My new blog

April 3, 2007

I have a new blog up, called Healthy Stuff, about exercise, diet and health.

I think that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is incredibly important for being happy and successful. Infact, if you want to be either of those, I would advise you to first take care of your health, as much as you can, and be as fit as possible.

I’m haven’t yet achieved a perfect level of fitness, but I do a lot of research on being healthy, and I implement most of the advice (instead of just nodding my head and then forgetting about it).

For now, I’m keeping it as a seperate blog, since it might not be of interest to the readers of this blog, and vice versa.


Tips for managing your anger

March 28, 2007

yoga-for-sale.jpgI used to have a terrible temper, something that I suppose is part and parcel of being an only child. Since I could get away with just about anything, I got away very easily with my temper tantrums. And the funny thing was, I was an incredibly shy kid, and hardly ever got angry with anyone outside of my family.

To some extent, things got a lot worse when I started dating someone who was always angry at me. That made me believe that it was justifiable to be rude and hurtful to other people, instead of immediately cutting the jerk out of my life.

But now, when I look at someone whom I’m angry with, I understand completely how much I hurt them by expressing my anger. And how often, my anger is misplaced or unjustified.

Anger management is not really something I struggle with anymore, but it’s something that I seemed to have thought a lot about. Here are a few of my thoughts.

  1. Meditate or do yoga. The first step to controlling anger is not feel angry. If you’re relaxed within, and feel more broadminded and open about the universe, you are less likely to be angry. Angry people are not always the ones yelling and screaming. Often, they are quiet, frustrated, or constantly grumpy and irritable. If you’re one of those people, it’s likely that your anger might be from a built-up source, and not from a single event. Try to work out any long-standing frustrations that you might have, and you’ll have a happier and less angry time.
  2. Forgive. I find it difficult to get angry with most people. That’s because I tend to forgive people very easily. Sometimes the forgiveness comes easily to me, because of my philosophy that we usually don’t have the right to judge others. At other times, it’s because I can put myself in the other person’s shoes too easily. I have a whole lot of faults, so it’s only natural that other people will, too. I can’t (and you shouldn’t) forgive someone too easily for something major, but for small things, try to remember that other people are only human. They might’ve forgotten, not understood, or been in a hurry. Most people don’t mean to harm you. There must’ve been some other force that made them act that way.
  3. Understand that expressing anger is bad. During a trial, Norman Mailer claimed that he was justified in beating his wife because if he had kept his anger pent up, he would have gotten cancer. Hmm. No really, expressing your anger in a hurtful manner does not help. “Letting go” really does hurt other people. A lot.
  4. Expressing anger usually just makes you angrier. This one comes from experience: mine and other people’s. Think about it. The last time that you yelled at someone, did you really feel better afterwards? Or did you just feel guilty and angry with your own self, or just angrier in general?

Those were some general, long-term tips. But for immediate action in controlling your rage, here are some pointers:

  1. Count to 10. I don’t really know if this will work for you, but try it.
  2. Don’t talk. Don’t immediately respond. If you do, you’ll tend to say something that you’ll regret later.
  3. Excuse yourself. Try to leave a conversation if it really makes you angry. If needed, go to the restroom and wash your face, or reapply your makeup. Fake a call on your cell phone.
  4. Don’t brood about it. Distance yourself from whatever event made you angry. If you think about it, you’ll slip into a horrible downwards cycle of anger. Distract yourself by thinking about something funny or something that you’re looking forward to. Think about something that you’re grateful for. And then try to get back to your work or daily chores. If you must think about it, do so a lot later, when your initial rush of blood to the head has died down.
  5. Postpone it. If you want to talk to someone about something that made you angry, postpone it. Let yourself calm down a bit, so that you can express yourself clearly without blaming the other person unnecessarily.
  6. Exercise. Have a strenuous workout, which will have you exhausted and thinking only of water and cold showers. Exercise releases endorphins, which makes you feel happy, not angry. It also does a very good job of distracting you, and minimizing the importance of whatever was making you angry.

And finally, when talking about something that made you angry:

  1. Don’t use absolutes. “You never do…”, “you always…” are out. Focus on this one time that it happened (and if you can, remind youself of the other times that he/she did it right).
  2. Don’t call the other person names.
  3. Start off positively. Try complimenting the person on what you like about them, and what they did right, and how pleased you are with them. Then mention what’s wrong.

If you’re struggling with controlling your temper, I hope the tips help. Personally, I found yoga/meditation, combined with not brooding, to be the most helpful strategies of keeping anger at bay.

Finally, I’d like to add that a lot of people think that supressing anger is unhealthy, or that trying to not feel anger is not right. For people with serious problems, these things might be an issue.

But most people can just feel better by being calm and at peace with themselves and the world, and not allowing their anger to hurt the people they love.

Picture: “Yoga for sale” by mandydale.


18 non-monetary things you can do to be happy

December 8, 2006

“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like a violin” — John Lubbock

These days, studies are published on ways to become happier. However, it’s important to remember that happiness is a journey, not a destination. And while I might list 18 non-monetary ways to be happy, I’m sure there are a lot, lot more.

  1. Be with loved ones.
    Research shows that happy people spend very little time alone. Instead, they surround themselves with friends and family, and find joy in sharing their lives with others.
  2. Marry someone you love and respect
    Advice from Socrates: “By all means marry: if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher”.
  3. Smile a lot
    Acting the part often leads to feeling the part. Besides, it’ll make you look a lot better, and might even make someone else happy.
  4. Laugh a lot
    Not only is it good for your heart, but also for you and the people near you.
  5. Be honest — except for a few white lies
    Honesty is the best policy, and saves a lot of heartache down the road. Of course, the road to honesty is to become a person of exceptional integrity, which while difficult, is possible. But remember to tell your next-door neighbor that she looks like she lost some weight…
  6. Spend less than you earn, and plan for your retirement
    No matter how little you’re earning, and how badly you want to buy those expensive shoes (apply whatever seems to pull you the most) don’t splurge on them if your bank manager isn’t too pleased with you.
  7. Give as much as you can
    Children in orphanages often write to Santa: “I don’t really want anything, but my sister needs a coat because it’s so cold”. Give to those with less than you, both in terms of time and money. Few other actions are as rewarding.
  8. Lead a sensual life
    Surround yourself with pleasant smells: nice perfume, beautiful flowers, baking cookies. Keep a nice painting or photo on your wall. Buy flowers. Eat spicy food.
  9. Get rid of clutter
    Clean your wardrobe, your desk, your kitchen. Don’t let things that don’t help pile up.
  10. Donate things that you don’t use
    Whether they’re books that you don’t read, clothes that you don’t wear, or gifts that you’ll never use: give them to someone who’ll appreciate them.
  11. Be healthy
    Eat healthy, avoid junk food and excess alcohol, exercise regularly, and make sure you go for your yearly check-ups.
  12. Remember that you’re healthy
    An interesting study shows that happiness is not directly correlated to being healthy. Many healthy people take their health for granted. Whereas some sickly people appreciate the few healthy days that they enjoy. Hypochondriacs are the most miserable.
  13. Be grateful
    Gratitude is essential to happiness. Psychiatrists have found that talking and writing about what they’re grateful for amplifies adults’ happiness. Learning to savor the small pleasures has the same effect.
  14. Spend some time reflecting on life
    Meditate, keep a journal, or do both. They will give you perspective and structure to your life.
  15. Set your own standards
    Forget the Jones. Establish goals for yourself, based on what you think is reasonable. You’ll be happier when you achieve those, than what the Jones’ have.
  16. Find activities that you love
    Try to spend most of your time doing work or activities which make time flow faster. The happiest people are usually busy with things that they love to do, whether it’s cooking, starting a new business, or being with a child.
  17. Construct routines, but remember that surprises often lead to greater happiness
    Life is too full of uncertainties to be controlled. Yet those experiences which we don’t plan for, often lead to greater growth and fulfillment.
  18. Stretch yourself mentally.
    Learning leads to a satisfaction much greater than any impulse purchase.

And finally, for ways to buy yourself some happiness, check out this post


Happiness and Health

September 13, 2006

I have decided that my previous post regarding happiness barely scratched the surface of the topic. So, I’ve decided to do a series of post on the relationship between happiness, and certain things…

This is the first post of that series. Happiness and physical health.

The funny thing about health is that most of us don’t appreciate it till it’s taken away from us.

For anyone trying to improve their lives, the first aspect that they should attack is their health. Physically healthy people tend to be happier. An improvement in the state of your health has many benefits, including greater mental clarity, greater focus and greater energy, which can then be used to improve other areas of your life.

So how can you go about trying to improve your health?

The first step is to recognize that you want to be healthy, and to set that as an intention. Most people don’t pay attention to how they feel physically, until they feel distress. The first step is to actively try to improve the way you feel physically. This will include trying to learn methods of improving your health, as well as avoiding unhealthy things and seeking out healthy activities.

I would consider exercise to be the most healthy activity. Even if you don’t eat well, the benefits of exercise counter that to a large extent. (I speak from personal experience!)
Exercise doesn’t have to be unpleasant or strenuous, or even very long. Choose an activity you enjoy: take lessons in yoga, go swimming, take a hike and explore the countryside. An easy way is to pick a group activity that focuses more on the fun, than on the movements you’re doing, which is why dancing is so great. Once you’ve gotten used to an increase in your activeness, start working out with weights, which in my opinion, offer the greatest health benefits. Stretching activities like yoga and pilates have amazing after-effects in terms of the relaxation that you feel. A former yoga skeptic, I always tell people that there is no possible way to describe the amazing feeling after a yoga session.

It’s important to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to ill health, as does too much sleep. Try to establish a sleep routine, and to sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable place. Don’t drink caffeine too near your bed-time.

Speaking of caffeine, the benefits of that are still controversial. One to three cups of tea or coffee are supposed to be beneficial, but I’m still undecided about this. Personally, I’ve developed a slight caffeine addiction, so I don’t think I can deal with this aspect too well. However, I am a firm believer in the beneficial effects of tea and green tea.

Too much alcohol is unhealthy. As is too much food.

Be careful about what you eat. Try to opt for natural foods, of the organic and free range varieties. Avoid sugary, starchy and processed foods.

Get regular check-ups.

Experiment. Listen to people’s experiences, and try out new things. You never know what might work for you. Personally, I am very impressed by the reported health effects of going vegan, and am dying to try it.

Cheat occasionally. Don’t live your life too bound by the rules of trying to be healthy, or you’ll suffocate. Go drinking with friends, sleep in on a weekend, eat a few french fries.

Finally, eat chocolate. Chocolate rules. ’nuff said.


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