The All-Proof Formula for Happiness

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No matter how small, habits matter.
Our habits create our identity, both in a negative and positive way. That’s why building a system of habits that are in line with the person we want to become, is more effective than setting goals that may lead to a big transformation.
Like a guiding compass, it is the effects of these habits that, in time, can point us in the right direction and help us change and grow.

 

  1. Three Walks

Research has proven that people who are physically more active are also happier in their day to day life. Exercise provides people with a greater feeling of enthusiasm.  It doesn’t take much: half an hour of brisk walking at least three times a week improves happiness.

  1. The 20-Minute Replay

Studies have found that re-playing positive experiences can improve people’s lives and happiness.  Writing for twenty minutes about a positive experience dramatically improves happiness. Why? Because you actually re-live the experience as you are writing it and then re-live it every time you read it.  It helps us remember things we like about ourselves, people and our lives.

  1. Random Acts of Kindness

Psychology studies have proven that people who are kind to other people tend to be happier than people who are usually not. It’s been found that kindness produces the most reliable well-being in any person who practices kindness.  Carrying out random acts of kindness every week will dramatically improve your happiness.

  1. A Complete Unplug

The richest, happiest and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage and seek renewal.  Downtime after work helps people recharge. Turn off your phone after dinner, try to avoid as much as possible thinking about work issues while relaxing at home, don’t use the Internet while on vacations, etc.

  1. Hit flow

When you get absorbed in what you are doing you are being challenged and demonstrating your skill – you are in your flow. People who find challenge and satisfaction of accomplishment tend to be happier.

  1. 2-Minute Meditations

Brain scans (as part of Hospital Research), have shown that people who meditate show increase brain activity associated with compassion and self-awareness while stress levels shrink. Studies report that meditation can “permanently rewire” your brain to raise levels of happiness.

  1. Five Gratitudes

Make it a habit to write down five things you are grateful for from the past week.  As Charles Dickens wrote:  “Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many, not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some”

 

Stay strong!

It’s Our Gratitude What Makes Us Stronger

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“By choosing thankfulness for what we have, we become stronger, not weaker.”

Gratitude isn’t a cure for negative emotions, nor is it their replacement; let’s get this clear from the start.
Honesty about our feelings must be paramount if we were to allow gratitude to emerge amid our circumstances and emotions.

Thankfulness boils down to set our mind on all the positive things that exist in our lives in any given moment instead of worrying about what we don’t have.

Instead of depending on externals to make us happy, we have to accept that lasting happiness comes from within.

Any of this means we should let our personal and professional life wither and die; on the contrary, while we strive for growth, we must practice gratitude for the abundance we already have.

This type of mindset will set us free from constantly feeling discontent or restless for more and that feeling that we never get to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

The more we practice this, the easier we may shift our state and mood towards the positive, eventually becoming masters of our emotional state.

Why is gratitude so important?

When we embrace mental abundance, we’re able to experience its benefits and the stillness it brings.

We know this for a fact: the state of our brain in gratitude is much like its state in love.

When we’re in that state, our brain’s neural circuitry releases large amounts of dopamine and serotonin, the James Brown neurochemical cocktail that makes us feel good, fostering optimism, camaraderie, willpower and positive emotions.

The more we practice it, the more we activate the neurocircuitry responsible for this gratitude response; the circuits then become stronger and, with time, the resulting positive feelings become more stable fixtures in our outlook.

Other benefits of gratitude include:

. Social benefits: it opens the door to more relationships while expanding our capacity for empathy

. Physical health: it leads to better self-care, sleep, and overall health

. Psychological health: practicing gratitude helps us manage negative feelings while increasing mental strength.

Take a moment today to practice gratitude, build that muscle so it becomes more reflexive, and buy yourself a moment in time where you’ll be connected with your life and all its abundance.

Stay strong!

Harnessing the Overlooked Power of Faith

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“There is no problem in any situation that faith will not solve.”

What if we believe there is a beneficent order to things? A force that’s holding things together without our conscious control?

What if we could get to see that force at work in our daily lives?
And what if we could believe this force to be loving, caring and protective in essence?

 

The Universe is an array of mechanisms with a brilliance of design and efficiency our human efforts haven’t got even close to grasping… Planets revolve around stars, seeds become flowers, and embryos become babies, all without any help from us; we don’t have to make them work, they just do.

Nature’s intelligence functions with effortless ease . . . with carefreeness, harmony, and love. And if we could harness the forces of harmony, joy, and love, we create success and good fortune with effortless ease.

Their flow is built into a natural system, and you and I are an integral part of that system.

 

What if we could let our lives be directed by the same force that makes flowers grow, instead of forcing our will into it?
What if we could rely more on Faith?

But what is Faith? Is it to place our trust into something based on things we hope for?
I believe that’s a poor, traditional, and weak definition of it

Faith is trust in the force that moves the Universe. Faith isn’t blind, it is visionary; it is believing that the Universe is on our side and that the Universe knows what it’s doing.

Faith is a psychological awareness of an unfolding force for good, constantly at work in the world around us.

 

When we attempt to direct or manipulate this force, we only interfere with is; but when we trust and relax into it, we allow it to work on our behalf.

When we don’t use our Faith, we’re frantically trying to control what it is not our business to control and to control what it’s not in our power to fix. I mean we can, but only from our limited and biased point of view, which most of the time is far from what’s really best for us, and ends up being a waste of our time.

We truly find our power not in actively pursuing a goal, but in finding the path of less resistance; allowing our goal to come naturally to us.

 

Every given moment is as it’s supposed to be.
When we accept people, situations, circumstances, and events as they happen, we take responsibility for those situations and events, and stop seeing them as problems and start seeing them as learning and growth opportunities, and that allows us to take those moments and transform them into a great benefit.

That’s the way we get in harmony with the flow of the Universe.

 

 

Stay strong!

A Better World through Compassionate Leadership

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There is an ancient tradition that describes three styles of compassionate leadership: The Trailblazer, who leads from the front, taking risks and setting an example; there is also The Ferryman, who accompanies those in his care and shapes the ups and downs of the crossing; and finally, there is The Shepherd, who sees every one of his flock into safety –or success, before himself.

These are three different styles and approaches, but they have an all-encompassing concern for the wellbeing of those they lead in common.

Leaders, whatever field they work in, have a strong impact on people’s lives and on the world in general.

No matter how much time we have to live, we should work to leave the world a better place.
But, what does that better world look like?

I believe a better world is one where people are happier. We all want to be happy; our desire for happiness is something we all share.

Today though, the world seems to be facing an emotional crisis, when the stress, anxiety, and depression rates are higher than ever.
The gap between rich and poor, and between CEOs and employees is at a historic high; and the ever-present focus on turning a profit often overrules our commitment to people, the environment, and our society.
We work closely together every day, but in spite of it, many feel lonely and stressed… there is a lack of responsibility toward each other, and we tend to forget that we, as humans, are physically, mentally, and emotionally the same.

We need to ask ourselves what’s going wrong.

Perhaps our strong focus on material development and wealth accumulation had led us to deny our basic human need for connection and contribution.

Reconnect with the oneness of humanity and altruism is fundamental for societies and organizations, as well as their individuals in order to thrive in the long run.

And we all have a responsibility to make this happen.

So, what can leaders do?

Practice mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion

Cultivate your own peace of mind. Destructive emotions like anger and attachment cloud our ability to use our intellect clearly, so we need to tackle them.

Fear and anxiety give way to anger and violence. The opposite of fear is trust; which, mixed with warmheartedness, can boost our self-confidence, and compassion –a concern for other’s well-being– also reduces fear.

All this, not money and power, is what really attracts success.
When our mind is focused on compassion, it is calm, and when we do, we’re able to use our sense of reason practically, realistically, and with determination.

Peace of mind also means being undisturbed, free from concern. It’s all about our mental attitude and having a calm mind, and it is within us, it requires that we develop a warm heart and use our emotional intelligence.

Remember, the source of happiness lies within.

Stay strong.

What’s Your Identity?

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We all humans have an identity; a set of beliefs that we establish through time and define who we are, what we’re not, what we would or wouldn’t do.

This identity is really important because one of the strongest forces in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with the way we define ourselves, we can’t go against that; is engrained deep within our psyche. Beliefs set the guidelines for all our behaviors.

Let’s say your everyday life is a thermostat at 72 degrees. That’s a fair representation of you, enjoying your comfort zone –but let’s be clear on that, that’s just where you’re comfortable, NOT at your best. That 72° is where you are content physically, financially, intimately with your partner, connected to your spiritual life, friends, family, etc.

If things begin to cool down if you drop to a 65 or 60, things are going to change from that convenience to discomfort to intolerance; your whole self is going to start screaming in complaint, for sure. This is your baseline that says “Hey, I won’t take less than this!” and gets you moving to get things back to how they were; to what you believe you deserve.

Have you ever gone through something like this?

Sure you have….

When things got that bad with your health, your body, your relationship, your career or finances, you hit a threshold and start doing whatever it takes to get it back up.

Of course, there is a flip side of this coin; if you start doing better than you, for whatever reason, believe you deserve –you start making more money, have deeper relationships, get in the best shape of your life, etc.; you’re going to start sabotaging you and get you down again.

 

In order to avoid this, you don’t need to change your identity, you just have to expand it.

When the chance presents itself for you to grow, you must be able to say “I get this”. Get into the habit of looking forward to doing the things you never believed you could do; keep growing that muscle.

 

What can you do to challenge and redefine yourself? What would you like to become?

DECIDE and get on with it today.

Stay strong!

3 Things to Tell Yourself Today

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Progress is only possible through change, and those who can change their minds can change anything.

 

You are the architect of your own destiny; and as such, you have to make sure you’re using the greatest tool you have at your disposal: your inner voice.

This inner voice can help you quiet down the external negative voices, boost your confidence, and help you navigate and learn from the ever-present obstacles.

If your inner voice is currently echoing the negative external chorus of pessimists, you need to reprogram your thinking process by telling yourself these three things:

 

Let’s do it now.

Procrastination is like quicksand; if left unchecked, it will pull you inside and leave you crippled with indecision. You’ll end up making excuses after excuses that will shut down your dream in the end. If you make it ok to do nothing, that’s exactly what you will end up achieving; nothing.

Allow your inner voice to motivate you all day long, and commit to your dream with a sense of happy urgency.

Remember, the difference between “should have” and “have done” is planning and action; so become your own coach and don’t take a no for an answer, especially from yourself.

 

I deserve this

If you allow your dreams to crash, or let opportunities for personal growth or improvement pass up; if you are settling for anything less than the success you dream about, then you should ask yourself why is it that you think you don’t deserve your absolute best; you must get out of your usual comfort zone.

Whatever your dream might be, begin by reminding yourself that you deserve a bright future, and then invest in yourself by giving your all to you!

Never get cheap when it comes to your happiness.

 

I have this

One of the greatest obstacles to success is the fear of failure, including the fear of not being able to retake your forward momentum after a setback.

We all have fears, but if we get into the habit of making fear-based decisions we will never reach our full potential. If you let fear paralyze our progress, you will create a blueprint for mediocrity, and you’ll miss out on the priceless lessons only trial and error can provide.

 

Make your positive self-talk and your action taking habits stronger than your fears.
Overcoming fear is not an overnight process, and it can be uncomfortable to walk out of your habitual way of thinking and acting; but once you get to the top of your performance, the feeling of freedom is incomparable, and the view, spectacular.

Start listening to your voice today.
What are you saying?
Can you succeed?

I bet you do. Do you?

Stay strong!
Cheers.

Improve Your Life, Two Minutes at the Time, Part 2

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Let’s continue here with our last week’s blog about changing our lives for the better, two minutes at a time.

 

Change judgment for understanding

When you’re inclined to past judgment to others, first take two minutes and ask what aspects of yourself do I see in this other person?

When we’re upset about somebody else’s behavior or actions, is because it is reminding us of something we don’t like about ourselves.

If we can turn this inner critic into a coach, we can help create a better relationship with ourselves, with others, and live a more positive life.

 

Compliment others

Get into the habit of coming up with ways to tell others –and by others I mean people who are actually present there with you at the time- what you truly appreciate about them.

Take one minute to think about the reason, and another minute to tell the compliment.

You will make this person happy for sure; you’ll feel good about yourself, and most likely will receive some happy and affectionate feedback in return.

 

Hug more

It might seem like a small deed, but it’s known to reduce stress and make us feel very good; so spend –at the very least- two minutes a day hugging people!

Like compliments, hugs can be a simple way to build warmer and more positive relationships with people in your life.

 

Be interested instead of interesting

Whenever you engage in a conversation with someone, be interested in that person; ask questions about his or her life, interests, passions, and don’t just wait for your turn to talk back, really pay attention to the answers… Get to know and appreciate that person.

The interest you give will most likely be returned in what surely will build into not just a conversation, but a giving and fulfilling relationship.

 

Shuffle things up a little

Change things, mix them up… whatever you’ve been doing, try something different this time; for instance:

If you always go for the meat, next time try vegetarian.

If you tend to get into conflict often, next time try walking away.

Give away some of your favorite things.

Say yes to something spontaneously and stick to it to the end, see where it leads.

Take a different kind of decisions for today.

 

Get into the habit of mixing things up and have some fun. Grow your life in small or bigger ways, add unexpected experiences to it.

This practice will make it easier and simpler to step out of your usual comfort zone when you really need to, and also it will make you feel alive!

 

Talk again next week.
Until then, stay strong!

Improve Your Life, Two Minutes at a Time

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“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.”
Madame Marie du Deffand

 

Making a positive change in life doesn’t have to be about big moves; world-wide impact, or changing the whole world.

The secret to real change and sustainable action is to discard this pretentious and overwhelming belief and go for smaller, constantly repeated smaller steps.

Through these smaller steps, you can start building habits that will get stronger as you build momentum. These steps have the potential to actually change your life in ways you can’t possibly imagine now.

 

By establishing a two-minute daily routine over the following steps, you will create a habit that would point you in the right direction.  You can choose one a day, or you can invest a little time on yourself and move through the whole list.

 

  1. Identify your most important task, and just start working on it for two minutes.

We all have one of those days when you just don’t feel like getting started with work, and we find ourselves dwelling lazily to the sofa.

It’s not the task itself, the hardest part is getting started. So, after you’ve started moving and working for those two minutes, it gets pretty much easier to just continue working on the task.

 

  1. Review and appreciate your day

Once your day is over, take two minutes to review and appreciate what you have done. See all that you have accomplished; the finished tasks, your performance, the shared moments with friends, family, coworkers, and also the time you took for yourself.

 

  1. Set a low bar for happiness

It doesn’t mean you have to lower your standards or stop going after the bigger stuff, not at all. What it means is that you are willing to appreciate things more, feel happier for the smaller things as well. This will fuel yourself with more energy and inspiration; your life will become lighter, and you will feel less inner resistance as you work towards your goals, big and small.

 

  1. Whenever you feel stressed, BREATH

Whenever stress catches up with you and you start to feel anxious, upset or scared, take two minutes, sit down, breathe through your nose deeply with your stomach, and focus on your breathing.

This will calm your mind, and ease your body so you can resume your work more focused and relaxed.

 

  1. Be here and now

Remove yourself out of the past; stop reliving old experiences of conflict. Stop anticipating a catastrophic future.

Focus your attention on where and when you really are, here and now.
Sit down for two minutes; see what is in front and all around you. Listen to the sounds, feel the wind and the sun on your clothes and skin; the smells in the air, the textures of what you have at hand…

Feel your present for those two minutes, and notice how this new, optimistic viewpoint starts to feel more natural to you.

 

 

I’ve saved the next five for our next blog, so you go ahead and start with these first five steps today; start gaining momentum and building towards a better state.

Start by feeling more alive today.

 

 

See you next week; until then, stay strong!

Living Your Life Purpose

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Our lives are at its most productive peak when we have a true sense of direction. They are also much easier and enjoyable to navigate once we got to understand our destination –that is, once you know the purpose of your existence.

One of the most important things you in life is to figure out –the sooner the better- why you’re here for; what is your purpose, your core values, and then, figure out what are the goals that would help you move towards it.

 

Take some time to reflect about where you are in life now, and then decide where you would like to take your life from there.

When you know where you’re headed, it’s easier to determine which actions and behaviors contribute to achieving this destination, and which ones are just deviating or holding you back.

Below is a list of questions, designed to help you discover your life purpose.

 

  1. What are three of your favorite skills?

Give it a though right now… try to determine what are the two or three abilities you have that are your favorite; not which you are best at, or most profitable, but honestly which are the ones you enjoy doing the most.

  1. What are two ways you would like to use to make an impact in the world?

How would you like to make a difference? Which are the ways you’d go about it? Don’t think too hard; just follow your intuition and write down whatever pops into your mind…

  1. Who or what would you like to impact?

Now it’s time to be specific; narrow down our target and start defining the people or things you want to help. Give it a thought; see what things come to mind first and write them down.

  1. What goal do you think your impact would achieve?

Think about the people or things you have in mind… what good would your actions do to them? What outcome do you desire for those peoples or circumstances? 

  1. Create now a run-on sentence, combining all these previous elements, starting with “my purpose is to”.

It’s time to put things together. The previous questions contain in them the combined elements of your life purpose.

Shuffle the answers around and find a combination that makes real sense to you.

 

Have in mind that your life purpose is something you continuously keep discovering, watching it as it unfolds before you.
Like a big dinosaur skeleton, it lies buried somewhere; it is your job to find it and dig it up; a little or a big piece at the time.

 

Start digging and follow its clues.

Use Openness to Build Effective, Stronger Teams

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The key to building stronger teams is to, first and foremost, build stronger relationships and connection between the people on them. Learn about each other and build a deep and authentic relationship that will help the team navigate challenges together.

More and more people from schools, companies and all kinds of organizations are starting to use this approach. It might seem a little touchy-feely at times, but through time and experience, even the most skeptical person turns around and loves it.

These are some examples of exercises you can implement within your organization:

 

  1. Lifelines

Ask everyone to describe a few key moments or events in their lives that have made them who they are today. This task helps break the barriers between them and allows them to gain a deeper understanding of one another. The confidential nature of these exchanges helps them build enormous trust.

 

  1. Storytelling

Building upon the previous exercise, this one encourages all teammates to open up and tell a significant story about themselves, and it helps them appreciate the courage of those eager to share so much; and this exposure makes everyone more willing to open up as well.

 

  1. Appreciations

One of the most effective methods to build trust within a team is appreciation. At the end of a sprint, or a project, ask your group to share things they appreciate about each other; go at it in turns, letting everybody chime in with reasons why they appreciate that person. It might be awkward to be so openly appreciated, but it is extremely moving. We rarely take the time to tell people around us why we appreciate and admire them, and when we do, it is surprisingly great.

 

All these kinds of activities build deeper and meaningful relations among colleagues, helping them work more effectively together. It can also help with conflict resolution, since the stronger the foundational relationship between two people, the easier these conflicts are resolved or avoided in all.

If you get your team to know each other, everything after that just comes more easily.

Put these techniques in practice and see how it turns out.

 

Enjoy your long weekend, and have a Happy Thanksgiving Day.