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Finding Happiness…

Happiness is a state of being. It is a pleasurable emotion that can be exhilarating, delightful or peaceful.

It is a state of mind which originates internally. External possessions and things do not bring true lasting happiness, it merely serves to provide brief pleasures and distraction away from the various unhappy aspects of life. After a short while however possessions lose their appeal and many people deal with this by buying more new things, thus becoming a never ending cycle.

There is a huge list of human emotions that we can feel. Take happiness for example. There is happiness, ecstatic, cheerful, relaxed, excited, exhilarated etc. All those emotions are unique in their own way but we usually label it happy. The more type of emotions we feel, the more colourful our life experience will be.

There are two types of happiness. The short term happiness gained from external things or circumstances and the long lasting satisfying inner happiness that comes through acceptance of self and living congruently with one’s life values and purpose. Obviously we should focus more on trying to achieve long term happiness rather than short term. Some examples of happiness are :

  • Waking up every morning and feeling grateful to be alive;
  • Having direction and meaning in your life;
  • Knowing that what you are doing is making a difference, either in your life or in the lives of others;
  • Feeling at peace with yourself and the world around you;
  • Feeling joy and bliss without having to rely on external things or circumstances.

In a Buddhist view, ultimate happiness is only achieved by overcoming cravings in all forms.

In 1943 Abraham Maslow published a conceptualization theory of human motivation. Below is a pyramid demonstrating this.

Deprivation Needs

The first four levels are considered deficiency or deprivation needs in that their lack of satisfaction causes a deficiency that motivates people to meet these needs. Physiological needs, the lowest level on the hierarchy include necessities such as air, food and water. They tend to be met by most people, but they become predominate when unmet. During emergencies, safety needs such as obtaining love and intimate relationships or close friendships become important. The next level, esteem needs, includes the need for recognition from others. confidence, achievement and self-esteem. The highest level is self actualization or self fulfillment. Behavior, in this case, is not driven or motivated by deficiencies but rather one’s desire for personal growth and the need to become all the things that a person is capable of.

We have the ability to have happiness within us. We don’t need external things from our environment to feel happy. Though it is true that these have an impact to a certain extent, it is also possible for a person to have nothing to be joyful, while another person who has everything may feel miserable and wretched inside. The main reason why some people are happy is because they have a different attitude or mindset to unhappy people. They look at the world differently, they think differently and they interpret experiences differently. They have a different philosophy on happiness.

Below are some examples of ways in which we can obtain long lasting happiness
  1. Gratitude. Always remember to be grateful for what you already have; if you usually don’t take time to remember and be grateful for what you already have, what would be the point of striving for future achievements, experiences and possessions? You’ll just most likely forget about it after it has been achieved.
  2. Music. Music can have a spiritual property that allows it to influence and impact our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self. happy uplifting music communicates directly to the heart of our being and brings out joy and happiness.
  3. Inspirational stories, happiness poems and quotes. Just like music, literature speaks directly to the heart of our being. A touching story, quote or poem is able to affect millions to appreciate life and experience joy.
  4. Smiling and Laughter. These are the expressions of happiness. Contrary to the belief though, you don’t just laugh and smile when you are happy inside, it also works the other way round. This means that by smiling and laughing you can make yourself happy too. The connection of laughter and smiling is a two way road.
  5. Do something you love, a hobby or activity that you enjoy and allocate time for it. Everyone has a natural interest, passion and inclination. You may be born with it or you may have discovered and developed it throughout the course of your life. One thing is for sure, indulging in this interest brings joy and happiness.
  6. Surround yourself with beauty. Learn to appreciate nature, art, music, theater. Great beauty has a distinctive quality that calms the observer and brings peace and happiness. As human beings, we can’t help but be in awe and inspired by objects and works of great beauty. The human spirit responds to great beauty,
  7. Help others, nothing gives greater satisfaction, meaning and happiness that sincerely helping another human being and seeing their appreciation as well as the impact it has on their lives. Many great men have said living is giving. Helping others and contributing to society can bring about more happiness.

So it can be seen that the above are easily accessible and available to us to help bring out the happiness within us. This shows that happiness has and is always with us, it’s just that often were too busy with all the going-ons in life that we forget all about happiness.

If you are looking for some wonderful tools to help your children develop a growth mindset, think positively, have confidence, resilience and navigate through challenges, the Big Life Journal have a wide range of products from journals. affirmation charts, games all to help kids and adults learn. These tools are popular with home-schoolers, parents and teachers. They have just released their new podcast and songs. Check out their store here for ideas:

http://biglifejournal.com/?aff=572

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The Big Life Journal – A Review

My passion and role as a Holistic Life Coach is to help people work out what areas of their life that are needing attention and to be bought back into balance. In-order to do this we use many tools to assess all the different aspects that contribute to that person’s life as a whole, ie what is happening in their career, health, family, relationships, self-awareness, being able to set and achieve goals, motivation, level of happiness, stress levels and management, a sense of purpose, negative and positive mindsets, frustrations, low moods, anxiety levels to list a few..

Often we just need someone to show us the way forward, learn new skills and tools to be able to grow and make better decisions, support, encouragement, find creative solutions or help to find what their goal to happiness or purpose is and plot the route to get there. Sometimes, it requires the over-writing of old erroneous programs or self-beliefs, stored in our sub-conscious minds that was taught and repeatedly said to us from our very early childhood growing up. As adults we have then developed our sense of identity, our perception of ourselves and the world around us.

It can be very difficult as adults to address the magnitude of layers on layers that have built-up contributing to a-lot of negative thoughts and mindsets, decisions, self-image, negative self-talk, self-worth, confidence, capabilities, self-sabotage, motivation, over-coming challenges, stress, unhappiness and feeling stuck in life. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead we as responsible, caring and loving parents we could be a good role model, provide support and try our best to coach our children towards a life of success and confidence. It may also start to shift your own thinking and perceptions to be more positive and find motivation (perhaps (-; )

The Big Life Journal written by Alexandra Eidens is such as powerful and inspiring journal, I would say a very powerful tool! – for young children and teens to begin to learn from a young age, while they are still developing their sense of reality and their perception of what IS the world around them to:

  • Program their sub-conscious mind with positive thoughts,
  • Aiming and achieving their goals and dreams,
  • Setting positive and good habits,
  • Developing resilience and a positive growth mindset,
  • Facing and over-coming life challenges,
  • Positive self-talk and respect,
  • Understanding how their mind works and how to shift from a negative mindset to a positive one.
  • There are so many inspiring quotes, tools, exercises, affirmations, fun and easy learning and education for them, fun activities with over a 150 pages of ideas.
  • There is the Big Life Journal for kids aged 7-10 and also a NEW Teen edition for ages 11+

Children are growing up in a world saturated with technological devices and some parents are doing their best to limit harmful and unsuitable exposure on social media, downloads and games – but almost impossible to eliminate it.

I bought my 13 year old son one for Christmas, and am super excited to start sharing and going through the book with him. It couldn’t have come at a better time, since the teenage years is a very busy time for them. They are undergoing physical changes, emotional changes, social changes and relationship changes, it can be very overwhelming and confusing times.

The Big Life Journal Teen Edition was so popular this Christmas it completely sold -out! and orders are being placed on back-order for shipping to start at end of January! You can still purchase an e-book version ( which is less, but I feel the hardcover book is much nicer and practical to give as a gift and they can draw, write notes and fill-out the exercise themselves).

The reviews for this book and many of the other products available have been such a success with very high reviews. Out of the 69 reviews so far, 67 people have rated the Teen Edition for example, which is relatively new with 5 stars and 2 with 4 stars. That is pretty awesome going!

They also have a wonderful selection of posters, printable PDF’s, templates and items you can purchase through their shop other than the journals. It has become very popular for home-schooling and teachers as teaching aids.

Parents, Grand-parents, Friends and Family I would encourage you to purchase this wonderful journal for any child you care for. To me it is a gift that says I BELIEVE in you! You CAN do this! You’ve GOT this! Go FOR it!

You can view these journals and other amazing tools at the Big Life Journal website:

http://biglifejournal.com/?aff=572

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Managing Christmas Stress

The build-up to Christmas can become quite over-whelming and stressful. About 53% of consumers plan to leave Christmas shopping until the last Saturday before Christmas. A-lot of people also this time of the year suffer from great financial hardship, loneliness and depression.

So here are some ways you can manage some of that Christmas stress and be the best version of you:

  1. It’s lovely to catch-up with friends and family leading up to Christmas, but if you are finding that you are struggling with time around work commitments, family, Christmas parties and fatigue, re-schedule for after Christmas and the New Years. Making a telephone call or writing to someone you haven’t seen or spoken to in quite a while can be a thoughtful and caring gesture that could really make a difference to someones mental well-being at Christmas.
  2. Buying gifts to give at Christmas you may love and get great joy out of or loathe. Try to plan what you will buy this Christmas and set a budget. Keep receipts in-case there are double-ups and gifts need returning. Many people receive unwanted gifts at Christmas that end up being put away out of sight, given away, returned or re-gifted. Other ideas may be doing Secret Santa and all pull one name out of a hat on who to buy for, instead of buying for everyone. You could get together with family or friends and all put money in to buy one gift to give as a surprise. Consider what their needs are.. what would really help them out .. maybe it could be a practical gift that they don’t have time to fix, the funds to arrange or there health issue preventing them from completing a task around the home?
  3. Don’t stress about your finances. Set a budget of what you can easily afford this Christmas.. as the saying goes “it’s the thought that counts” Hopefully your family are the kind that are grateful, understanding and don’t judge you on the price tag or size of your gift. 
  4. Surround yourself with people who you enjoy being around that build you up.
  5. If you can feel stress building up, mindfulness practices are a great way to reverse the fight-or-flight response and bring the mind and body back to that relaxed state of equilibrium and balance. There are a few quick breathing techniques to try. The aim here is to focus your attention or mind on the breath, as it enters and leaves the body. Breathing in slow, deliberate breaths in through the nose down into the lungs, filling up the lungs and expanding the stomach area as well. Hold this for a second or two then gently and calmly releasing.. breathing out slowly and while doing this image the stress and tension leaving the body. Repeat, and this time breathing in imagine positive, calm energy entering either in the form of a colour or as white light. If your mind begin wandering or getting involved in mind chatter again,  just observe the breathe and the thoughts, but the aim is not to build on those thoughts or mind chatter. Repeat the process of breathing in and out for a count of 10. 
  6. Another mindfulness practice is to find an object that is appeasing to you to focus your gaze gently on, for example a burning candle, or perhaps being in nature, a flower, the beach, birds and just mindfully focus the mind on this object, while doing some slow deliberate breaths in and out, again the aim here is to observe the thoughts but not build on them and to invoke the relaxation response through calming breathing techniques. We are aiming to reverse the fight-or-flight response that has started in your body.
  7. Doing some slow stretching while including breathing techniques is another great way to release tension and calm the mind and body.
  8.  Scan your body and posture. Do you notice any tense muscles or feel you’re not holding your posture well, breathe deep and gently move the area to release the tension and correct your posture. Gently moving of tense muscles along with deep breathing instantly stimulates the relaxation response in the body and releases stress.
  9.  You can try listening to some upbeat or relaxing music to soothe the mind and change your mood.
  10.  Aromatherapy is a powerful tool in instantly relaxing the mind and body also. The chemical components of essential oils have an effect on the Limbic System of the brain which is involved in motivation, emotion, learning and memory and can instantly relax, calm and soothe the mind.
  11. Take care of you – make time each day to do something you enjoy that de-stresses the body.
  12.  Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep, so your body can re-charge it’s batteries and fill you with energy and vitality .

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Affirmations – How They Help with Negative Mindsets

Affirmations can be used to reprogram erroneous and unproductive subconscious (or even conscious) belief systems to install new more positive and useful belief systems. They are self-empowering, self-governed, free and always available to us. Most importantly they work quickly and effectively. We can see the foundations of Affirmations in many familiar practices from psychology to religion in various forms.

Affirmations are statements made by the conscious mind that are directed at the subconscious mind. In many ways it is how our intelligent mind can communicate with our primitive mind. Some forms of Affirmations are chanting, prayer and hypnosis.

Affirmations can be (and should be) used anytime you do not need to be thinking off something else such as household chores – dishes, vacuuming, washing etc. The use of affirmations while on ‘auto pilot’ not only serves to improve your positive thinking skills by developing positive belief systems, it also helps you avoid slipping into negative brain chatter when your intelligence is not fully required.

Affirmations are most effective when they are spoken aloud. This is because most of the information programmed into our subconscious minds was spoken aloud to us at some stage in the past and unless it was a mighty powerful statement or a very disturbing experience, it was probably spoken to us repetitively. We can overwrite this information by repeating statements aloud that contradict the old belief system.

A Positive Self-Image

Developing a positive self-image builds confidence and allows us to feel comfortable with who we are and what we are doing in our lives.

Most of the information regarding ourselves on a subconscious level is erroneous and we are often completely unaware of it on a conscious level. Most of the programming was done when we were very young by people who were also operating from erroneous programs instilled in them from their own childhoods and so on and so on.

Subconscious self image presents itself in behaviour that is often self destructive and contrary to the conscious choices we would intelligently make for ourselves. A fast and effective method for the development of positive self image is for a person to make a list of things they wish were true about themselves; in many ways a list of aspirations for their own character.

For instance, in one column on a piece of paper we write all the things we wish were true about ourselves and then in the column beside the required personality trait a corresponding affirmation is inserted.

This method of choosing new beliefs about self image and installing them into our subconscious minds through the self-hypnotic use of Affirmations rather than spending too much time exploring negative patterns, is comparable to creating new programs on our computers and using them to overwrite old useless programs. We don’t always have to know what the old programs are or how they came to be there in order to fix them.