Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Health and Happiness in January

I always thought January was such a dreadful month full och darkness and coldness, when I once again had lots of homework on my table while I was a student or simply lots of work on my desk every year after I had entered the wonderful world of working. In general it was a month that I didn’t really feel like doing much during due to all of the above, as well as feeling the need to detox and revamp myself and my diet following the usual holiday excesses of December.

This year has been a bit different. I have noticed the usual tiredness, but in contrast to what seems like forever, this tiredness was coming mainly from having tried to squeeze too much into my life for quite a few months now and not really listening to myself and my body, instead of the usual food and drink and compulsory merriment of the Christmas season.

The biggest change I have noticed over the last two years is that little by little I have started to listen to what I want and what me and my body would like and would want to do instead of what I should do. I admit, this January I have not been as social as I used to be a few years back, but I have definitely felt much better.

Having failed miserably with my attempts to write more on my Burning Fat blog (and to actually burn a little bit more in the tummy area), as well as my high ambitions to get some websites up I am now looking at February and the rest of 2011 with an interest I haven’t had in a while now thank to doing too much in general. I think doing too much is a total creativity killer, and I notice I blossom with regards to actually doing things and producing things when I have had a slight ‘draught’ in things to do for a few hours, days or weeks.

So in that respect, I do hope that the next few weeks will carry with them lots of moments of, if not boredom, then at least less activities planned in so that I will properly have the chance to actually get some of my grand plans going and off the ground. So on this last day of January, a January that has already show to be a great start to 2011, I hope the rest of 2011 will be as promising, but even more filled with idle days, ready to fill with exciting projects and fun future plans!

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The Five Pillars of Happiness

So this is turning into a bit of a self help blog me thinks.. 🙂 I assure you, this was not really the main aim with the blog, and it will not become the main aim, but since its MY blog I get to chose what we talk about here.. 😉 And at least for me, this is a very interesting topic at the moment. Those of you who are not in need of any realignment or any more happiness, do not despair, I will move on to other topics after this, in the mean time though, I hope you can try to find this topic interesting anyway for what it is. After all, everyone is searching for happiness, aren’t they?

Just to be clear on something, it is not the holy grail of happiness I am about to reveal to you. My apologies for any high expectations I might have raised in the first paragraph. This is simply the first post in a series of 6, discussing a few areas and things related to them that I try to maintain as well as I can for a healthy balance in life, something that will then facilitate my Happiness. Its as simple as that, but believe me, sometimes it feels much more complicated, especially when you try to appease all five areas at the same time.

The idea for this series of posts is to one by one lay out my five pillars of happiness, clearly define them in writing instead of just having them in my head and then hopefully have a clearer idea of what I need to work on when I feel a slight shiver in my happiness foundation. The seeds for the idea of the five pillars were sown already during my time in Barcelona, but over the years the idea has slowly grown into something I realise is of great meaning to me. Unfortunately even after many years, I still feel the structure in my mind is not yet crystal clear, but I hope these blog posts will help me get a clearer, final picture in my mind of all of this.

This whole thing started with the sudden realization that three areas of my life were massively faulty and not stable enough to serve as the foundation that I want to base my life on. Having three areas so out of place made me feel unbalanced, out of place and unhappy, and this in turn made me continuously striving towards something that would correct the situation. Unfortunately I was never really sure what needed correction and what was already ok, making it difficult to single out the things I needed to focus on.

So I kept on being all wishy washy with everything, searching for happiness all over the place, and especially in the wrong places, before I realised its not ONE thing I need to make me happy, I need MANY things. To be specific, I realised there were five specific things I liked having in my life and that it was exactly these areas I needed to focus on in order to achieve my foundation for happiness.

I do admit that the reason I was in this mess was because I had ignored my true self for quite a few years, I also admit I had not been paying any attention to the faulty pillars while they were slowly eroding and crumbling to pieces, and lastly I admit that they did so exactly because of this lack of attention to them. But having slowly realised where the fault was has made it easier to little by little start building the pillars up again, and as a result, restating the balance into my life.

Without further ado, let me introduce you to My Five Pillars of Happiness (as well as the following blog posts):

Pillar 1: Home

Pillar 2: Family and Friends

Pillar 3: Love

Pillar 4: Work

Pillar 5: Health and Fitness

I wont go into these topics any more in this post, we will be here all evening if I do. Instead, I will discuss one pillar at a time over the next few days so there is enough time to reflect between each pillar, and I think by next week or so the complete picture will be revealed. Enjoy!

Stumbling on Happiness

I don’t mean to brag, but I have lots of books. I am already starting to have quite the collection here, as well as a bit of a collection over in England where I set up camp last. Then there are the ones that are neatly stored in boxes over in Finland and the ones that are still kicking around in Spain. Not to mention all the books I have lent people that are currently floating around all over the world. Well, in general it has become somewhat difficult to keep track of them all.

The book I was missing the most at the moment is “Stumbling on Happiness” by Dan Gilbert, well, that was until I realized that I had been clever enough to bring it with me so I could finally finish it! I started the book about 2 years ago, and I think I am still only on page 80 or so.. Its a bit ironic that I havent managed to read the book yet, especially considering I have read a lot of online stuff about it as well as just today rewatched the excellent TEDtalk that Dan Gilbert gave about this exact topic.. I will have to try to pick it up again soon, if only so I can finally find out more about where to locate Happiness.

Actually, after a bit of soul searching these last few years, I think I am finally, little by little realising what makes me happy and what keeps me happy on a day to day basis. Nevertheless, I still have quite a long way to go to really “get it”, but then again, what fun would it be if it was just around the corner? At least I hope the journey there will be as fun as the destination.

Anyways, in the meantime, while you and I are both stumbling around, why not watch the below video and pay some attention to Dan’s hypothesis that we as human beings are actually better off in a world of limits and boundaries that are helping us “make do” and “settle for things” in order to lead a happier life, instead of a world of freedom? Its quite an interesting thought, but I think he is on to something here. Watch it and let me know what you think..

Deep in Thought

Jack Vettriano PaintingAll my life I have been a slave of my mind while wearing my heart on my sleeve. Anyone who has made this same mistake will recognise how exhausting it can be to let your mind control your thoughts while leaving your heart exposed to life’s twists and turns.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t really realise how much this was affecting me until recently. I think I managed to miss the point for so long, mainly because I never had the tools to really deal with negative thoughts or overwhelming emotion, but also because I never really questioned them as being bad for me.

For as long as I can remember, my way of dealing with emotion is to wallow in it till it subdues. No matter if its positive emotions, that can take you on such amazing personal highs, or negative emotions, that can plunge you down into the deepest valley’s of darkness. For years I actually loved my highs, but did feel quite wiped out by the lows. Nevertheless I thought the lows were acceptable and worth it, even just as a contrast and to make the highs even better.

Whatever it was, I was stuck on this roller-coaster ride and what was keeping me on was my own mind I realise now. And this is where the whole concept of “slave to my own mind” comes into the picture. (I know, it was a long way to get to the point but now we are finally here!) I didnt realise it at the time, but I had given over so much influence to my mind and was letting it run havoc with  my thoughts on a daily basis, and worse still, I didn’t even question it.

The change finally started slowly and quite innocently by me giving myself a big kick in the a** and pushing myself to make small efforts to get back into dancing and all other things I adore in life. Thanks to these small actions and changes in my way of acting, I started affecting my thinking as well. I started to manage to almost chose when to be happy and when to allow a little bit of sadness in my life, something that made me realise how big a deal my own thoughts were playing in how I was feeling.

Surprisingly though for someone who would consider themselves pretty switched on, the real “Aha!” experience with regards to this didn’t come to me until recently when I read about it in a book my mum suggested to me. The book in question is “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and it discusses awareness of the moment and awareness of everything within you and around you at every single moment, rather than stressing about what has happened or what will happen. Well, it has some other stuff thrown in as well, but this is the gist of it.

This book, along with its follow up “A New Earth”, are widely regarded as two of the most influential spiritual books of our time, and even more impressive, the author had his spiritual awakening at the age of 29! My gosh.. What have I done by the age of 29, except for wallow in negative thoughts? I finished the book and decided that I really should not allow so much freedom to my mind and so much negativity into my life.

So, inspired by this book, I have started focussing more on the presence, the small positives and the small victories of every day life. Its going ok, but I must say I do fail miserably at this at least once a day thanks to my stubborn mind still wanting to sabotage my daily happiness. But I think we are starting to learn how to coexist, and most importantly, I am learning to shoot down most negative thoughts my mind comes up with before they do much harm.

Having been given some insights about the mind and a few initial tools to handle it with, I am starting to realise how little attention we in the Western World actually give to self exploration during most of our youth and the years we spend attempting to become somewhat educated. It has made me wonder how much you could affect people’s well being by making these tools readily available to them at an early stage, instead of waiting for them to hit a point when they will either succumb to the lows or finally start searching for the tools they need to deal with it all. Why not provide them with the wheel instead of having every single person reinvent it themselves once they realise they need it? I know I would have appreciated having at least a few of the pieces of the damn wheel instead of having had to start from scratch.

Lately, I have been pleased to find myself back on the roller-coaster at times, experiencing fabulous highs, but most of the time I am extremely pleased with the fact that I feel so much more balanced and peaceful if I do focus on blocking out the negativity and just letting in positive thoughts. Funny how easy it is for negativity to sneak into our minds, while positive thinking takes so much more work. What a cruel joke by our creator.