Tag Archives: happiness

Take control of your mind

Your brain has approximately 100 billion neurons, and every each of them can create synapses witch 10 thousand, thereby creating a complex network. Neurons pick up, send out, and process electrical impulses, such as your thoughts. According to latest research led by Jordan Poppenk of Quinn’s University in Canada, an average person has 6200 thoughts per day. * What does it mean for your life what these thoughts are? Everything.

The human brain is an incredible and powerful, yet ambiguous tool. The great thing about it is that we can learn to use it to achieve what we want. How to do it? By learning to control the mind. At this point, I want to indicate that brain and mind are not the same things. In short, we can say that the mind is part of what the brain does; it is related to perception, thinking, self-awareness, as well as other unknown processes. 

Picture by Tabitha Turner

We can distinguish two modes in which our brain works: automatic and direct. In a direct mode, we are aware of what we think or do, while the automatic mode is responsible for all habitual activities. This isn’t just about automatic actions like using the right or left hand, brushing teeth or driving a car; here we are dealing with thinking patterns, and this is why it is so important to set up a “thoughts filter”

You are what are you thinking

Recognizing and working on changing negative thoughts patterns is the first step you need to take if you want to develop, heal or simply improve the quality of your life. 

Life isn’t comfortable if your thoughts are filled with fear, doubt, sadness, hate, or jealousy. It’s not easy to make your dreams come true when there’s a little saboteur in your head who whispers you can’t make it, you don’t deserve it, you’re worse, you’re too stupid, too ugly, too fat, too thin, too old, too poor…Most of us had to deal with these unpleasant promptings at one time. But how to deal with it in the long run? 

How to develop the skill of cultivating a positive mind? 

Have you ever decide that you want to adopt a dog – let’s say a German Shepherd – and then you see this species everywhere? It’s not a coincidence – this is how reticular activating system works. RAS is a group of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information, so the important ones gets through. It ‘sieves’ the world through the parameters you give it. In the same way, it seeks information that validates your beliefs. RAS connect subconscious part of our brain with the conscious part. To put it simply – you are getting what you focus on. 

I wrote more about how our consciousness and subconsciousness are part of something bigger here: https://wholeworldinmyhead.com/2020/06/04/can-understanding-quantum-physics-help-you-create-your-dream-life/

Set your intent and visualize

“When the phenomenon of the universe is seen as linked together by cause and effect and energy transfer, the resulting picture is of a complexly branching and interconnecting chain of events(…)” 2 If you are channelling your conscious energy towards a specific goal, RAS focuses on that goal. 

It is incredible that in this scientifically backed up theory, we can find reflections of many ancient beliefs. Buddha himself said: “All that we are is a result of what we have thought.”

There are many techniques of visualizations that you can adopt for yourself. I would recommend that in whatever way you set up your “mental movie”, try to to do it regularly and always involve emotions in the process. Try to feel what you would feel if you really were in the situation you imagine. While you are creating this image, experience it as if you were living it yourself at the moment. 

Create that vision in your mind that will give you real feelings and ignite your desire.

Why don’t you try it yourself? Take control of the powerful tool that your mind is; filter your thoughts, be aware of them, and set time every day to visualize. You will be surprised how much your life can change. 

You can read more about the issue of positive thinking in achieving goals here https://wholeworldinmyhead.com/2020/04/05/how-positive-thinking-leads-to-success/

1 ‘Discovery of ‘thought worms’ opens window to the mind’. Queen’s Gazette, July 2020

2 ‘Steps to an Ecology of Mind by Gregory Bateson’ (Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. 1972).

Don’t put your life on hold

My granny had a whole wardrobe filled with dresses for special occasions. I’ve never seen her wearing any of them. They hung useless, collecting dust and going out of style. Like dreams that we put off for later.

Daily routine is 90% of our life; special occasions are only a fraction.

There is nothing more disastrous than seeing life as a series of special events separated by time that does not matter. After all, this time that fills the gaps between important occasions is all we have. So why do we neglect it?

Postponing life for later manifests itself on many levels;
perfumes that we consider too expensive to use everyday. Clothes that we don’t want to wear daily because we don’t want to wear them out (as if they were more important than our joy of wearing them). The favourite restaurant we only go to on one occasion, or this bottle of super-pricey wine that has been dusting on the shelf for months because it’s a pity to open it. Or those dreamed holidays that we put off for “a better time”. But there will be no better time – if you don’t make an effort to make present moment great, the future will be a sloppy too. The only thing that will change is that you get older and maybe you won’t want anything anymore.

Celebrating life is about appreciating every moment – whether it will be special depends only on us, on our attitude.

This approach makes life a constant waiting for something better. But life happens here and now. Whatever happen today won’t happen in the future. We will never be in the same circumstances again, and we will never have the energy and state of mind we have now. Unused opportunities will never come back to us.

Notice how often you are waiting for something to happen or for something to change. You can grow old in this waiting. Instead of waiting for special moments, make every day special as often as possible.

Let today be a special occasion

You can create special occasions without waiting for anything from the outside. It can be something as bland as the tradition of pancake Saturday mornings, or a monthly celebration of your relationship or friendship. Put on your favourite blouse, drink coffee from this antique china that you keep locked behind the glass case, order this delicious cake today even if it’s not your birthday. Enjoy your life, man!

You are the creator of your reality, and it is only up to you what rank you give to the events that happen in it.

Change the mindset that blocks you

Almost everything starts in your head. To put it simply, what you think and the way you think creates your reality. It seems easy, right? Unfortunately, controlling your mind is not so obvious. For so often, we fall into the ‘traps of thinking’ that we set ourselves. 

To recognize this process it’s important to observe yourself; your thoughts and reactions. Only by knowing yourself you can catch and change this unhealthy approach to reality. I will present here some common thought patterns that are harmful. I wonder, can you recognize yourself among these ways of thinking?

Photo by Shea Rouda on Unsplash

What is blocking us?

  1. Thinking that you’re not suitable

I’m talking here about this cold feeling of being unworthy and not good enough for something. We have often been told that the world is so structured that there is not enough for everyone. Well, I believe that in life, you get what you have the courage to ask for. And to ask for it, you have to say goodbye to “it’s not for me” thinking pattern.

We are all different; that’s a fact. We all have diverse social and cultural backgrounds, different experiences, different skills. However, we cannot let ourselves be persuaded that we are unfit for something because we are inferior. Or poorer. Or too old. 

External circumstances cannot decide who you are on the inside.

We may struggle with the social and economic situation; some of us may have mental health problems – but this should not affect how we perceive ourselves (in the sense of how we value ourselves). If you believe that you are not worthy of something – you won’t be worthy. Start treating yourself as if you deserve everything you dream about – because it is so. Start from your thoughts – if you are important to yourself, this is how you will become for the world.

2. Thinking that mistakes are the failure and that failing makes you a looser

Failure only exists if you let it. Otherwise, there are only lessons. If you learned something from error or failure, it was not a failure at all. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Forgive yourself for mistakes. And do your best to learn from them for the future. 

3. Equating success with happiness

We could write endless dissertations about happiness. This is an elusive and difficult to define concept. However, when you define it for yourself, remember one thing – do not equate happiness with success. These are two different things. Completely separate.

Making happiness dependent on success can lead you astray. Because often when we reach it, we do not feel fulfilled, either happier. Happiness begins inside of us. Not outside. 

You can be happy working on your success. You don’t have to wait for it to come true, you can feel it along the way.

What is true happiness for you? Can you find it among small everyday things, or you need that thrill of great success to allow yourself to be happy? Can you tell the difference between those two terms: happiness and success? Name it, write it, remember it.

4.Thinking that your worth depends on your accomplishments or productivity

This is the most difficult one for me, as I’m still trying to escape the feeling of uselessness. I often get overwhelmed with projects for which I don’t have time, probably to make up for this numbing feeling. The more I do, the more important I feel. How illusory that is!

The truth is that you can be the most creative person in the world, and yet sometimes you don’t do anything. And that’s okay. The problem starts when you stop feeling worthy straight away.

The value of a human does not lie in how much he can achieve, create, learn. It lies in what a person you are. No achievement is more important than a good, compassionate heart.

Interested in details? You can read more about it here: Do you also fall into the productivity trap?

5. Taking life as a contest

If you’re one of those with a competitive mindset, you know how much stress it brings. Life is not a contest, and you don’t have to be perfect in everything. 

Does it really matter so much whether you do something for a 100% or a 86%?

If you are working on something, do your best but don’t beat yourself up. You can’t always be the best, but you can always be good at something. This applies to every sphere of life – perfectionism is a devastating poison.

Trust me, there is no eternal score board where you can fight for the first place, there is no podium. Nobody is sitting and waiting to judge how you did. If you feel the urge to be the best at everything and outperform everyone else, the problem is probably with you. It would be good if you believed that you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

Fighting this kind of thinking is arduous if it has bit deeply into us. However, we can change this by working on ourselves step by step. By watching ourselves and make small changes daily. When we know what’s blocking us, it’s easier to free ourselves from it.

You won’t get anywhere if you don’t know direction

I know a lot of people who are driven by a desire for success. Most of them, however, can’t even define what success means to them. It’s like the biggest priority in life, but they can’t even describe it. I’ve heard so many times people saying things like “I need to achieve something”, or ” I want to be someone”. Well, the first thing on your way to achieving your goals is to determine what you actually want.

What is the success you want?

Success is a very tricky word, and sometimes I feel that would be favourable if we could redefine it for ourselves. Success is something different for every human being because our inner structures are different from each other. Unfortunately, the stereotype that success is related to money, social standing and power still linger. But it doesn't have to be that way. 

People don’t know what they want. They follow dreams of others; they fall into traps settled by social expectations or expectations of their loved ones. They are chasing a pattern of success set by other people, so even if they finally achieve it, they don’t feel happy neither fulfilled.

There is a reason for every one of us to be on this world. Fulfilling a person’s mission does not have to involve momentous things. Something that the world will not hear can also be a great success. Let’s not seek recognition in the eyes of other people, because everything we need to be happy is hidden deep within us. Let’s just look inside ourselves more often.

I had a friend who was obsessed with “achieving something”. I mean, she wanted social recognition so badly, that at some point it ceased to be important how would she achieve it. She struggled between opening ill-considered blogs and the Instagram pages where she wanted to become famous. Nothing worked as she wished. Why? After all, she was determined to be successful. Well, there was no direction in her chaotic activities. There was no vision.

Without vision, there is nothing.

As Stephen Covey wrote in his best-selling book, you need to begin with the end in mind. You need to have a vision which will influence your thoughts and actions. Knowing the direction in which you are going makes it easier to determine the itinerary.

Only specific actions aimed at specific goals can bring the intended effect. Otherwise, it is only drifting, bouncing off the banks.

Once we define our personal journey, we must realize that everything depends on us, on our proactivity. We must not fall behind in the phase of dreams and plans; we must take the first step, then the next and another.

It’s not enough to tell yourself – I want to be successful in life. You need to clearly define what this success supposed to be.

If you are struggling to define your vision, take it easy. The tension has never helped anyone. Start by reflecting on all the things you enjoy doing. Make a list of those things and a list of the things you dislike. Think about what makes you happy, what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. Take a close look at your emotions. This is an excellent start to building the foundations of what you want to base your life on.

If you have a vision of your life, it defines you and your actions. Knowing where you are going makes you surely get there.

Know what you want.

Do it.

Feel great about it.

Small big things

What are all the self-development blogs, books, vlogs, talks, methods used for, and why their popularity is still increasing? Why we are so crazy about the constant improvement of ourselves and everything around us? What is this holy grail of self-development? Well, in short, we want to be happy. Yeah, whatever that means. But really, what does it mean?   

If you happened to experienced a sudden feeling of fullness, maybe while sitting in a cosy armchair reading a favourite magazine and sipping steaming tea, or while having super tasty lunch with your bestie, or maybe when you’ve forgotten about the whole world while playing with your pet, you might get the point of what real happiness is.

Happiness is not created of super epic stuff like conquering the world. It’s rather like seeing the wonder in every little thing. True happiness resides in the realm of small things.

I’m sure you’ve heard about blue zones determined so by Dan Buettner. In his research, he identified the longevity „hotspots” of the world. The zones are Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece and the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. People living in these places share not only longevity but also a great sense of happiness. You must be wondering what a great secret lies behind it. Well, the trick is to live simple. People from those places share common lifestyle characteristics. Simplifying we can bring them to a sense of community, balanced diet and awareness of spirituality. Buettner breaks it down to nine following points:  

Moderate, regular physical activity

 Having a life purpose 

Controlling the level of stress 

Moderate caloric intake

Plant-based diet 

Moderate alcohol intake

Engagement in spirituality or religion

Engagement in family life and social life 

I can almost hear you thinking Is this for real? How the hell this can have such a significant impact on an overall sense of happiness? Well, the answer to this is that happiness is a very simple thing. Simple, but not easy. Like lots of things in our life which are simple, but not easy. Let me break this down for you: if you wanna lose weight you know what to do – you need the right diet and a dose of regular exercise. We can agree that this is simple. But…is it easy? We all know the answer.

Small things lead to great happiness

It seems to me that everything starts in gratitude. Happiness begins when we realize that there are so many things that we should thank the Universe.  How do I know? Because this is how I started my path to a better life. And you know what? Gratitude works, bitches.

Think, that there is somebody out there who is happy with less than you have. And think about all things you are grateful for, all the good things that happened to you, all amazing people you’ve met on your way, all chances that were given to you. And also think about all those opportunities and beautiful moments which are yet to come. Do not focus on all the material things you have, they are relevant, but not the most important. Of course, you should be grateful for them too, but turn your attention to what really matters. I’ve been getting rid of excess stuff for some time and I have to say that I feel good about it. I feel lighter. Still have many books, however those I know I won’t read again I donate to libraries. And perfumes, for which I have no excuse. But I won’t buy more. Promise.

My point is I do not own a lot of stuff. But I own lots of love for my boyfriend, my family, my pets and those few friends that I have. I own lots of joy with having a walk in the forest or with a glass of bordeaux in the evening. I own lots of passion for my favourite books, music, movies, art, poems. I own lots of satisfaction with my writing and drawing. I own lots of beautiful memories of great moments and great people. I own lots of hope and faith, and I own an incredible amount of dreams and goals that I know will be fulfilled. It’s so little and so much at the same time. 

I think having a goal is the basic driving force of everything.

To be happy you need to have a reason to get out of bed every day. This is another thing that people from the blue zone have in common – they never stop working, in a sense that they have bigger and smaller things to do. Everyday. Think about all those people, not only retirees, who lead aimless living filled at most with the waiting for the next episode of the TV series. Do you think they are happy? Well, how can you be happy being dead inside? Your goal, your mission is something personal, only you decide what it is. There’s no importance hierarchy here. For one it can be changing the world, for others creating something small but satisfying. 

We are all here for various reasons and they all are important.