The Gift of Giving: Gratitude and Happiness

What is the connection between happiness and gratitude? Do we need to be grateful in order to be happy? We are all seeking the one thing, and yet we are also very different in our approach. I watched this TED talk on happiness and gratitude not very long ago, and it made me reflect – Is happiness born from gratitude? Can we start experiencing more happiness when we start appreciating little things in life? The next few paragraphs are my random thoughts, so bear with me.

As I have been told every moment is an opportunity, and that is the key to happiness. I have yet to discover things for myself, but the minute I started being thankful for little things in my life…feelings of joy started to flow into my life. We are not born with this mind-set ofcourse, but we can make it a habit. I also think there is a joy in gift of giving. The more you give out, you receive triple the amount back.

What we imagine, we become, and what we think, we create. Hence, I truly believe that our thoughts and our minds are powerful tool in shaping us into who we want to become. If I am in charge and in control of my thoughts then I am in control of my well-being. While people are aware of the importance of physical health (we look after our body, we go for our routine check, and we spend endless hours in the gym to be healthy), attitudes toward mental health are different. Why aren’t we as concerned? Why is physical health given more importance than mental health? I keep raising this question, and it is amazing to see that people are now acknowledging it as well.

I think it boils down to one thing: Change the way you think about things. We miss out on every little things in life, and beautiful moments pass by if we are not present in the moment. We show gratitude towards people, and appreciate sweet gestures when we start to make a mental notice of our surroundings. So take a moment to appreciate when someone does something good for you, next time. Never take things for granted! You may not show them in words (as not everyone can be expressive), but accept it in your heart, and be thankful.

And when you are happy and show love to the things you want, you don’t just attract them, but will have no room for fear, insecurity, resentment, envy, and doubt. If you fear that what you are aiming for is impossible then just believe in your vision, imagine it and enjoy the process. Don’t worry about the outcome, as everything will fall into place. Just BELIEVE it. ENVISION it. And dream big! Many people are confused, not because they don’t know what they want, but because they are fearful and may question their ability whether they can or cannot. And they may or may not overcome it.

I also read an interesting research on health and happiness. I think it is no surprise that when we are fully energised, we get a lot of things done. Hence the point of the research was that in order to increase our level of energy, we need to be getting enough sleep and exercise, as the two are the predictors of wellbeing.

Research also showed happier people are more interested in the problems of the world, and in the problems of the people. They are more often and willingly to offer help. If you are asking well then, what might bring you happiness? – It is different to each one of us, but novelty and challenge contribute to people’s happiness. What is challenging for you might not be challenging for someone else, so you have to know what is right for you.

Recently, as I have learned, outcome does not matter as much. Just enjoy the process. I hope some can relate to this post or hoping that you can take something positive out of it.

 

 

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!