22 June 2015

31 Ways to Appreciate The Present Moment and Feel Happier Right Now

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. ~Arthur Ashe
It’s frustrating, isn’t it?
You dream of a life where you have more freedom—your work nourishes your mind and soul, your home is organized, and you have ample time to exercise and eat right.
It’s not that your current situation is awful, but you long to do more of the things you love. Yet when you contemplate radical changes, your heart rate quickens, and you convince yourself it’s just not the right time.
So you keep waiting for the big moment when you can make that big change that will lead to happiness.
Well, you’re wasting your time …
Our ability to feel happier comes from inside ourselves, not from external circumstances. You don’t need to quit your job, move to an exotic location, or lose weight to be happy. You can embody happiness right now.
Over the years, I’ve gotten better at aligning my life activities with my purpose.
I teach at my own yoga studio. I assumed this would make me happy 100 percent of the time, but I get derailed sometimes. I ruminate about the small things like our cluttered house, and the endless details of running a yoga studio. I forget the big picture. I forget all that I have. I get grumpy and start to nitpick.
I have to catch myself and find my happiness from within again. It might take a few minutes, hours, or days, but I use these mini-habits to help me get there. They cost little to nothing and are portable.
No matter your situation, you can start right now. The following habits will help you stand a little taller, smile from your heart, and shine a little brighter.

For Your Mind

1. Breathe deeply.

Inhale deeply, and exhale completely ten times. Deep breathing slows your thoughts, relaxes your nervous system, and brings you closer to your own intuition.

2. Use a mantra to change your mind-set.

Sha is a Sanskrit root word meaning peace, as in “shanti.” Say “sham” slowly ten to twenty times. By combining sound, breath, and rhythm, mantra channels the flow of energy through the mind-body circuit and calms your nervous system and mind.

3. Zone out. 

Spend a few minutes daydreaming. Your logical mind, the prefrontal cortex, is constantly planning, analyzing, and thinking about the future. Give it a rest, and just be for a little while; you’ll feel refreshed.

4. Express your love.

Write a note or tell a loved one how you appreciate them.  Communicating positive emotions lowers stress hormones, bad cholesterol, and blood pressure, and it strengthens immunity.

5. Rejuvenate your mind.

Close your eyes for a few moments. What do you see in the darkness of your mind’s eye? Notice the patterns that form.  This is a simple meditation that rejuvenates and refocuses your tired mind.

6. Explore healing aromas.

Plants like rosemary, lavender, and sage can improve our moods. Create your own natural spa. Put your favorite essential oils in a spray bottle with a little water.

7. Swap a thought.

Make a list of your positive traits and attributes. When you criticize yourself, refer to this list. Keep this pattern up and you’ll transform your inner dialogue.

8. Allow yourself to be.

Accept all your feelings about your present situation. They are valid, whether you like them or not. Accepting your current situation is the first step to feeling happier.

9. Loving-kindness meditation.

Loving-kindness builds positive emotions, which increases mindfulness and purpose in life. Spend a few minutes letting feelings of love and kindness for someone wash over you.

10. Meditate.

When thoughts come, return to your breath without judging. Deep breathing clears your mind and decreases your stress levels, which will allow you to feel happier.

7 Reasons Why Experiences Will Make You Happier Than Material Things

Whenever I ask a friend if they would like to accompany me on one the magnificent trips I’ve planned in my head, the answers range from, “It’s just so expensive to fly anywhere,” to a definitive “I don’t have the money.”
I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of this too. But then I stop and think about the shirt I bought at the mall last weekend—not much different than the fifty other shirts hanging in my closet. Or about the expensive gourmet milkshake I bought on my way home from work. Today, I barely remember what it tasted like. Perhaps investing our money into things that matter—experiences that shape and change who we are such as concerts, festivals, hobbies and travel—are the things that will provide us with maximum happiness.
According to Fast Company, it has been determined that experiences are far more likely than material goods to lead to happiness. This idea was explored in 2003 by psychologists Tom Gilovich and Leaf Van Boven, who have identified several key reasons why.

2_experiences over material things1. We view the world through rose-tinted glasses

When you buy a bad material good, like a pair of shoes that hurt your feet or ill-fitting clothing, not only are you stuck with the item, but also with the fact that you made a bad decision. Bad experiences however, can often seem better in our heads than what they actually were at the time. For example, a person who went to DisneyLand is likely going to remember the good—meeting Mickey Mouse, the rides, the treats and the shows. And forget the bad—the long line-ups, the crowds and the whiney children. Our memories bring forth the best parts of our experiences and everything else fades away.

3_experiences over material things2. We get bored very easily

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” says Gilovich. We adapt to objects much quicker than we do experiences. At first your new iPhone is exciting and new, but after a while you adapt and get used to it and it doesn’t bring as much joy as it did when you first bought it. When I look in my closet I see a ton of clothes, some of which I’m bored with or never want to wear again. “I have nothing to wear,” is a phrase that gets tossed around constantly—right before I go out and buy a bunch of new clothes and stuff them into my already full closet. On the other hand, I never get tired of going to the beach. Even though I do not physically have anything to show for going, I always have fun, and each time is a little bit different.

4_experiences over material things3. Experiences are harder to compare

Choosing between different cars or computers is difficult because you worry not only about making the best choice, but also the status implications of your choice. Items can be directly compared—your flat screen TV is bigger than my flat screen TV—which makes it easier to be unhappy with what you have. Experiences are harder to compare and less likely to make you regretful. You could have gone on a better vacation than I did, but I still have my own memories that make my vacation unique and special to me.

5_experiences over material things4. Flow or being “in the zone”

According to Fast Company, flow is a mental state, first identified by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, that you get into when you are effortlessly engaged in what you are doing. Flow is essential for happiness and experiences generate flow better than material goods. For example, it is easier to focus and become engaged in a game of basketball or while surfing, than it is to focus on a pair of shoes or that new desk you bought.

6_experiences over material things5. Waiting is wonderful

The difference between waiting for an experience and waiting for a material good is night and day. With material goods, waiting is annoying and we seek instant gratification. With experiences, waiting becomes a form of anticipatory pleasure. Most often the excitement comes from waiting for something like an upcoming trip and the impatience comes from waiting for a purchased good, like a sweater ordered off of eBay.

7_experiences over material things6. We’re social beings

Experiences bring us closer to other people and they also make for better conversation. Would you rather hear about the chair that someone bought for their living room or what they did last weekend? You’re also more likely to bond with someone over both having hiked the Appalachian Trail than you are over both owning Blu-Ray players.

8_experiences over material things7. Experiences make the person

Experiences contribute to, and become a part of who we are, much more than items. Just ask yourself this: would you rather give up an item in your house or an experience you had? Most people would choose the item. Experiences shape who we really are—material goods only portray how we want other people to think of us.
There’s an assumption that because a physical item lasts longer, it will make us happier for a longer time than a one-time experience. This is a huge misconception. Experiences—even negative ones—build our character, and something that may have been stressful or scary in the past often becomes a funny story to tell at your next party.
So before you claim that spending 60 dollars on a concert isn’t worth it or travelling is too expensive, consider what you are investing into. Your clothes will go out of style, and your new iPad won’t last forever, but as Maya Angelou put it, “You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot—it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.”
By Jessica Beuker

Source: The Plaid Zebra

How to Visualize and Manifest Your Dreams

If you know about the Law of Attraction, you’ve likely heard that it is important to visualize your dreams in order to draw them closer to you.  While this definitely true, it is important that we visualize properly in order to manifest.  Improper visualization can actually push our dreams further away from us.
Here are a few tips on how to visualize your dreams effectively.  Following these steps will help you  use the Law of Attraction with success: 
1. Be specific: In the initial stages of visualization, it’s best to identify as many aspects about this manifestation as you can.  For example, if you want to attract a new car, take the time to figure out the exact model and all of the options that you would optimally want.
We’ve all had the experience of “almost” getting what we want, like getting the right car at the right price but in the wrong color.  As you progress through these steps, the universe will start to bring you what you’ve been thinking about, and if you haven’t thought at all about a key detail, your dream might manifest without it.
Therefore, it is best to fully identify what you want so it manifests properly the first time, and you don’t have to go back to the drawing board after an “almost perfect” item has shown up in your reality.
2. Focus only on what’s wanted: When you are trying to visualize something to manifest (like maybe a new job), stick ONLY to the aspects that you want.
In other words, you wouldn’t want to be thinking during your visualization “I don’t want a lot of meetings” or “I don’t want a boss who’s a control freak.”
Thoughts like these will conjure an image in your mind of a lot of meetings or a controlling boss.  Visions like these make it more likely that the universe will bring you a job that has these exact things that you do not want.
You get the things that you are thinking about, so in this scenario it would be better to say things  like “I want a lot of time to work independently” or “I want a boss who is flexible and understanding.”  Then, visualize working independently and having a flexible, understanding boss.
Manage your thoughts during your visualization to ensure that they focus only on the wanted.
3. Let the universe decide how it happens: Please make sure that you don’t spend any effort or time visualizing how your dream will manifest.
For example, let’s say that you want a 60 inch screen television.  Do not make it part of your vision to imagine yourself going to the store and buying it.
The reason this is important is that the universe can deliver your dreams in an infinite number of ways.  It may be easier and quicker for your dream to come in a way you’ve never considered.
Maybe you’ll win the television in a raffle your friend entered you in without your knowledge, or a coworker needs to move suddenly and simply gifts their brand new TV to you.
Stick only to the end outcome. It is your job to decide what you want, but it is the universe’s job to decide how to bring it to you.
4. Immerse yourself in the vision to feel like you have it: Once you have clearly identified exactly what you want, allow yourself to be totally immersed in the vision.
If it’s a dream vacation, do a google search and look at pictures on the internet of the destination, the airport you’d arrive in and the hotel you’d be staying at.  If it’s a new cell phone, go to the mobile store and pick up the phone, look at it and play with it.  If it isn’t something tangible, simply spend some time fantasizing about having it.
The goal here is to begin feeling like you already have what you want.  Feeling as if you have your dream will bring you into the frequency of actually having it.
5. Let go: This is the most important step and the one most people get stuck on.  After you’ve properly defined what you want and immersed yourself in the vision, you must let go in order for manifestation to occur!
Do not obsess over this visualization any more.  You have done your job of visualizing exactly what you want, now you must send the universe a message that you expect for it to arrive.
Sitting down day after day to visualize sends a message that you are focused on not having what you want.  Focusing on not having something creates a situation where it will continue not to come.
You’ve very likely had several experiences where you wanted something very badly for a long time and you just couldn’t seem to take your mind off of it.  Finally one day you said “I give up on this! I’m ready to move on with my life!” and then WHAM! it manifested almost immediately.
Remind yourself of times like these to help you let go when you are working with your new dreams.  Paradoxically, if you can make it ok for your dream not to come true, it will come true.  Surrender your vision to the universe and then get back to living your life.

Maps of consciousness, ancient Tibet, and a new psychology

“For the most part, today’s individual wants his spirituality to sit there like a plum on a tree. He doesn’t want it to be highly dynamic. He certainly doesn’t want to make it intensely personal and unique to himself.” (The Magician Awakes, Jon Rappoport)
This is my natural tendency, but it’s also the result of 30-plus years of research into a number of “sacred cows.” The findings of my research have shown me that civilization supports numerous false realities, and this extends to so-called mental, spiritual, and metaphysical foundations.
There are wide cracks and leaks and large holes.
I have enormous faith, long-term, in the individual. Not in the group. I see the individual as the future, no matter how long it takes, no matter how deep his potential is buried under a mass of propaganda and misdirection.
Over the years, I have written several articles describing the underpinning for my 3 Matrix collections.
This is another one, based on my investigations of: Tibet, modern “consciousness writing,” and the role of psychology in a controlled society.
To begin with, psychology, in theory and therapeutic practice, has a way, over time, of “settling in” to the society around it. With some exceptions, it more and more mirrors the values of society.
To sum it up, mainline psychology considers the individual as having key relationships, and seeks to strengthen, repair, and normalize them.
This is all very well for the patient who already considers himself to be living inside fairly conventional boundaries. But when the boundaries themselves are the issue, psychology tends to waver, wobble, tap dance, and even cast doubt on the mental health of the patient, as if his challenging the limits were somehow a sign of “inner imbalance” or neurosis or misperception.
The “playing field” of society is taken as the fundamental ground of operation, and the person who is walking outside those lines, looking in, assessing what is going on, is suspect. He may “require help.”