International Day Of Happiness – 5 things I’m happy about

It’s the International Day Of Happiness!

Happiness can be felt in so many ways and for so many different reasons.

I am someone who tries to find happiness in every day activities and events.

Here are 5 other things that I am happy about today:

  • I have a job interview tomorrow – am I going to use this news as an excuse to shop for new work clothes? I sure am!
  • I bought some Nescafe Mocha-flavoured coffee sachets on the weekend and with the cool change in weather my morning coffee was absolutely delicious.
  • I bought my very first laptop over the weekend – a MacBook Air. I have never owned a laptop so this will be a whole new experience for me. Very excited to do more regular blogging once it’s delivered sometime this week.
  • Among my healthier grocery items which I purchased this morning, I also bought a jar of Nutella and a pack of bagels.
  • I have just finalised some plans with my cousin who will be visiting this Easter long weekend with her husband. We are very close but do not get to see eachother much, so I am very excited to see her!

Happiness can be found in events which are both big or small. It’s all about celebrating life’s many achievements and giving ourselves a pat on the back when things are going our way.

Here’s to a happy day for you all and to many moments of happiness in years to come!

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Life Advice – you are not ‘running behind’ on life

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It seems simple enough: we grow up being told we need to stick to a certain plan which was mapped out for us by our parents. We go to school, get a job and eventually some of us go to university. And then we follow a plan which we think  was mapped by ourselves, when we are actually looking to our friends/people around the same age of us for comparison that we are doing well on our journeys.

In recent times I have found that I have been looking around at other people’s lives a lot and, in turn, comparing what I am doing to what others are doing.

My achievements and strengths seemed to diminish while comparing myself to others. I realized that while a lot of my friends have moved out of home and bought their own homes this past year, I am still at home with my family.

Isn’t it funny how comparing ourselves to others can sometimes bring out our most negative side?

After some thinking about my life and whether I am happy with things the way they are at the moment, I came to this conclusion: just because people around you are moving forward, it does not mean that you have to as well. It is perfectly okay to be comfortable with the life you have, especially if you are happy with your current situation.

Living on my own is definitely a goal I have set for myself for the coming year. It is a goal I have set primarily for my own benefit and not because I want to be like my friends. (Although, seeing some of my friends new homes has definitely given me inspiration for my future home!)

It is important to make your life decisions based on what YOU want and need. Comparing yourself to friends is sometimes not realistic to what you are able to achieve.

Take a moment and write down your goals for the next 5 years. Some may be big goals and some may be small. Next, write down what you will need to do in order to achieve those goals. For example; you may need to save more money, or get a second job, look into taking some kind of course, or do research online…there are many steps to be taken in order to achieve your goals.

Just because you are not doing what everyone else is doing, it doesn’t mean you are behind on life. There is no set guideline for how we should live our lives throughout our twenties. Things go wrong, plans fall through and I guarantee that we do not usually end up in the same place we started by the time we turn thirty.

It’s scary and it’s hard, but if you stay true to yourself and to your goals and ambitions, your life will work itself out eventually. Who knows, your friends may be looking at you and wishing they had your life!

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Life Advice – having empathy

Having and expressing empathy towards others can be difficult for some people. Sometimes you probably use empathy in every day life and don’t even realise you are doing it.

The ability to forget your own views and opinions on a person or situation and see the world through another’s eyes for a short time can be tough. Especially if you are seeing through the eyes of someone who may have hurt or upset you directly.

Being present, focused and open is an important part of empathy. Putting yourself in the shoes of another and trying to understand why they think or feel the way they do can be difficult, but once you master it, it can change the way people see you as a communicator and confidant.

Having empathy for others is a life skill which should be taught to children from a young age. For children to think of how others’ may think or feel in certain moments can help them become caring adults who are able to look at life’s challenges in a much more compassionate way.

Using words like “I understand how you must feel…” when responding in times where anyone confides in you helps that person to trust that you are listening to them and that what they are saying is important to you. Repeating certain facts back and trying to relate their story to your own experiences can also help – not by making the conversation about you, but by showing that you understand the situation which that person may be in.

Personally, I have found empathy as a great tool in understanding why people in my life may have chosen to take certain paths or say certain things. I also think it has made me more compassionate towards the stories of strangers and celebrities who have made mistakes for the world to see and helps me see them as human instead of ‘celebrity’.

In the end, treating others the way you would want to be treated is incredibly true. Use respect and compassion when helping others and try to place yourself in their shoes.

Knowing that others are making an effort to understand us and rather than judge us without waiting is something we all deserve and would appreciate.

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Life Advice – stay present

It’s so hard not to dwell on the past or worry about the future.

Staying true and present within ourselves and living with what each day gives us can be hard, but I have recently found that living this way helps keep my anxiety at bay.

We cannot change what has happened in the past, we can only learn from our mistakes and remember the moments that made us feel truly alive and carry those lessons with us throughout daily life.

Be open to change, welcome challenges and take a moment each day to remember your goals for yourself. Be there for your loved ones but also recognize when things are weighing you down and take a step back if need be.

Who we are makes a difference and sometimes it may seem like the whole world is against us. Hold your head high, take a deep breath and move forward, for what is still to come, we do not know and that is incredibly exciting.

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Life Advice – when it’s time to move on

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It is important to know when some things just aren’t worth fighting for anymore.

Whether it is a relationship, friendship or job, there comes a time when you just can’t do it anymore. And that is perfectly okay. Not all relationships last a lifetime. Actually, it’s healthy to move on and start new chapters sometimes.

So, you’ve made the observation that things just aren’t working the way they should. The difficult part of it all is when is it time to move on?

  • You Feel Undervalued

When you are consistently looked over for your abilities – whether they be as a partner/friend/employee – and you feel you are given more negative feedback than positive. Know your worth and know you are worth more than what you are currently being given.

  • It’s Not Exciting Anymore

Again, whatever situation you are in, it should be constantly changing, evolving and exciting for you to be part of. When things start to get stale and there doesn’t seem to be a way to spice things up, it’s time to look at what other options are out there.

  • You Have Been Disrespected

To truly love and get along with people and to work in a healthy environment, there must be certain levels of respect places and adhered to each day. There are different levels of respect for a romantic relationship than there may be in a professional relationship, but in the end, we all are taught how to treat human beings from the time we are taught to share our toys as babies. Know your level of respect and know you deserve to be treated with kindness and fairness. If someone is not living up to those standards, it’s time to first voice your opinion to them and then move on if things do not change.

  • You Have Tried Talking But They Just Don’t Want To Listen

Any relationship needs good communication skills. That means speaking what is on your mind when you feel the need to and to also listen when being spoke to. Having empathy for another person’s situation is also important to understand where they may be coming from with their explanation, and how you may be able to help them in making your relationship stronger. When people don’t communicate, it creates a negative effect. This is especially true within the workplace.

  • It’s Just Time To Go

Sometimes you just know it isn’t working anymore. Making change is hard, but knowing within your heart that you have made the right decision makes things much easier. Take time to go over your options and if you are most happy with a decision that includes starting over, then know you have made the right decision.

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Life Advice – how change can be positive

I have always called myself the Pollyanna of my workplace.

With a positive, optimistic outlook on life, I have always managed to take a negative situation and spin it into a somewhat positive situation. It’s something I take pride in – the ability to see the bigger picture over the here and now.

However, in recent weeks after deciding to take a voluntary redundancy from my job – which currently will leave me unemployed within a month – trying to remain positive and optimistic has been hard.

Change can be a wonderful thing if you are able to look at it as a good thing. Most endings bring new beginnings, and while I couldn’t see it for a while, I know my job ending leaves me open to a new chapter. Not just a new professional chapter, but a new chapter in life if that is what I want.

It can be so easy to fall into a negative slump. Trust me when I say that I have been there many times and it is hard to hold my head high and look further down the road to where things may get better.

Important things I try to ask myself during times of important life changes are:

  • “How do you feel now the decision has been made?” 

I was once told that the feeling of relief after making a very difficult decision is a sign that it was the right one. My recent decision to take redundancy was a hard one, but once things were finalized and the weight was lifted off my shoulders, I felt a huge wave of relief. Trust those feelings.

  • “Think of life this time 6 months ago – how much has changed in such a short amount of time? How can life change again in another 6 months or even a year?”

Looking into the future is something I try not to do too often as it can cause stress and worrying about things that probably will never happen. However, in times of change I like to think of how much positive change can occur in such a short space of time. It happens every day and sometimes we do not take enough time to appreciate just how far we have come and what barriers we have broken in order to get to the place we are right now. Keep your thoughts positive and perspective optimistic.

  • “Am I open to the world and whatever positive changes are about to come my way or am I shutting myself off, blocking any possible change that may be trying to make its way through to me?”

I am a big believer in being in-tune with the world around us. If we shut ourselves away and let negativity take over our minds and bodies, how do we expect those around us to help us? Not just friends and family, but everybody. We are all connected by energy and we all are drawn to certain people because of the energy they radiate. If we want good things to happen, we need to be open to it. Sometimes things we think are too far out of our reach just need to know you truly want them before they make themselves known.

  • “Who in my life can help me through times of negativity?”

Staying positive through times of change can get hard. Some days are harder than others. It is important to have people surrounding us who we can count on for support and confiding. Whether that is a parent, friend, work college or counselor, it is important to offload and receive validation that our thoughts and feelings are understood. There are even telephone hotlines you may wish to call who offer free counselling support 24/7 if things get to be too much.

  • “How can I help guide myself through times of negativity affected by change?”

Because we have to live with ourselves all day, every day. And if we can recognise that things aren’t so great at the moment, it is important for us to also recognise ways that we may be able to make things better. Whether it is treating yourself to a pedicure, or watching your favourite movie, or going for a walk in the sunshine while your favourite song plays on your ipod…there are endless things you can do to make yourself feel better.

Take a moment to focus on your breathing techniques. There are some amazing apps which assist in regulating breathing during times of stress. Sometimes 5 minutes a day of focused breathing can make a world of difference.

Wise words from my favourite lady, Miss Swift.

Change can be incredibly scary but you never have to go through it alone. Try to see the bigger picture and remain as positive as possible. If things get too much, it is also OK to let things out and if you need to cry or get angry or eat a pint of ice cream to feel somewhat better – I recommend it!

Lastly, if you are experiencing some kind of uncertain change at the moment, I hope things go well for you soon. Life is interesting in the way good things happen to people and sometimes you need to experience low moments before you can soar back into those incredible heights.

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