Breathe.

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breathe in, love.

breathe out, hate. 

breathe in, gratitude.

breathe out, resentment.

breathe in, joy.

breathe out, hostility. 

breathe in.

breathe out.

Clarity. Carefree. Content. 

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5 things I am grateful for today:

Life

Love

Simplicity

Chance to relax

Books that are practical

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Without you, there is no us.

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January 2016 – Sri Lanka

In times of stress and worry, I fail to look after myself. Sometimes the pressures of life make it seem as though you come last, everything else matters but you. I am here to tell you and myself that this is not true, even though you may feel otherwise.

Whatever your worries and/or stresses may be, there are some things we all have to do to take care of ourselves. Not only will these things alleviate your stress but also prompt you to formulate more logical, objective and structured answers to your problems.

  1. Eat – nourish your body to nourish your mind. Eating is vital. Your brain is already on overdrive in times of stress, not eating will cause a malfunction. So do not forget to eat. Balanced meals would be ideal, but eating in general is a good place to start. (unless you are a stress eater, which in this case probably doesn’t apply to you)
  2. Sleep – my simple rule when making big decisions or when trying to get through something, is sleep. No better way is there to shut yourself off for a few minutes or hours, to rest and settle and approach the problem with a better mindset.
  3. Go outside – extremely overlooked when stressed is nature and the calmness it can bring. I find going for a walk (doesn’t have to be long) and focusing on the sky, trees (especially leaves) and the weather extremely relaxing. It also puts things into perspective, that this world is full of great simple things, you just have to notice them.
  4. Take a shower or bath – this is almost ritualistic to me. After a really bad day or situation, I take a shower almost to signify getting rid of negative emotions and thoughts and moving on refreshed.
  5. Read a book – sometimes I know that my problems are small and easy to deal with but I am still upset and overwhelmed, I have a go to book called ‘Opening the Door of Your Heart: And Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness’ by Ajahn Brahm who is an English buddhist monk that writes short thoughtful, quirky and light stories that gives you a change of heart. That is just my go to, whatever works for you is good.
  6. Journal/write things down – Externalising your feelings and thoughts is so helpful when you are overwhelmed and confused. You can reflect on what you have written and even make your own prompts/questions to answer, to better understand how you are feeling. I journal a few times a week and this space is also an outlet for me, writing what I am going through is a release.

 

And those are my 6 strategies that may or may not work for you, but they work for me. There are many others and not every problem in life can be solved with these. I acknowledge some problems are extremely complex and terrible, but for day to day get downs, these work well.

Take care of yourself and love yourself, you are important. 

Death.

Death is the only thing in life that is certain, right? 

Reading Mark Manson’s book, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***’ gave me a different perspective. As a buddhist we are always told the life is ultimately a suffering, one problem is replaced by another problem as we go through life. Some problems better than other ones. Additionally, in buddhism they say to keep death in mind because everything is impermanent, knowing and accepting this simple fact allows us to be more present and  live life to the fullest.

Sometimes I have the mindset of ‘we are all going to die anyway, why does any of this matter’, I like that Mark Manson clarified that death doesn’t take life’s meaning away, it gives life meaning. Knowing that one day it will all come to an end allows us to live a better life whether you consciously register that or not.

Another thing he shed light on is that we can figure out what our goals are and be honest with ourselves when we decide ‘What we are willing to suffer for?’ This gave me a moment of clarity and shifted my mindset to the fact that problems will never go away, they are a part of life. Some problems we choose, others we don’t but if I actively decide which problems are worth my time, they aren’t a problem anymore. They are more challenges and a journey to whatever it is that I want to achieve.

This book has enlightened me and has also forced a way of honest thinking. From now on I will choose my problems when I can, make sure they have a purpose and are worth my time, taking full responsibility of them.

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. Running – I have decided to start running with a friend a few times a week. I am by no means a runner, I puff out in 30 seconds however I am excited to see improvment!
  2. Books – my days have been bare and lonely but books are keeping me occupied, and I am loving every second of their company.
  3. My friends – It is important to take the time to think of those around you who love and support you along the way.
  4. Uni – I am very much excited to start university again, it has been a long holiday.
  5. Nature – Running outside is beautiful.

Till Tomorrow.

Baggage.

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2014 Amsterdam – At the end of my Bachelors Degree I went on a trip to Europe with one of my good friends. Amsterdam was beautiful.

When you are going through a hard time everything becomes foggy. I tend to spiral, think of everything wrong with my life, dump it into a huge bag and decide to carry that over my head. I feel the weight wherever I go. Most of the things I place in the bag are troubles from the past, negative thoughts of the future and self-pity. Everyday that cloud gets more grey and the sign of any sunshine seems far away.

What I am here to say is that, that sunshine has always been there, you just haven’t noticed it.

Most of us wait for ‘better times to come’ or ‘life to get better’, as though it is so far away into the future, we don’t know where it is, so we will sulk around till then but it’s somewhere out there.

When you drop that weight, tell yourself that you are no longer going to carry that bag full of negativity around with you, things brighten.

Don’t be stuck in the past, it is done.

Don’t imagine the future, it isn’t real.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself.

Learn to learn from the bad, embrace the good and let life be.

William Shakesphere said

‘There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so’

Our view of the world, our frame of reference defines our reality. If your view of the world seems cloudy, you need to change your frame of reference. Pay attention to the good, accept the bad, cultivate love for yourself and others not self-pity and hatred and life will become easier to live.

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. Memoirs – Unintentionally I have been reading a lot of memoirs this year and I think I have decided that they are my favourite genre. They are captivating, enlightening and full of wisdom.
  2. Being who I am – I am hard on myself, I blame myself a lot for things that go wrong even when they aren’t my fault. I think I need to appreciate who I am more.
  3. Chai Lattes – are delicious!
  4. Nature – I didn’t take advantage of it today and I wish I did.
  5. A friend – When a friend makes you cry tears of happiness with her comforting words when things aren’t going well, you know you’ve made a good friend.

Till Tomorrow.

The past, present and future.

Two things that usually lead to disappointment are expectations and assumptions. If we all look back to a time when we were disappointed and think about the foundation to that disappointment, you will find that it stemmed from expectations.

Expectation -a strong belief that something will happen or be the case.

Assumption -a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof

The commonality between these two meanings is that it is linked with believing something will happen in the future without any evidence or reason to think it will, it is imaginary. All of us have goals and expectations and it is important that we do however, we lose sight in the fact that the future is uncertain and although we hope for the absolute best for ourselves and others, it may not happen the way your imagination planned it to be at all. Every moment, you are making your future and these thoughts of the future sometimes distract you from making that future happen for yourself because the happiness one receives from imagining that goal to be achieved brings you fulfilment even before it has occurred.

Life is extremely simple, everything that needs to be done to lead a happy life isn’t a secret, everyone knows how to do it or what needs to be done. We however, get in the way of ourselves. We think too much about what needs to be done, our perceptions, our expectations and our assumptions lead to over thinking which puts a shield between ourselves and reality.

Nowadays there are so many videos and articles on focusing and living in the moment. Don’t think of the past or the future, the moment is all that is important. This is true but in a world as such it is important to realise that the we cannot live just thinking of the moment, we live for the future. Everything we do is in hopes of a better future, each and every one of us have to consider our actions so it doesn’t affect our future. Living in the moment is of upmost importance however live in the moment realising that this moment will be a component of the future and that what you learnt from the past is a component of the now – the decisions you make now are based on your experiences of the past. One should not differentiate the past, present and the future. They are not different, they are linked and one cannot exist without the other, it is a matter of how you prioritise each of them that will result in your happiness.