Meditating Across the Globe

I have to be honest, I didn’t understand the power of meditating and I also didn’t realize that I have been meditating in one form or another throughout the years.

Let me first tell you that I am a Global Warrior. What is that you ask? My goal is to visit all the countries on the UN list. There’s a lot of planning, researching and creation of travel sites’ checklists prior to committing to a trip. I was an expert on traveling through a country in rapid speed, like the time I went to Lesotho just to get my passport stamped and eat their “famous” chicken, which turned out to be KFC. Because I sped through some of these countries, I couldn’t always remember which country I was in or had visited. I mean once you go to Bora Bora all the other Indonesian islands are the same, really? How daft could I be, each island is so precious, yet during those global warrior days, it was all about checking off that country by receiving the beloved passport stamp and completing that checklist.

However, I have had three a-ha moments, that changed how I now travel and they all involved meditation.

  1. FIND A PLACE: Poseidon’s Temple in Greece. After a long day of touring ancient ruins, I found myself on top of a cliff. Not just any cliff, but Poseidon’s Temple. As I walked around and listened to the waves crashing on the side of the cliff, I felt one with the universe. I couldn’t tell you how many people were around me or what the tourist guide was informing everyone. I can tell you that my mind was emptied of all checklist and of all demands that I typically throw at it. That visit changed my life, not because it is one of the most beautiful sights, but because my mind actually took in the wonders without any thought. In that short time of mindfulness, I found a tranquility that became a drug for me.

    Seychelles
    Beaches of Seychelles (My Honeymoon!)
  2. LET GO OF ALL YOUR THOUGHTS: Bangkok, Thailand. How can you even think about meditating on the busy streets of Bangkok? I mean, it’s impossible, right? Prior to getting married, my husband-to-be and I went to Thailand. Our first stop was Bangkok, I had my handy list which directed me to go straight to the beaches where I could meditate to my heart’s content. I learned from Greece that I needed the sound of waves to attain that peacefulness. Oh, how wrong I was. You, too, can relax in the most-busiest of cities. My soon-to-be hubby had never visited Asia and was mesmerized with the Thai culture. I wanted to go-go-go and he wanted to stay-stay-stay. Yep, you guessed it, he travels without a checklist. So, begrudgingly we stayed three days in Bangkok, which turned out to be 3 relaxing days in the most hectic city in the world. Knowing that my checklist and schedule were not going to be followed, I let go. I breathed in the beauty of Thailand which put me in a wonderful trance.

    Tuscany
    Lucca, Italy – View from our villa! (Graduation & Birthday celebration)
  3. CAPTURE THE SOUNDS AROUND YOU: Anywhere. You want to know the perfect place to meditate? This is the best place in the world! It’s called and is: Anywhere! Picture this, the night before Christmas all stores are closed except Walmart. As usual, I ran out of time and patience, so I run into Walmart. And it was as you would expect, the lines to check-out were so long you couldn’t see the cashier. The Muzak over the speakers with the same holiday music playing over and over again, children screeching for their favorite toys, and the stress of not making it home on time were simply unbearable. However, as I stood there over my cart, I found a calmness with the different sounds that had just annoyed me a few seconds prior. Somehow I turned those sounds into a soft beat to push me to a meditated state. With all the chaos around me, I was at peace.

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    Japanese Gardens in Kyoto (Just because)

While meditating across the globe is phenomenal, (the beaches in the Seychelles, the hills in Tuscany and the temples & gardens of Japan are not too shabby as illustrated by my personal photos above), so is meditating anywhere you release your mind. I have learned that just by being in the present eases you into meditation. So, find a place, let go of your thoughts and capture the sounds around you. Then enjoy the peacefulness that your mind will enjoy. You may not get that passport stamp, however, you will go to the most awesome place your mind can take you!

Exercises for Happiness

New research on positive psychology exercises has found a number of ways to give your happiness a boost and lessen your depression. If you are trying to manage your stress better, lift some of the holiday blues, or simply become a bit more happy, pick one of these 7 exercises and try it for a 1 week.

  1. One door closes, another door opens: Consider a moment in your life when a negative event led to positive consequences that you were not expecting. Write about this each day.
  2. Gift of time: Offer the “gift” of your time to three different people this week. This might be in the form of time spent, helping someone around their house, or sharing a meal with someone who is lonely. These “gifts” should be in addition to your planned activities.
  3. Counting kindness: Keep a log of all the kind acts that you do in a particular day. Jot them down by the end of each day.
  4. Three funny things: Write down the three funniest things that you experienced or participated in each day; also write about why the funny thing happened
  5. Gratitude letter/visit: Write a letter of gratitude to someone who has had a positive impact on you. If feasible, you might consider delivering the letter to the person.
  6. Three good things: Jot down three things that went well for you each day and give an explanation as to why these good things occurred.
  7. Use your signature strengths in a new way: This is the most popular of all positive psychology exercises. Take the VIA Survey that asks you about your character strengths. Choose one of your highest strengths (your signature strengths) and use it in a new way each day. For tips on how to use any of the 24 character strengths in a new way, go here. #happyin21 #sohappyrightnow #payitforward

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-matters-most/201212/7-new-exercises-boost-happiness

Ninja Blessings – Random Act of Kindness

Anil Beephan

Running out of ideas to complete your daily random act of kindness? Check out this guide to Ninja Blessings!

Ninja blessings are a quick & easy way to make someone’s day!  It’s so simple, you can do a Ninja Blessing while ordering your morning coffee… literally.

 

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*** Costume is optional

 Follow This Three-step Guide to Try Your First Blessing

1) Join A Line At A Local Coffee Shop (Or Cafe)

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2) Order & Pay As Normal

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3) Leave Extra Cash With Cashier For Person After You

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The concept of  “Ninja Blessings” merge the discreet qualities of a ninja with the act of a blessing. Why? While doing a good deed for a stranger, we naturally look for public gratitude. It fulfills an external expectation and satisfies and internal sentiment… but what would happen if that instantaneous & public recognition is removed from the equation? Would you continue to do the nice deed or would you lose motivation due to lack of incentive?

Ninja Blessings are meant to redefine how we perceive a nice deed. The concept is quite simple: While ordering a coffee or other product, simply give the cashier some extra cash to cover part (or all) of the bill for the person behind you. The key to successfully completing the Ninja Blessing is remaining anonymous to the people around you, specifically to the person that it will directly benefit.

So how does this end? You leave with a sense of joy, knowing that you were able to do a good deed without the expectation of public gratitude. Why does that matter? By removing public recognition, we complete these tasks for the purpose of being nice and/or obtaining a feeling of inner happiness. Additionally, we begin to recognize the true reason as to why we do nice deeds for strangers.

I urge you to give Ninja Blessings a try! You never know what you might learn about yourself while making someones day!

Stay Happy, Friends!

 

 

 

Boost Your Happiness With Gratitude

gratitude
Source: Positive Psychology Program

“Not having the best situation, but seeing  the best in your situation is the key to happiness.”— Maria Forleo

All of the people in the world have one thing in common: we all want to be happier! One thing that we mostly forget is gratitude, which is actually a very powerful tool to increase our happiness. Being grateful is the key to be a more fulfilled person.

Studies show that those, who fill a gratitude diary every day have a better mood, optimistic outlook, and life satisfaction after 2-3 weeks. As our inspiration Shawn Achor tells us: if you want to be happy, write down 3 new things that you are grateful for 21 days and your brain will start to scan the world not for the negative, but for the positive first. Besides, according to a recent study, gratitude has 7 benefits that will benefit you physically and mentally and boost your happiness:

  • Gratitude can make you more patient and better able to make sensible decisions
  • Gratitude might improve your relationship by feelings of connectedness
  • Gratitude improves self-care
  • Gratitude can help you sleep better and longer
  • Gratitude may stop you from overeating by replenishing willpower
  • Gratitude can help ease depression
  • Gratitude gives you happiness that lasts – it leads to more sustainable forms of happiness

The inspirational TED Talk of David Steindl-Rast tells that happiness is born from gratitude and in order to be happy, you should slow down, look where you’re going, and above all, be grateful.

So, what are you grateful for today?

 

Credits:
_https://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work/transcript
_http://time.com/5026174/health-benefits-of-gratitude/
_https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201511/how-gratitude-leads-happier-life
_https://www.ted.com/talks/david_steindl_rast_want_to_be_happy_be_grateful

Happiness Looks So Good On You!

“Once Upon A Time….” Isn’t that how these blog things start!? Just Kidding! A few weeks ago, I was helping a friend find a cheesy birthday gift, you know the ones you kind of find at Urban Outfitters next to the patterned blankets and the over priced candles. Yeah, that kind of gift. So obviously, we went to Urban Outfitters. I haven’t been in an Urban Outfitters for about 5 years, since I was a senior in high school (I’m showing my ago). While she perused the cheesy gifts and overpriced home section, I went to look at their books.

Let me frame the scene early, this section of the overly merchandised store didn’t contain any work of Didion or Hemingway. The title of the books included “How not to Give a F**K”, “Pizza Parties for Dummies” and “VIBES”, totally not my kind of reading. But, I stumbled upon a book entitled, “The Five-Minute Journal.” Honestly, what drew me to it was the fact that it was wrapped in this off white canvas and was just very simplistic, my kinda VIBE. I asked myself, “do I really need another journal I’m not going to use?” – being the millennial that I am, I bought it. whatever…

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Going home that night, I sat down and decided I might as well open this book and devote five minutes to it. Ten minutes into the Dedication I was hooked!

There was so many quotes in the Dedication that really got me thinking:

“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” – Roald Dahl

“Never go to sleep without a request to your subconscious” – Thomas Edison

“Gratitude is the feeling that embodies the word thank you”

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit” – Aristotle

I’m not going to tell you exactly what “The Five Minute Journal” is all about because I want you to experience what I experienced (this is not a #sponsored post).

https://www.urbanoutfitters.com/shop/the-five-minute-journal-by-intelligent-change

Each day in the morning The Journal gives you a quote and asks you to write three things you are grateful for. The Journal then asks you, what would make today great and for you to write a daily affirmation. In the evening, right before you go to bed, the Journal asks you two things: name three amazing things that happened today and how could you have made today better?

I didn’t find this journal, this journal found me, and made me a more happy person. Within a week, one of my colleagues stopped me and said, “Happiness Looks So Good On You.”

This  Journal made me carve out 5 minutes of my day to write down and express what I’m grateful for and what makes me happy/my day great!

We have 4 Days till our new #Happyin21 challenge. Do you have your journal?

 

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Check out The Five Minute Journals Instagram pageYou won’t be disappointed.

https://www.instagram.com/fiveminutejournal/

 

Avocado Toast and Happiness

milennials

If you’re reading this you probably thought this blog would have a great recipe for Avocado Toast, maybe even a secret ingredient to shake up your normal green paste deliciousness on rye.

If that’s why you’re here, you can just jump to the end…I’ll wait…(scroll on down)

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You back?

OK GREAT! Now that you have your green gluten gorgeousness let’s move on to the real topic.

What Millennials have killed:

Chain Restaurants (sorry Appleebee’s)

Diamonds (Moissanite for days)

Homeownership (HA!)

Movie Theaters and Cable TV (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime there’s just not enough time in the day!)

I’m not going to even touch the Homeownership, or how much I rely on Netflix, and the lack of funds due to loans, this isn’t that type of blog. If you want to read about the burden we have as Millennial’s you are welcome to do that with your friends at a Starbucks with a Venti Sweet Cream Cold Brew (my personal favorite) or by commenting below! TREAT YO SELF!

treatyoself
Treat Yo Self

I am quite proud that we are close to pulling the plug on some relics of the past. If you aren’t changing or growing then you are stagnant, something I am not, and many of my Millennial friends are not. We like to travel, we like to learn, and we are REALLY into self-discovery and reflection. So, let’s talk about that for a second.

Priority #1:

SELF CARE YO SELF

Take a Deep Breath. Right now, wherever you are. I’ve taken several writing this blog and it really helps.

Don’t think about your rent, forget being an adult, smile, take a deep breath, everything will be ok.

Now you should be in the right mindset for this, you are NUMBER 1! And your happiness is important.  Happiness to me is a currency that Millennials have more than anyone else, but we don’t realize it. We deal with so much daily, we work, we keep an active social calendar, we get guilted by mom for not calling often enough. BUT WE ARE DOING TOO MUCH AND SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE! Sadly, it tends to be our own personal happiness or taking time for self-care.

Avocado Toast to me is the key to self-care. But what else can you do?

Take a 21 Day Happiness Challenge.

Starting on July 9th join the Happy in 21 Group and do something for you! For 21 days we ask that you do one of the 5 following activities each day. We promise, by the end of it you will have a new perspective.

We aren’t making this up! It’s science:

“your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed.” (Shawn Achor)

Here are the five habits to choose from:

  1. Three Gratitudes:Pause to take note of three new things each day that you are grateful for. Doing so will help your brain start to retrain its pattern of scanning the world, looking not just for the negative inputs but for the positive ones.
  1. Journaling:Similar to the gratitude practice, but in this case, detail — in writing — one positive experience each day. This will help you find meaning in the activities of the day, rather than just noticing the task itself.
  1. Exercise:Exercising for 10 minutes a day not only brings physical benefits, but it also teaches your brain to believe your behavior matters, which then carries (positively) into other activities throughout the day.
  1. Meditation:Take just two minutes per day to simply breathe and focus on your breath going in and out. Doing so will train your mind to focus, reduce stress, and help you be more present in this moment.
  1. Random Acts of Kindness:This can be something simple, and Shawn suggests writing one positive email to praise or thank someone each day. Not only does it benefit the recipient, but it also increases your feeling of social support.

Make sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for upcoming tips and tricks for Happy in 21.

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BEST RECIPE! Make this now and then read the rest of my blog. It’s the least you can do, I did just change your life with this recipe.

Avocado Toast
Avocado Toast A.K.A Breakfast of Champions

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 slice bread*, toasted
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, halved, seeded, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, optional…but not really
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional….also required
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Spread butter in an even layer on bread.
  2. Spread with avocado; drizzle with olive oil and top with sesame seeds and red pepper flakes, if using. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. ADD CUMIN!! YES CUMIN!
  4. Serve immediately.
  5. Make it again!

Thanks for the Inspiration:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewjosuweit/2017/10/22/5-industries-millennials-are-killing-and-why/#1536404544e4

http://www.shawnellis.com/21-day-happiness-challenge/

Gratitude and Happiness in 2017

Every year we set aside one day to remind ourselves of everything that we are grateful for. However it’s important to be mindful of the many things we have to be grateful for, every day. Here at HappyIn21 we try to incorporate being grateful into our way of life. It is actually scientifically proven that those of us who choose to be grateful on a daily basis are actually consistently more happy than those who do not.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate and maintain gratitude in your life on a day to day basis:

•Focus on what you do have instead of what you lack

•Be aware and live in the moment—try not to dwell on the past or on the future.

•Share feelings of love and positivity with your friends and family

•Feel a complaint coming on? Replace it with a statement of gratitude, either vocally or internally (or both!)

•Make a list or keep a journal of the many things you have to be grateful for

Just a small adjustment in the habits that make up your daily routine can result in a positive impact on your overall happiness and well being. You are capable! HappyIn21 wishes you positivity and warmth this holiday season. We are grateful for you!