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The Hide and Seek Of Happiness – Where To Look and How To Find It

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Finding Happiness The Bucket List

I just finished watching the film, ‘The Bucket List’, one of my all time favourite, feel-good movies. Not only do I like the entertaining duo of Morgan Freeman the benevolent, wise soul and Jack Nicholson, who has the alacrity of a 5 year old, but I also like the significance of the film. ‘Our quest in life’. I think we all spend our lives on a quest. Osho referred to life as a quest and not a question, maybe a quest for meaning, for love, perhaps an esoteric piece of wisdom and for many … the quest for happiness.

There’s a scene in The Bucket List where Nicholson reads the letter Freeman wrote him, where he says, ‘find the joy in your life.’

FIND THE JOY. How do we define joy? Is a large portion of our lives spent on the attainment of happiness and is it sustainable? Happiness is an emotion, a mood, a feeling, and a dynamic state. It isn’t a destination we miraculously arrive at, it’s about cultivating moments’ of joy throughout the journey, and most importantly … happiness is a decision. It’s derived from intrinsic motivation. If we’re continually questioning when we’ll find happiness, and what exactly will create that happiness, then we’re depending on external factors and therefore not being accountable for our own lives.

Aristotle Happiness In Life Create A Bucket ListThe Greek philosopher Aristotle, devoted his research to the study of happiness. Aristotle questioned the meaning of life and the purpose of human existence suggesting that happiness was the fundamental motivator. He related it to virtue and attainment for the greater good, as opposed to individualistic gain and defined virtue as maintaining the median. Artistotle’s theory is comparable to the Buddhist philosophy of the ‘middle path’ or the ‘middle way’, which is concerned with the balance between hedonism and abstinence.

Buddhists also advocate that contentment is a more achievable state than happiness. If we reflect on the catalysts in our lives that have generated happiness, buying a new car, passing an exam, falling in love to name a few examples, I’m sure we would discover these states are temporary, impermanent and therefore … unsustainable.

In her article ‘Being Happy’, Doctor Charmaine Saunders provides three main tips for attaining happiness which include, conquering your fears, what she refers to as ‘looking for the gem’ and seeing the magic. Dr Saunders posits that our fear stifles many aspects of our life and that instead looking for the positives is a surer way to happiness.

In 1972, Bhutan’s fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH) to demonstrate his commitment in developing a nation established on Buddhist principles. This concept was later developed by Kara Ura The Director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, to holistically measure the quality of national well-being.

The research concluded that the factors contributing to individual and therefore collective happiness included, the work-life balance, good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation and has since been adopted by various other leading nations. It seems the quest for happiness is now a global phenomenon.

 

The path to a more content life

 

The Bucket List Of Your Life

Healthy mind, healthy body

There is an old expression which refers to a healthy body in a healthy mind – Mens sana in corpore sano. I promote the regular exercise, balanced diet theory, however, I’m also an advocate for holistic health and feel that if we are in a continual state of stress and anxiety, we don’t possess the motivation to eat, eat nutritiously, cook or to engage in exercise. Our eating patterns become irregular, we crave for foods containing high quantities of sugar, salts and starch, sleep routines become disrupted and irregular and we don’t possess the impetus to exercise or even socialise. These factors can contribute to severe mental health issues including depression, anxiety disorders and a range of physical conditions.

Constant worry, stress, fatigue and physical ailments, may be an indication that you need to reassess key relationships, career, and seeking the guidance and support of a health professional, to implement changes to your lifestyle, which leads me to my next point …

 

A balanced lifestyle

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy …’ another cliché or perhaps another universal truth? With rapid globalisation and technological advancement, human beings are in a constant state of flux. Work demands, financial obligations and family commitments are common stressors which can affect our quality of life. Happiness is about maintaining the balance between the physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Sufficient rest, exercise and a balanced, healthy diet are essential, as well as discovering a talent, hobby, enrolling in a course, learning to meditate or practicing yoga, however, make sure you engage in activities and, with people you feel enhance your life, and contribute to it positively. Whatever you choose to do and whomever you choose to do it with, just remember that everything in life is interconnected, and occurs in duality, there are always seeds of hope in despair and fear at it’s best is inspiration, it is up to us to create the balance.

 

A Bucket List

If you haven’t all ready, I would strongly recommend you rent the film ‘The Bucket List’. If anything at all, I’m sure you will at least take away with you, the courage to convert your fears and create your own bucket list. Find half an hour to sit down somewhere quiet and start creating your list. Perhaps there are things you have always wanted to do but have always deterred yourself because instead, you listen to that little voice inside your, or perhaps to that little nagging voice of others. Maybe you have always had the support of others but have never had the self-belief and confidence.

Drown out the inner noise and that voice of others and … just write it. Once you have written your list, it might also require further planning, for example, if your list contains goals that involve finances, such as travel, or a specific allocation of time, like a course of study. Don’t forget to specify your short, mid and long term goals, a time frame and additional considerations to achieve the outcome.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, it’s all an experience and it’s how you reframe that experience which determines the ‘real’ outcome.

To quote my Mum, who always adopts a positive approach to life ‘don’t be afraid of succeeding!’ I questioned her, thinking she made an error, and that what she meant to say was ‘don’t be afraid of failing’, but she assured me, that, ‘don’t be afraid of succeeding’ was precisely, what she meant to say.

Enjoy the journey …

Charlette is a qualified Social Worker and lecturer in ESL, and currently teaches refugees and migrants from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Charlette would like to use her writing as a catalyst for social awareness to empower, motivate and inspire people and make a meaningful difference. Her writing is informed by her increasing knowledge from her work, volunteering and activism, which contributes to her writing.

Life

4 Reasons Why Content Is Pivotal For Mental Health Healing

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One of the most important things for an entrepreneur’s mental health is expressing their feelings, thoughts, and emotions. This is where content creation and writing becomes pivotal. Whether you read something that resonates with you or you write a compelling blog post, the act of expressing yourself through content can help to put a smile on your face and make you feel better about things.

Most entrepreneurs don’t spend as much time taking care of their mental health as they should. Over the course of your career, you will experience a lot of ups and downs; these emotions have the potential to take a toll on your mind and body if you don’t learn to manage them properly.

Here are four reasons why expression through content is pivotal for healing, slowing yourself down, and giving yourself grace when the going gets tough.

1. Content can be a form of self-expression

When you are an entrepreneur, you frequently face feelings of insecurity, doubt, fear, apathy, and exhaustion, just to name a few. Some days it feels like no one is on your business’s side and everyone else has it all figured out. On those days some of us try to look at our website’s analytics to cheer up. 

But an even more freeing task is creating content. You create content to improve your business and reach more people’s lives. But, there is something special that happens when you write with the intention of expressing your thoughts and feelings — you open a door to yourself. 

Content is inherently personal, which means content creators open themselves up when they share their thoughts on a platform. Everything from the title of the post, the keywords they choose to include, and even the content itself helps you to understand who the author of that post truly is. And as an entrepreneur, this can be an important experience because it allows others to empathize with you.

2. Self-reflection will lift you up

As you think through what to write about and how to express yourself, the process of self reflection is a valuable step you need to go through. You’re able to reflect on the blessings you have, assess what you learned from the negative experiences, and create a plan on how to maintain the positive experiences you’ve had. 

There are a few ways that self reflection can help you with mental health healing. The act of reflecting on your experiences helps to create clarity in feelings, thoughts and emotions which will eventually lead into acceptance for what has happened or is happening currently without feeling overwhelmed by it all. This process also leads people towards finding new things they enjoy doing. Self reflection is therapeutic and can be implemented anytime you feel the need to overcome overwhelm.

“Writing in a journal each day allows you to direct your focus to what you accomplished, what you’re grateful for and what you’re committed to doing better tomorrow. Thus, you more deeply enjoy your journey each day.” – Hal Elrod

3. A sense of belonging and camaraderie

It is important to have a support network of people who will listen and understand what you are going through. When you post a blog or upload a video on YouTube, there are others who feel the same way and experience a sense of connection with you.

When you put time, attention and thoughtfulness into your writing, it is amazing when someone reads what you’ve written and comments on it thanking you or expressing how they resonate with what you’re going through. It’s hard to put into words how powerful it feels when someone who has gone through the same experience and reads your words then reaches out.  There is power in expression but miracles happen when people bond over a similar experience.

4. Library of content to share with more people

It can be very difficult to know what content to share with people as the symptoms of mental health disorders (anxiety, depression, etc.) vary from person to person. But as you accumulate more and more content, this will increase the number of articles or videos available for readers to choose from depending on their specific purpose. It also builds your personal library of resources you’re able to share to different people you encounter or engage directly with.

As chaotic and distracting social media can be, it can also be a beacon of hope with the right content. Many people share viral posts, or content that interest them. Since your content is valuable and personal, the more you share it, the more likely it is to be shared with the right audience.

You never know who is watching (reading)

Your content is speaking to someone and even though they may not be actively engaged, their experiences with your work are impacting them. Think about the last time you watched TV: did everyone in the room have something entertaining to say? 

You never know who’s watching because there’s always somebody reading your posts or viewing your videos-even if they just skim through it briefly. This is why creating content worth consuming is critical, not only to get you out of your funk, but also to serve your audience.  Be authentic and stay true to yourself; make every post count as an opportunity for connection with your best self and for potential readers to bond with you.

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Life

5 Ways To Invest In Yourself and Change Your Life

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Warren Buffett once said, the best investment you can ever make is in yourself. Time and money spent on bettering yourself are never considered a waste. Whether it’s through learning how to make money online, exploring new ways to increase your financial security, or watching TED talks to expand your knowledge. Do not be stingy when it comes to self-improvement because it will definitely pay off in the end. 

Need some ideas to get started on your journey to becoming a better you? Here are 5 ways to invest in yourself and transform your life. 

1. Change Your Self-Concept

Having a negative self-concept can have a tremendous impact on your life. Limiting beliefs and self-doubt are some of the main reasons why many never achieve or attempt to pursue their dreams. Take a moment and think about all the negative thoughts you have repeated to yourself throughout your life. How have these thoughts impacted the way you live life? From now on, create a new self-image by turning these negative thoughts into positive ones and appreciate your good qualities. 

2. Sign Up For An Online Course

If you’ve been wanting to brush up on your Photoshop skills or learn how to code professionally, this is the perfect time to get started. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can access an endless amount of valuable information online. For example, sites like Coursera and Youtube are both awesome resources for online learning. With a few search strings and clicks, you can find all the information you need. 

“Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” – Robin Sharma

3. Learn From a Mentor

No matter which stage of your life you are currently in, working with a mentor can help you stay motivated and focused on your goals. Not only can they guide you in the right direction, but also transform your vision, provide you with new insights, and connect you with amazing resources. If you’re feeling unmotivated or unsure about what you want to do in life, consider finding a mentor to help you navigate this process. 

4. Start A Side Hustle

The salary from a 9-5 job would rarely allow you to reach your maximum income potential. Why not achieve financial success while pursuing your passion by starting a side hustle? Whether it’s through starting an ecommerce business, freelance writing on the side, or starting a Youtube channel. There are infinite numbers of ways to make money, and there is bound to be one out there that fits your passion and skills. 

5. Nourish Your Body

As many may say, “health is the new wealth”. Without a healthy and functioning body, living a fulfilling and comfortable life becomes difficult. To take care of your body and prioritize your wellbeing, start with small habits such as eating healthier foods and exercising regularly. Bike or walk to work instead of taking the car, and opt for a healthy protein bowl instead of greasy burgers at Burger King. With time, these small habits can make an incredible difference.

Check out the infographic below, to see more ways you can invest in yourself:

home-electrification

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Life

How to Turn Inward and Detox Your Mind

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When we are overwhelmed by confusion, our psyche tries to establish certainty to alleviate our discomfort. This is usually accomplished by mentally imagining and acting out a plot. Unfortunately, much of the time, we mentally visualize pessimistic (or worst-case scenario) scenarios to provide certainty. (more…)

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12 Things to Give Up if You Want to Be Productive

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It’s almost euphoric, the feeling of ticking away boxes on the to-do list, at the end of a long day. It’s like you have seized the day or something. With cell phones buzzing every minute with notifications or ringing with a large number of versatile options, it can be hard to maintain focus on your work, and be productive. Luckily with a little determination and following some tips, you can be productive, provided you either cut down on certain things or give them up altogether. (more…)

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