Thanksgiving!

This is going to be a short blog entry. In light of recent events (what is going on in the world?), and thanksgiving weekend around the corner, I’ve been thinking of all the basic things I am thankful for that I may have taken for granted. My warm bed, family, food in my fridge, friends, my birds, my comfy shoes ( haha yes that deserves a mention, I never had good luck with shoes, but not anymore), I’ve literally been wearing them all week. Simple things that I get to enjoy every day and grateful for all my small blessings.

What are some simple things you are thankful for that you usually take for granted?

 

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How to be in a Beautiful State of Mind

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There are few motivational speakers that I enjoy listening to, and Tony Robbins is definitely one of them. He was here in my hometown last week for a talk, but I couldn’t make it. I watched his show later thanks to someone uploading it online. His talk inspired me in many ways, as usual, and as a result I decided to blog about it.

How to break free from a foggy state of mind (Which I, by the way, call it a confused state of mind), follow these steps as suggested by Tony Robbins.

  1. Focus on your goals. What is it that you want. It is really important to focus on what matters to you and don’t allow yourself to think about things that don’t matter. Don’t focus on the negatives, but focus on the positives.

So, the first step is to know what you want.

  1. Take massive action – execution. Do something about your wants. Start somewhere and put on some work to get some results.
  2. Have believe and faith in your dream.  Believe in God. He calls it “GRACE.”

Now this may sound simple, but it is challenging for many to put their goals into action. When we take an action, we either accomplish our goals or we don’t. When that happens what do we do? We try again, again, and again until we accomplish what we are after. We eventually find a way to get the work done.

There are two different state of minds: lower and higher state. We tend to be happier and positive when we are at a higher state of mind. When we are in the lower state of mind, we often feel stressed, depressed and or anxious. When you think negatively, it puts you in a lower state of mind. When you are in a higher state of mind, you achieve your goals. You usually gain victory and success, but there is no self-fulfillment. You are not content from inside. We are accomplishing our goals and getting things done, but there is no inner peace or happiness. When this happens we do things what seems to be right or do things for the sake of others. And in the process, we forget about ourselves. There is no self-fulfillment because we are too busy making others happy that we tend to forget about our own happiness. What Tony suggests is that we shouldn’t be in higher or lower state, but to be in a ‘beautiful state’ of mind. A beautiful state of mind means being happy with the outcome. It’s okay to think about one’s happiness as well. It is a well known fact that you can’t make everyone happy, so might as well do things that will put your heart at ease. People often mistake achievement with happiness. I liked the saying that goes “Don’t achieve to be happy, but happily achieve your goals.” It is very true if you think about it, we chase our dreams and goals with the intention that if we accomplish our goals then we will be happy. We often think, once I get that job then I will be happy. Do you think that to be true? Wrong! Just accomplishing goals cannot bring true fulfillment and happiness. There is more to it.  It is important to have a purpose in life. To gain internal happiness, we should always be in a state of gratitude.

We don’t have control over what people say or do, but we have control over how we react to it. Lastly,  I would like to end this post with my favorite line from Tony, “trade your expectations with appreciation,” and I couldn’t agree more.

His piece of work was definitely stimulating for me, I hope you guys enjoy this as much as I did.

 

 

 

Norvan Falls & Cypress Falls

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Summer 2017 is the year to explore BC – go on hikes, and chasing waterfalls. I have lived in B.C long enough, but it is a pity that I didn’t get to explore these hidden gems long ago. I have a newfound love for waterfalls. I was so excited to get to these falls and to spend some time with nature.

Norvan falls, Cleveland dam and Cypress falls were on top of my list to visit for many reasons – they are well known hiking trails and they are close to home.  They are easily accessible via public transportation, which makes it even more appealing.

Norvan Falls is a spectacular waterfall hike located in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, in North Vancouver. There are two trails that takes you there: Cedars Mill Trail and Lynn Headwaters Trail. My friend and I decided to take the longer trail via Lynn headwaters, which is 16km round trip – approximately 5 hours trip. It was an amazing experience. Glad we took the longer trail – it was scenic and we experienced beautiful forest view. This trail is rocky, but the hike itself is not steep or too bumpy but it is a long walk. I remember asking other hikers for the distance and how far more to hike to get to our destination – which was Norvan falls (though there were signs indicating the distance in km, but we didn’t seem to notice it at first). It took us approximately 2.5 hrs. to get to our destination.

As soon as I reached to the waterfall – I took off my shoes and couldn’t wait to dip my toes into the icy river. It felt so good because I was extremely exhausted. It was a perfect spot to rest. And I was glad my friend liked the place as much I did because I sort of  made her to hike with me.

On the way, back we hiked the shorter trail via Cedars Mill Trail, which was a flat hike.

Cypress Falls – this is a short hike in West Vancouver. The trail is very close to the city, yet one gets to experience such a beautiful forest view. I was shocked to see a forest so near to the city.  I hiked this trail on my own, so I was more self aware and mindful of where I was headed. I saw few small waterfalls and the hike is relatively short compare to Norvan falls. I also enjoyed the great forest view as you pass through the woods, and I found the trails to be wider and bumpy. Also, trails are not marked and so it can get quite messy and difficult because you don’t know where you are going. It is easy to get lost, I suppose, so it’s better not to hike it alone. Though I liked the lush green forest and the fact that it was less crowded. It was also a perfect spot to meditate while enjoying a quiet and peaceful walk.

Cleveland dam is another great place to hike and to be in the presence of nature. Again this hike gets you to couple waterfalls, but you only get to see them from a distance, and it is a short hike. I noticed different trails, but they were all marked, so it was easy to follow through. And the hike was flat.

My overall experience, I loved them all.

What is your favorite hiking trail in B.C or outside B.C? Share in the comments below.

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Norvan Falls

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Norvan Falls

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Cypress Falls

 

 

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Cleveland Dam

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GIVE

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This post was inspired a week ago as I was roaming around in the city, and thought about how can I make a contribution to our community. How can I give back in a small way. I’ve volunteered in the past, and it is a great way to give back to the community. But that day, I was more interested to brighten someone’s day. To be the reason for someone’s happiness. Nothing huge, yet something small. I am sure many of you can relate to this feeling. When was the last time you helped someone out without any selfish reasons. What I mean by helping someone out is to give, but not expect anything in return. To help out without selfish motives. Is that possible though? Can we be absolutely sure that we are not expecting anything in return. Even if there are no expectations, we do expect something in return- God’s blessings, or expect a reward for our good deeds. I am not saying there is anything wrong in that, I guess we need a motivation to do good. Whatever the reason be, we shouldn’t stop helping out.

Recently, I distributed baked goods and pastries to homeless people in the area. Sometimes, I would give away my small change (if I have any), but that particular day I distributed pastries from a local store. I ended up saving the last piece as a treat for myself. And I broke my fast with it.

How do you help others in a small way?

 

 

How I am Preparing for 2016: The Importance of Goal Setting

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I think, goal making requires our conscious decision of what it is that we want to achieve –  a change in our behavior? Improving our quality of life? Whatever is the reason, the truth is that small and realistic goals are easy to achieve, and they are often measurable. Our goal don’t have to be vague. The simpler it is, the better.

But why writing our goal is such an important practice? Because writing thoughts down on a paper creates a sense of awareness into our minds, and it puts it into perspective for us.

 Here’s my short-term goals for 2016. Also, sharing them here will help me achieve my goals, and I can hold myself accountable for it.

…some food for thought:

1. To start my day early & be more productive
I am not a morning person, but I always wanted to be one. And, so the goal for me is to hopefully turn into one– why is that important? Well, because it is. I can dedicate a whole new post about the benefits of waking up early, so I’ll leave that for now. But here’s why I want to start my day early: To meditate; to plan my day better; to eat breakfast; and to read for 15 to 20 minutes, before I start work. And yes it is possible because I have tried it, it isn’t going to be easy in the beginning, but with practice it can get better.

2. To exercise
I always wanted to stay active. I am going to set aside 1.5 to 2 hours a day for my workouts in the evening – we are not perfect let’s face it, and I have my days too when I don’t want to hit the gym or go for a walk, but I’ll make sure to make time for it. The idea is to find an activity that you really enjoy.

But really, we shouldn’t be limited to going to the gym only or running outside. There are great workout videos on YouTube that you can watch. On my lazy days, I do two sets of 5 minute ab workout at home when I am not in the mood to go to the gym. You can find many such 5 minute clips on YouTube. It is fun, it is easy to follow, and you don’t have to step out.

Having said that, I feel blessed to have access to a gym closer to where I live now.

3. To meditate
I am practicing mindfulness – it is work in progress, but hoping one day I can master it. I will use this time to reflect on the past. And look how far I’ve come along. I will also be using this time to stay in the present and appreciate life for what it is. As the saying goes, our pasts shape our future, and so there are no regrets in life but just learning. This is what I believe. I am a product of my experiences, they shape us into who we are today; and if it wasn’t for these experiences, we wouldn’t been the kind of persons we are today. As I always say, having a perspective is vital. I think a person without one is someone living life in a bubble –  and too afraid to let go.

4. To read books
To find time to read as many books, and articles as I can. I am aiming to finish at least one or two books by the end of December 2015.

These are my short-term goals for the next couple months. I am hoping to build on this list as I move forward.

What are your short-term goals? How are you preparing for 2016? I would love to hear your thoughts. Comment below!

Exercising and Well-being

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shape.com

Benefits of Exercising on Our Mental Well-being

It is no surprise that in general people are becoming more health conscious, and are looking after their well-being, and not just physically, but mentally also. We hear it all the time that exercising is good for us, but what is that really mean? We obviously exercise to keep fit, but I think it is important to look past that and to really understand the benefits of exercise on our overall well-being. Does exercising actually boosts our brains’ happy chemicals?

Research shows Yes!

1. Exercise helps with combating depression. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Any kind of physical activity causes our brain to release these chemicals in a greater amount, and so we feel better mentally. Regular exercise has been proven to:

Reduce stress
Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
Boost self-esteem
Improve sleep

Also, depressed adults have been proven to become better with a regular exercise, compare to adults who just rely on medications.

2. Exercise helps with our day to day productivity, I am sure there is no surprise there. A study was done to test the productivity of employees at work. The study discovered that employees who were incorporating exercise in their daily routines were more productive compared to those who didn’t exercise. Also the study showed that subjects that were active (like exercised few times a week) appeared to be calmer, and showed more patience and understanding towards their work colleagues.

3. Exercise also helps with creating new brain cells. Any sort of workout whether it is going for a run or doing your aerobic activity in general has been linked to creating new brain cells. Running gives birth to some neurons. As it was noted, (Click here) adults continue to grow new brains when they learn a new activity. A new review of the scientific literature, published in the journal of Trends in Cognitive Science, tells us that new cells can grow in the hippocampus, which is an area in the brain that is linked to memory and learning. So exercise has shown to help us grow new cells in that part of our brain. The literature also points out that sex and mating have also shown to grow new brain cells, in case you were wondering.

Blog.newscred.com

Blog.newscred.com

4. Exercise also, as we know, improves our confidence and body image. Research indicates that a change in our diet, as well as including regular exercise routines have a positive impact on our body image.
5. It improves our overall strength and functionality- it is also linked to improving our memory and focus. Our brain changes in response to our environment, so when we learn something new, which involves something physical, it automatically changes the pattern of our brain. Study shows that when students are given a test after a 20 minute walk, their test scores improves by 10 percent.

What are some of the ways that help you stay active? What do you do for staying mentally fit?

I’ve constantly struggled with staying on top of my workouts. But I am aware of my problem, and as they say the first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. In my next blog I will share what I do to stay active; and share tips on the importance of making small goals.

For more juicy stuff on health and exercise, click the link below.

Shawn Stevenson

Self Discovery. Life. Purpose. Passion

Today’s blog is inspired by Shawn Stevenson, he is the creator of the Model Health Show, which I recently started tuning in on podcast. And I am glad I did because I absolutely love his work. For anyone interested, he is an advocate of health, exercise, and nutrition and super fun to listen to. There will be a link down below in case you wanted to check it out. One of the episodes was on how to create the life we want and that inspired me to do this post.

How do you define purpose? And what is your passion in life? You may also want to define what passion means to you?

According to one of the guests on the show, passion is showing care and having patience towards a goal, and it is not just a  burning desire or feeling to do something; it is a simple act of doing it.

The five steps to live the life we want

or as I would call it: Some food for thought!

Step 1. Look for opportunities that will help you grow and make you stronger. Be more proactive in your approach while searching for those opportunities. It is the simple idea to look for things that empower us. As humans, we tend to avoid challenges in order to avoid the stress that would come along with it – but science has proven that some stress is actually good for our body (Click the link to find out). So, next time when you are faced with a challenging situation, don’t try to avoid it, but take a more proactive approach and see if you can look at it from a different perspective.  The idea here is to seek for things that make you grow because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

“Life is not trying to debilitate me, life is actually trying to cultivate the conditions for me to become a better version of me.”– Shawn Stevenson

Step 2. Overcome your fears – the reality is we are hard wired to fear the unknown. It is okay to be scared of things because it keeps us safe and prevents us from making poor decisions, right? But, the issue is not about not having fear. It is natural to have fear, but it is how we deal with it and how we overcome those fears.  Do not get stuck into one place and don’t look back on life except for when you want to appreciate how far you have come.

Always appreciate and practice gratitude for what you have become now.  Not allowing the fear to dictate what we do is the key.

Step 3. Follow your heart– we have the illusion that we don’t have a choice; we all have one.  We always find a way to justify our excuses for not following our heart. I am sure it wouldn’t come as a surprise to some of you as you might be already familiar with it-  We all have done it. We do it because we want to play safe. And because we are too scared to step out of our comfort zone.  It really takes for us to step up, to say yes to our dreams, and to follow our gut feeling that normally gets ignored.

Step 4: Ask empowering questions– by asking the right type of questions you uncover some of the issues that may go neglected at times.  For instance, when you are faced with a situation, the right question to ask would be what is right about this issue? What gifts or talents do I have that can help me solve this problem? How can I have fun doing this (paper, project, work)? How can I make this awesome? These are the type of questions that would help you with clarity- a skill I need to master.

Step 5. And lastly to be willing- willingness is the key. Willingness to say yes; to step up; to develop the strengths you need – it nicely ties back with step 3.

I am interested to find out how you define your purpose in life? What is your passion? Leave a comment below.

Hope you enjoyed this blog post as much as I enjoyed putting it together for you.

Check out these sources:

The Model Health Show

Achieve any goal by these simple steps