On the Science of happiness…

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Live, Love, Serve | May,2023 | 16/3/2023

Kia Ora everyone,

 I begin my work today with glimpses of the sun`s rays hitting sharply at my window pane – it feels right that I have chosen to connect with you all on the subject of happiness.

The intention here is to share the science of happiness with you all.

Happiness is a state of being when our feelings, thoughts and actions feel light and easy and are in coherence with each other.

Happiness influences the quality of our lives- It has the capability to instill in us a zest for living – paving the way for us to do better for ourselves and for those around us

Happiness is also about how well we know ourselves

How well we Understand our needs and fulfil pir aspirations

Happiness is about having your cups brimming to the full

Doing the things you love – Emanating kindness to yourselves and those around

Arthur Brooks, an eminent professor teaching Happiness in Harvard University has come out with a very clever equation to Happiness.

Enjoyment + Meaning + Satisfaction = Happiness

So, when you evaluate the level of happiness

Enjoyment – How much of enjoyment is there in the things that you do  

Begin to add on things that feel like fun and bring in the smiles

Meaning or Purpose: Check in each day for the activities that serve a purpose – every little task counts

Examples

The purpose of walking is exercise

Purpose of eating out is for enjoying the flavors, connecting with loved ones

Satisfaction is founded upon a belief system and values.

 – is about feeling gratified that you have done well – we can get this when we connect with supportive family or with friends where we feel known; satisfaction can also come from the work –

When we know – our work is rewarded and that our work is helping people

I have elaborated simple facts on brain science in my previous blogs – one such fact is the brain helps us to think it helps us to move and it is connected to our head, heart and gut.

But the core function of the brain is relational. i.e.- the more we are connected to others and help others through work or play the better the happiness quotient and the quality of our lives.

Research indicates the more you engage in kindness,the more you stay connected-  more you increase the levels of feel good hormones that improve  health and wellbeing

Oxytocin in the name of the feel good hormones that add to our wellness quotient

When we look at some one in the eye  and smile – we get a doze of oxytocin – by the way pets help with oxytocin too – of course dogs more than cats – according to  the experts 😊

“The four pillars of happiness are faith, family, community and meaningful work- these are priorities that we have to keep investing in”- Arthur Brooks

On that note wishing you a light , easy and joyful Tuesday

Much love

Ma te wa

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Insights from my recent reading 📚☀️

LIVE- LOVE-SERVE- 20 April 2023

About all things Bittersweet – by Susan Cain 💙

Greetings to you all😊
Today I connect about a beautifully crafted book💙🦋🐬📚- gems of wisdom on transitions , acceptance , letting go and still feeling good 🌸

🌟Books emanate a certain sense of timelessness 😊

Bittersweet – an engaging read – the author writes on love and life within the context of uncertainty and change 🌈🌟

All of us have been through significant changes in our life & times that include beginnings , transitions , ending of friendships and or connections through mutual choice or by death🧚‍♀️🙏

She also writes that we go on to form new pathways and new connections that might not necessarily be better than what was lost or what was 😳

🍀a forever Moment 🌷

The author highlights that our lives will always have aspects that are fragmented and there will always be challenges 🌈

But what can transcend the challenges of uncertainty and allow for growth is finding our own peace through creativity 🦋💚

😉Any form of creativity remains a gift 🍀

She highlights that love exists in all of this – abd the more we turn to creativity that more likely we will embrace the force of love and life as bittersweet 🦋💕

🍀From a library that I visited with my adult sons 👏🏽

💚I call such reads – scaffolding the scriptures
This book emanates ageless wisdom
Highly highly recommend this book 🌟😊

So when things go a little different from what you have been used – consider the following

1. Accept

2. Try to let go of judgment

3. Look at it with a new pair of lens

4. See it as transition and a new beginning

5. Keep walking -choose to be constructive and creative in all that you do

6. Keep at kindness to self and others

7. Give thanks for life and living – have your smile on 😉🌸📚🌟☀️

With much love

🚴‍♀️Art of Balance 🌈

RECOGNISING RESISTANCE

Live, Love, Serve  | 27  March ,2023 | 25/3/2023

Greetings to you all,

Hope you have been extra kind to yourselves….. as I pondered about my post as to find something new to write, I struck upon a topic. I choose to write on resistance – recognizing and understanding resistance.

Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing your work” – Steven Pressfield

I have also always been puzzled , intrigued that when I really want to do something – I recognize a certain sense of reluctance that gets within me . I tend to overcome this and there have been many times that I succumb to this barrier within me and therefore miss out on many a fun things that I would otherwise enjoy….

🍀Healing takes time and effort🦋
☀️The story of growth and resilience 💚🍀

I therefore empathise with my fellow humans who go through this challenge on a day to day basis. The inspiration for today`s post also comes from the conversations I have had with people I work with, my friends and my family. Many of us feel resistance at different times and it sneaks from within or leaps ahead of us – it feels like a pull from behind.

Below an animated version of how resistance feels like – a block a wall or a force that sets one back

Hopefully my attempt at scaffolding this innate force within us will help you to break through your own inner barriers and move on to the next phase of your progression.

Resistance can be a barrier and a force that prevents us from doing something – that we want to do or we need to do …

It sits between apprehension and willingness – two very different dimensions

On one hand we are afraid to begin something new and on the other we are so keen to engage and take the next step

&

There is also a BUT – that creeps in….

We face resistance when we are ready to make the next stage

For example, we may want to volunteer or engage in 20 min of walking or learn a new sport – however there is a barrier that is daunting and that stops us from doing the things that draws us – i.e., from doing the things that is essential for our betterment

We also face resistance when are about to engage in a creative endeavor or when we are about to take up something new.

What is important is to recognize that resistance is a natural force that can be daunting

The way to get through this barrier is to take that first step and / or make the next move to embrace the next level of progression

“ Nothing else matters , except sitting down every day and trying” – Steven Pressfield

Recognize resistance – recognize that it is a natural force and work through it

💚Have Faith🍀

Time it –and don`t let it overwhelm you

Teach or tell yourself that resistance is also a hallmark of your progression- your readiness to grow and improve and embrace change

The longer that you allow resistance to sit – it turns into procrastination.

So, if you want to try your hand at art – just do it – get yourself a paper, a pencil and draw a figure that is your unique creation

If you wish to go for a walk, make that first move

If you wish to set a routine in place- put that on paper and

Plunge through the currents of resistance and take a

Leap towards your own progression and growth

Out of resistance comes strength” Nepoloean Hill

Much love

Kindness of Strangers….

About Feb,2023- LIVE-LOVE-SERVE 12/03.2023

Kia Ora from Aotearoa, Southern Hemisphere,

Greetings to you all … today`s note is to acknowledge the impact of cyclone Gabrielle, the loss left in its wake, the fear, the uncertainty and the collective goodness that continues to seep through all of this turmoil and that still keeps us going ….

The most important lesson a man can learn from life is not that there is pain in this world, but that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy-  Rabindranath Tagore

So, the month of Feb … seemed chaotic and unsettling …. parts of the North Island felt nature`s wrath and fury … and all that we could only do was to take measures to keep safe- either on our own or within our respective family setups. We heard stories of people, livestock and homes sadly drowned or washed away- we also heard stories of miracles when lives were saved and heroism celebrated. And here are some learnings that surfaced…that you may also find useful

Build a small steady group of people who look out for you: Every single person felt just a little more vulnerable -what helped was staying connected to your immediate and extended circle of supportive friends and family. We checked in on one another at the end of the day and the start of the day-

🎼Coherence 🍀

 There is strength in community:

I had an amazing encounter with a couple of strangers who stopped on their way home and to give of their time and kindness to set right a humongous branch that blocked our driveway. Uncertainty and change will always be around – but kindness , kinship and service can transform and break through barriers of all that is daunting.

🍀compassion 🦋

Choose to see that what is best in everyone: These guys offered help without being asked and that for me was a reflection of sheer goodness light and kinship that we share as humanity. I offered to pay – they spent 4 hours on this job and refused to take a dime. I refer to these two as

Angels in human form

☕️Connect 🍵

Build connections ….

I sent them a thank you hamper as a small token of gratitude for their vast gesture of kindness. I also felt incredibly humbled and grateful that these two amazing humans were within my community…. set yourself with a good support system and find ways of staying connected to community through kindness , through using local services and building small connections within your own community. The lesson that I have learnt thus far is having good friends is priceless – having friends from within your immediate community also adds to the resource and wellness quotient.

In the month of Feb, I also read Michelle Obama`s amazing book The Light we carry – the beautifully crafted work was a joy to read…. affirms the ethos of kindness, community and connections that always takes us through times of uncertainty …. so grateful – my experiences in the month of Feb brought to light all of the aforesaid …

 “When we learn to foster what’s unique in the people around us, we become better able to build compassionate communities and make meaningful change” – Michelle Obama

Have a wonderful week …. Will connect soon

Arohanui,

💚🍀💚

ABOUT WHOLESOME LIVING ….

How the year started ….& on learning to

Live, Love, Serve  |  2023 | 5/3/2023

Greetings to you all,

The start of the year was amazing – As March nudges on , I made a note to myself to connect, the primary rationale being to serve through my writing and artwork.

On a personal note, my year felt more amazing and my heart was just more grateful as I got to spend a lot of time spend with one of my sons. I also got visits with 2 of my cherished friends and that was meaningful , precious and a lot of fun.

In today`s writing, the  intention is to check in with you all as to how you use the following in your day to day practice

  • Mindfulness : What do you do everyday as mindful practice …. Do you walk , do you stop and smell the roses, do you listen more for the birds or for a note or a lyric that tugs at you…

These are ways that I include mindfulness -I walk on the beach, I take in the texture of the pebbles and stones and I take note on the different hues that nature has on offer- if you live with children , introduce them to mindfulness …nice and early …take in the colours, tastes, textures…..

  • Emotional Regulation: What do you to strengthen your practice on inviting the calm- Do you engage in breathwork, have you considered exercise and what are the activities that give you a sense of rhythm and comfort

These are ways that I include emotional regulation in my day to day living – exercise, breathwork, practicing my music and indulging in any creative work –

Note – once again model ways of bringing in calm to your young ones too– swimming and excercise great form of emotinal regulation

  • Distress Tolerance: What are ways that you learn to embrace acceptance of challenges , feel more brave , more calm and more in the now.  During the course of our lives, we are all likely to experience sone form of hardships ad the memories of the [painful experiences cause us to become reactive, cower low or feel incredibly uncomfortable and unsafe. The feeling of discomfort is a trigger and it can easily lead us to make a poor choice that is fear based.

We can teach ourselves to accept that we are a sum of all of the positive and the negative –

we can learn to rephase that the memory of the negative experiences can go on to teach and educate us and to make us more wise

This can be done when we take little steps every day to invite the calm, count the positives, begin to take count of the things that make you smile and do more of thus each day and every day

These are some of the ways I engage or recommend practicing Distress tolerance – write everyday, be grateful, be kind to yourself, be constructive creative smile more and work on connecting to people who lift you up– any creative pursuit can be a superb avenue for distress tolerance – Michelle Obama refers to the gift of absorption in her beautifully crafted Light we carry

  • Interpersonal Effectiveness: The best lessons on wholesome living comes when we learning to connect to ourselves, know who we are and then find ways of making meaningful connections with family, friends and the extended community. This is about knowing who we are, the values that we hold close, what we aspire for and love, what we do not love and how we want to connect with our loved ones and what are ways we can connect and give back to the community

As I grow well into my fifth decade of living, I am more mindful of how I live, the values I cherish and put into practice, the words I speak, the company I keep-the more we do this the better we are able to serve and strengthen the core of who we are fabric of our individual selves and the communities we serve….

Working on doing more of the things we love with people who lift you up ….

Joy can only be real if people look upon their life as a service and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” – Leo Tolstoy

With love

A note for the last day of this year….🍀🌟

Greetings on the last day of 2022- hope it has been a year that saw each of you through the happy and not so happy times. This year has been good one for me, despite having lost a much-loved aunt too soon. For me I also embraced with goodness and gratitude, that I was able to fly down to India to be with my family and my friends. This year 2022 marked the beginning of the post pandemic era- allowed for travel, connections and reunions.

As I finished my walk with my dearly beloved Olive at the most beautiful and lush green Cornwall Park, I made a note to myself to check in with you all. The topic that I write today is about making peace in letting go of connections that no longer serve a purpose. This issue is something that we all encounter at some point in our lives.

How do we know when relationships no longer serve a purpose

So, you might query, how do we know when relationships no longer serve a purpose – We know that by how we tend to feel in the company of some ; connections are meant to lift us up and make us feel lighter and not the other way around.  Here are some guidelines or cues that you might instinctively feel

  • Relationship always seem to be one sided
  • There is no longer a rapport that you once shared
  • You tend to have some comments thrown your way that make you feel at a loss
  • An element of control – where your movements or activities are questioned
  • You feel judged
  • You no longer feel heard or understood
  • There`s no evidence of lightness in your connection
  • Everything always seems arduous

In my journey thus far, the most valuable learning that I am keen to share is that the core function of the brain is relational– so…. The quality of our personal wellbeing and social life is much much much dependent on the company we keep and the connections we make.

Some brainfacts: I have referred to this in my previous blogs the brain is connected to the head – it helps us think, the brain is connected to our heart (so its vital that we keep up with company that delights us and warms our spirit). The brain s also connected to our gut- so if you are in company of some that get your feelings to go down south then the impact of those emotions, also hit the gut. So be mindful and take personal responsibility in setting boundaries and / or letting go.

Letting go of some connections can be daunting – there is also a certain sense of fear and ambiguity in setting those boundaries or making a decision to completely let go , for – many a times these are folks who might have known you for an incredibly long time . And that can be quite an inhibiting factor or a barrier

But please do believe that it can be done and the reward is most gratifying🍀😊🌟🌟☀️

 As you go through the process

Be patient with yourself

Check in with your inner value system

Learn to tell yourself that the intention here is to

Honour the self, the values that you cherish and to

Walk towards the vision that each of us have , for the

The ultimate need is to give, to connect and to serve

Each of us can do this – in little ways or large ways

So, it is perfectly okay to

Let go of what no longer aligns with your vision and allows you to serve with purpose…

Here`s to new beginnings –that  lifts your wairua , warms your heart , lightens your gait  

Wishing you all an amazing 2023 !🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟💚

Let’s remember to be kind , creative and constructive…

Kia Ora dear readers as we begin to feel the breath of the sinner month -…. although , for the past week the sun seems to have taken an indecisive stance 😳☀️😊 ….

Much of the work that I do is about helping clients to think better , feel better and do better which is not always easy . Emotions play a huge role in how we think – how we feel and what we do …

So what does one do when feelings and emotions take over abd when things feel incredibly tough and the journey becomes arduous .….

Here is the step by step process

Name the feeling

Acknowledge the feeling – lean into it

Use self talk to say “ I am feeling sad or I am feeling exhausted or it can also be I am feeling angry

Lean into the feeling as you use self talk

Then stay with that feeling

Be incredibly gentle and patient with yourself

Give yourself a time limit to stay with that sadness – it can be 5 min or 20 min ….

However then remind yourself that it is okay to feel that way I do – I am now going to do the next best thing for myself and then choose to do something kind or creative or constructive and you will notice that the feelings will begin to wane and you will make the shift to a happier place

Being kind to yourself can look like choosing to make yourself a hot drink or a warm meal or be in the midst of something or someone that fills you will kindness and compassion 🥗🍀👯

Being creative looks like making a meal or drawing a picture or writing a kind note to yourself 🖌️🖼️

Being constructive looks like talking to a friend – making a list of your goals or taking a walk or reading a book 📚

Wishing you all a wonderful Tuesday – here’s to more kindness , more creativity and steps towards constructive living ☘️🌟

Much love

Checking in from off-shore 🌿

Greetings to my dear readers …I am here in India now – whilst grateful for time with my family , I feel twice as blessed to continue to do my mahi 🍀⚓️

Many a times I get absorbed in discussions relating to trauma – the impact of trauma and the pathways towards healing … it’s been raining here , and as I finished a discussion , I felt the need to make this the topic of today’s writing 🌿🌿🌿🌿🌿

About the first image that got my attention at the Waiheke sculpture trail ☘️🌺🍀🌿

Some questions that come my way

1. How do we redirect adolescents and young people – who constantly push boundaries ??

⁃ Find ways of affirming the young person’s identify

⁃ Create a concrete visual where they are reminded of their own strengths and talents

⁃ Create a visual that affirms their identity to themselves

⁃ Write to them or make a visual that affirms their sense of belonging to your family

⁃ Connectedness , belonging and relationship is the core – so give messages that helps them understand that very clearly

⁃ Use words and set up visuals around the home – celebrating relationships and connections facilitate relational wealth

Connect 💕

⁃ Help them to choose 2-3 values

⁃ Make a visual booklet of how the young people can practise their values on themselves – to those around and to extended community

⁃ Create a game / a set of cards with personalised questions such as

⁃ – what are your strengths

⁃ What would you like to be remembered for

⁃ What makes you smile

SMILE☀️🍀

⁃ What are the feeling you get when you smile 😊

⁃ What makes you kind

⁃ When do you practise kindness

⁃ Name the feelings that make you smile

⁃ Name the feelings that make you offbeat

– Name one or two of your favourite people –

– Name a famous petson you like – what values that they practise makes you admire them – kindness , honesty , bravery ???

⁃ What are your chosen values

⁃ How do you practice your values

⁃ Have words that Affirm or praise their strengths

⁃ Where do you see yourself in 3 years’ time

⁃ What would you like to be doing in 3 years’ time

⁃ What are you doing to get there ??

Cognitive strategies such as the aforesaid helps with thinking – cognitive skills excercise the cortical part of the brain called the thinking brain

Making Music 🎼🌟

However for the thinking brain to work – the feeling brain has to be in a state of calm

🌿About the feeling brain 🍀

The feeling brain is also called the stem or the primitive brain

⁃ some ways to help us all to embrace the calm

⁃ Engage in breathwork – breathe in to the count of two – hold for two counts and breathe out to the count of 4

⁃ Do stretches

⁃ Move as often as you can

– Be in the midst of nature

💙 Blue and green 🍀

⁃ Read your favourite story

⁃ Talk to someone you trust

⁃ Draw -find out what your favourite colour is

🍀Compassion ⚓️🍀

⁃ Most important

⁃ Let’s engage and teach that

⁃ Learning to use calming skills is important for being able to think clear – make right choices and to choose actions that are kind , appropriate and safe

“ As you think so you become” – Wayne Dyer

Love – kindness – Joy

Here is an amazing resource where two great minds (Oprah and Dr.Bruce Perry ) discuss Dr.Perry’s book – What happened to you ?

https://podcasts.apple.com/nz/podcast/oprahs-super-soul/id1264843400?i=1000518893926

Thank you for giving me a reason to connect 😊

Arohanui

Navigating towards…. ⛵️⚓️🌟

To my dear readers

Hope you are working on/ towards your individual wellness …. The insight that comes from working through your/ our challenges is that – it allows us to be more in tune and connected to the things, the people and the experiences that helped in getting thus far .

I am now on travel mode to be with my family and friends in India and also to complete some mahi (work ) that needs to be done here. My purpose as an advocate for wellness and the luxury of time are factors that have inspired me to write today. The intention for today’s post is to share principles of acceptance that help toward betterment of our emotional states

The universal law is that all of us experience / face some challenges at any given time . How we respond to these challenges is what matters . I learnt about a clever formula that applies al time . This is how it goes

Event + Response = impacts the outcome ☘️

When we experience difficulties we are overcome by surge of emotions – thoughts abd feelings . Not knowing yo manage these feelings can result in tending to ways that are unhealthy and unsafe – such as addictions to food / alcohol , irritability , procrastination abd a generic feeling of unrest abd disease-. The trick lies in learning to manage these feelings and emotions

An easy formula from Dr. Russ Harris is using the ACE method

Acknowledge : your thoughts and feelings – wheh reminded of the event – name your thoughts and feelings

Connect : to your body – be aware of changes that you feel – address the sensations abd calm using touch – hold your palms together – give yourself a brief Pat abd check in

Engage : Engage with what gives you comfort or distraction from right where you are …. Look around for colours that you see . Think of and look for words that fill you with calm and sounds that resonate with peace – ( use a bell , the sound of birds abd music that takes you to a different place …) ; if you are a nature lover feel the texture of pebbles and take notice of smells that are nurturing and tastes that gives comfort … hold on to objects memories and experiences that remind you of safety , wellness and peace .

& let’s teach ourselves to do this repeatedly 😊🍀

With much love 💕

Wellness for when feeling alone …..

Dear readers,

The intention of today`s post is to share my thoughts on loneliness – it is probably less spoken about than it should be – yet we all experience ” feeling lonely” or dealing with the stoicism that comes when living by oneself. In the work that I do, I hear from people in all age groups – young , middle-aged, senior and all walks of life who experience feeling alone from time to time,

Loneliness is also a universal human emotion – we feel it when our children have left and are independent ; we feel it when we move to a new place or a new country and there is also loneliness experienced in unhappy relationships .

It is okay to feel alone or lonely – this is a phase of life. It is not okay however, to feel this way all of the time,

Why ??? – we as humans are social creatures and we thrive when we recognise that the core function of our brains and heart is relational – it is about seeking out and forming connections that allow us to flourish and being in relationships that help us thrive – give , share , love , know and be known.

For those, who are apprehensive about forming those connections here are some small steps to develop a sense of belonging and connection – where you can slowly explore being a part of a group. It can be a book club, a walking group , a yoga practice or a singing group -this is a small stepping stone that facilitates belonging and connection

Fostering connectedness with family , friends who you have made and known through work or study and meeting with people you have met through shared interests and making this a regular part of your life is another way of nurturing relational connectedness

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Being known and understood by those whom we share a close connection adds dollops of wellness – for some the close connection is a spouse and for many others the close connection comes from family- it maybe be your children , your parents or extended family – or friends who replace family. Being known and understood is nurturing and validates a basic need that allows for resilience and growth .

What are some ways to bring in the right kind of people into your social and immediate circle

The principles that I have written about in my previous blogs come to play here too

Know your self really well – do a flow chart on your strengths and weaknesses

Identify 3 values that are close to your heart – it can be – kindness, respect, love , compassion, honesty…..

Check in with yourself as to how you practise those values on you/ self and on those around you

Participate in activities , volunteer in places where you get to implement these values

The more you do this – you will see – a connectedness with your self

The more connected you are with yourself , you allow for like minded people to become your friends…….your connections and your lifelong cheerleaders

I have learnt that to be with those I like is enough ……- Walt Whitman