Happy and Kind People

“There are two types of people. Those who come into a room and say, ‘Well, here I am,’ and those who come in and say, ‘Ah, there you are.’”  —Frederick Collins

I’m ashamed to say it but for many years I would come home from work and walk into my home with the “well, here I am” attitude. Of course I would have never said those words but, sadly, that was the vibe. Thankfully, I have changed, and I now work hard to show kindness and warmth in greeting others.

I just returned from a spectacular 9 day trip to the Piemonte region of Italy. The landscape, the wine, the food, the people, the lifestyle — everything was simply spellbinding. This was my first time to Italy and I fell in love with this beautiful country.

When you travel to a foreign country it does have its challenges. I didn’t speak the language. It was difficult to understand the road signs and how to pay for self-service petrol. Something as simple as ordering a meal was challenging too when you don’t know Italian.(more photos from Italy below the fold) Continue Reading →

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Simple Meaningful Daily Routines

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”
―Viktor E. Frankl

happy simple livingViktor Frankl  is a renowned Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust. Although his parents and family members died, he survived three years in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Through his extreme suffering, and witnessing the suffering and resilience of other prisoners, Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy called logotherapy.

At the core of logotherapy is the premise that man’s primary motivational force is to find life meaning. Finding meaning every day is a spiritual quest and requires mindful attentiveness to what we think, say and do.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to focus on meaning every day, and our life circumstances can toss us around if we’re not grounded with present moment awareness.

Below are 10 simple, meaningful daily routines I’ve found helpful for having a better day: Continue Reading →

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Inner Peace and Wonder

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. -Albert Einstein

When I first arrived at the dumpsite outside of Manilla, Phillipines the group guide admonished us not to complain about the smell and stench of this 2,000,000 ton garbage heap, known as Smokey Mountain, the waste disposal area for Manila.  I was a part of a U.S. group who’d come to deliver some dignity, to the 30.000 dumpsite squatters.

being gratefulThe Manilla dumpsite got its name from the continuous decomposing waste and refuse fires. I don’t remember the smoke and fires as much as the encounters I had with the residents.

By the end of the one-day tour I was in tears. No living thing on this earth should be sentenced to live in this hell of undignified existence.

But that wasn’t why I cried. My emotions were sparked by the beauty I saw inside these forgotten outcasts. I saw within them a simple awe and intrigue as we walked among their shanties delivering simple goods. I expected to see a helpless survivor demeanor but instead I saw gratitude and curiosity.

No matter if you’re living in palace royalty or in abject third world poverty, within each one of us resides a sense of wonder, a spirit of intrigue for our surroundings. But we’ll miss the miracles if we don’t really pay attention to the awesomeness that is all around us.

We humans have to work at not falling into complacency. If the opposite of love is not hate but indifference. Then the opposite of awe is apathy. Continue Reading →

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21 Tips For Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking

According to most studies, people’s number one fear is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. Does that sound right? This means to the average person, if you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy. ~Jerry Seinfeld

Can you relate to Jerry Seinfeld’s famous joke about fear of public speaking?

Public speaking fear is widespread, and most people live their entire lives never conquering it.

For some the thought of speaking in public is so paralyzing they avoid the experience at all costs. However, they miss a wonderful opportunity to impact others and improve their own self confidence.

I struggled for years to overcome two gripping fears in my life. Number one is the fear of heights and secondly the fear of speaking in public. On one occasion my anxiety was so intense before a scheduled high school speech, I ran to the bathroom to vomit.

Fear of public speakingWhat was at the root of this anxiety about speaking to my classmates? I feared embarrassment and judgement because I was not confident I would deliver a great performance.

British Prime minister Winston Churchill was one of the top-rated public speakers and regarded as the most powerful orator of the twentieth century. His style is not my favorite, but one of his secrets to being a great speaker was in his relentless preparation. Churchill devoted one hour of research and rehearsal for every one minute he would speak in public. So for a 20 minute speech he would prepare 20 hours. Continue Reading →

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31 Ways To Be Happy With Yourself Instantly

how to be happyOnce I began to really pay attention to my incessant thoughts, I realized how many of my waking hours I spent beating myself down.

Instead of bringing more compassion and love into the world and to myself, I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted from my negative over-thinking. But it had become a habit, and the more I practiced over-thinking, the more ingrained the habit became.

Over-thinking, negative thought patterns, and excessive worry can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and low self-confidence. And excessive worry and negativity can lead to anxiety and depression.

Is it possible to unhook from these looping negative thoughts and be in sync with the goodness of our own being? Can we disengage and reclaim our thoughts and our emotional well-being?

Yes it is possible!

It is not only possible, but it’s essential for simple happiness.

Our well-being and happiness hinge on our ability to live in the present moment, drawing energy and joy from the deep reservoir within, as well as from our outward actions and choices.

Self-awareness is always the first step toward change. So we should regularly seek an exit ramp off the freeway of our frenzied busy-mindedness and negative thought patterns.

The best way to break the habit of negative thought patterns is simply through awareness and interruption. Once you catch yourself in a loop of over-thinking, you must do something to break the cycle. Behind interruption, you can take simple life actions in your daily life to take your mind off of negative thoughts and begin to feel happier in general.

Here are 31 simple life immediate actions you can take to interrupt your patterned thinking and feel happier: Continue Reading →

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