. Instead of complaining about not having a specific item or person you would like to be in your life, be grateful for what you currently have because, in all honesty, you would be worse off without it. Be thankful for the people you have in your life because socializing is an essential need for human beings. It will help you treasure the smaller things, and you will know what to do when you get bigger things. Because you need to realize that there is a power in more minor items. The one dollar that was donated could be about to change the amount from $99 to $100.

Fresh Start

For starters create a pro and con list for the smaller things you usually complain about. For example, the old car that you bought might not have air conditioner, but at least you don’t have to stand at the bus stop waiting for the bus to arrive. With creating the pro and con list for each small item you might find out that there is the proper usage of the elements more than you thought.

Look Around

Also, be realistic – if you have a problem, find an alternative to fix it. Defeat the whole if it’s not exactly a particular item, then there is no use being thankful for it. My older twin sister believes that she can’t do her artwork as high as she thinks with low price range art items. Not only is that ungrateful, but very problematic because it shifts away from the main focus. Don’t get wrapped up in the norm of the more prominent or, the more expensive because there are beautiful adventures in things that are considered small.

Low Self-Esteem: A Handicap to our Mind’s Stillness?

Self-esteem is a healthy state of mind, whereby we value the person we are and the activities that we do; we cherish and positively view ourselves as normal and capable. It confers a good self-image and allows to lead a happy life, free from self-blame and hate or feeling of anger and frustration about who we are. However, if the opposite happens, it can lead to fatal cases of inability to forgive oneself and a lack of self-confidence. Low self-esteem is therefore unhealthy both for the body and mind as we are to see the reasons here.

What causes low self-esteem?

Various sources give wide-ranging reasons why people have low self-esteem but the most common can be, when we compare ourselves to others and downgrade ourselves. Hating our own body due to many reasons can lead to self-denigration. It is when we fail to understand the complexity of nature and our world; where things do not happen all times the way we want.

The clinical psychologist Dr. Lars Madsen reveals that it can be from our early childhood caused by ongoing stressful life or events where our contribution to resolve issues is insignificant or impossible.

The succession of unfavourable life events such as financial issues, relationship breakdowns, unfair or abusive treatment by others (bullying) can be contributing factors. A doubtful mind where keeping wrong mantras in our mind such as: “I can’t do it” or “I will never overcome this” will eventually evolve in labelling ourselves as incapable beings, and so we remain.

What can be the consequences of low self-esteem?

If unchecked, low self-esteem can lead to mental health disorder, a change in our normal way of relating to others, societal withdrawal, state of anxiety and depression. It can also lead to self-destructive moves such as unhealthy cosmetic surgery, drug abuse (taken to escape stress and fear), self-defence mechanisms to nonexistent dangers, unhealthy eating disorders which in most cases come with its own costs.

Such self-denigration compels us to seek outside ourselves for esteem and force others to treat us the way we believe we deserve. In most cases, it has led to abuse of power or authority, imposing on others our acceptance.

This feeling of low self-esteem can lead people to enforce codes of conduct to be shown to them. This is common for leaders and those in high positions; they will install excessive discipline measures and sanctions when they feel they are not respected or valued as they feel it ought to. They tend to believe they deserve more than how being treated. Lynne Forrest says that “we blame, justify, exaggerate, and manipulate, all in an effort to hide our perceived worthlessness”, and I have seen people turning into aggressive beings to impose their identity. Over spending monies to amass material things, obsessively can be a sign of inner unquenched desire to be better.

When it comes to relationship, low self-esteem in both men and women can lead to move from one partner to the other, searching who will validate them, not love them, and once they find him or her, they get too much emotionally attached to him or her and aggressive when there is a clear indication of relationship break up.

Towards eliminating low self-esteem

Dr. Kevin Solomons states that “it’s not external events that have the most profound effect on our self-esteem. It is how we view our own life and life’s events”. Therefore, since the therapy seems to be from within, the step number one is to know our own problem (be aware of our state of low self-esteem) and work towards improving it. Experts suggest the need to look after our body but care less on how it looks as we can’t change it.

Getting to know the meaning, purpose and goals of our life, the need for a connection to something greater than ourselves, embarking on creative activities, the need for intimacy and connection to others (good and sound friendship), cultivate inner sense of control reflex, developing a positive thinking, mind physical health by mere body exercise and most importantly, mindfulness and mindset coaching through meditation which science has made to be the easiest and most effective way to digest any mind’s related issues. It consists of letting the mind focus on one thing at a time, maximize and prioritize concentration and relaxation. It inherently helps one boost self-confidence, love, compassion and ability to comprehend the complexity of the world especially when we learn to let go that which we cling on, that does not matter at the moment to just remain happy and content of who we are and what we are doing at the moment.

If happiness is contagious, then what makes you happy?

Have you heard that happiness is contagious? Well, there are a few empirically proven studies by behavioural and social scientists suggesting that happiness is not only contagious but it is also positively impacted by the people around.

Nicholas Christakis, a professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School in his study on ‘dynamic of spread happiness’ shows that happiness spreads through social networks, which means your happiness have positive impact and could influence the happiness of others as well. Further, spread of happiness is comparatively faster than the spread of sadness. Incredible, isn’t it?

If this is true, then the next question is: what makes us happy? Is it some kind of chemical reaction in our mind that is being activated by certain types of action in our regular life or some more specific environment which our mind prefers? Some studies claim that happiness is a state of mind, and if that is true, then what kind of action leads to it? Based on many studies and human experiences, here are some simple actions, easy enough to practice in everyday life, which make us happy and content:

1) Happiness is a Journey, not a Destination
It’s one journey where the path we have taken matters more than the final destination achieved. We always have a choice for the path to be taken, and this is where we decide which kind of life we want to live. Each day has a new beginning and a story to experience. So, make sure, you live and enjoy the very path taken, as it is the last one.

2) Human brain is great but heart is even more incredible
There is an age old debate on ‘logic’ versus ‘emotions’ until we start understanding the deeper science behind our emotions. They are the ones that make us humane. People who lived happy and fulfilling life consider emotions and social aspect while taking decisions about life, partner, children, family, friends and parents. Time to time, its beyond logic but that’s what helps them live a happy life.

3) Live to experience, as money doesn’t buy everything
One of the best use of money is living the experiences and investing our time and energy for creating great memories. They are more worthy than materialistic accumulation including money.  Science has shown that buying experiences – like, going on a skiing trip or taking an art class – makes us happier than material goods. As per several psychological surveys, people who spend more on life experiences are happier than people who just purchase things.

Photo by Carly Rae Hobbins on Unsplash

4) The Joy of giving
When you give to others, it is bound to give you inner happiness. Kindness, generosity and compassion are basic human values, and it’s an open secret followed by most successful and happy people of our time.

5) Small pleasures are collectively bigger than biggest achievements in life
There is an ancient saying: enjoy the small happy moments of your daily life. Because frequent, small pleasures tend to be different every time, whether it’s sharing tea with friends or reading a new book, we don’t adapt to them and become bored as quickly. Also, there are several such opportunities to live and be grateful about instead of waiting for something big.

6) Don’t compare yourself to others
“Compare and despair,” goes an old saying. We all are different and unique, so when you compare yourself with others, it means you are evaluating apple and oranges at the same parameter. People really do make themselves miserable when they focus on their “relative” well-being. That means how they think they’re doing compared to everyone else.

7) Appreciation is Important
The more you appreciate what God has given to you, the more you will be content and happy. Appreciation is also about encouraging the good inside you to grow further. The art of appreciating what you have and staying happy within your limits, is a factor that needs to be practised.

Let’s try something simple, close your eyes, take a deep breath and think what makes you more happy? Is it the money in your bank account, big car or a trip to your most favourable place or country, dinner with your partner or family? Now the decision is yours.

Kuldeep Singh can be reached out at twitter @Kuldeep_lko

Photo credits of the featured image: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

How The Universe Reaches Out To You

In learning and exploring philosophies like ‘new thought,’ it’s great to discover how much is already aligned with my belief system. And whether it’s personal or faith based, or just living and experiencing life and people around you; it takes a keen eye but an open heart to really listen to what the universe is telling you.

For any number of reasons my state in life is, well, unique for my age. As a walking contradiction in any number of ways, I truly believe this path is predestined… Especially that I find myself interested in learning from people who have had opposite journeys. This has led me to align my creative side with my curiosities and lack of knowledge; to create some truly unique concepts and stories. To me, this is the universe trying to get an important message across.

All of that is to say, if you can relate, you may have found some difficulty discerning between feeling what you think you should feel versus a genuine message outside yourself. Are you hearing what you want to hear, or are you listening to the universe with an open mind? With that said, I’ve found there are at least three ways the universe reaches out to you through the many layers and shields we have up around us.

1) Signs

Let’s start with the hardest first and work our way downward. When the universe uses signs, it can literally be anything or anyone, and endless in nature. Let’s say it’s related to taking a new job in a new city, maybe Seattle. If all of a sudden you start getting Starbucks coupons in your inbox but you don’t drink coffee, start seeing buildings that remind you of the Space Needle, or notice an inordinate amount of Frasier reruns on TV; you might begin to think there’s a pattern forming.

In my experience, it’s been primarily numbers that have gotten my attention. This is all semi recent, only in the last few years, that I’ve really become aware of them. It’s hard to explain to people within my circle, because they think I’m specifically looking for them. I can’t say they’re wrong, but the overwhelming evidence says I’m not seeking them out.

Examples include being on the treadmill with varied speeds and levels, with my time or distance ending on a specific series of numbers. Looking up at the TV at just the right moment to see lottery numbers that match my numerical signs. When I look at my stop watch at just that moment and/or find myself woken up at the right time… Trust me, there are more examples, but their randomness leaves me smiling more times than not.

I’ve talked with other people that have noticed similar things, receiving something from outside themselves that relates to their journey. One of the ways to measure how genuine they might be is if you’re not actively looking for them. I don’t look for the majority of my examples but, trust me, they still show up anyway!

2) Energy

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew then what you know now? It would have done me well back in my 20’s if I knew my energy and those around me better. However, it’s that regret and not always positive lessons that have taught me what I know now to be true.

So what does it say when things aren’t going great, but you still have that drive to be positive? That you need to clear out the negative. Or just the same; if things are finally where you want them to be in your life, but your energy is on the lower end, that could mean something as well.

The universe could be using your energy as a way to get your attention… To get you to focus on your talents or opportunities, help you help those around you, etc. This is especially true for artists, that find their energy is at its most positive when they’re expressing themselves. It could also be athletics or cooking, where you find yourself at home in your own mind, body and soul… Do what preaches to all three.

And this doesn’t always have to be something earth shattering or life altering; but just absorbing the message genuinely and emitting the same positively. Learning this took me some time regarding writing, even though I’ve been clicking away on a keyboard forever! And I have found that although some concepts are less common; I’ve been able to use that template to explore some unique story lines when it comes to humour and drama.

3) Destiny

The universe got to me on this one when I was about five. Exaggerate much, you say? Sure, I don’t blame you for thinking so, but allow me to elaborate. Big mop of hair before I had glasses, dressed in what was no doubt considered to be contemporary in the late 80’s. Kindergarten was roaring a long when during library time we were told to go and pick out a couple of books to read. I don’t remember how I ended up in the history section or what number book this was that I pulled; but when I saw a picture of the prow of the sunken luxury liner Titanic and saw that word in all caps, consider my young mind captivated.

And it’s not just how I believe I was led to do so in reading that book, but how pivotal a role fate played in everything that made that historical example exist in the first place. Destiny may be the way the universe moves us in certain directions. And even if we don’t comply, somehow we always end up where we were supposed to be.

Clearly this isn’t an exact science and naturally there are plenty of detractors. And where their hearts and/or reasoning may be in the right place, I have yet to find myself convinced that this isn’t a real thing. It’s not exactly tangible, but the concept is proven all the time. How many examples do we have of meeting people that affect us positively and negatively, zigging when we should have zagged, etc?

It’s always been as basic to me as A leading to B leading to C, and so on! Now I can’t always say I’m a huge fan of where it has led me; but still feel that the end result will have made the journey well worth it.

In The End:

There’s no exaggeration when I say, waking up to all this has been exactly easy. Obviously my natural state and approach with this is positive, and I’m grateful for that. However, as much as I love communicating, I don’t always get the message out clearly of what this all means.

Yet, I’m finding that the universe does just that, but that it’s our reception that isn’t always the best. But that shouldn’t be a reflection on the former, but an example of how the latter doesn’t always listen. A quote that seems more than appropriate for this post is: “The universe never asked you to struggle. It is simply answering your mood.”

To me that says, we should stop being our own worst enemies and truly listen and process. This can be done in many ways, and for someone like myself who tends to be active and energetic, I don’t always take my own advice. But in looking at these three aspects alone, it’s a great template to help focus on what you may be missing. And the best energy may come when you truly listen, and you’re able to share that joy. So, in thinking about how the universe may be reaching out to you, what signs have you encountered?

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