Category: GOOD TO KNOW

How to eat healthier? (product alternatives)

There are many ways, how we can interpret the phrase “healthier lifestyle”, for me it is not only about healthy eating and being fit, I would include a lot of aspects of this term – eating balanced, healthy foods in right amounts for each single individual, exercise daily by doing physical activities that YOU enjoy, having balanced working hours vs. free time, having pleasant social life – having time for people who inspires you, understands you, supports you, are positive etc., and vice versa. Time for your loved one and family. Time for your hobbies and things you love to do. Time for self-development and simply time for yourself.

The starting point to switch to a healthier lifestyle starts in your mind. I could tell you to eat that and this in that amounts, by having that nutritional values, do certain exercises, but I am not going to do so. First of all, I am not nutritionist (I have done a lot of research, talked to people, tried several things, etc., in the last 6 years, but I don’t have a degree in science of nutrition), second of which, each single individual has their own body, structure of it and way it works, their own personal needs. I can and will give you some guidelines which work for me, in that way you will have some idea how and where to start and in the process, you will be able to figure out your own personal “right” way how to do the best for your body and mind.

Start with your mind. You have to have the right mindset for this. It is not one of the fast diets, it is a lifestyle. Write down the reasons why you want to do this. It should be about you – your health, wanting to feel the best you can, to have a lot of energy, to look good because it makes you even happier. Like this, you will live life with your best capability, in this way you will be able to fulfill the reason why you are in this world and help others. Healthy mind, body, and spirit. Write down the eating habits that you have now and those which you would want to have. Write a plan for how you can achieve your goal. Set also a deadline for smaller goals, every week write a check-up list. Start with baby steps. Probably it won’t be as fast as you would wish, but like I mentioned before, it is a lifestyle and if you want to make it sustainable, better is to make it slower but right.

Healthy eating is the right choice of a balanced variety of foods in right amounts. To have healthy, well-functioned body, you need to take in all necessary nutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, minerals). Food is creating energy (right products provide the right energy exchange), which you are able to use by doing things you love and need to do.

In this article, I will write some tips on how to change some products for better, healthier alternatives. Before you dig into this, I will let you know, that I am for plant-based diet, so all healthy or healthier alternatives I will mention, will be vegan, I hope you will find this useful even if you are not vegan, there are a lot of goodies out there nowadays which are worth to try.

Healthy and healthier vegan alternatives:

Processed food – whole foods (vegetables, fruits, greens, legumes, grains, nuts, seeds)

Wheat and white flour products – buckwheat, brown/wild rice, oats, quinoa, whole wheat flour/ pasta/ bread

Soda/sugary drinks – water

Coffee – green tea

Processed juice – freshly squeezed juice; smoothies; fruit/berry/veggie water

Snacks – nuts

Salty snacks – vegetables (baby carrots, cucumber, radish, and any others you like); self-made* popcorn with added spices (possibly without salt), spicy Turkish peas, veggie chips, wholewheat snacks, etc.

Candies, cookies – fruit, dried fruit (grapes and dried fruits like pitted dates, fugues, raisins are very sweet); self-made* popcorn with added maple syrup; self – made sweets (vegan chocolate truffles – take pitted dates, nuts, seeds, cocoa powder, chocolate, water, blend it in high power food processor, make balls, roll them in cocoa or coconut shreds, put in freezer for 10-20 min and voila! Bon appétit!)

Deserts – self-made* desserts (one of easiest – avocado/banana/a bit of plant-based milk/ grounded flaxseeds/chia seeds/ a bit of lemon juice/ cacao/ maple or agave syrup – blend it all together and put some berries, nuts or shredded coconut flakes on top)

Cakes – self-made* cakes

Potato chips – vegetable chips (my favorite are beetroot-carrot or kale chips, they are healthier than potato chips, but still they are processed, high in oil and salt, this should be a treat every now and than, not an everyday choice. The best would be if you would make them yourself, I just don’t have the patience for it.

Potatoes – grains (brown/wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat)

Mashed potatoes – mashed cauliflower

French fries – baked sweet potato sticks

Ketchup – self-made* tomato paste/ ketchup

Oil  –  water, vegetable broth (for coking – plant-based milk, applesauce, water)

*All self-made can be optional, if you don’t like cooking, there are vegan restaurants, grocery shops, and bakeries where you can buy healthy meals, snacks, desserts, cakes, etc. Make sure to check ingredients and ask how it was made if you care a lot about what you are putting into your body.

Vegan alternatives:

Meat

Any kind of meat – tempeh, seitan, tofu (good sources of protein and other nutrition, if you don’t miss the taste of meat, are legumes, beans, peas, lentils); vegan alternatives like vegetarian burgers, sausages, “chicken” nuggets, bacon, ground beef, etc. (texture and even taste is very close to meat, sometimes non-vegans can’t even notice the difference)

Fish and seafood

Fish/seafood – to get your omega – 3, DHA and fatty acids, you can use: walnuts, hemp, chia and flax seeds. Omega – 3 is also in rapeseed oil and some products where it is added as an extra (check the label for it)

Dairy

High fat/or any dairy milk  – plant-based milk. You can use soy, oat, rice, hemp, nut, coconut milk

Sour cream – soy natural yogurt

Yogurt – coconut, soy yogurt

Butter – avocado, tahini, coconut butter, almond butter; dairy free – nonhydrogenated margarine

Cream – coconut, soy, rice, oat cream

Cheese – cashew cheese; vegan cheese alternatives; nutritional yeast, tofu (for example, to get ricotta, you can take firm tofu, drain and crumble it)

Ice cream – blend frozen banana/fruits/berries + cacao/ vanilla + maple/agave syrup; vegan ice cream alternatives

Eggs

Eggs – there are a lot of ways how to replace eggs (nutrition and healthy alternatives, the source of protein without high cholesterol level, are tofu, beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, etc.)

For example, scrambled eggs you can make from tofu.

For cooking, you can replace eggs with mashed banana, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, soy protein, applesauce, peanut butter.

Check out picture down below 🙂

egg replacements

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise made out of eggs – vegan mayonnaise or healthier alternatives like mashed avocado

 

Sugars

Sugar/ honey – agave syrup, maple syrup (if you are baking, you can use also banana, dried fruits like pitted dates)

 

I hope that some of this information was useful for you and now, dear reader, make your first step. I wish you all the best!

What are your healthier product alternatives?

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How to practice gratitude?

I’m sitting here at my desk, legs crossed in half lotus pose and I am feeling so happy and grateful for the possibility to live another day. Sun is shining, spring has finally arrived, I had breakfast (today I tried out „Kama” – Estonian/Finnish food made from barley, rye, oat and pea flour, with vegan blueberry yogurt, added some fruits and seeds, not too bad I have to say) with my lovely mom and we had one of our never-ending conversations about flow of life and its meaning, and the path we both are going in this life. Since I can remember myself, I always have had these kinds of conversations with my mom, maybe that’s why I enjoy them so much.

Today’s article will be about gratitude. To feel happy and live the fullest, it is necessary to appreciate and feel grateful for people, things and everything you already have. It is not that you don’t need to have any ambitions and goals or you don’t need to try your best to get where you want to be, actually you should. The sense of gratitude will give you even more strength, power and joy to stay committed, to continue things you are doing and never give up. Because you know why you are doing all of that, you are able to appreciate it and feel true pleasure and happiness from things you have and have done so far, at this same moment. Gratitude is not in the future or in the past, it is right here and now.

Mastering this skill – practice gratitude can be a life changer. I will write down some tips for you, I would recommend you to try them out, not only for a day or two but commit yourself to it for a month (habit forms around 21 days, then behavior becomes automatic, but I would still recommend you to stick with any new action for a month)

Pleasant ways to practice gratitude:

  • Saying what are you grateful for -try to do this first thing straight after waking up (you don’t have to say it out loud if you don’t wish so, you can simply say “thank you” in your own mind). I practice this every day already for some time, my life has become a lot more wonderful since I came across this practice.
  • Write gratitude journal – written form is stronger than the oral or your own thoughts. Another positive thing on this one is, that on bad days, you can read over your notes and it will be a huge positive energy boost. I love this one. I am looking for new, interesting notebook to create gratitude journal, so far I have written my “thank you”  and other notes as well, in every possible place. In several notebooks, computer, phone, on edges of book pages and even on napkins every now and then. Oh, well, I just like to write and in some aspects of life I am not as organized as I would wish to be, but the main point is that in my own chaos I always can find what I need. Several times I have tried to make a better order, but I just love my messy chaotic style.
  • Live here and now – this is one of the main ones, for your own happiness, please, learn to stay present. We have only this moment, enjoy it, appreciate it. Live the fullest at this exact moment.
  • Help others – nothing else gives more joy and bring you happiness than a possibility to help others. Do some charity work, help elderly people, children, homeless, animals (I am for those who can’t speak up for themselves. I am against cruelty and I am for animal rights) and so on. You can help in million ways, tell where the bus stop is and show direction, spend some time with someone who really needs a shoulder to cry on at this moment, give your sandwich to someone who looks like in a starvation, etc. You are giving your time and/or material goods, but in return, you will gain much more than that.
  • Say thank you to others and yourself – for each single thing someone does for you, say thank you. Think about it, feel it and mean it. Don’t forget about yourself, you are the most precious human being there is in your life, when you do something good for your own self, appreciate it and say thank you. It is time to stop your inner critic and let your best self to take over.
  • Think positive – it is about the attitude towards your life, thinking positive is a game changer.
  • Read and write positive quotes – every day read at least one positive quote about subjects you’re interested or you’re struggling. Print some out, put them in a visible place, you can even make your own quote board and put it on a wall, it can be a good reminder and positive vibe boost.
  • Meditate – it calms you down and brings you “here and now” feeling, afterward your thoughts are more organized and have more meaning.
  • Enjoy the little things in life – small things create big ones. I like to see beauty and joy in little things, it makes my days a lot more positive, I become more curious about everything and it reminds me of the characteristics of the child, which a lot of adults tend to loose over years. Our world is a wonderful place where to live at, you can find a spark in everything if you try, after a while, it just becomes natural for you.
  • Appreciate food you are eating – be thankful for food on your plate, sad is the fact that even nowadays there are a lot of people who don’t have even that and it is vital to the health and life-support. Enjoy your meal, take it slow, chew carefully, feel the texture, smell, and noise it makes, see how your taste buds react. I m for healthy, balanced plant-based diet. Natural, whole products, no one got hurt during the process, it is good for health, all living beings and our planet. Plus there are so many vegan alternatives, recipes and a lot of vegan foods are tasty as hell! I would really recommend you to try at least some meals and products. In my article, you can see more information about veganism, if you are interested.
  • Smile more often – you will live longer, well, I can’t give you guaranteed approval on this fact, but I can assure you that you will look and feel happier. Life seems in different colors. Others will notice it and it will spread, smiling is contagious. So – smile more! 🙂

These are my tips, which has helped me as well. I hope you will try them out on your own and see that life really can turn into more attractive and pleasant journey. There are a lot of books on this subject, one of them is Words Of Gratitude by Robert A. Emmons and Joanna Hill.

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How to stay committed​?

If you want to see your dreams becoming a reality, you have to work for it and you have to redirect yourself to your goal. There will be ups and downs, different circumstances, difficulties. As well, exact opposite – good and fun ideas, struggle to go and have fun with friends/family, overcome temptations or just simple human desire to lay back doing nothing. You will be forced to avoid these urges, at times, to get your things done. It’s about priorities and sacrifices. Another thing you need to acknowledge – probably it will take some time, so you need to keep in mind your goal and purpose why you’re doing all of it. You have to stay persevere and committed, no matter what.

I like to read books and other blogs, which has a great, complete and meaty content about subjects that is my passion. Long, philosophical texts make my brain work and my soul thrill, however, sometimes I like straight, short, structured content, in that way I am able to get straight to the point and take what I need for that moment. This blog post will be more likely short with an emphasis on the main solution.

“Productivity is never an accident.

It is always result of a commitment to excellence,

intelligent planning and focused effort.”

-Paul J. Meyer

Some tips how to do it:

Write down your goal in some place, where you can see it on a daily basis – it will be a good reminder why you are doing all this in the first place. (You should always write down your goals, detailed plan and deadlines for them. Afterward, keep track on them and mark down that as well)

Set straight your priorities – unfortunately, we can’t do everything. You will have to handle sacrifice and some unpleasant feelings due to that. Establish the order of the most important things you have to do, don’t make any excuses and go for it, no matter what. You added them to your priority list, so keep your word to the most important person in this world – you. Without setting right priorities you will not be able to go too far.

Keep in mind that it won’t happen overnight – you have to be able to keep going for a long period of time, even in case of lack of clear and satisfying results or even failure. (Failure shouldn’t stop you, it should actually do the exact opposite – motivate you more because it gives the possibility to learn and try harder to do and be better)

You have to have persistence – this will keep you going no matter what circumstances will come along the way.

Meet people or find someone with whom you are “on the same page” –  in moments when you will want to give up or feel down, this person can motivate you and help you to get back up more easily.

Find a mentor – this relates a bit to the previous suggestion, bit more in a professional way although. It is always a good idea if there is someone who can help you with things for which you do not have the knowledge and experience, not by doing them instead of you, but by showing the right direction. This can save you time and a piece of your nerves.

The last but not least – stay flexible. By being committed don’t forget to keep open mindset, a good opportunity can appear in your way, keep your goal in mind, keep on doing your things and fit in a new approach, which can help you to achieve what you want even in more satisfactory ways.

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How to follow your passion?

I have my both hands and legs up for an idea to let your inner self follow a higher passion. If you learn how to listen to yourself, you will start living with a totally different approach. Why I think it is important to follow your passion career-wise? For two main reasons.

We spend most of our time working. It could be absolutely depressing and disappointing to waste our life by doing things what we dislike or even hate.

Second reason – if you really want to put in full of your potential, energy, willpower and succeed while doing that, you have to love what you do. There will be circumstances and people who will try to stop you. If you won’t love what you do, if you won’t be passionate about it, at some point you will give up. Our brain works like that, we are not meant to struggle. Our brain wants to save us, it’s not for doing what’s hard, what’s a must. We have to make that decision and stick to it. Simply, if you really won’t love what you do, you will give up, because you won’t see the purpose and your brain will demand you to stop.

Some tips, which can help you to get to your starting point:

Be realistic – I am all for supporting crazy, interesting and adventures ideas, but they have to have a good plan, you have to have some understanding how to realize them.

Take a bit time, don’t jump right in  – sometimes it can be quite overwhelming when you had enough and you want to make dramatic life changes.

Think again – overthink everything once again. Not too much, though. Otherwise, you will start to have doubts and you will back down.

Find out what your good at, not only what you desperately like – write down all things where you are good at. If you’re struggling, ask your family and friends, they can help because they know you quite well, plus, they know the perspective from outside.

Try it out before you commit yourself to it – OK, you know your dream. That’s fantastic! It truly is, there’s just a tiny question. Are you good at what you so desperately like? For example, you would like to be a fashion photographer because you like fashion and every now and then you took quite good photos of nature, some portraits here and there or some funny poses of your neighbors cat, but even if you have taken some photos during years, you have no idea how that would actually go together.

If you have a vision, you’re halfway there  If not, you should try out your skills by assisting someone in your desired profession. Look what they are doing, pay attention, learn, ask advice.

Find your mentor –  Ask for his help and advice, in your free moments take that knowledge and put it down into practice.

Don’t quit the job which feeds you – quitting your job to follow your passion probably is the stupidest advice person could get. Unless you have quite big savings or someone is financially supporting you. Don’t quit your job. You still will need to pay your bills and eat, plus, you may even have extra expenses to build up and support your passion.  You will have to combine your daily work and passion. It won’t be easy but you must keep in mind why you are doing this and that like this won’t be forever.

Make a plan – put down how will you achieve your goals. Add as many details as possible. Set also deadlines for small goals.

Think about ups and downs that probably will come across – they will come, no doubts. This can help you to focus when something goes wrong and will help you to stay on the ground when first success hits in.

Visualize your new life and ask yourself if that is what you really want – Yeeeey! Time for the fun part. Close your eyes and go into daydreaming. Visualize how your life would look like when you would achieve your goals – when you would live a life that you are so passionate about. Imagine also all small details. Afterward, ask yourself this question – is this really how I would like to spend my life?

Start acting – just start to do those things which you wrote in your plan.

Stay committed – there will be tough times, you will feel angry, sad, lonely. You will feel like you want to give up. But you won’t. Why? Because if that is what you really want, you will do whatever it takes, no matter what.

What is your passion? What do you do to make your dreams a reality? 

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Neurotic extravert

I was reading a book about positive psychology (It has been written by Latvian Psy.D/ dean/ writer, the name can be useful for those who understand Latvian. “Pozitīvā psiholoģija” – Guna Svence. There are a lot of books for English speaking people as well), some refreshment from basic psychology where the focus is more on treating mental illnesses than satisfaction in life. I prefer this sub-sector, it gives useful content, positive emotions, and can help to understand yourself and others better by using a positive approach. There is a section that catches my eye and it isn’t 100% positive, but useful. It describes neurotic/ stable people which are as well extroverts or introverts. So I started to search more information about this subject.  As it seems like, I would describe myself as a neurotic extrovert, that’s the reason for this post. In the first part, there is an explanation, in the second part – how to deal with it and the positive impact of it. As we know, I am not the only one in this world so it can be interesting and useful for you as well, my dear reader.

*Neuroticism

“Neuroticism is one of the big five higher-order personality traits in the study of psychology characterized by anxiety, fear, moodiness, worry, envy, frustration, jealousy, and loneliness.

They are often self-conscious and shy, and they may have trouble controlling urges and delaying gratification.

High neuroticism indexes a risk constellation that exists prior to the development and onset of any of the “common mental disorders”, such as depression, phobia, panic disorder, other anxiety disorders, and substance use disorder—symptoms that traditionally have been called neuroses.

Galen of Pergamum popularized the idea that mixes of four bodily fluids or humors resulted in four personality types or temperaments. The Melancholic personality type, which can be seen as the conceptual predecessor of Neuroticism, was characterized by being mentally unbalanced, fearful, anxious, or sad, and according to Hippocrates due to too much black bile.

Neuroticism mean levels change throughout the lifespan as a function of personality maturation and social roles but also the expression of new genes. Generally speaking, the influence of environments on neuroticism increases over the lifespan, although people probably select and evoke experiences based on their neuroticism levels. It has been shown that people change in neuroticism after positive or negative life experiences.

Disorders associated with elevated neuroticism include mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and hypochondriasis. Mood disorders tend to have a much larger association with neuroticism than most other disorders.”

**Neuroticism. Stable.

“Neurotics / unstables tend to be anxious, worrying and moody. They are overly emotional and find it difficult to calm down once upset.”

“Stables are emotionally calm, unreactive and unworried.”

**Extraversion and introversion

“Extraverts are sociable and crave excitement and change, and thus can become bored easily. They tend to be carefree, optimistic and impulsive.”

“Introverts are reserved, plan their actions and control their emotions. They tend to be serious, reliable and pessimistic.”

Yaay, that was a positive description, right? NOT. Hahaha. Some of that I really use to have. And every now and then, still pops something up. This is just a brief look at this subject. It is not a stamp on your forehead or excuse for yourself. Everyone has different personality traits and in the end it mixes all up like a nice four-season vegan salad. Even though genes have a big impact, with willpower, perseverance, and patience, you can change some things here and there.

How do I deal with it?

My life is has been a roller coaster. As fun as it may be in times, it can be also stressful and exhausting.

I work – on myself, by myself, for myself.

I work A LOT. Nothing comes for free, right? Not even my own personality. Well…life isn’t fair and it can be harsh at times as we know. Although, I don’t mind working on it. I have this little creature in my head, which is constantly curious and it has this tremendous urge to find a variety of ways, get to know a lot of new and see unseen.

Except working with my mind, attitude, and perception of life I also have some practical things which help me and I enjoy doing them. Like – to be active (walks, hiking, yoga), meditation, meet new people, do my job and travel. Oh, I love to travel!

And if I need to be honest, I like to be a little neurotic. Because I tend to worry, I like to check things out, do research, try and experience new things in life. Like that, I take off these worries of not knowing. Before some stressful situations I tend to think about worst scenarios which could happen, so when I’m in a situation, it never goes as bad as my imagination told me and I am thrilled about the solution. As well as I feel grateful. (This habit is a bit gone, now I tend to think positive even in stressful or scary situations) Because I tend to worry about myself and others, I do my best to make sure everything is OK. Because I tend to overthink when I’m being lazy, I start to worry or get a bit depressed, I tend to find things to do. I like to be on a move. I can express myself quite clear if needed. After no care whatsoever about my health, and having some true bad sh*t during years, after which I started to get worried even if something little goes wrong with my health, I get checkups quite often. Now I’m used to caring more and I am healthy and happy. Even though I can be spontaneous and crazy at times, I always think before acting – if something would go wrong, will I regret it? If the answer is no, I will do whatever nut-case it is at the time. One thing I always do in my life – I don’t regret. Even if I have done some stupid, crazy things during years, they made me who I am and it’s fine with me. OK, I’m a human being, so there is one thing that I could think of, but even that one I see as a good life lesson. And because every now and then I tend to get moody, anxious, sad, afraid, I work on myself twice as much to feel satisfied and happy. And the last but not least, I am a bit neurotic – crazy chick, but, hey, life is too short to be absolutely normal. It would be f*** boring! So, I like the way it is.

What are your personality traits of individuality? Do you approve? If not, what are your tips to smooth them out?

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*information obtained from wikipedia.org

**information obtained from simplypsychology.org

NOTE: I don’t have a degree in psychology, so everything (except quotes) in this content is based on my personal experience. With serious psychological disorders, please, seek professional help.

How to stay present?

[Text: By author]

 

Next step in our journey to happier life is to learn to be in here and now. This one is major for achieving your inner peace, harmony, and happiness. Yes, it is quite vital. Everyone is saying – enjoy this moment, live like this is your last day etc., but I won’t throw sparkling poetry around and I will be honest with you. To achieve this state, it is annoying at times and for most of us, it takes hard work. No doubts. Don’t let these words bring you down, it is possible and you will actually have a lot of fun and pleasure „watching yourself” while you will make your progress. When I look back at myself and think what kind of response I had in different kind of situations – so much aggression, anger, revenge, impatience. It makes me happy because, in time,  I taught myself to change my attitude. I was a total disaster and a mess. (Every now and then I still am, that’s why self – development is so important. It should be never-ending. There is always more to learn about yourself) Now when I look back, I look at it like a hilarious comedy show. Although, at that time I didn’t find it too funny. I am glad that I made some progress and I am looking forward to achieving more and more. No boundaries.

And one of the things which I am improving is being at the present moment. I wish for all of you to develop it.

Here are some tips which can help you to achieve here and now feeling:

  • Breathing exercises – This one truly works. One example: “Stop whatever you are doing, if possible, find some quiet place and focus on your breath. Slow, deep breaths. Inhale while counting till four and exhale again counting till four, through your nostrils. Relax the muscles in your face, jaw, and tongue. Keep relaxed shoulders and stomach. Do it for 1-2 minutes. Go back to your normal breathing. Release your mind, but don’t try too hard. You don’t need to force yourself to clear your mind, you just need to observe things that are around you. Length of your breath, smell, noises etc. Do it for 3 – 5 minutes.”
  • Yoga and meditation – conscious breathing, mental liberation, body loosening. While doing yoga and meditation you are focusing on your breath and movements as well as your senses.
  • Stay aware and focus on things you are doing – people can’t do several tasks at the same time. Well, we can, but it happens automatic and we are not paying full attention to none of them. Be aware of what you are doing. Now you are reading this post, then don’t think how it will end or what you will do after. Just read and focus on things you are reading. That’s it. Do one thing at the time and pay your full attention to it.
  • Be aware of your senses – feel. Smell, sound, taste, touch, sight, hearing. Pay attention to all of your senses. For example, when you are eating – slow down, look at your meal, feel the smell, texture of it, the sound what food makes when you are chewing it. Appreciate and enjoy your meal.
  • Do what you love – not much to explain here. It will make you happy. Spend more of your time by doing things you like to do. Find time for that. Set your priorities. Find the ways how you can do more of things you love in your daily routine. It takes away time. You don’t feel it anymore and you are focused on things you are doing.
  • Accept yourself – When you approve yourself, you can enjoy this moment, because you are satisfied with whom you are here and now.
  • While you have a conversation with someone, be present – this is a bit repetitive with the second tip I gave you, but I think it is so important because nowadays we are spending a lot of time (and I mean A LOT) virtually connecting to people. A lot of us when we are having a conversation with someone, we are not there. Yes, physically it might seem so, but our mind is having tons of different thoughts, even if we are listening, we are not really hearing what the other person is saying to us. Don’t think about your response, things that you have to do later or what you did before. Just listen to this person that you are talking to, if you are there and you gave your time to this person, then be there. All of you. All your attention. Listen and hear. There are not too many people who are really listening.
  • Be close to nature – I am more of a city girl. Although, when I was a kid, quite often I stayed close to nature, so every now and then I have this urge to disappear for a shorter or longer period of time and recharge myself in some peaceful place. Long walks through pine tree forest or along the seashore usually help.
  • Be in a peaceful environment – for me other works warm and cozy room with fireplace and/or candles and peaceful music as a background (no I am not a romantic person, but these things help me to slow down the hurricane in my head) or funny movie. Another one is water. Swimming pool, bath, clear and natural water. Other swimming or playing around, or just watching. I really enjoy those moments and in my mind, I am able to be there and nowhere else.
  • Be determined – it takes time. This is not one of those things which you can change overnight. Have some reminders. Remember your goal. Visualize how you would be when you would achieve this. If that doesn’t work. Hey, just push yourself. Harder. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do if you want to see results.

I love to achieve the feeling of being here and now.  I feel peaceful, happy and thankful. There is no time, it is all mine and it feels like it will last forever. Those moments are the moments which gives me the strength, even if I’m in a situation where I don’t want to be. I start to appreciate more what I have. It gives me the power to do things and to change something with what I have and that is deeply satisfying.

What do you do to stay present?

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How to accept yourself and stop comparing​ yourself to others?

Another important thing you should learn by going this how to live happier life road is to accept the amazing individual that you are. Self-worth and self – love is the most attractive things in a person.

While I am editing this post, outside is cold and snowy winter day, I am all crawled up in a bed with a blanket, besides a warm cup of green tea, cat near my feet and candle spreading this warm and cozy feeling around the room. OK…not really. Everything is true except that I’m in a bed, I’m sitting at my desk. (Even the cat is still near – in my lap) I just find that more inspirational, otherwise I would start to watch a movie or read something about yoga or nutrition…as usual and wouldn’t get this done.

After this speech of cosines, I will share with you some tips, which can help you to live in harmony with yourself and the world you are into.

Forgive yourself for past mistakes

A good starting point is to forgive yourself for your past mistakes. It is OK that you didn’t do the right thing or you failed, or you let someone down. That was the past. This moment…the exact moment where you are now is important. Past is gone and future is far ahead, they are not reachable, this moment is. Use it.

Learn to live here and now

A wonderful feeling when it’s attained. I have to say, this is one of the hardest ones for me. When I was under 18, I always used to think about the past, when I got over 18, I started always to think about the future and rarely I enjoyed the moment I was. Now I am learning. And every now and then I get to it. For me, the answer is yoga, meditation, and nature.

Without this, you won’t be able fully to accept yourself because you will always think – oh, then I was prettier. Or – after I will lose those 5 kg/ learn French/ go cliff diving, or whatever else – then I will love myself and care for myself. No. You won’t because then there will be another thought how to improve yourself for desperate attempts to fall in love with yourself. You are like you are and you are amazing. Accept it.

Allow yourself to be who you are

The only way how you will be able to be truly happy is to accept who you are – with all the positive and negative there is to it. Forgive yourself, love yourself, and respect yourself. You are able to cherish yourself on your own. Don’t seek approval from others, listen to yourself and be as you are. The world is so beautiful because of all the differences there is in it, it includes also people. So let yourself to be a piece of art. This is one of the best things you can work on, because the satisfaction which you’ll get after achieving this, will make you speechless. I promise.

Accept that you are enough

Since you were a kid, parents, school teachers, coach and other people who were involved in your life, told you and pushed you to do more, to be better. When you were good, you had to be even better. Never-ending story. You grew up but now there is even more pressure. We are living in a century of big opportunities but as well as enormous competition, it is almost imprinted in your brains to think that you are not good enough no matter what you do. The truth is that you are enough. There is no perfection. I am all for self-development, otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to read this blog, but you have to let go the urge to be perfect in everything you do and just try to do the best you can.

Be good and kind to yourself

We tend to be kind, loving, understanding, forgiving towards others but a lot of us, quite often, forget that we – ourselves are the most precious beings alive. It is great if you are good towards others but always remember to be good towards yourself in the first place.

Appreciate what you have

The grass is NOT always greener, learn to appreciate what you have because there will be always something that you could upgrade. Gratitude is one of the warmest feelings you can get. Remember that there are a lot of people who have less than you do, as well as there are people who have more, but it doesn’t matter because you are here and now and you have what you have. Appreciate it and make the best out of it.

Listen to your inner self

Listen to your intuition/heart/ inner – voice, call it as you wish. This one is rough on me too. I always had a good intuition. I guess it is a heritage in my family from women side. The problem was that I never listen to it. I always did what seemed to be right in the long run, but inside I always felt unhappy in the long run. So now I am listening. At least I am trying. And I can tell you – I feel much better.

Have a positive mindset

This is a big one. I wrote about how to think positive in my previous post, though I had this feeling to express myself even more in this section because I am coming from a country where the general population is not exactly the most positive people on the earth.

It is important to understand that negative thinking gives the negative outcome.

When all day long your mind is stuck in this terrifying tornado with millions of thoughts like – I am not good enough, I am too fat or too skinny, my husband doesn’t love me anymore, I can’t finish this project till the deadline, why did my car broke down when I’m already late, everything is such a mess!

In this way you create a never-ending path, that leads you to a life which you dislike, that creates another negative emotion and you are stuck in this dark bubble, which is close to exploding. Imagine that you take a bowl filled with water and you add some soap to it, afterward you put some few drops of black ink in it. You blow a large bubble, you keep on blowing it till it gets bigger and bigger and then in some point it burst and leaving black marks all over. (Sometimes I was wondering why bubbles tend to burst by themselves, so I looked up for some information – Since bubbles are made up of soap and water, they’ll only last as long as the water does. In other words, when you break the surface tension, you burst the bubble! In dry air, the water evaporates quickly, meaning that the dry air will soak up the water inside the bubble and the skin will gradually grow thinner and thinner and eventually pop! There are other factors that can also cause a bubble to burst. Anything dry will pop it immediately! A blade of grass, our hands, pet fur… anything will do it. )

As you can see, the thing that makes bubbles to burst is other itself, because of lack of water or due to external circumstances. The same applies to human beings. You accumulate all these negative thoughts that at some point you can’t take it anymore. It affects all your surroundings, loved ones and things that you do in life. It doesn’t matter if your explosion was created by your inner self or circumstances.

What matters is to do something about it. The best is not to reach that level but act before.

Do what you love

When you will start to listen to yourself, you will see what you are craving for. Find your niche and spend as much time as you can by doing things you like. This will make you feel a lot better, satisfied, worthy and happy.

Listen and watch motivational authors speaking about self-worth

Every now and then, even if you try your best, you will find days when you will feel down and your self-speech won’t help you too much. In those days a good way how to again lift yourself up is listening to motivational podcasts. We are used to hearing more good from others than from ourselves, so this method instantly will help you to see your positive side and get back where you left.

Repeat affirmations

Our thoughts are a powerful tool, use it in the right way. Start every day and end it with an affirmation. Choose different one every day, repeat them several times. You will see the magic. After some time you will have your favorite ones and you won’t be able to go a day without them.

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If you have to compare to someone, compare to yourself

This is your life, it doesn’t matter what others do in their lives. You are the only one who needs to live with yourself from the first day till the last one. Make sure that you do your best. Be proud of yourself, for yourself. Be the best version of you. Never stop your self-development. Keep on “growing”.

I have to warn you that this is not a one-time thing to do. These tips helped and still are helping me to get in the mindset of myself where I want to be. It takes time and dedication but it is so worth it. It is impossible to have a great relationship with others if you don’t have them with yourself in the first place. Try it for a month and you’ll see how you feel. Probably you will want to keep on going.

How do you express love towards yourself?

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How to think positive?

In previous posts, I wrote that life is about your mind. It is up to you how you will live your life. It is your decision. You make choices which affect the outcomes.

I believe in positive thinking. I would like to mention these Mahatma Gandhi words:

“Keep your thoughts positive,

because your thoughts become your words.

Keep your words positive,

because your words become your behavior.

Keep your behavior positive,

because your behavior becomes your habits.

Keep your habits positive,

because your habits become your values.

Keep your values positive,

because your values become your destiny.”

It’s important to understand that everything you think, it materializes in real life.

It is up to you to make this decision and start NOW to think in a more positive way. If you have been a slave for years and years of your negative mind like I was, then you will see that it is not easy to change it, but it’s not impossible. I know that you can do that. Start to notice your thoughts, watch them, analyze them, and turn your negative thoughts to positive.

There are no limits and boundaries, everything is possible. There are no doubts, you will find your way. There is no judgment, you do what you love. There is no jealousy, you know who you are and you love the way you are.

The first thing to do, if you want some major life improvements, is to change your attitude about everything that is happening around you. If something is not the way you want it to be, you need to think how you can make it happen the way you want. Complaining, being angry, crying or having any other unproductive emotions will just take your precious time and won’t solve anything.

A better way is to accept the situation you’re in, think about solutions and act on it.

The day when you will get up and say to yourself: ” F*ck this! I’m done to be this negative person. This is my life and I am the one who can make major changes.” will be the day when you will be able to make progress.

You don’t have to be the slave of your own mind. You may think that it is the way you are, it is not true. You let your ego overcome your inner-self. You let your mind destroy all the possibilities that can help you achieve what you want.

Change your negative mindset to a positive one.

Surround yourself with positive and inspiring people

Read uplifting books as well as positive quotes, watch motivational movies and videos 

Start every day with mantra you want to follow that day.

Get into and maintain a healthy lifestyle – healthy eating and exercises.

Try something new – go to yoga class, change your eating habits, go hiking, learn a new skill or whatever else.

It is not only about keeping your body fit, it is also for the healthy mind.

Do what you love doing.

Talk to people who inspire you. Other you know them or you don’t. Strike a conversation with a person whom you see for first, and possibilities are, also for the last time. In this way, you can hear new, interesting stories which open up your mind for a different view.

Don’t lock yourself in your own imaginary cloud. Go out, meet people, try new things, see beautiful places, be active and be creative. Smile. Be positive.

It is all up to you.

Live your own life. If you are not living your life than who is living yours? Maybe that’s the reason why you don’t have the joy when you are waking up in mornings.

What are yours “to do things” to stay positive?

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