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Release the Unhappiness From Your Life

Release Unhappiness

Does it seem like everyone else is happy, but not you? Do you feel like you’re working hard to barely stay ahead while everyone else is leaving you behind? One of the easiest traps to fall into in this life are the ones that unhappiness can set for us. Once trapped, we continue to spiral down into the trap until we’re overwhelmed and feel like there is no way out…

… But there is a way out. By recognizing what trap we’ve managed to fall into, we can release the unhappiness from our lives and bring ourselves back into the sunshine of happiness once again! Here are the common traps that unhappiness will set:

1. Perfection

Does it seem like everything you do needs to be perfect? Do you work endless hours every day making sure every dot and letter is exactly where it is supposed to be? Unhappiness sets in when we believe we have failed people because we haven’t delivered an utterly perfect product every single time. This is a trap because humanity’s perfection is actually in its imperfection. Set deadlines for yourself, stick to them, and allow yourself to be satisfied in giving 100% to the task, even if it could have been better in some way.

2.  Negative Self-Talk

“You’ll never get that done in time!” “You’re just so stupid because you couldn’t figure that out!” “You’re just a moron!” Negative self-talk is one of the most powerful traps that unhappiness can set for one simple reason: self-talk defines who we really are. Sure – we might look to outside influences to get feedback, but our true worth is defined by what we believe it to be, not what others think it to be. Inspire yourself, focus on the successes that each day brings, and lock up that negativity in the closet where it belongs.

3. Past Successes Don’t Translate

It’s the classic behavior seen at a high school class reunion. There will invariably be people there who still live in the 4 years of high school they had, remembering all the successes that they had while complaining over spiked punch how miserable their lives are now. Past successes are important, but don’t stay in that importance. Create new successes. Keep moving forward and let the past stay where it needs to stay… behind you.

4. Keeping Up with Everyone

Another classic trap that unhappiness likes to spring is the comparison trap. Other people are better looking, have more money, or better lives than you. You should have that stuff too because you’re just as good as they are, right? So when you don’t get the same things, you become unhappy because you feel inferior to everyone else around you. You might even feel like everyone is judging you and looking down upon you! The only person that matters is you. Not your boss. Not Bob, your crazy neighbor. Not Gillian, who works 18 hours a day and never sees her family so she can make six figures. You are the judge of you and you just need to keep up with yourself.

No one can avoid all of the traps that unhappiness can set, but by recognizing them immediately, you can pull yourself out of them much more quickly. Happiness can rule the day if you make that choice… so choose to get out of the traps you might be in right now and let happiness rule in your life once again!

3 Tips to Live Your Life in Gratitude

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“If the only prayer you say in life is “thank you,” it would be enough.” – Meister Eckhart

Based on researches led by Dr. Robert A. Emmons, practicing gratitude can increase your happiness by as much as 25 percent. What is gratitude? Oxford dictionary defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Here are three practical tips to live your life in a state of gratitude.

Tip #1: Keep a gratitude journal.

Spend a few minutes every day to write down everything that you are grateful for in your life. You can start by writing down five things that you’re grateful in your life. Anything goes. It can be a beautiful sunset, roaring ocean waves, and a peaceful walk in the park.

Buy a journal that will only be used for this purpose. Imagine a notebook filled with thanks. When you feel down, open your gratitude journal. Read a few lines. Let the blessings in your life filled your being. You’ll shift the state of your mind from a state of negativity to a state of contentment immediately.

Tip #2: Make an effort to send thank you emails or cards whenever possible.

On a daily basis, make a conscious effort of sending thank you emails to project team members or colleagues who have done a good job for their deliverables or assignments. Sincerely congratulate them a job well done and acknowledge the time and effort they have spent for their work.

When a project milestone is achieved, send thank you emails or hand-written thank you cards to core project team members to acknowledge their contribution.  You’ll be amazed the responses you’ll receive by this simple act of kindness.

Tip #3: Smile.

When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you. Smile boosts your immune system. Smile puts you in the present moment. Smile gives others a better experience when they interact with you. Smile is a selfless act. Smile creates a win-win situation.

Smile at the cashiers and ask how their day is going when you’re at the checkout counters at your local grocery stores. Smile at the staff and ask how their families are doing when you drop off your clothes at your local dry cleaning stores. Smile, acknowledge garage attendants and wish them a great day when you drop off your car at a parking garage on your way to work. Smile when you walk down the hall at your office. Smile when you talk on the phone. Let your smile come through in your voice.

In Summary

I highly encourage you to incorporate these three tips in your daily life starting today. Please leave your comments below. I love to hear from you how these tips enrich your life.

Handling Adversity Using Meditation

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At some point in life, every person on this planet will face some sort of adversity. It might be a physical adversity, such as a lack of food or clean water. It might be a mental adversity, such as a bully or a supervisor that is aggressive and mean. It could even be a spiritual adversity as your established beliefs are challenged by someone with a well constructed argument. The good news is that you don’t have to accept a negative outcome from the adversity that comes your way. Through meditation, it really is possible to change your stars and eliminate the threat that adversity brings with it.

Here’s how it works:

Step #1: Don’t Allow Stress To Put It’s Foot In the Door

Some might call the process “mind over matter,” but what you’re really doing is making a conscious choice to not be as stressed out as your normally would be in an adversarial circumstance. It’s not always easy to block out the stress that can flood your mind and get your hormones all crazy, which is why meditation is such a helpful practice. If you can make a few moments to meditate, even when your mind is trouble, you’re giving your mind the opportunity to reset itself and focus on the issues at hand instead of the stress it is experiencing.

Step #2: Emotion Is Not Your Best Friend!

A friend of mine once said, “I’m an emotional guy. Nothing is going to change that. It defines me.” Then two days later he was fired because he got angry with his boss and exploded at him in pent-up anger. The more angry you are, the less mental function you actually have. As your anger levels continue to rise, your perception and understanding of what is going on around you continue to decrease. For this reason, it is imperative to take time to meditate so that you can get your emotions under control. Many people say they can actually feel themselves having a greater perception of a situation as they meditate and this is because they are stabilizing their emotions to a baseline level!

Step #3: Try To Take a Look At the Big Picture

“Will this matter 100 years from now?” is one of the most annoying questions I’ve ever been asked when I’m upset about something. The intent of that person was to help, of course, but it had the opposite effect. The point, however, is a valid one: the small picture is certainly important, but this adversarial condition affect the big picture negatively in some way? If it doesn’t, then does it really need to be dealt with at this moment? If it doesn’t affect the big picture, can the stress from this adversarial condition be set aside for a few moments so you can meditate and potentially find a new perspective?

You Can Fight Back Against Adversity!

You don’t have to let stress or anger get the best of you. Meditation is an effective way to fight back against any adversarial condition because it allows your mind the opportunity to better prepare itself for the problem at hand… and come up with a solution. If you feel like you’re up against a tough adversary, use these tips and try meditating when you get a chance. It could be just the thing that helps you achieve your goals!

Could Meditation Help Your Creativity?

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Do you struggle to find the creative process at the exact moment when you need to have it kick in? When you’re trying to solve a problem, do you find that the answer seems to be within your grasp, yet just out of reach? The creative process works differently for each person because each mind is truly unique. A product of our environments, experiences, and outcomes, each perspective someone has is reflective of the way they are creative. It originates from our minds, which means a relaxed mind may be able to better connect the dots of ideas that are in its recesses and bring forth original concepts. Is it possible that meditation could help this process?

Where Does Creativity Originate?

When discussing the origination of creativity, many psychologists talk about how someone has to be able to tap into their conscious or subconscious mind to access the creative center. Thankfully we’ve only got one mind and the same mind that can benefit from meditation will also create! Thoughts, feelings, and decisions are actually all part of our creative process, though we don’t often realize it. Finding a way to wash the dishes faster? That’s you being creative! What we often need to do in order to be creative in a specific way is to organize those thoughts, feelings, and decisions in a concise way.

That’s where meditation comes into play.

Creativity Is An Expression of An Individual Life

Creativity really is the unbiased expression of ourselves in some way. Meditation helps people find the inspirational thoughts that are buried in our minds much more easily because it helps to calm the activity the mind is always producing. The surface of the brain is much like the ocean water that you see crashing into a rocky cliff. Could you locate an object in that spray? If you could find it, could you reach in and grab it?

Now imagine having a glass full of ocean water sitting on your counter with that same object in it. How easy would it be to grab that object now? What meditation does is calm the mind so that instead of the mind being a massive wave that is always moving, it is still, calm, and easy to examine.

Creativity Is Spurred On By Less Effort

The natural action to take when creativity is lacking is to work harder at getting the process to work. The problem with doing this is that it causes the mind to create more massive waves that are crashing into the shores of each mind, making it difficult to pick out that one creative idea that is needed. To truly inspire the creative process, the mind requires rest, not work! In meditation, that’s exactly what the mind gets because the outside world is cast aside and the focus is on the internal. It is being pointed toward where the creativity is already centered in the mind!

Sitting back and waiting for the creativity to appear is the most difficult part of the creative process sometimes. If you’re sitting and waiting and aren’t finding the creative results you’re looking to find, try adding meditation to your routine. It might be that additional level of stillness you need!

A Day Visit at Yosemite National Park

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“It is by far the grandest of all of the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.” – John Muir

I recently did a day trip to Yosemite National Park. It was a perfect August day. The temperature was at the high 80s. I took Route 120 into the park. My first impression was the park is filled with interesting rock formations. However, no one rock is like another. The park is also full of Ponderosa Pine. The cinnamon-red bark of these pine trees are handsomely marked with irregularly shaped plates separated by dark crevices. Ponderosa pine lives to 300 to 600 years.

I felt my worries from the week melted away simply by being in this beautiful park.

Tenaya Lake

Around lunch time, I arrived at Tenaya Lake. The lake is surrounded by granite domes and forests. The water is blue and clear. I got a sense that I could see every rock in the lake because the water is so clear. When I looked out to the lake, I felt quiet and peaceful. I secretly wished I could sit by the lake for the rest of day. It was around lunch time. Lots of people were picnicking and enjoying their sandwiches by the lake. Quite a few people were swimming in the lake. Of course, almost everyone was taking a picture of the lake using their smartphone. I was very happy to see so many people were enjoying nature and having a good time.

Tuolumne Meadows

The air is pristine and crisp. The area is quiet. The meadow, creeks and surrounding granite mountains are spectacular with remarkable rock formations. Every rock seems to be just at the right place. It is tranquil and peaceful. It was also a good break from the crowds. I spotted two young mule deers with their mother on the meadow. It was an amazing feeling to see three deers up close and personal. It was a highlight of my trip.

Lembert Dome

Lembert Dome is a gigantic rock formation situated at the east side of Tuolumne Meadows. The dome is hugged by Tuolumne River and surrounded by Alpine trees. On a sunny day like the day I visited the park, with the blue sky as the backdrop, it is simply a Kodak moment. Lember Dome trail is a moderate to strenuous hike because of its elevation and rock climbing to the top. Once you get to the top of the dome, it will afford you a panorama view of the Tuolumne Meadows.

Yosemite National Park is truly a magical place. I sincerely hope you have an opportunity to visit this amazing park in the near future. The visit will transform you.

The Benefits of Helping Others

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I recently read an article about a very remarkable man by the name of Albert Lexie.  Albert is a shoe shine man in Pittsburgh who has donated more than $200,000 in tips that he’s accumulated in the past 30 years. He’s given all of his tips to the Pittsburgh’s children’s hospital. It really is a remarkable act of generosity that has inspired many people. He began shining shoes at the hospital sometime in the early 1980s and ever since he’s been donating. He charges a modest $5 per shoe shine and his tips range anywhere from $2 to $50.

The average person in his position would have kept those tips to pay off his bills or perhaps spent it on himself. But he decided to do something that is truly heart-warming. When you take the time to give a little, or a lot in Albert’s case, you’ll start feeling good about yourself. Instead of dwelling on your problems and worries, you will be happy and positive. You can get the satisfaction that you’re helping someone in need and you’ll also be able to feel as though you have made a difference in your own life.

Selfless giving has many wonderful effects that can boost your outlook and perception of life. When you start to help out others by selflessly giving you will start to improve your sense of well-being. This is a great feeling that everyone should strive to experience. Another benefit is that your meditation practice will get better. The act of helping others will improve your state of mind. When you are happy and at peace with yourself, it will make meditation easier and more enjoyable.

On top of improving your outlook on life, you’ll also be bettering your spiritual life. When you take time to help out others in any way, shape or form, you’ll start to have a sense of gratitude. You will notice that you are much more clear-headed knowing that you have helped make a positive difference in someone’s life. This is truly one of the best feelings in the world that no amount of money can buy. Give it a try. Find someone in need and offer your help, you will be very happy that you did!

Never give up

This should be your mantra when it comes to meditation. If you want it badly enough and you are willing to pay the price, you will attain your goal. Most people won’t pay the price. That is because they don’t want to put in the work that is required. If you don’t put in the work how can you expect to get the reward? It will require countless hours of practice, long periods when you don’t see any progress, and many obstacles along the way.

Below are 7 things that I have learned after nearly two decades of meditation:

1. Don’t give up.
2. Focus on doing your best each time you meditate.
3. Have faith that it will all work out.
4. Have a sense of humor.
5. Have fun.
6. Keep a positive attitude.
7. Put a smile on your face even if you don’t feel like it.

Stick with meditation and you will profoundly attract more peace and happiness in your life.

Below is a poem that I find helpful when you are facing challenges in your life.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow–
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out–
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit–
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

– Author unknown

7 ways to improve your life in 2012

We all want to live a healthy and happy life. Most of us are interested in improving some aspects of ourselves. It could be from losing weight to being more compassionate towards others. Below are 7 recommended ways to improve your body, mind and spirit.

1. Meditate

Meditation is more than just relaxation. Meditation is learning how to be in harmony with life itself. The more you meditate, the more peace and happiness you will experience in your life.

2. Exercise

Exercise is very important if you want to live a healthy life. I recommend you make it a part of your daily routine. The benefits of exercise will be worth it.

3. Eat healthy

Make an effort to eat as healthy as you can. We live in a fast food nation, but that doesn’t mean you need to indulge in it. I used to eat out all the time, but I realized that it was probably not good for me. Nowadays, I do most of my own cooking.

4. Spend time in nature

Nature has an ability to renew and energize us. If you are constantly surrounded by people throughout the day, you need to spend time alone in nature as often as you can. It is a great way to reduce stress and promote overall well-being.

5. Slow down and enjoy life

We need to spend time doing nothing. This will enable us to rejuvenate our spirits. Life is beautiful but we don’t see this if we are running around all day long from one task to another.

6. Simplify

When you simplify your life, you will have more focus and clarity. You will know what is really important in life. It will reduce your stress and increase your happiness.

7. Laugh

Sometimes we take life and ourselves too seriously. Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.

7 new year’s resolutions

The beginning of the New Year is a great time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on these changes. Below are 7 New Year’s resolutions that we recommend to our readers.

1. I will meditate everyday.

When you meditate everyday, you will begin to see positive changes in your life. A regular practice of meditation can enhance your life in many ways, contributing to greater relaxation and happiness, improving your health, enhancing your moods and even accelerating your spiritual development. Daily meditation can allow you to create peace within yourself, which then radiates outwards to others.

2. I will live in the moment.

Living in the present is to be aware of what is happening to you, what you are doing and what you are feeling and thinking. Choosing to live in the past or the future not only robs you of enjoyment today, but also robs you of truly living. The only important moment is the present moment. When you begin to live in the present, you will notice that you will enjoy life more and you will be happy.

3. I will observe my thoughts.

When you become mindful, you realize that you are not your thoughts; you become an observer of your thoughts from moment to moment without judging them. Mindfulness involves being with your thoughts as they are, neither grasping at them nor pushing them away. You will become more conscious of the different states of mind that you will experience throughout the day based on the thoughts you have.

4. I will be kind to others.

When you show kindness to somebody you bring out the best in yourself. A side-effect of brightening up somebody else’s day is that you will feel happier. When you are kind, you not only get an immediate payback in terms of a feel-good factor, you will also receive kindness from others, and in completely unexpected and unrelated ways.

5. I will be kind to myself.

Many people make the error of trying to be kind to others while not focusing on being kind to themselves. Being kind to yourself means getting your needs met, being gentle with yourself instead of critical when you feel you’re not performing at your best, forgiving yourself when the need arises instead of beating yourself up. When you get into the habit of treating yourself with kindness, it will be easier to be kind to others.

6. I will be grateful everyday.

By being grateful, you will treasure the people and things in your life. You will learn to appreciate life in a better way. Being grateful has been shown to have a strong positive impact on how happy we feel on a daily basis. If you are grateful, you will see the world differently. You will see that there are always good things behind everything that happens. You will realize that your life is wonderful, and you will be joyful.

7. I will laugh more.

Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. If people can laugh more, they will be a lot better off.

Reflections from a man who has meditated for 52 years

I found this interesting article from the Times of India that is written by Swami Kriyananda who has meditated for 52 years. He first learned about meditation in 1948 from reading the book Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramhansa Yogananda. This book was one of the first books that I read that got me interested in meditation.

He was so inspired that he took the next bus from New York to Los Angeles where Yogananda’s headquarters are located. Yogananda accepted him immediately as a disciple and he became a monk of the great guru. Some of the highlights of the article are:

I began meditating 52 years ago. Since then I haven’t, to the best of my recollection, missed a single day of practice. No stern-minded self discipline was needed to keep me regularly at it. Meditation is simply the most meaningful activity in my life. I wonder how people live without it.

Meditation gives meaning to everything one does.

Inner peace is like lubricating oil: It enables the machinery of our lives to function smoothly. Without mental peace, our emotions and the various demands placed upon us in our lives grind together and create inner stress, leading eventually to a physical or nervous breakdown.

Meditation develops concentration, so essential for success in every activity. Often I have found, by meditation-induced concentration, that I can accomplish in an afternoon what others have taken days or even weeks to complete.

Inspiration, which many highly creative people consider out of their hands, can be summoned at will by one-pointed concentration, and by magnetizing the flow of thoughts and ideas in meditation. Physical fatigue can be banished also, by putting ourselves in tune with inner abundance, flowing to us from infinity. The deeper this attunement through meditation, the greater the abundance we experience in every aspect of our lives.

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