How to start a gratitude journal

Gratitude journaling: A powerful practice that we must follow to live a healthy, wealthy and happy life!

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Keeping a #Gratitude Journal can bring a miraculous change in our lives. It not only reduces our stress levels and promotes self-growth, but also brings in a sense of well being while filling our lives with abundance. It helps enforce the habit of being grateful in our lives. More than often we go on grumbling about our jobs, spouses or our finances till it becomes a part of our personality. We become negative and feel that we are the victims of all the problems that exist in this world. Life seems so unlucky for us and we complain saying, ‘Why me?’ But it is not too late to change and we can cultivate the feeling of gratitude till it becomes a daily habit in our lives.

This is where gratitude journaling comes in.

Things to write in a gratitude journal

So what is gratitude journaling? It is a practice of keeping a journal where we write three to five things that we are grateful for on a daily basis. We must keep in mind though that whatever we write must not be automated and repetitive. When we write about the things we are grateful for, we must also have the feeling of appreciation attached to it. If it becomes mechanical and we write just for the sake of it, we become immune and this does not help to bring a shift in our consciousness.

On the other hand, when we focus on the feeling of appreciation we shift our mindset to the positive side of things. This brings a positive impact in our personal vibration. This positive vibration radiates through our aura and we generate it to the universe.

The universe picks up our vibration of appreciation for all the good things that show up in our lives and thereby gets the message that we want more of this. It, in turn, helps us to create and generate more of this goodness in our lives. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have when we pay attention to all the positive influence and things in our lives, we inevitably attract more of it.

This practice is especially very important to follow during our troubled times, however trying or difficult it might be. Mostly because it is during this time that we need our lives to change for the better in a positive and powerful way. When we hold on and have faith in the positive side of things, only then can we generate a positive outcome in our lives.

We can start writing about the small things that we are grateful for. Like for e.g., it may be a sibling’s phone call that assures us with a sense of security that our family is around whenever we need them. Or we can mention about the new self-help book that touched us and gave us an insight into a problem we were facing.

During our difficult days when we turn back the pages of our gratitude journal and re-read it, we will feel more appreciative about our lives and realize that there is so much to be thankful for.

The miracle of gratitude journaling

Writing makes us calmer and centered as it helps unclutter our thoughts on paper. We develop a sense of objectivity as we stop worrying about a problem and start viewing it as a third person. The journal is like our best buddy whom we can spill our innermost thoughts and talk our heart out. We become relaxed as it helps release our pent-up frustrations and we feel understood. As we connect with our thoughts and try to make a sense of them, we receive more insight. This promotes awareness and helps us achieve self-actualization. While we pour our thoughts on paper, we are more ‘present’ in that moment.

We become mindful and less worried about the past or future. This pouring of our emotions on paper helps reduce our frustrations, anger, and pain. We attain more clarity to our emotions and this helps to organize our thoughts better. Our intuition and creativity sharpen as this practice activates the right side of our brain.

#Writing things we are grateful for helps fortify our sense of gratitude. Our state of well-being increases and at the same time it enhances emotional healing. During this process of writing grateful thoughts, a downstream of positive thoughts from the universe engulfs our mind and spirit. We do away with uncertainty, doubt, and negativity, while our connection with the universe is further reinforced.

It is a pure and wholesome connection as the universe channelizes with us unhindered. While it talks to us, it reflects back its vibration on us which pours out in the form of infinite abundance. We live our lives as per the one we mentally created with the universe and it will have everything that we had desired, coupled with that sense of gratitude.

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Why you should join a book club

Book clubs are remarkably effective in terms of developing your social, intellectual, and communication skills

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Are you passionate about reading? Are you always on the lookout for another book nerd to discuss the latest book you read? Do you think that besides reading, you need to add social flavor in your life? This is where a book club comes in and you will find that it can enrich your life in more ways than one.

A book club diversifies your choice of books and makes reading a priority

You find yourself reading a wider range of books as each member gets to choose one. You might be a vampire buff, but you find yourself mentally plowing through “Anna Karenina.” Or maybe you have a penchant for romance novels, but in no time you are exploring a science fiction.

You might find yourself reading that classic that you could never make time for. Then again, your reading buddy can keep you motivated through a lengthy and demanding Ayn Rand novel. Your reading experience is enriched as you explore different genres while your mind opens up to new perspectives. You will gain more insight when you are exposed widely to an interesting cross-section of discussions from people of different backgrounds.

With the demands of modern life, it can be a challenge to pick up that book lying on the shelf for months. This is where a book club fills that gap because once you join one you will be cornered to prioritize your reading time. You will find yourself mentally booking that time – maybe just after your lunch break when you need to unwind or maybe a few minutes before you hit the bed.

Reading becomes a goal and you feel a sense of achievement when you tick it off on your daily to-do list or maybe four times a week. This commitment to keeping up with the other members of your book club deepens and makes you more disciplined about your reading habits.

Book clubs enrich your social life

You get to make new friends. As we leave school or university and start our lives as homemakers, self-employed individuals, or business owners, meeting new people becomes a challenge – especially the ones with the same interests. Even if we do, it is just on a superficial level as we find that there is no common thread to connect us. With #Book Clubs not only do you get to meet new people, communication becomes easier as you talk about something you are passionate about, and listen to each other’s thoughts and opinions. Meetings at a regular interval coupled with shared chit-chat and laughter over a cup of tea or snacks help foster that bond among the members.

Once you finish reading a book, you are dying to talk about it with anyone who shows an inclination to listen.

Instead of dumping your views on people who feign polite interest, you will find like-minded people in the club to discuss the plot, the protagonist or the climax.

It gives you a break from the usual routine as you meet members at their homes or at a favorite restaurant. Conversations over tea or lunch can be simply relaxing and keep you rejuvenated for the next few weeks. You tend to become socially active and adept as you meet people from different backgrounds and cultures. You grow as a human being and mature emotionally, thereby enhancing your mental and spiritual health. You often build lifelong friendships through these clubs.

Book clubs help to hone your intelligence and boost your communication skills

You may be shy, especially at gatherings like clubs and parties. Book clubs make it easy to break the ice as you will find yourself easily discussing topics that you love and are knowledgeable about. Your #Communication Skills improve by leaps and bounds with continuous practice at every meeting.

You will be contemplating deeper issues brought to the table by different members. You will find your adrenaline flowing as you get involved in riveting discussions and are intellectually stimulated. This creative outlet for your thoughts will make you feel nurtured through mind and body. You will be exposed to critical thinking and debate the finer points about society and the world at large. Regular contact with books also enriches your vocabulary and writing skills.

At first, your confidence may be shaky and lacking as you voice your opinions after a lot of thought. But gradually with practice, your public speaking skills improve. You also get to learn a lot by observing others who are skilled in this platform. You know when to avoid a faux pas or a socially unexpected behavior like pushing your opinion and cutting off other members even before they finish what they have to say.

You are free to be honest. You can voice your thoughts to an audience who is always open for a difference of opinion or perspective. These kinds of experiences are psychologically positive and self-revelatory. It liberates your mind and heart, while alleviating the stress of the daily grind.

‘Geronimo Stilton,’ a great series to encourage reluctant readers and beginners

This well-known series has proved to be a great pick for children when it comes to initiating an interest and love for reading.

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With the massive influx of video games, it has become increasingly challenging for our children to get into the habit of reading. This is even more pronounced where young boys are concerned. This summer break I was amazed to see my two boys suddenly getting into reading in a big way and the books were none other than the popular children’s books of “#Geronimo Stilton.” The mother in me was excited to see this budding interest in her boys. Seeing the older one immersed in these books somehow influenced the younger one too and in no time they were devouring one book after another.

I had already stacked our bookshelf with children’s and middle-grade books but had despaired for a long time when they hadn’t shown any inclination to read.

Suddenly all that changed. They started excitedly discussing where to get the next stack of books – possibly from their friends in the neighborhood or maybe their schoolmates. What was it that built this sudden penchant for these books when they were so reluctant to read the children classics or the usual famous ones of Enid Blyton like the “Famous Five” and the “Secret Seven?” My nephew, another “Geronimo” fan, told me that it was the maps, factoid boxes, the treasure hunts and vibrant pictures that kept him engaged. My younger son said the dialogues made him laugh really hard in addition to loving the colored fonts while my older son loved the suspense and twists the stories entailed.

As I researched, I found a common thread as to why “Geronimo” was universally popular among children. The colorful illustrations, multi-shaped fonts, amusing dialogues accompanied by hilarious adventures were the main reason this series received a worldwide appeal.

It is a series about a mouse named Geronimo Stilton. The writer Elisabetta Dami narrates the series through Geronimo’s perspective who lives in New Mouse City, the capital of Mouse Island. Most of the story is from a mouse’s point of view like when he exclaims, ‘cheese slices,’ because he hates Monday mornings or brushes his teeth with ‘cheddar-flavored‘ toothpaste. Geronimo is a publisher of one of the most famous newspapers on Mouse’s Island, The Rodent’s Gazette, although most of the time he keeps getting entangled in his crazy adventures. The other characters accompanying him in his travels are his sister, nephew, and cousin, bringing in a family dynamic spattered with silly squabbles and repartee throughout the entire story. His sister Thea Stilton who works as a correspondent on Rodent’s Gazette is the gusty one and often teases her brother about his nervous temperament.

Geronimo Stilton stands out in the reluctant reader boy book category

Amongst the reluctant readers‘ category, boys prove to be even more challenging and getting them to cultivate the habit of reading can be an uphill task.

Sadly, in the world of literature there is a gender bias because when it comes to the choice of books, boys are often found to prefer those where the protagonist is a male. They prefer “Harry Potter,” “Horrid Henry,” “Jungle Book” and “Hardy Boys” but scoff at books like “Malory Towers,” “Heidi,” “Nancy Drew” and all those with main female protagonists. Meanwhile, girls show no preferences whatsoever and are ready to read any kind whether the protagonist is a male or a female. Hence the best part of this series is that it appeals to both the genders.

Reluctant readers into book-lovers

Here with Geronimo acting as a journalist and Thea playing the detective, there is a huge action element involved, providing children with a lot of thrills and fun-filled adventures. The use of vibrant graphics and illustrations enhances the reading experience of the young readers. The colored fonts of different shapes and sizes add more flavor and compliment the amusing tone of the stories. The quirky nature of the characters with their silly squabbles, fun banter, wacky puns and comical reactions leave children in a fit of endless giggles.

Some people have complained that the plot is weak and jumbled but we must keep in mind that the world of children is very simple and they just look forward to having fun in all their activities. The abundance of images coupled with the play-on-words engrosses readers to crave for more as reading becomes less and less daunting till it cultivates into a habit. As their interests remain alive, the young readers get used to sitting through an entire book and thereby growing into more independent readers.

The storyline is quick while the usage of many onomatopoeic words, similes, and other figurative language helps children to easily read through the chapters, giving them a sense of achievement. They gain more confidence in their reading abilities. Most words draw the attention of the readers as they are written in an eye-catching and fun way while at the same time helping them to expand their vocabularies. All in all, this series smoothen the transition of the young reluctant readers to more advanced chapter books.

Author’s Note: Originally published in Blasting News US

Here’s why you should read every day

Reading on a regular basis, even a few minutes, a day brings in many positive effects that can help reduce stress, enhance empathy and more.

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#Reading has become a neglected activity in today’s age of smartphones, social media, and video games. More than often when we are not occupied with our jobs or daily chores, we are distracted by online activities on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Skype.To get out of the mundanity of our lives, we seek out pleasurable activities like partying, clubbing or gossiping. Yet focusing on these external factors have largely led to less productivity and increased levels of stress in many of us.

Research has shown that even six minutes of reading every day can bring about innumerable #health benefits while at the same time transform us into happier and stronger individuals. This is because reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.

Reading is immensely healthy and a great workout for the mind

Just like our body, our brain is a muscle that needs to be exercised regularly for better performance and productivity. A study conducted in the recent times shows that when it comes to reducing stress, reading beats out all the other stress releasing activities like listening to music, taking a walk or relishing a cup of coffee. It is a form of meditation that helps calm the restless mind and gives us tranquility, which in turn lowers our heartbeat and pulse.

Sometimes we are bogged down by everyday problems and feel frustrated trying to work things out. We over-think our problems which lead to increase in stress and depression. But we don’t need to travel to another part of the world to escape from our problems nor do we need to rely on our friends who may not be always available.

Then again, indulging in activities like clubbing and partying are not only expensive but leave us with an empty feeling when we are already disturbed.

To help us find respite, all we need to do is sit in a comfortable and cozy place at home with a good book in hand. Once we are immersed in the book we tend to forget our worries for the time being. We are immersed in the present moment and are free from any kind of stress. However, we must take care not to read anything heavy like the stock market news or scientific journals. We must read for pleasure or anything that piques our interest. Once we forget our problems and feel calmer we can go back to find a solution to our problems with a relaxed mind.

Reading helps to increase our focus and concentration

Before we are on our way to school or at work, reading a few minutes will help to increase our focus. It involves intellectual activity and concentration that leads to an increased neurological activity of the brain. This, in turn, enhances mental stimulation that keeps the brain active and sharpens its logical activity.

Research has shown that reading prohibits the brain from losing its power and helps prevent Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and general memory loss that comes with age.

Reading makes us smarter as it increases our knowledge and makes us better equipped in our personal and professional lives. Information and knowledge in various spheres coupled with a good vocabulary enhance our personality. It improves our soft skills and helps us in our interviews, promotions, social networking, public speaking and various other spheres of life. It gives us more confidence as we become better conversationalists and this helps us mingle easily as well as be comfortable in any social gathering.

Reading increases our emotional intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving skills

We become better individuals as we can learn from other people’s experiences. Many people have become wealthy and successful reading success stories of mentors like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Warren Buffet. Self-help books and memoirs can be inspirational as well as help solve our personal problems in life.

Our empathy increases as we delve into the emotions and feelings of a character which we would have never known otherwise. This helps in building better relationships since our understanding and perceptions of other people increase. This will, in turn, make us happier individuals, as we have stronger connections with our family, friends, and acquaintances.

Reading stimulates our creativity. This is because our imagination is fuelled when we mentally travel through the different places in the story, envision the characters and relate to their emotions. It triggers our curiosity and ushers in critical thinking as we analyze and make connections with the different characters, plots, subplots or try to solve the mystery.

Our brain is led to follow the sequence of the story as we explore the motivation behind the characters, the confrontation, and the resolution. This exposure to the logic and structure of fiction promotes quicker thinking while at the same time enhances our #problem-solving skills. As we assimilate more #information we create new brain pathways as well as strengthen the existing ones, thereby boosting our memory power.

We become better writers when we read more as we get to observe the style and techniques of other #writers. We also get ideas and inspiration for new stories or articles. Our #increased vocabulary from regular reading helps transition our writing into high quality and rich content.

Author’s Note: Originally published in Blasting News US

How gratitude can change your life

Gratitude is an emotion we feel when we start appreciating all that we have in our lives and are thankful for them. It can be as big as getting a promotion or as small as enjoying a full moon night; maybe even simple as relishing a delicious pastry or an icecream. People often feel they are living very ordinary lives and there is nothing to be grateful for. Come to think of it, if we look at our daily routine lives and compare it with the highly valued materialistic things which we don’t have, then it does give us a feeling that there is nothing to be grateful for. But that’s where we are wrong and we need to change our perspective about life.

Ultimately all of us humans want to be happy. It doesn’t matter where it comes from. What matters in fact is our state of mind which should be in a state of emotional well-being and positivity always. But if we focus our attention on the materialistic side of things then we can’t live in this consistent state of emotional well-being. This is because the amount of materialistic things differ in everyone’s lives. Some have more wealth while others have less. Again that doesn’t mean that the wealthiest are the most happy and the poorest or less materialistically endowed are the saddest. The reason behind this can be unearthed from this meaningful quote which goes, “It is not happiness that makes us grateful, rather it is gratitude that makes us happy.” This is a very important philosophy that we must take note because herein lies the secret of our happiness.

When we are grateful in whatever stage of life we are in, there is a great shift in our consciousness. We view things in a different light. Our mood changes for the better. The state of negativity and despondency changes to a more positive and optimistic outlook. Instead of thinking what a dull rainy day it is today, you change your perspective and stand near your window to see how fresh and clean the earth looks. Or simply enjoy the sound of the rain that can be relaxing and have a therapeutic effect on you. Maybe you can use that day to spend indoors to read a book or paint and sip some warm coffee. Maybe it feels more peaceful to do an assignment indoors with the soothing hum of the rain instead of facing the heavy rush of traffic or hurly burly of the outside world. You may tend to feel more inspired and creative on those rainy days and paint out that beautiful scenery, knit a muffler or maybe finish writing your article. Immediately your perspective changes. Another situation wherein you might have forgotten your door keys and have to wait for your spouse to return from his office. So instead of being frustrated waiting, you could go out for a walk and at the end of it you realise that the exercise helped  you feel more refreshed after a tiring day at the office. Or maybe you caught up with your neighbour and treated her to a cup of coffee, thereby connecting with her after ages. So either way you feel better about things.

Even on the days we are sick, maybe at that time we may have felt low or depressed. But it is during those times that we stop taking our health for granted. It makes us appreciate our health even more and we tend to take better care of it. I remember last month I was out of internet for almost a week. After a while as I gave up fuming about it and went on with my work, I realised it was a gift for me instead. Because that kept me out of social media like facebook or checking out entertaining videos on YouTube and I was busy learning my technical tutorials. The challenge I face with my technical tutorials is that as soon as they get tedious or a little hard to understand, I switch to facebook or YouTube for temporary relief. Thus lack of internet access helped me focus better and boosted my productivity. I finished my project earlier than the stipulated time. Of course I had scheduled the work which needed internet access for the evening hours when my husband returned and I could use his wi-fi hotspot. Recently my internet has been very fast and that too was provided with unlimited access due to a recent scheme by a telecom company. I have never been so appreciative!

Sometimes of course it is a real struggle to be grateful when you are having a difficult time in your life – maybe you are suffering from a serious illness or at other times you might be going through a destructive relationship. But a lot of real life stories have shown that it is actually the hard times that make people more grateful about their struggles, which has in turn bestowed them a hidden gift in some form or the other. More often people who have faced harder times are the ones more appreciative about life and have become more successful in their relationships or careers.

Gratitude is also believed to activate the law of attraction in our lives. People all over the world have reported that more they have been grateful, more has been the abundance in their lives. It is believed that when we are grateful we focus our energies on the positives in our lives, that in turn gives the universe the sign that that is what we want and helps making our desires manifest. On the other hand when we are negative and grumpy we are focused on the negative aspects in our lives and that is the message we send to the universe. Thus our life becomes a downward spiral from then on.

The universe understands your emotions, not your words or your wants. If you want something badly, but your emotion is that it is difficult to achieve, then that is what you will get – which is the lack of success and only the feeling of want. But if on the other hand you are confident that whatever you ask will come to you, the universe senses this feeling of confidence and abundance in you. And it is this abundance that will fill your life. Be grateful that the best has happened in your life and in turn the universe will sense this assurance you have about life and give you more.

‘Ask and you will receive,’ is a popular bible quote. It simply is nothing but the law of attraction. But then for this to work, you have to ask with a sense of gratitude that the universe will deliver it for you and it will definitely come to pass. Even if something bad happens, think of it as a temporary struggle and try to view it as a hidden gift because that is what it is. I have had my low phases in life but I feel it has been a hidden gift to me because it is what made me a better writer and I could touch on emotional aspects that afflicted many other people too. It made me feel and write better about the emotions of my characters in my stories. It made me research for resources and articles to make myself  happy and once I found it, I found ways to be at peace with myself as well as understand my relations with my closest ones better. It also gave me confidence to be my best friend the times when people were not around. In other words it made me less whiny and a more self-assured person instead.

Even during the times you are upset with your family  members or your friends, think of the times they have done something nice for you or have been there for you. It will remove that anger and release you from those pent up feelings. It will usher in emotional freedom by making you feel unchained and a lot lighter.

So what do we do to enforce this feeling of gratitude in our lives? Keep a journal and write three to five things you are grateful for. Gratitude journaling has been reported to bring down our stress levels and make us more calmer. See that whatever you write is not automated and repetitive. Don’t write for the sake of writing. Instead feel the emotion while writing it. Or if you feel pressured, just write one thing in detail and feel the appreciation while writing it. Write small things like your sister’s phone call which always gives that close chummy feeling and a feeling of security that you can reach for her at any time of your life. Otherwise you can mention about something that touched you like the new self-help book you are reading that gave you an insight into something that was bothering you. Or maybe simply relish the feeling of freedom that you have the money to buy a book of your choice whenever you want to. During your difficult days when you turn back the pages of your gratitude journal and re-read it, you will feel more appreciative in your period of reflection and realise there is so much to be thankful for.

It is said that writing makes us calmer and centred as we unclutter our thoughts on paper. It increases our sense of objectivity as we stop agonising over a problem and start seeing it from another’s point of view or a third person. It’s like your friend whom you can spill your thoughts to or talk your heart out. Hence there is a feeling of being released and understood. Since you are talking to yourself, you connect more with the inner you and it gives you more insight into your thoughts. Thus it helps to promote self-growth. It makes you more mindful and aware as you pour your thoughts on paper. Your mind stops to wander and makes you more ‘present’ in that moment. As the past frustrations and irritations peel off, you feel less loaded and it reduces the intensity of your anger, pain or sadness. It makes you more centred and calm. It helps to organise your thoughts better and gives you more clarity on your emotions. It makes you more intuitive and creative as it activates the right side of your brain.

When you write about the things you are grateful for it will fortify your sense of gratitude even more. It heals you emotionally and makes you feel relaxed. It gets you more creative as a downstream of positive thoughts engulf your mind and spirit. As you remove all obstacles, your connection with the universe gets more enhanced and unadulterated. The universe is talking to you even more through its unhindered channel and pouring out its abundance to you as you live everyday with a sense of wonder and gratitude.

Author:        Pratibha R DH
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/Author.Pratibha

How to be positive and in a happy mood always…

Being happy is not about temporary thrills, pleasurable pursuits, exciting events, winning prizes or living a luxurious lifestyle. It is not even about making a lot of money, achieving fame, being the best looking or the smartest. Because the richest, the famous, the best looking or the smartest can still be the most depressed  people on earth. Being happy in reality is actually a matter of lifestyle. It can be found amongst the most ordinary lives as anyone on this earth can be happy if they want to be. It is not a matter of position or possession but simply a state of mind manifested from the kind of lifestyle we lead.

So what lifestyle changes should we make to be in a good mood everyday of our lives? What can one do so that a general state of positivity and good feeling is our way of life? Of course, this doesn’t mean we will not have our bad days and failures or go through situations that can make us feel temporarily defeated. But how do we bounce back out of it quickly and live in a state of positivity and confidence that things will surely turn in our favour? How to be in a happy mood on a very ordinary day and love each moment of our routine life? We can aim for our goals only when we have a strong positive mindset, don’t we? So how do we do that? For that we have to adopt a lifestyle that embraces activities and programmes that promote happiness.

  1. Exercise is known to be a great mood booster as it releases endorphins that helps alleviate our mood. So, if you make it a habit to exercise everyday then it can help you in beating stress and annihilate the heaviness that might clutter your way of thinking. It will aid in keeping you in a lighter and happier mood while going about your daily business every day. Regular exercise will also keep you fit and give you a sense of achievement where your physique is concerned. If you dislike the gym you can opt to do something more suited to your interests and personality such as dancing, yoga or any other fun sport like tennis, badminton, basketball etc. The friends and acquaintances you meet at the gym or club will also give you a sense of belonging and companionship as your goals and passions will be more in line with them.
  1. Meditation is a must if you want to live a happy life. Meditation calms any kind of turmoil that you might be feeling inside or any problem that might tend to make you restless. It soothes the mind and helps eliminate negative thoughts that might haunt you and bring you down on a daily basis. You will feel a sense of calm and see your problems more logically – in other words with a sense of wisdom. The practice of meditation helps shed more light on the problems you are facing and analyse them better. You tend to gain clarity over them and achieve peace of mind. It develops your intuition better and helps you find more rational solutions to them. You will find yourself feeling less and less bitter as it increases your emotional stability. A feeling of relaxation tends to pervade in your everyday life. It helps increase your creativity too. It reduces the restlessness inside by stabilizing your thoughts and helps you gain more focus in your work. It expands your consciousness and you tend to view things from a greater perspective than before. All in all it gives you a greater sense of wisdom.
  1. Drink water. Water keeps you hydrated and less cranky.
  1. Start keeping a journal. Write down your problems. It helps empty out that clutter clogging your mind and makes you feel lighter as if you have removed a major weight from your shoulders. It releases pent-up feelings and emotions. Once you write down your feelings, it gives you a better perspective of the agitation you are feeling inside by gaining more clarity. It helps you sort out your feelings better by disentangling them, processing them and relating them more logically with outer events. You see your problems more maturely as an outsider and thereby easily find solutions for them. You find your worries less overwhelming and easy to let go. It helps balance your mind and increase emotional stability. It soothes your troubled mind by allowing you to counsel yourself. It helps in healing yourself and thereby bringing in harmony to your life.
  1. Try to live in the present. The more you live in the present the better you will feel everyday of your life. Needless worrying about the future and dwelling in the past is a great mood killer. Live in the philosophy that the past has been done and gone. The lesson learnt will pay richly all your life. And even if you feel there was no lesson then there is no point dwelling in it. Expect that whatever will happen in future will only be for your best. Believe in that higher source that there is a greater, grander design for you and only the best will follow.
  2. Strive to embrace a broader view of things. Try to forgive others and let go. The more we hold on to a grudge, more does it make us a bitter and an angrier person. It will make us even more low and dismal. It will make us unhappier than the other person we are angry about. The more we let go, the lighter will be our state of mind and overall mood. Understand that when a person is negative with you then most likely that is how the person’s basic nature is. He or she, in general, carries that attitude in life and behaves the same with all others too. Just forgive and forget. This doesn’t mean you have to be very friendly with that person and blindly believe in them again. But be wiser by releasing the anger, keeping a distance from that person and being more cautious next time.
  3. If somebody doesn’t live up to your expectations, then try to see things from their point of view from time to time. Maybe that person was having a bad day and hence didn’t notice you or pay you any attention. Maybe your friend had a major disagreement with his colleague at office and so was somewhat snappy with you.
  4. Be a kinder and a helpful person. This really helps in building up more happy hormones in you. When we help others, notice that we feel much better and lighter after that act of kindness. If we resolve to do something kind every day, then our life in general will be a very positive one.
  5. Develop a hobby especially a creative one like painting, sketching, pottery and craftwork. It will keep you totally immersed in the creative process and after an hour or so you will feel so much better and happier.
  6. Strive to be as emotionally independent and self reliant as possible. Because there maybe times you won’t find anyone around when you are low or depressed. People are quite caught up with their own lives and rarely you will find people generous to lend time to you out of their own challenging busy lives. So be your best friend always. Don’t have expectations from others even if he or she is your best friend or your sibling. People keep changing as per the situations in life. Everyone is on their own growth path and might make mistakes in their journey of life. It’s part of being human. So don’t have expectations however much you have done for them. Expectations only ruin relationships. Give and forget. As the Bible says, when you do charity, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. This age-old philosophy will always keep you mentally strong, emotionally independent and happy. It will help you achieve emotional balance as your feelings or mood will not depend on any external factors. You will be the sole owner of your own happiness. So be passionate about your own stuff that is your work, your hobbies, your fitness activities and other practices such as yoga, meditation etc. This will keep your mind always involved, busy and happy. It will steer you away from those negative monkey thoughts that are the root cause of unhappiness and a bad mood.
  7. Live in confidence always that whatever challenges or goals you have, there is always a higher source, or the universe if you’d like to call it, to help you and guide you to achieve your dreams. Wishes are prayers that are bound to come true if we have enough faith in ourselves and that higher source.
  8. Never feel superior or inferior to anyone. Each of us is born with special talents and gifts. Be confident in your talents but appreciate what you don’t have in others. This will give you a balanced feeling about how you perceive yourself and others.

Author:        Pratibha R DH
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/Author.Pratibha

 

 

How to get out of a bad mood?

There might be various factors causing a bad mood which we ourselves might not be aware of. One catalytic factor might be because we are feeling stressed or bored with our lives. Feelings of unworthiness or low confidence can also lead to a lot of discontent and angst within ourselves. External factors like someone’s irksome behaviour might be one or we could be a victim of a near one’s mercurial temperament. As a matter of fact staying around anyone’s constant unpredictable mood swings, be it a colleague or a friend, is no less a downer. So what do we do to get out of this bad mood?

First, I’d suggest a change of scene. Go outdoors for a while and try to absorb the sound and sights of nature. The soft lull of the leaves in the trees, the vibrant colours of the flowers, the chirping of the birds, the deep blue sky – try to get the feel and sense of every element in your surroundings. Or, if you live in the city go out for a walk and try to absorb the sights and sounds around you. Feel the evening breeze and observe the lively shops, the passersby engaged in their own story of life, children playing, young people frolicking and so on. It will change your focus from whatever has been bothering you at that moment. You might also meet someone on the way in course of your solitary walk, who might want to chat you up and thereby get you involved in his or her conversation. This will help to disengage you from that heavy chatter playing in your mind and thereby break the chain of murky thoughts that seem to hold you a prisoner of your bad mood.

Another way to get out of a bad mood is by writing down your thoughts on paper. Without editing, just write spontaneously about everything that comes to your mind at that very moment. Mention every thought as it comes. The very act of unloading your thoughts on paper will open and give way to the healing process for you. You will feel a lot lighter and find a sense of clarity once you log down your thoughts for the day. Writing really helps and I strongly recommend you try it out. It will reduce the intensity of whatever you are feeling at the moment. You will feel calmer and at the same time you will grow stronger internally. Writing allows you to process those murky feelings till your agitation cools down and you feel at ease and somewhat serene of the whole situation. It will also help you see what are the situations that keep causing you repeated agony and in course of time find a solution to beat that problem. Another aspect to keep in mind is that when we see a problem as a third person or an outsider it helps us gain some sense of meaning or resolution to the conflict raging inside our heart. The reason is that when we are inside our own drama it makes our mind clogged and stops us from assessing our problems logically. But when we are less emotional or analyzing a situation as an outsider we gain more logic over it. Writing also releases the resentments you feel against people. So instead of bottling them up and stewing over them, writing becomes a kind of cathartic release for you. Since it slows down that anger or that intensity of feelings inside us, it also gives us some time to focus on another’s point of view and thereby have a better assessment of the situation.

Exercise is another way to change your mood. Twenty to thirty minutes of exercise can be a great mood booster. Besides cardio and the regular workouts you can opt for something you enjoy for e.g., a dance program like zumba, hip hop, aerobics, belly etc or a fun sport like badminton, cycling, tennis etc. Something that you really enjoy doing instead of it being a punishing routine to be followed every day. You can also join a gym or a club nearby. A regular work out or a dance program will help to keep your mood stable on a daily basis. The people you meet there every day with whom you can enjoy a chat or a laugh in course of your fitness routine also adds up to your mood. Regular exercise will also help weight loss and give you a sense of achievement to boost your confidence levels. The blood circulation and rush of adrenalin in course of your fitness program will help alleviate that bad mood into a lighter and better mood. Exercise helps the brain to release chemicals such as endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamine which act to relieve the tension and uplift your mood. Yoga is another practice that helps the flow of blood all over the body and removes the blocks causing tension in our body and mind. It helps stabilise our inner world.

Meditation is another great way to beat out a bad mood. Instantly at that very moment, find some place to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. As you relax each part of your body you will find your thoughts slow down. Let your thoughts come and go and don’t try to get attached to any particular thought but be aware of every breath that you take. Try this for ten minutes. You will feel much calmer and lighter after you meditate. If you practise this everyday you will definitely feel like a changed person for life. It’s not that you won’t have bad days or you won’t lose control but you will change into a relatively stronger and calmer person. You can also try out guided meditation where a voice makes you relaxed as it takes you through different images in your mind. Whichever method you use, this is a great technique to uplift you and relieve you from those sore feelings gnawing at your heart.

Music is another way to help alleviate your bad mood. Listen to songs which uplift your heart and has had the ability to put you in a good mood in the past. I am sure you will feel much better again after you get immersed and hum to the tune of your favourite musical melodies.

Daily chores like washing dishes or ironing also keeps you busy and distracts you from following that heavy thought pattern hovering in your mind.

Get involved in a hobby that you are passionate about. Painting, drawing, colouring and craftwork are great stress busters which shifts your focus and gets you involved in its creative process. It will also give you a sense of achievement once you see your creations fill your home and boost your confidence hugely.

If you have a good circle of friends and if they are free then dress up and go out with them. Or watch a good movie. Of course this is something external and hence only a temporary mood enhancer as your friends might not always be around. So don’t depend on this too much. Depend on something which is yours to own, so that you can make it part of your routine or a daily habit.  A daily ritual of your own will keep your mind trained to always stay in a good mood and thereby stabilise your mood swings.

Don’t be on social media too much if you are in a bad mood. If you are feeling very lonely at a particular  moment, then seeing pictures of your friends holidaying or partying might make you even more morose. Social media also comes with expectations. And if you put up a status that not many people have been inclined to comment or ‘like’, then that might bother you even more. It might also manifest a feeling of being ignored or create a lower self-esteem. Negative statuses of your friends may drive you further into a depressive mood, so it’s best to avoid social media during those instances of your life.

Do random acts of kindness like visiting that aunty who lives all alone or calling that friend who is depressed and encourage her. All these small acts will change your focus from your own situation and help you feel better.

As much as possible, go out and smile. Act as if you are cheerful and enthusiastic about your life and greet people around you in that cheerful fervour. And slowly your mind and heart also will catch up with it till you really feel much happier and better. In other words – “fake it till you make it.”

If you are around someone who is always affected, try not to get drawn into that person’s bad mood. Distance yourself and build a wall internally against that person’s mood. Realise that change of mood is a part of that person’s personality and you need not be a victim of it. You have a choice to decide how your mood will be and not anyone else. Be calm and composed no matter what. Decide for yourself how you will be and what will you be.

Getting involved passionately in your work will keep you focused in the present and keep your thoughts in the right track. Try to live in the present moment as much as possible and not dwell in the past. The past is done. It had its purpose and is water under the bridge now. No point mulling over it. Instead try to see it more philosophically and understand that there was a lesson which we needed to learn for our self-growth.

Don’t fret yourself on the future whether it is a project or some plan or any event. Believe in the positive and expect that it will occur in its own sweet time. Live in the present moment and appreciate what you have in life. The bad situations are only a few splashes in our large canvas of life and believe that those too will pass. This is called living mindfully. Be grateful for all that you have in life. Make a gratitude list and you will find there is so much to be grateful for. Don’t take everything for granted. Appreciate all the blessings in your life and try to enjoy each moment. If you still feel down, look at people who have far less than you. This will surely change your perspective and make you feel so much better. Training yourself everyday to change your mood by following the above steps will surely change you into a naturally positive and happy person.

Author:        Pratibha R DH
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/Author.Pratibha

How to achieve your goals?

Today I am going to discuss a few tips on how to achieve your goals based on my experience and steps I take to achieve my goals. This is my process on how to go about being goal oriented and I hope this helps you too.

First of all, goals depend on what we desire most. It might be to lose weight or to get through an exam or pass an interview or something vocational like becoming a blogger. You need to be specific about what you want to achieve in life and then work your way towards it.

Make it realistic and start with small steps i.e. baby steps. For e.g., you might like to be more of a stronger and happier person. So what is it that you need to do? You might research on the internet and it will give you suggestions to follow a healthier lifestyle, such as exercise everyday and follow a healthy diet. It might also ask you to follow holistic practises like meditation and yoga.

So first thing you need to do is to write down your goal. Then research by reading articles and talking to experts on how to go about achieving it. So once you are specific and have some knowhow, make an action plan on how to go about it. This will make your goal feel more real and practical, in other words achievable. It will actually bring some sense of structure to your goals. Make a routine and write it down in your planner. Set the time in your planner for that particular task every day.

Say, you want to lose weight. Don’t be vague and think I want to look like Beyonce. Be more specific, considering your current situation. For e.g. you are twenty pounds overweight. So write down your goal as, ‘I want to lose 20 pounds’. Give it a time duration. Be realistic. Don’t try to achieve that goal in one week. It might lead to you falling seriously ill thereby damaging your health. So write down your goal in a sheet of paper with a time frame, say I want to lose ten pounds in two months.

Then, next comes the process. What is the action plan to achieve that goal considering the lifestyle you follow? Like for e.g. you might be a busy mother of school going children. So you need to fix a time after the children goes to school. This will help you follow that time schedule regularly without allowing any break to it, except for unavoidable circumstances of course. Or you might be a student who is busy in school the entire day. So in that case the best option would be to finish off your exercise schedule in the morning. Or you might be an office goer who has some free time in the evening. So the best course of action is to fix a time in the evening. Whatever your time is, keep it fixed and develop a routine round it. Follow it diligently till it becomes a habit. Follow a diet schedule. Decide first what would be the diet you are going to follow. What foods should be included in your breakfast that will aid in your weight loss? It might be that the dietician or the fitness blogger or website you follow might ask you to load yourself with fibrous food such as oatmeal or fruits in the morning. So write that down in your breakfast diet column of your diet planner. Keep more options so that there is variety and you are not bored. Decide what would you have for your lunch – the time when you feel tired and still need to keep going through the entire day. Maybe you can have some carbohydrates or protein food. So write that down. Then next comes your dinner. It should be a lighter affair this time, so write down the light foods as advised by your fitness experts. You can also write down the snacks to be followed too. In this manner you can have a proper diet chart to follow and this will aid you in your weight loss. When your diet becomes a pre-planned routine, it helps you to stop cheating and thereby giving in to your senses whenever the impulse catches you. Make a column in your diet chart that contains the checklist which makes you check off the things you were able to complete successfully. That gives you a sense of achievement. Also include a column for the junks foods or sugary stuff you had that day so that you are aware of what you are eating that might have led to a slowdown in your weight loss. Once you have that record you are more aware of your diet intake and next time you will be more conscious of your food habits. You can also have an exercise chart which combines the different exercises you might do on a particular day of the week. This might be a combination of cardio or ab exercises or weights. So you can have a structured exercise plan to follow each week that especially works on the problem areas of your physique. Keep the timetable or planner pasted on an area where you can see it every day. This will help you follow it with more dedication and not be lackadaisical about your goal. Download exercise planners from the internet or you can design some of your own and print them out. You can have a wallpaper of someone who’s physique you admire on your desktop or laptop if you use that. This will can enhance your desire and make your goal even stronger. Or you can have a screen saver of that person in different dresses or have a wall poster where you can always see them. This will motivate you to follow your exercise and diet plans till it becomes a habit. Here I have pasted a self designed exercise planner to keep me motivated in my exercise and diet schedule.

exercise-planner

Let me give you another example. For instance your goal is to become a blogger. In that case, first you need to create a free blog offered by different websites such as wordpress and blogspot or take professional help to create one. I will not talk in detail about this, as lots of information regarding it is already available on the internet. So what would be the next step for you to do? Fix a certain time everyday for your research and writing. You can fix one hour for your research and another hour for writing. So by the end of a month you can have as much as 8 to 9 articles easily. Same goes for writing a book which might also be your first novel. If you are a busy holding a job, then you can fix an hour everyday early morning for your book. Start working on your research for a month. Then for another 10 days start making a plot for your novel. After that aim to write 500 or 1000 words everyday depending on your speed. Hence by the end of the month you can have as much as 15, 000 to 30,000 words already completed for your novel. If you go by the lower count then by the end of five months you would have completed 75,000 words at least. If you consider another three-four months for editing and polishing your novel, then within less than a year you have a novel ready to be submitted to the agent or a publisher.

blog-planner

Hence with proper planning we can set to achieve whatever we want or dream of. We need to start with baby steps by writing down our goal first. Then next we need to make an action plan. Keep your timetable or plan visible by making printouts and pasting it where you can see it every day – maybe in your planner or on the wall facing your desk. Make it a habit to follow the routine everyday with dedication. Of course don’t make it so unrealistic that you are burnt out in the first few days itself. After exerting your will power for the first week or so, it almost becomes a habit and gets much easier. Once you have checked off those small goals your sense of achievement will propel you to aim for more goals. Your past success track record will give you better focus and thereby make you more determined and goal oriented. This paves for more success in your life and in time all your future endeavours.

Author:        Pratibha R DH
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/Author.Pratibha