5 Tips To Finding Happiness

1.) Let go of negativity.

Learn to forgive and forget. See every challenge as an opportunity for further growth. Express gratitude for what you have. Cultivate optimism for the future. And know that none of us is perfect. 

Do not worry about the little things. Train your mind to stay away from negative thoughts. If you want to be more positive, surround yourself with positive energy and people. Cultivate positive relationships with the people you know that make you feel good. And spend less time trying to please others. Instead, spend more time with your higher self.

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Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

This memoir follows a marriage in crisis and a woman's painful journey of self-discovery. It presents one of the most enlightening definitions of love and the human soul. 

Raised by her parents, Melton always felt out of place and worthless. Like many young girls, she found an escape from this dark world in bulimia. This started a cycle of binging and purging. Soon after that, Melton escapes her feelings even further. She disguises her vulnerabilities with shallowness, drinking, and emotionless sex. Being thin, attractive and a boy magnet became her new reality. All underpinned by an eating disorder, alcoholism and self-loathing. 

During this period of unacknowledged hardship, she met her future husband, Craig. She believed he encapsulated the goodness of humankind and would rescue her from her self-destructive life. The two got married when Melton fell pregnant. This would not be her first pregnancy since she aborted her first pregnancy.

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Patience

What's the number one problem I see in people who want to change their lives? A lack of patience. Meaning, they want to see changes in their life in a short period. Four weeks. Twenty-one days. Seven days. Twenty-four hours. You name it. They want change as quickly as possible. They want to feel less stressed. Be happier. Think clearer. Feel less angry. They believe that 20 or 30 years of bad habits can be overturned in some eight-week program.

But it can't. It can't be a simple fix. You can't just follow some program and get to where you want to be. You're not going to be able to control your anger in fourteen days. You're not going to rekindle your relationship with your daughter in a couple of weeks. You're not going to feel more confident by following a fourteen-day plan. It's just not going to happen.

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What is Mindfulness? My Take on It.

Like many people, I find the word 'mindfulness' rather confusing and misleading. It has nothing to do with the mind being full, yet this is how the word comes across. Different people, books and websites have different meanings of what mindfulness is. A book on psychology will define it differently to a book on religion. So, instead of trying to pick the right definition from the many out there, I've fused a few of my favourites to come up with: 'Mindfulness' means bringing your attention to the here-and-now, with openness, receptiveness and no judgement.

Let's break this definition down. Firstly, mindfulness is the conscious experience of bringing our attention to the here-and-now. To what is happening at any given moment in the present. Secondly, it is about paying attention to and not thinking about the present moment. Thirdly, there is a particular attitude that holds this awareness. One of openness, receptiveness and no judgement...

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The Connection Between Mind and Body

There is a deep connection between your emotional health and your physical health. When your emotions are high, your body feels the stress and reacts to it.

For example, think of a particularly stressful day at work. You may have spent the entire day dealing with issues and problems. Then, when you leave work, you felt exhausted, almost as if you had run a marathon. This is your body's reaction to stress.

This response can also occur when other stressful situations arise, such as:

  • Being retrenched at work
  • Starting a new job
  • The birth of a child
  • Death in the family
  • Divorce and separation
  • Caring for an elderly father
  • Boredom
  • Financial stress
  • And the list goes on ...
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Running: The Antidote to Depression

While we know that exercise can help us feel better, it’s less know how running can help people with depression. Research shows that running benefits the brain, including those parts that manage mood. It also appears to reduce symptoms of depression and helps both men and women equally. 

How is this possible?

It is not only our muscles that benefit when we run. Our brain benefits as well. Studies show that running creates new cells in an area of the brain called the hippocampus. This part of the brain is often affected by depression. Running also boosts our brain functioning, increasing its size. That’s not all.

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The Main Causes of Depression

Depression is an affective disorder through which a person experiences psychological distress. It is an acute clinical disorder that affects the brain. Depression goes beyond feeling "low" or "sad" some days, and hence it is important that we differentiate sadness from depression. The essential difference is that sadness is a natural response of emotionally-manifested pain to a painful stimulus. If the sadness is present over a period and becomes chronic, with or without an apparent cause, and is severe enough that it affects normal functioning in all areas of life, then we are dealing with depression. 

Depression is not a natural response. Instead, it is a pathology that can lead to disability. Epidemiological studies reveal that in the United States 20% of the population suffers from this disease. In South Africa, it is estimated that one in six people suffer from depression. There are 22 suicides in South Africa every day, with a  further 220 attempted suicides. With numbers like these, what causes depression?

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Of the books I read in 2016, 'When Breath Becomes Air' was probably the most impressive, and the most well written. Paul Kalanithi was a brilliant young mind who loved to study literature and science. He had to choose one discipline to stay with and ended up going with the medicine, specifically neuroscience. 

'When Breath Becomes Air' chronicles the career of Paul throughout his treatment – the discovery of the disease, the hope of a possible remission, the uncertainty about the future, the decision to become a father, the consciousness of the end, the anguish of saying goodbye to his life. He also goes on a journey to find the meaning and reality of life and death from the perspectives of a doctor and a patient. 

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