Tag Archives: contentment

Happiness is an inside job

 

happiness photo

Happiness is an inside job

I have the words “Happiness is an inside job” on a plaque in my office. Whilst happiness can be influenced by external events – what we think about the world has far more power over our ability to be happy. Too many people believe that it takes something artificial to create happiness. For example – some believe that if they have more money or a romantic partner or a private yacht they would be happy. The truth is that happiness is a mental and spiritual state.

Start each day with positive affirmations like this, “Today is going to be a good day and I am going to be happy. The world is working in my favour and my life is unfolding as it is meant to”. Sending positive ‘primers’ to your subconscious helps nurture the positive energy and keep you on the right track mentally. Your subconscious has infinite intelligence – trust it. Discipline your mind and feed yourself with positivity rather than words such as “I can’t do that” etc

Experiments by psychologists have repeatedly shown that the subconscious will accept whatever it is ‘told’ and does not have the ability, like the conscious mind  does, to tell the difference between what is real and what isn’t. You can use this to benefit you. Your subconscious mind cannot argue controversially. Hence if you give it wrong suggestions, it will accept them as true and proceed to bring them to pass as conditions, experiences and events. All things that have happened to you are based on thoughts impressed on your subconscious mind through belief. Your subconscious mind is very amenable to suggestion – let this work for you.

Is fear and worry holding you back?Remember that fear is a thought in your mind. You have the power to think something different and feel less fear. Believe in yourself and talk to yourself in a positive encouraging way. Happiness comes from a quiet wise mind – anchor your thoughts on peace, poise, security and divine guidance and your mind will produce happiness. Keep your thoughts positive, loving and constructive and this will manifest in your life.

Mandy X

Recommended Reading: The Power of your subconscious mind and step to success – Dr Joseph Murphy

How to promote emotional wellbeing

 

happiness photo

How to promote emotional well being

Looking after yourself on a physical level is important if you want to keep your mind healthy and protect your emotional well being. The body and the mind are closely linked and both need to be working well and be looked after in order for a person to function well. An unhealthy body won’t help promote a healthy mind.

Think of the acronym “PLEASE” to help you remember important aspects of this connection:

PL           Treat Physical Illness

E              Eat healthy

A              Avoid mood altering drugs

S              Sleep well

E               Exercise

FOCUS

Monitor what you focus on. Humans tend to focus more on what isn’t going right instead of looking at what is working.If you hear ten compliments and one criticism, you’ll probably focus on the criticism. Work on having an attitude of gratitude and appreciation.

Watch your thinking and let the negative thoughts float by. Thoughts will keep coming, you don’t have to focus on each one. Pick out the helpful ones and dismiss the negative ones. Self limiting beliefs can be detrimental to emotional well being.

OPPOSITE ACTION

Do the opposite of what you normally do. What we resist persists. If you normally get angry and shout, try walking away or whisper instead of yelling. Try force a smile. If you normally avoid people when you feel down, force yourself to call a friend or visit someone.

Doing the opposite can help you to change your emotion.

CHECK THE FACTS

Are there times in your life when you have overreacted or where you have assumed something and been wrong? Always check the facts – thoughts are not facts. Looking for evidence can reduce the intensity of emotions. Ask yourself what triggered your emotion? What interpretations and assumptions are you making? Does your emotion and its intensity match the facts of the situation?

Always stop and take time out before reacting to something, especially if your emotions are running high. A little bit of time is always a good way to add perspective to a situation.

Mandy X

 

 

How to Promote peace and contentment

 

peace and contentment

How to promote peace and contentment

Be realistically positive

Sure, life has horrible bits, very horrible bits in fact, but you CAN learn the skill of looking for solutions rather than pessimistically going over the same things in your mind. When we churn the same information over in our minds without looking for possible solutions, we end up downtrodden and miserable. If there is no present solution to a problem, possibly due to the fact that it is something beyond your control, it is also possible to learn the skill of ‘mental shelving’. Put it aside, distract yourself but be firm with yourself when there is no longer any action you can take towards a situation. For example – someone has betrayed you and left you feeling hurt. If there is an action to be taken to alleviate or rectify the situation, do it. If you have done your bit and you are now waiting for a response or there is no action you can take, it is a waste of your mental and emotional energy to spend too much time dwelling on it. Focus back on the present moment and on what is within your immediate control. This takes practise and isn’t an exact science but it is a skill that can be learned and improved upon and it WILL lead you closer to peace and contentment.

You have choices

This may seem a harsh and blunt statement but you can CHOOSE how much you want a situation to affect you. The thoughts in your head and your attitude are your choice. Think about it. It is for you to decide what is important in your life and what isn’t. If you don’t want something to overwhelm you and be overly important, it doesn’t have to be. There is always a way to look at something, or a story you can tell yourself to make a situation appear less threatening or upsetting. The thoughts and beliefs we choose will affect the level an intensity of the attached emotions. Learn to challenge your thoughts, they are perceptions of reality, not reality itself and there can be a VAST difference between them. I see how clients get upset over situations and torture themselves for ages with their thinking, only to find out later that the way they viewed the situation was completely inaccurate and that they made faulty assumptions. They have therefore spent precious moments of their lives unhappy and sad when there was no reason for it. Be selective with the thoughts you decide to believe and focus on. There will always, always be another way to view a situation that will lead you to feeling more peace and contentment.

Limit time brooding

Ask yourself how long you want to spend thinking about something and letting it get the better of you. Ask yourself if this type of mental activity is helpful. Allowing negative, worrisome thoughts to stay for longer than necessary is purely a form of masochism.

Don’t take yourself so seriously

Learn to see the humorous side of life and never take yourself too seriously. See your time on this earth as a chance to experiment and have fun. The end result is the same and whilst you are here on this ‘physical plane’ you have the chance to affect those around you, when you are gone that opportunity is lost. Lose your fear, get out there and do what you want. Embrace fear and uncertainty and have a good laugh at the same time. If you take yourself too seriously you can reduce your chance for peace and contentment.

Be proactive

No one likes risking it, especially in relationships where we risk rejection and abandonment (one of my greatest fears!). Learn to be brave and express yourself in relationships when there is ambiguity. Put yourself out there a little, the other person may be just as scared as you are.

Test the waters gently if need be but dip your toe in. Live a life full of life lessons than one where you look back and feel you lost many opportunities. Instead of constantly reacting to another person’s moods, learn to set the tone and express your wants and wishes too.

Being proactive helps us to feel like masters over our destinies…we can sometimes be in the lead rather than passively going with the flow.

There are many clever ways to protect your mood and buffer yourself from the wild elements of life. This is goes on internally – it really is true: happiness is an inside job.

Mandy X

 

 

Tips for happiness

 

happiness

Focus on what you can control, forget the rest

Follow this “Serenity Prayer” – it’s full of wisdom:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”

It’s not events that upset you, it’s your beliefs about them

Most of the bad feelings you have are caused by irrational beliefs. Challenge your belief system regularly – there is always a rational alternative thought available.

Learn acceptance, stop resisting ‘what is’

The greatest source of misery comes from the gap between how life is and how expect it to be. Learning to accept how life is doesn’t mean being passive and/or giving up. It means we acknowledge the problem and work with it rather than against it.

Act ‘as if’

Think of someone you admire – a family member, friend or celebrity. Imagine how they would act in certain situations (especially those that cause you anxiety). Changing behaviour automatically shifts our thinking and often, acting confident can help us to feel confident as well.

Build structure into your life

A basic structure helps keep order in life. An underlying framework is always a good place from where to go forward and deal with the world. Have a morning and evening routine, make some things a fundamental activity that you do regularly – such as exercise, a healthy meal etc

Create goals

Goals help to add meaning and purpose to life and we all ned to have some sort of direction in life. Create short and long term goals that are as specific and measurable as positive. Eg: I will lose 5 pounds/kilo by the end of the month.

Gratitude

It’s human default mode to look at all that is wrong in life – make an effort to look for what is good in your life and do this daily. when we focus on all the good, e automatically feel happier. Gratitude and appreciation are powerful emotions that can lift a mood instantly.

Do you have any other tips for happiness or contentment? Send a message and let us know!

Mandy X

10 Ways to navigate life successfully

 

happy life

Woman enjoying happiness and hope on spring

10 Ways to navigate life successfully

 

Never gossip

Gossip is negative energy being spread about. Be impeccable with your word. You wil like and respect yourself more for it.

Don’t take things personally

May things that happen in life have very little to do with us even though we assume they do. Learn to give yourself the benefit of the doubt.

Reject conformity – be true to yourself

Follow what feels good for you, not what you think you are expected to do.

Maintain a sense of humour

Life can be tough and extremely challenging – a sense of humour can soften the edges.

Never catastrophise

Stop dreaming up worst case scenarios – put a lid on it. Catastrophising will lead you to feeling anxious and/or depressed and these situations may actually never arise. Deal with things as they present themselves rather than worrying about every possible future scenario – that’s just mental torture.

Be present as much as possible

Stop living in the past or the future. The present moment is where it’s at – happiness can only be felt now, not in the past or future.

Stop comparing

Comparing is a one-way ticket to feeling deprived and you are comparing to ‘surface’ information rather than what is really going on in other people’s lives as you don;t know for sure what is REALLY happening. Focus on your own life instead – how far you have come and where you want to go. (then back to the present…)

Distinguish thoughts from facts

Thoughts come at us relentlessly and most of them are non-productive ‘useless’ thoughts. Stop paying attention to every single thought – accept, acknowledge and dismiss..another one will be along soon. Focus on the helpful thoughts not the negative ones. When negative thoughts persist, look for any evidence to support your thinking – often there won’t be any.

Develop a strong inner core/foundation

Live a life where you obtain your strength and value from inside. not from external sources. Speak to yourself in a positive manner and focus on your strengths regularly. When we give ourselves love and acceptance, this enhances our external world immensely. We act more confidently and attract different people and experiences into our lives.

Create goals/strive for meaning and purpose

In order to have a general direction, it is important to have short term and long term goals in place. When life gets tough, having goals in place adds some structure and can help us feel that we are still on track even though presently we may feel in the middle of a sand storm.

There are many ways to improve life and cope better with life’s challenges – the above tips are brilliant ways to have that edge in life and protect contentment a little more.

Mandy X

 

The key to happiness

 

happiness photo

 

The key to happiness

These two quotes may seem opposed but they go to the heart of the key to happiness:

“Happiness is an inside job” and “When you are in your mind, you are in enemy territory”

Both of these quotes are true and illustrate how important it is to manage our minds and our thoughts. The key to happiness is knowing how to manage our minds and deal with our thoughts. We have something like 50 000 – 70 000 thoughts per day and the majority of these thoughts are non-productive, irrational and of no proper value to us. When you keep this in mind, it makes sense to learn what to do with out intrusive and automatic thoughts. The content of the thoughts we choose to pay attention to and focus on determine our feelings and beliefs about the world and therefore influence our behaviour and the quality of our lives.

Learn to focus on the right thoughts and dismiss the ones that serve no purpose and you will be on the road to happiness. Optimists tend to have far more ‘buffers’ than pessimists and are better able to hang on to the positive thoughts rather than the negative ones. They are both equal in that they are thoughts – not facts. Choose which thoughts to pay attention to and you will definitely improve the quality of your life.

Having said that, I am not saying it is an easy task. Humans are hard-wired to focus on threat and danger and subsequently-  negative thinking. Back centuries ago when we roamed the plains as hunters, it would have served us well to perceive threat and danger and telling ourselves that the lion approaching was just “cute and cuddly” would have been very dangerous.

These days, there is less actual threat like a lion or famine but when we feel stressed and anxious, the exact same parts of the brain get activated. This part of the brain cannot tell the difference between real and perceived threat – it will receive the signals and act accordingly. This is why it is important to know when your body is reacting and causing anxiety – this is when we can use mindfulness, bring ourselves back to the present moment and learn to silence our fearful and anxiety provoking thoughts such as – No one will ever love me, I am useless, life will always be this bad etc

power of thoughts

Steps to manage your mind and thoughts:

  1. Learn to identify your thinking.  Hang on to the positive thoughts and learn to let go of the negative ones. I often catch myself saying something negative to myself but immediately ‘reframe’ the thought. ie. “No I am not useless and worthless, I am just human and making mistakes like everyone else”.
  2. Learn to dismiss negative thoughts. Visualise your thoughts as leaves floating down a river. Watch them float by. You can’t ignore thoughts but you can learn to dismiss them and not focus on them. Don’t ‘buy into’ your negative thoughts…let them pass by. They are just thoughts.
  3. Cultivate positive healthy thinking. Engage in positive self talk and make a habit of talking to yourself as you would a best friend. The more positive we are towards ourselves, the happier we tend to be.
  4. Try mindfulness. Be in the present moment. The more we engage our five senses in the moment, the less time our minds have to wander and get us into trouble with negative thinking and worry. If you catch yourself obsessing over something or running it over and over in your mind, try bring yourself back to your immediate surroundings.
  5. Accept intrusive thinking as a part of life. We ALL have intrusive mad thoughts that pop into our heads, it’s just the way we are made. Don’t take it personally, just learn to dismiss them and not pay too much attention to those thoughts.

What we believe about the world will influence our enjoyment – this is the bottom line. Keep the positive thoughts, dismiss the negative and intrusive thoughts and get used to challenging thoughts that you find difficult to dismiss by asking yourself where the EVIDENCE is for a particular thought. I recently had a client who said he was “useless”, but we soon challenged this by finding times in his life when he certainly wasn’t useless, making that statement incorrect. Get into the habit of being a better ‘mind manager’. It really is the key to happiness.

Mandy X

Tips for mental wellness

mental wellness

image: healthliving.today

Tips for mental wellness

There are things that you can do to improve your general levels of contentment and mental wellness. It may take some practice but it is worth it in the end. The more we learn to manage how we process information and become adept at what we do with that info, the more of a difference we can make to our experience of life.

  1. Work towards psychological flexibility

Psychological flexibility refers to the ability to look at events and experiences in many different ways. It means living life flexibly and being able to adapt when plans change. The more rigid we are about how life should be, and the more rules we have for living (eg. I must keep a clean house at all times, I must attend every social function I am invited to, I should be the strong one all the times..) the more quickly they are broken. When we cannot keep our rules for living in tact, it creates anxiety so it pays to learn to use different language – instead of “must” and “should” use the words “could” or “prefer”. Learn to adapt and be open to many variations and you will inevitably be less stressed. Identify what your rules for living are – they often take the format of: “If this….then that”. For example: If I show others the real me, they will reject me.

When something in life doesn’t go your way, try to find other ways to look at it. We can all find the negatives and feel downtrodden or we can look for an explanation that allows us to feel less stressed. For example: A client of mine recently lost money in a business deal that went awry. He could focus on what went wrong and blame himself and become miserable and stressed or he can choose to look at the situation as a way to learn and also separate what has happened from himself – he isn’t the failure, it’s just that what he tried didn’t work. He could tell himself life is a series of trial and error or he could internalise the mistake and be hard on himself which is unhelpful and doesn’t solve anything.

2. Try mindfulness techniques

Mindfulness means you are in the present moment -taking in your surroundings. You aren’t living ‘in your head’ worrying about the past or the future. Mindfulness takes practice but it offers a great release from the anxiety and stress we create in our minds. Practise mindfulness anywhere – become aware of your toes in your shoes – wiggle them about and focus on the sensation. Work your way up through your knees, if you are sitting down, feel your bum in the chair – does it feel heavy? Is the chair comfortable? Can you hear anything? Can you see or taste anything wherever you are? Focus on your immediate surroundings – the more you engage your five senses, the less time your brain has to worry unnecessarily. Mindfulness can also help to counteract anxiety. If you are feeling overwhelmed and stresses, spend 5 minutes focusing on your toes, surroundings etc and ask yourself whether, in that moment – are you safe? More often than not you will not be in any immediate danger. Mindfulness breaks the emotional connection and associated fear responses from certain parts of the brain and helps us to ‘reset’.

3. Connect with others

Social anxiety is on the rise and I see many clients who withdraw and isolate themselves from others. When they make the effort and push themselves out of their comfort zones and see others, they find their happiness levels rise – this is due to the release of the long acting hormone oxytocin. Being around other people is ‘where its at’ – much research supports this.

4. Learn to like and accept yourself

Learn to be happy in your own skin. Be your number one fan. Focus on your positive attributes and make sure you give yourself credit for every small triumph (and every large one of course – they all count!). The kinder you are to yourself and the more your treat yourself with, like you would a best friend, the better the energy you give off. Your body language will be different and others will respond to your differently. Really – starting with yourself is key and will have an impact on every area in your life in a positive way.

5. Meaning and Purpose – Goals

We all need meaning and purpose in life. It helps us to feel we are making a difference and that our existence on this planet is for a good reason. When we plod with no goals, purpose or meaning we tend to get stuck and chase unhealthy behaviours. Knows your strengths and weaknesses and make a list of your values. Learn to live in line with your values and create goals in line with these. Be true to yourself and create short and long terms goals to loosely offer structure and purpose to your life. This is important for mental wellness.

The above 5 tips are a great start to improving your life and increasing your resilience and mental wellness. I have found these 5 tips to be extremely useful in my own life and hope you will find this too 🙂

Mandy X

 

Care less about what others think

 

care less

Care less about what others think

Take this good advice – stop caring about what other people think. Really – you are on this planet to live your life, learn your individual lessons and hopefully grow and develop as a person. When you listen too much to what other people think, it dilutes your inner wisdom and can take you off your true path. This is when self doubt creeps in and we begin to focus outwards rather than inwards.

Getting advice from others is always a good thing but when other people’s opinions become more important than our own, we are heading for trouble. I can’t count how many clients have said to me that they worry constantly about what others think – so much so that it creates endless misery.

The magic secret is stop listening to the noise of others around you, and tune back in to yourself and your own life path. What makes YOU happy? Is it being a top executive with a flashy car so others will think you are wonderful (many flashy people who crave possessions and designer goods are often the most insecure – desperately seeking validation through possessions and status – it doesn’t bring fulfillment nor contentment) or is it a more simple pursuit? Of course there is nothing wrong in wanting to be a flashy executive with loads of money, the trouble begins when we expect this to bring us happiness that we all crave.

care less

Happiness comes from inside of us, not from external possessions. Contentment comes from a sense of purpose and from connecting with others. So, if you want to increase happiness and feel more carefree, learnt to tune others out and tune inwards. Tune out to tune in…

Mandy X