Working on Inner Harmony

What does it really mean…

Our happiness hugely depends on how our mind filters and interprets day to day situations and experiences.

A lot of our experiences are based on our perceptions and how we take things. And that further down comes from our inner harmony.

We feel happy because it depends on our inner harmony. Similarly, the people who are content/ satisfied in their life irrespective of their situations/ circumstances, comes hugely from their inner harmony. They tend to stay neutral across situations.

We tend to feel low on every little thing that happens to us. Rather we must choose/ learn to find joy, purpose and enjoyment, regardless of their circumstances.

To feel/ become happy, we must strive to become independent of social environment, in a way becoming less sensitive to rewards, or punishments.

Don’t exploit your inner harmony by getting influenced by either external sources/ environment or the society, as well as the inner desires/human nature.

We must thrive to find meaning in the ongoing stream of day-to-day experiences, in the process of living our lives.

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Three Timeless Skills

Some skills usually tend to run out off trend but then there are some which stays and on some you keep building upon.

I find a TEDx talk, The First 20 Hours by Josh Kaufman really insightful where he shares the power to develop a skill in mere 20 hours. I highly recommend all of you to give it a shot.

It begins with small steps and through making deliberate attempts. You see, a lot of famous personalities such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah did not gain success in just one day but through their consistency. You can watch the documentary – Inside Bill’s brain, understand how his routine looks like.

All of the personalities who went u in the ladder today achieved it because of what they know and what they have learnt. They dedicate themselves more of their time on learning most valuable skills.

Here are some skills for you-

  • Learning
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  1. Learning
    Most of us do not recognise learning as a skill, but the fact is that it is the most valuable skill. Learning is one of our most important processes involved in our functioning on a daily basis.
    Learning equips you to grow in manifolds, whether it is about learning to play an instrument/ vehicle or anything.
    Learning will increase your motivation, make you more adaptable, relatable and help you to do your job better. You can make use of resources such as Learning to Learn on Coursera, or through techniques such as 30-Second Habit or a book – How We Learn.
  2. Writing
    Writing is a great way to express our deepest emotions. It opens our flood gates of expression and acts as a powerful method of communication.
    Write publicly, it gives you a chance to write better get feedback from others and improve constantly.
    You may create blogs and publish it on WordPress or other other blogs.
    You need not write lengthy ones but spend 30-40 minutes on it. It will help you to arrange your thoughts better, gain clarity on who you are and what you want.
  3. Speaking
    Most of us are often hesitant to speak for ourselves because of shyness or less confidence. Once you open yourself up ad put yourself out there, you will feel better with every attempt. Stop taking criticism too seriously. Picture yourself as a personality whose speeches or talk you love.
    Seek opportunities to speak publicly. You can begin with people with you are comfortable with. Talk about something you are passionate about. kick off the nervousness slowly. Loosen your grip there. You may attend Toastmasters events, or talk at your workplace.

“Find your way, become a learner again.”

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3 ways to cope with Stress

A thing that you must be looking for each day is – How should I calm down?

Some of you would look out of the window while sipping your morning coffee, listening to your favourite song, or smoking a cigarette, depending upon your comforts.

Some of the ways could healthy such as taking a walk and others harmful, such as smoking a cigarette and I will not go on talking about them.

Here are some sources to draw from, which you may use.

  • External support, such as your social networks, friends, family, animals.
  • Psychological support, thoughts, intelligence, personality factors
  • Physiological support, such as breathing, movements, stretching.

Coping strategies makes a huge difference. People’s respond to stress in two ways, i.e. positive response and negative response. And perhaps, there is nothing better than to transform the adversity into an enjoyable challenge. For those who can, are self assured which is different from being self centred. Training yourself to become one is a great step for anyone.

Becoming aware about about the environment helps to look at new possibilities and responses.

You can either begin by either trying to remove the obstacles or by focusing on the entire situation and asking yourself the applicability of the alternatives.

Developing an autotelic self which involves, setting goals- monitoring feedback, by becoming immersed in it, paying attention to surroundings/ practising here and now, and enjoying the experiences of the moment.

 “ Today I refuse to stress myself out about things I cannot control or change.”

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Stay in flow

Staying is flow is not easy all the time, especially when there is too much information in your head, focusing on the external sources, or self conscious. Each by itself is insufficient.

You must have heard some people constantly complaining about constantly unable or incapable to experience flow.

But, what they fail to understand is less they require external stimuli to represent to their consciousness, could be events or anything, would make them more autonomous from the environment.

It on the contrary creates independence as compared to those who heavily rely on too many external stimulus. It allows you to have flexible attention.

Doesn’t it make you wonder how does one achieve it?

Learning can help you compensate and fall in place. And the only pre-requisite to it to become less self conscious as it acts as a motivation to not get disturbed by external events.

Here are some ways to stay in flow

Body
You must be aware that each one of us have hidden potential within. That is how one excel in their bodily art and some become great athletes or dancers. It is a delight, and anyone can develop sufficient skills to find it.

Mind
A place that allows us to have the most exhilarating experiences, is generated inside the mind. The most natural state of mind is chaos. Without training it adequately, no one can focus longer than just a few minutes. And, as often as we leave it to do nothing, it forms patterns, such as grudges, frustrations or things which aren’t so relevant. The reason why meditation acts as a way to gain control over mental processes.

Memory
The oldest skill. It gives us the luxury to relive the experiences we once lived, or to brings things in order in our conscious. The better you are able to use it skillfully, more easy it gets to find meaning in the content of mind.

Communication
One of the way to enhance your life is through improving the quality of experience. It gives your mind a disciplined means of expression. Writing could be one of the ways and self communication brings things in order.

Job
Your job provides you an opportunity to stay in flow. Looking at it as a way to have challenges, learning and growth. Of course there are certain days when the marketplace makes it sound like a burden from external source. But one can have momentary experience of joy.

“If you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.” 
― Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

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How do you entitle yourself?

Were you ever asked to cultivate it?

Perhaps, most of you would say no, because most of the interactions have revolved around negative connotations. You would have feared it so much so that at some point made you fearful.

Give it a chance, once again and recreate it. In a way that begin believing that you are allowed to be here, and just by believing that – you are allowed to have your own version, vision and voice.

A way which is devoid of the restricted negative self absorption, that what is free from self doubt, self hatred, self disgust, self judgement, or a sense of grandeur, considering oneself as the greatest.

It is lot to do with how you define yourself. Begins when you stand and say whatever it is that is away from obediently responding to what others have to say about you; that you are stupid or you suck.

Stand up and be what you are.
I am a scientist.
I am a painter.
I am a _______, and I am a _______ and would be ________ as well!
I am figuring out what I am, but I am confident and curious enough to find it!

Say it for yourself, let anyone in the universe know who you are – an announcement to yourself and others. Helps you to rise and reclaim your potential.

Begin having a conversation yourself with anyone and feel entitled to say that in a conversation.

Practise it as much, anytime and anywhere. Only when you stay persistent, you would be able to observe its impact.

Keep yourself constantly reminding, re-reminding yourself and creating irrespective of the anxieties, outcome or insecurities that you might have.

Calmly, yet firmly, even to the darkest voice within you.

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Talking about grief

When was the last time you grieved?

Taking time to remember, because it was longer than you expected. I empathise with you on this knowing the fact that it is not easy.

You tend to hold on strong so much and for so long that you forget that it still lives within your core.

The fear of death percolates beneath the surface and often haunts you. And denial is how you cope with it.

Death is a visitor in the course of lives. Some of it is visible in physicality, such as death of a dear one, pregnancy loss or a animal. While, the other stays invisible but hurts equally, such as loss of a relationship or friendship.

Let me make you look at the other side, the good reasons you should confront death.

It is helpful for you to explore into the course and meaning of one’s own life, given the fact that the life and death are interdependent. Then why to possibly ignore it?

It helps you to learn to live well and learn to die well equally.

Gives you a scope to know your own emotions and thoughts about death.

Makes you look at everyday from a different lens. This reminds me of Steve Jobs quote – “If you live each day as if it were your last, someday you’ll be right. Every morning I looked in the mirror and asked myself: If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I do today? ”

And lastly, gives you a chance to rivet your attention upon ‘being’ itself. It is a powerful experience.

Once you delve into those realms of existence; you have a good chance to come back to the stream of life and live it.

Here is one of my favourite read – Tolstoy’s story “The Death of Ivan Ilyich.”

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Stuck with the negatives?

You must be knowing that the more you repeat, the better it gets in your system and remember it for a long duration. Similarly, when you focus on the negative aspect or a thought for too long, you are rehearsing it into your system.

Studies have shown, that when you focus on the negatives for long, even when you are shown the positive aspects. You tend to feel low because you have focused on the negatives for too long.

For instance – when you get a job, you are likely to feel happy and return back to your normal state. But, if you get rejected, you are likely to feel low for a prolonged period of time and even if you happen to get a job after that rejection, the level of happiness is likely to be a little less.

Now what happens here…

Look at the two frames – the gain frame and the loss frame, using the example of a glass half full and half empty. The half full glass i.e. the gain frame is likely to make us feel happy and satisfied. While on the contrary, half empty glass i.e. loss frame is likely to make you feel gloomy and low.

Now what to do about it, rehearse on the good parts which would boost you and prevent you from drowning in the pool of miseries. What about a switch from thinking about it one way to thinking about it the other way?

It is pretty easy to tilt towards the negatives because it is so rehearsed in your system. For instance – if you get criticized by a co-worker, you will focus on it all your day and make your day clouded by those thoughts – Am I not god enough? He/she are the worst people… or the world sucks.

Try beginning that shift of you day to – what are the other things happened today? What are the things that made you feel grateful for? How can you make your evening better?

The matter is about shifting your rehearsal pattern. Focusing on the things beyond a negative pattern.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” –Aldous Huxley

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Catch Up with your Emotions

Emotions are a part of your daily functioning. They are present in each and everyone. They guide and help you to make your decisions.

Just like how you respond when some- How are you feeling today? or How do you feel when so and so incidence happened?

Over the past few years, you must have observed yourself more connected with your phone and less with yourself.

Here is what you can know about emotion management. You can make use of this when you are hit by your emotions.

  • How to handle it
  • Your go-to strategy
  • Triggering thoughts followed by a criticism

There are some important points to observe when you are in overwhelming situations. As you must be aware that once you lose track of yourself, you tend feel low and worse.

Emotion management is a topic which is like – read more and apply more and more. Train yourself. Know your high points and your low points. Find what helps you and what doesn’t. Your struggles are not same as others and so is your personality, or who you are.

Pay-attention to how you talk to yourself
So what precedes your emotion, it is your cognition. Self-talk plays a key role in how you are feeling about yourself. Imagine yourself telling this to yourself- “I suck at doing work.” vs. “I am best at getting this task done.” Do you feel the difference, yes? That is what I am talking about.

Emotional vocabulary – it needs to be worked upon
It is not good to write or keep using better words which exactly resonate with us. Using good/bad is just too old. Think about how over the years you have improved your vocabulary on writing your emails or a cover letter. Improving, expanding and refining your emotion vocabulary helps you find in a great way. You can use emotion wheel available online.

Mindfulness
I keep talking about it in most of my posts. It is so important. The more you feel and observe your self, the better you will become at regulating your emotions. Begin with breathing and paying attention to yourself keeping all the other things aside when you feel overwhelmed.

“Accept who you are; and revel in it.”― Mitch Albom

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Begin with Attention Management

You must have heard the term “pay attention” since childhood on different instances. Ever wondered – why are you so distracted? So much so that you find it hard to get yourself to focus on the work.

Often, you must have read on topics such as productivity, getting goals accomplished but often missed the essence which lies in attention management.

Attention management is a simple practice of having control over your distractions in the present, and maximising your flow to focus on your potential.

Attention is integral part of personal growth as it has a lot to determine your experiences both inside and outside your home. It helps in a great way to get you closer to accomplishing what you want for yourself. As simple as, preparing your favourite dish, requires your attention.

Attention is like muscles in your body, using them in the right way is important. It puts you in track of your time.

Practising attention consistently is a good way to work around it. As it gets you in a practised routine and get you consistent results.

While looking at the consistency, progressing in it also creates an impact. Notice the time span you are investing in maintaining your attention. No hard and fast rule. You can increase it gradually over a period of time or maintain a fixed one; whatever works for you.

When you lose your attention, noticing that very moment where you lost it, when you lost it, how you lost it, in itself helps you. Noticing and correcting your focus, can be a simple mindfulness technique which can be applied in this case.

Taking control of your attention is the beginning step which can help you to manage your attention in a long run. Take control of your life.

If you wish to read more on it, you can read Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence, psychologist Daniel Goleman. He delves into the science of attention.

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Ask Yourself These Questions Every Month.

Looking to this day, the last month of 2019 has begun. And there is nothing more effective than asking oneself effective questions. Sitting and planning about the upcoming month sometimes help, if not always.

Every month is like a new beginning and almost feels like a tabula-rasa. There is a lot you can achieve by just setting some small goals and habits for oneself, just like your own monthly bucket list.

Here are some questions from my list which can help you to uncover and reflect on how you would like your last month of the year to be.

How would I like to feel during this month?
Simple question can help you to bring in a great check on your feelings and help you uncover how you want to feel. It will help you to prioritise on the things or aspects of your life and of course on the parts that will get you closer to how you would like to feel.

Where would I like to be by the end of this month?
It does not have to be revolving around achievements always. You can of other aspects such as your personal growth, a business idea you have been working upon, the actions you would like to take for your life or just a small get away to give yourself a break.

What would make this month accomplishing for me?
It really depends on what makes you feel more satisfied in life. It is important that you do not involve in self doubt but instead look at the things you would like to accomplish for yourself, even if is learning how to drive, or a musical instrument. Anything that makes you feel happy and satisfied in life.

What advice I would like to give myself for this month?
Many of us actively involve in giving others advice. Why give ourselves a backseat then? This is a new practice I started this year and believe me it helps me. All of us have a good share of experiences and on the days we feel low, words help. My last month advice to myself was – “I will give myself a chance to rise today.” Find what helps you.

What is my budget for this month?
Give yourself a set plan and manage in that amount. At the end of the day, we should all save for the days when we just want a break for ourselves. And as grown ups we should sustain independently. I usually take out a monthly expenditure and deposit the rest of my savings.

I hope this helps you in some way. Go, give it a try!

After all, change in itself is process driven.