Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category
I was officially introduced to goal setting for the first time in my life when I was 18. I was doing a course at university, and goal setting was a very small component in it. I never realized how significantly it would impact the rest of my life.
Research published in Psychological Science says that setting goals, at any age, can add years to your life. I like to think of it in the opposite way as well: goals add life to your years. The study followed 6,000 people aged 20 to 75 for 14 years. The researchers where looking at three components:
1. If participants were goal oriented
2. If participants had more positive or negative relationships
3. If participants had more positive or negative feelings
Throughout the study, 569 participants died (about 9%). The researchers found that those who still lived had more goals and better relationships than those who died. The most surprising thing about the study was that it found that this was true for young participants as much as the elderly. Having goals led to better outcomes. Goals were an advantage for people who worked as well as for those who were retired. So goals get added to the formula for long life.
Life is a series of seconds that lead us in different directions. A slightly different choice can lead us towards a totally different life. One second is all it takes to make a change, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. This one second will never come by again. If we let it pass by, it will be lost forever.
If you want to know the power one second can have on life, think of the second the sperm connected with the egg that created you. One second earlier or one second later, could allow a different sperm to win the lottery of life and be the difference between you and another child.
If you are a parent, you know that every child of yours is a unique creation. The one and only option out of millions of possible kids.
It is a fact that we cannot see ourselves the same way others can see us. Firstly because we usually see ourselves in the mirror which is not the same position others see us in. Secondly, because we see ourselves from the inside and the inside is cluttered by thoughts and feelings we have towards ourselves.
The beauty inside is developed by what others, who are very close or important to us, say about us. I have met many grownups who carry negative beliefs from childhood. For example, people who are critical of a facial feature like a long nose or big eyes that mom or dad mocked at the age of 6. They simply cannot shake this feeling in adulthood. I myself grew up in a culture that thought straight hair was an advantage and curly hair was not. As kids, we spent year looking for ways to straighten our hair. It was only when I grew up and met others who spent a fortune on curling their hair that I learned to appreciate what I have. This is a natural process.
There are some things I wish I knew when I was younger. For example, that life is short and we had better make the best of it. Luckily for me, I realized this when I was 16. It was painful and scary at first but eventually very liberating. Life is what we have. There are no rehearsals, no practice tests, no rewinds or regrets. We can work with it but not against. And time is our most precious gift. It is the only real currency that exists. Some people make a good use of it and others spend it or waste it.
Since that time of realization, I have been searching for ways to get this message across others: life is short, live it!
The tip for today is a very simple way to feel good, instantly – smiling.
The good thing about smiling is that it a two way street – smiling creates a happy feeling, and feeling happy makes you smile. It does not matter where you start – the feeling or the smile. When we experience joy, the muscles in our brain contract and start a positive loop of feeling even more joy. This is not a new science. As early as the 1870s, Charles Darwin first suggested that facial expressions did not just express emotions, but could actually induce them.
Smiling has been studied for years. In 1989, psychologist Robert Zajonc compared the mood of participants asked to make the long “eee” sound (which involves the same muscles as smiling) and those who were asked to make a long “ooo” sound (which involves the same muscles as frowning). Zajonc found that the people who made the “eee” sound felt much better.
My dad always said that the process of anything in life depends highly on how your start it. A good start will set us up for a nice and easy process, while challenging starts will set the tone for struggle. I think happiness is a lifelong quest. I chose to adopt my dad’s philosophy and tried to instill this belief in my children.
Here are my A to Z rules for having good starts and continuing the happiness journey. I hope you will find them successful and encouraging.
Act on your goals rather than waiting for things to happen to you. If you want to start feeling happy, make it happen. Act on it. Waiting for that “one day” when your life will be they way you want it to be will only reinforce the fact that you are far away from it. Moving slowly, by taking action, towards your goal, will make you feel like you are just that tiny bit closer.
Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. Judgment robs us of our happiness. Forgiveness restores it.
I love Byron Katie. I think reading her book “Love What Is” helped me a lot as a person, as a mother, a partner and as a life coach. In my coaching, I cover many aspects of Byron Katie’s techniques and I have been asked by my clients to share it here on my blog, so they can teach it to their families.
Think of your mind as a house, prime real estate. The different qualities of your house include tenants knocking at your door, asking to rent some space there. As a property manager, you want to rent the space to very good tenants and avoid the trouble makers. Judgment is like a very important tenant. As much as you think you do not want it residing in your mind, it is very important and no house can survive without it. We all have to have some definition of the world so that we can navigate through life efficiently. Still, it is important not to give judgment the biggest room when we talk about judging others. Forgiveness on the other hand is a very important tenant. If you have a few trouble tenants, it can help you manage them and bring peace in your mind.
This week, at the end of one of my presentations, someone asked me to share some tips for feeling good during the question and answer section.
The request made me think of a few of things:
1. Be happy in life is all about feeling good.
2. I am a “feel good” coach. This is what I do for living – I teach people how to feel good.
3. I have thousands of tips to share. This blog alone has more than 1,000 posts so far and many of the posts contain more than one feel good tip.
This made me think that maybe presenting a topic in the form of tips might be easier for people to read and implement. So here goes. I am starting the Feel Good Tips series. I hope you can make good use of it.
Stress is the new era’s worst disease. It is estimated that over 90% of all illnesses are caused or worsened by stress. In the future, you may find yourself dedicating most of your energy to overcoming stress. Stress management is a lifelong journey and everything little thing you do can help.
There are many ways to measure your stress level. I personally like rating it on a scale of 1 to 10. For any of my coaching clients, I recommend a stress review every three month to make. This helps them make sure they are progressing (or at least helps them find out if their situation is getting worse). The issue with stress is that you start noticing it when it gets out of control. Regular monitoring when things are going well can be critical. It allows you to find a benchmark that you can compare to. If things go a little sour, you can do something straight away before you find yourself in a mental health ward with a nervous breakdown.
I have dedicated my life to promoting happy living. I have watched many people living the life they want and, unfortunately, too many people who have no clue about bringing happiness into their lives.
I suggest to all my clients that they come up with an A to Z list of living a happy life. Below is just one version of what they have come up with. I hope it will encourage you to come up with your own.
Appreciate yourself and others. Accept everything as it is. Appreciation is the ability to see good in yourself and others. It does not change who you are but how you perceive things.
Be yourself! This is the main goal in life. Do not try to be someone else. It is draining. You are unique, special and perfect, just the way you are. Cherish it!