University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine researchers have found that the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (DACC) may have to work harder to modify negative emotional responses in people with poor sleep who have depression or anxiety. #POSITIVETHINKING #motivation #success #inspiration #happiness #happyman
Kindness is a generosity of spirit. It comes to life when we give of ourselves and our time to be of help to others, without expecting anything in return. When you show kindness to somebody you bring out the best in yourself, and a side-effect of brightening up somebody else’s day is to feel happier in the moment yourself.
Pay attention to the impact your behaviour has on others, and notice your own feelings in association to their reactions. And think about how you feel yourself when somebody else shows you kindness. What you give comes back to you in even greater quantity. 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.
It is so easy to find ways to be kind to others: say something supportive when you instinctively feel someone needs to hear it; offer help without being asked for it; smile encouragingly; swallow your criticisms; listen without judgement; let mistakes slide instead of assigning blame; make small sacrifices for the benefit of somebody in greater need.
A great rule of thumb I apply to my life is to do unto others as I’d have them do unto me, and, do unto myself as I’d do unto others. The latter part is just as important as the first. It is no good to be consistently kind to others and forget to be so to yourself. You will run out of steam, and feel less able to show kindness to others if you don’t replenish your own mind, body and spirit on a regular basis.
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 becomes much easier to extend that consideration and behaviour to others.
Just as I was leaving my office last night, I discovered THE most beautiful bouquet of flowers sitting beside my door awaiting me.
I was so taken back by the thoughtfulness of whomever had arranged this lovely gift, and when I opened the card and read that it was from my clients who participated in our 13-month Group Therapy for Women, I felt a profound sense of gratitude for them, and for the work that I have the privilege to do as a psychotherapist on a daily basis.
Both I, and the members of this group, felt that we’d come to a natural end to the sessions over the previous month, and last Wednesday was our final one. These wonderful women decided that they wanted me to know that they were thinking of me on the first Wednesday that we didn’t meet, and the action they took to show me that also reinforced what had been said the week before: that our work together over those many months had been very meaningful to each of them.
But, as I’ve said to them many times, it’d been equally meaningful to me both as their therapist, and as a human being. We all felt grateful for one another, indeed.
So, what I’m writing about today is gratitude, and its ability to help us maintain a wider perspective of our lives, especially when life is particularly challenging and, even when it feels downright disheartening.
Psychologist Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage” and “Before Happiness”, and who is at the forefront of a relatively new movement in the field known as “positive psychology”, presents research data that supports the idea that taking just a few minutes each day to write down 3 things that you’re grateful for that day for a period of 21 days can actually change the way you view the world, and your life, in particular.
In other words, rather than just focusing on the negative aspects of your life, research suggests that over this period of time, you’ll begin to notice more of the positive ones. (The most important part of this exercise is that you need to identify 3 uniquely positive things for each day; they can’t be the same day after day, for example, “grateful for your good health”.
Instead, your list of 3 needs to be different each day, and in this way, the mind is ‘forced’ to seek out the positive aspects of the day that might’ve been casually overlooked due to a narrow, or habitual, focus on what’s wrong with your day.)
He argues that the purpose of this exercise is not to ignore or minimize the hardships one might be experiencing but, rather, it’s to bring a more balanced view of one’s life into perspective.
In doing so, we can avoid ‘Eeyore” syndrome, that is, a feeling that all is bleak (and it’ll likely remain that way), and will be able to see with greater clarity the things that perhaps need to change in our lives but also, and more importantly, as Achor suggests, we can see what exists that we can truly feel grateful for.
In the end, maybe a successful and happy life might be as simple as adopting an attitude of gratitude.
So, take the challenge, and see for yourself if you feel more positive about your life after 21 days of looking on the bright(er) side!
by SUZANNE ST. JOHN SMITH
There are many things that can make us happy: reading, healthy food, listening to good music, running and taking walks every single day, coffee with a friend… Why aren’t we doing all these things? The usual answer is: “there’s not enough time.” Well, time is a factor we can’t change. There’s no way to make a day last for 26 hours, so we’ll use that extra time for extra pleasure. We have to work with what we have, so the question is: how do we squeeze in some happiness in 24 hours?
The problem is in the approach. There are people who work really hard, have a great connection with their families, and still find time to prepare their meals and exercise in the morning. Their days are not longer; they just use the time more wisely. Can you find 5 minutes of your time for an activity you like? Those 5 minutes can really change your life. Think of it as an investment in your personal growth.
5 minutes a day. Everyone has them!
Changing Your Life in 5 Minutes a Day
During these 5 minutes, you’ll be doing something important: building a daily habit of appreciation. It will be like a daily meditation that will push you forward through life… hopefully, with a smile on your face. You can’t meet all friends, read a book, watch a movie, or exercise in 5 minutes.
However, this habit will teach you to appreciate the time and make a wiser decision. You won’t even notice how you’re finding more time for those pleasures in future. Let’s see how it’s done. These are all things you can do in 5 minutes:
Take a Regenerative Shower
Have you ever felt the healing effects of water? You’re feeling exhausted after work. You don’t have a single atom of energy left in your body. After a shower, you feel much better. Water does have such an effect on us, but we have to be aware of it if we want to experience it in its full glory.
Take that shower. Use a luxurious soap that makes you feel special. Relax. You have these 5 minutes to yourself. You’re important. You deserve to have a special moment in the day. Feel how the water washes the stress away. When you’re focused on the process of relaxing, you realize that this routine is more powerful than you assumed.
Tomorrow, get up 5 minutes earlier than usual. Those 5 minutes don’t make a difference in sleep, but they make a huge difference when you’re awake. Before you get the cup of coffee and before you do anything else, just sit in quiet. Close your eyes and think of something you’re grateful for. You have your friends, your family, your home… the list can go on and on. Focus; don’t let your brain be drawn towards negativity. At the end of those 5 minutes, take a long, deep breath and be grateful for the air you breathe.
Do that every single day! When you start the day with positive thoughts, you have more strength to face any challenge that comes your way.
Here is another thing you can do in five minutes: think of the most important things you need to do in order to live a happy life. Maybe you already have a schedule and your priorities are listed there, but this is a difference. Set long-term goals that would make you happier than you currently are. Do you want to start a family? Write that down. Think of everything you need to do in order to make that happen.
This practice will keep you focused on the big picture, which can get blurred under all daily errands.
Call a Friend
How long can a simple conversation take? Call a friend, every single day. Just ask how they are doing. Listen to them. Share your worries and happy moments. Texting is overestimated! When you’re actually talking to each other, you’re sharing real emotions and special moments.
Start Doing Something!
You have 5 minutes on your hands and you’re wondering what to do? Start a book. Even if you have only 5 minutes, you’ll read a page. Sign up for an online course! There are tons of learning opportunities you can explore, and the best part is that they are free. You think you don’t have time, but sign up anyway. Tomorrow, you’ll explore the course for 5 minutes, and it won’t take long before you make a strong commitment. Use that little time to take any action.
When you do something you enjoy, you suddenly realize that every moment of the day is precious. Instead of spending 5 minutes stressing over tomorrow’s assignments, you can use that time to relax. Instead of taking a shower just for the sake of being clean, you can really enjoy those moments and be alone with yourself. Even if you decide to do every single one of the practices above, it will take 25 minutes of the day. You have that time. Repeat your favorite thing every day!
Eva Wislow is a writer and career advisor at CareersBooster.com. She is on a mission to help people find their true calling. When she is not working, you can find her reading with a cup of coffee.
BY EVA WISLOW