0 comments on “Happiness is Contagious”

Happiness is Contagious

Guest post by Silvia Mordini

In 1948, scientists and doctors began the most comprehensive study on heart disease ever conducted. Over 60 years later, the Framingham Heart Study still continues. Because the study involves so many people and spans such a long time period, there are many different aspects that scientists continue to study. One of their key findings relates to the happiness theory.

Scientists found that we experience happiness through social connections.  Therefore, the clusters of people around you strongly influence how you feel. In fact, a positive change in one person affects everyone in their friend cluster. Your probability for increased happiness improves 15% if your most immediate friend is happy, 10% if a friend of your friend is happy, and so on until four degrees of separation.

They have discovered and quantified what yogis have known for thousands of years: happiness is contagious.  

Many practice yoga or go for a run because they feel good after. Physical activity releases endorphins into your body, which make you feel good. By feeling better and being happy, you influence others to feel better, too.  What you do to manage your thoughts to create happy cells impacts those around you. In this way, we are creating our world thought by thought. We can influence more people than we ever realized, simply by being happy.

The Yoga Sutras spell out that if we are not balanced mentally, physically, or emotionally, then we are not living our true, naturally happy potential. To remedy this, we are taught to practice Pratipaksha Bhavana (Chapter 2.33) to eliminate negative thoughts by denying them our attention. Instead of wasting energy by engaging or resisting our negative thoughts, we replace them with positive ones. Over time this process of substitution sublimates negative thinking. Engage happy thoughts and try this breath meditation when you need to reframe your outlook.

Inhale: I welcome happiness
Exhale: I am grateful
Inhale:  I welcome inspiration
Exhale:  I am grateful
Inhale:  I welcome love
Exhale:  I am grateful
Inhale: I welcome hope
Exhale: I am grateful

In a world where almost anything can go viral, why not inspire happiness? Knowing that Happiness is contagious means that happiness benefits more than just you: those around you reap the benefits as well. Let’s join together in a happiness movement, where joy, happiness, and peace spread to everyone around us!

Love yourself, love your day, love your life!
Silvia

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_LAB9523Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Silvia Mordini, CEO, Transformation Leader, and Author. With contagious enthusiasm Silvia encourages everyone she meets to love their life! Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. She has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & mindfulness for 20 years. Silvia, born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage and raised as a world traveler, is a well-loved internationally recognized Motivational Speaker, Love Alchemist, and Mindfulness Teacher at conferences worldwide. Her classes holistically integrate various styles of yoga, primarily Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Anusara. You can’t help but leave her workshops, RYT200 Alchemy of Yoga teacher trainings & Alchemy Tours retreats spiritually uplifted!

Before becoming a serial Entrepreneur, Silvia had a thirteen-year Human Resource career including as Director for an international Fortune 100 professional services company. She founded and owned Total Body Yoga Studio with over 9,000 clients for ten years. In young adulthood she was run over by a car—a life changing accident that led her to discover the “Alchemy” of Yoga and Meditation to heal and transcend. She is the Founder of the fifteen year old world renowned Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School with over 29 graduating classes of Alchemist Alumni. In 2009 she founded Alchemy Tours, an International Retreat company specializing in Personal Development. With over 12,000 hours of yoga teaching experience she makes yoga approachable, fun, and inspiring for everyone. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for more than fifteen years.

Tune into her motivational “Loving Your Day” Podcast. Read her popular blog “Happiness Prescriptions”, and learn to love yourself, love your day, love your life along with enjoying her “Loving Your Day” YouTube channel.

She has written hundreds of lifestyle, travel & wellness articles for publications such as MindBodyGreen (USA), Elephant Journal, DOYOU (Hong Kong), Wanderlust (USA), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Gaia, Yogi Times, Daily Cup of Yoga (USA), and is a wellness expert as seen in HuffPost and Medium.

Most importantly through personal experience she knows it’s possible to transform your trauma to dharma and transmute your drama to dreams.

You can reach her by email at silvia@silviamordini.com

Inspired Yoga, Love, and Travel for a LIFE Inspired
Personal
: https://www.silviamordini.com/  Twitter/Instagram @inspiredyogagal

Yoga: https://alchemyofyoga.com              Twitter/Instagram @alchemyofyoga
Travel  https://alchemytours.com               Twitter/Instagram @alchemytours
Love: http://lovingyourday.com              Twitter/Instagram  @lovingyourday

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7 comments on “3 Ways to Be Happy Now”

3 Ways to Be Happy Now

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Happiness is a continuous state of quiet joy that exists in the moment from the inside out. Happiness is what love looks like. It is the manifestation of what it means to love ourselves, love our day, love our lives. The timing of happiness is right now.

As seekers of happiness it is important to understand how much of it depends on internal versus external factors. Based on her research, in her 2007 book The How of Happiness, positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky concluded that roughly 50 percent of happiness is determined by our genes and 10 percent by our life circumstance, but 40 percent depends on our daily activities.

This 50% is what is commonly known as our Happiness Set Point. The great news is that we have the power to influence 40% of our happiness. The yogic philosophy of Santosha, often translated to mean contentment, is about living into your choices and  loving what life is offering us moment to moment.

Happiness depends on ourselves.”  – Aristotle.

Here are 3 Ways to Be Happy Now

  1. Take Responsibility

Happiness Now starts with taking immediate responsibility for the quality of your life.When we are willing to accept accountability, it gets easier to authentically describe what we want our happiest life to feel like. From there, the experience of the now expands the joy that was waiting for us to realize is already happening.

Happy people avoid blame in all its incarnations. They don’t blame other people, they don’t blame circumstances, and they don’t blame themselves. To happy people, blame serves no purpose. It doesn’t ever get us what we truly desire. In fact happy people not only avoid blame but they also avoid its family members envy, greed and jealousy – which are among the key indicators of unhappiness.” -The Choices Happy People Make

  1. Choose Now

The act of waiting for happiness to be happy, or “happiness procrastination” as I refer to it, can be paralyzing. If we have a prerequisite of a certain condition taking place to facilitate happiness then we’ll always be waiting as opposed to being happy in the moment. If we fool ourselves into believing that we have to understand the reasons why we’re unhappy, the result will be getting stuck in that state of unhappiness. Instead choose those activities that spark joy, stop over intellectualizing your choices, and live in the present.

What’s so important about being in the moment? Spiritual practice teaches us that the present moment is the source of healing, love, inspiration, and happiness. In fact, the purest form of happiness is found in the present moment. The yogis call this power of presence shaktiBut to reap these benefits, we can’t just have fleeting moments of presence. We have to stay long enough in the present moment to really soak in the happiness.

Apply this Happiness Prescription:

  • Each week take a day off of social media for a digital detox. Instead of being caught up in looking at what other people have done in the past, focus your attention on your present moment.
  • Each month plan a nature trip, whether it’s hiking in the mountains or walking the beach or enjoying the local forest preserve. Notice how nature only knows how to be in the now.
  • Take a long weekend each year to attend a personal development workshop for a happiness reset. Get back in touch with the Now of your happiness.
  • Each year go on retreat where you can unplug from your business life for a week.
  • At the end of the year, take a business “savasana” where you celebrate all that you attempted and accomplished and find pleasure in resting in that knowledge. Be present in the Now instead of trying to achieve more.
  1. Stoke Your Passion!

Happiness is a direct experience of enthusiasm. Remember, it is not how or when we accomplish something that matters most, it is the sense of enthusiasm during the process that demonstrates our quality of life. Enthusiasm gives us the chance to go beyond our happiness set point. The foundational teachings of yoga tell us that joy is our birthright. That doesn’t mean it comes easy: It takes real effort. However, this exertion is well worth it and we should never let a day go by without putting forth our best effort to live with passion.

Seek daily activities that inspire enthusiasm. Do something that keeps you engaged in the joy of the present moment.

Apply these three ways to be happy now and watch your happiness set point rise up. Love yourself, love your day, love your life, Silvia

happiness quote

—————–

_LAB9523Editor’s note:  This is a guest post by Silvia Mordini, CEO, Transformation Leader, and Author. With contagious enthusiasm Silvia encourages everyone she meets to love their life! Her expert passion connects people to their own joyful potential. She has been teaching happiness, global awareness, & mindfulness for 20 years. Silvia, born in Ecuador, proud of her Italian heritage and raised as a world traveler, is a well-loved internationally recognized Motivational Speaker, Love Alchemist, and Mindfulness Teacher at conferences worldwide. Her classes holistically integrate various styles of yoga, primarily Vinyasa, Kundalini, and Anusara. You can’t help but leave her workshops, RYT200 Alchemy of Yoga teacher trainings & Alchemy Tours retreats spiritually uplifted!

Before becoming a serial Entrepreneur, Silvia had a thirteen-year Human Resource career including as Director for an international Fortune 100 professional services company. She founded and owned Total Body Yoga Studio with over 9,000 clients for ten years. In young adulthood she was run over by a car—a life changing accident that led her to discover the “Alchemy” of Yoga and Meditation to heal and transcend. She is the Founder of the fifteen year old world renowned Alchemy of Yoga Teacher Training School with over 29 graduating classes of Alchemist Alumni. In 2009 she founded Alchemy Tours, an International Retreat company specializing in Personal Development. With over 12,000 hours of yoga teaching experience she makes yoga approachable, fun, and inspiring for everyone. She has been inspiring happiness, global awareness, and joyful living in students for more than fifteen years.

Tune into her motivational “Loving Your Day” Podcast. Read her popular blog “Happiness Prescriptions”, and learn to love yourself, love your day, love your life along with enjoying her “Loving Your Day” YouTube channel.

She has written hundreds of lifestyle, travel & wellness articles for publications such as MindBodyGreen (USA), Elephant Journal, DOYOU (Hong Kong), Wanderlust (USA), Mantra Wellness Magazine, Gaia, Yogi Times, Daily Cup of Yoga (USA), and is a wellness expert as seen in HuffPost and Medium.

Most importantly through personal experience she knows it’s possible to transform your trauma to dharma and transmute your drama to dreams.

You can reach her by email at silvia@silviamordini.com

Inspired Yoga, Love, and Travel for a LIFE Inspired
Personal: https://www.silviamordini.com/  Twitter/Instagram @inspiredyogagal

Yoga: https://alchemyofyoga.com              Twitter/Instagram @alchemyofyoga
Travel  https://alchemytours.com               Twitter/Instagram @alchemytours
Love: http://lovingyourday.com              Twitter/Instagram  @lovingyourday

2 comments on “Is Information Overload Making it Harder to be Happy?”

Is Information Overload Making it Harder to be Happy?

Dissatisfaction, discontentment, and out-and-out unhappiness are a surprisingly ubiquitous feature of modern life. Mental health issues are a growing public health concern, rates of stress, anxiety and depression are rising sharply among the UK’s teenage girls and the United States has become 5% unhappier over the past 10 years.

All this comes despite the fact that, objectively speaking, modern humans in wealthy countries are probably some of the luckiest people that have ever lived. There are also myriad self-help books, wellness gurus, and “Five Ways to Find Happiness” listicles crowding our cultural landscape. So why do we find it so hard to find a solution to our unhappiness, and is information overload part of the problem?

Finding the Cause

There are many theories as to what is making us unhappy. It might be how marketing creates a constant sense of unattainable desire and fear of social exclusion, the fact many of us spend much of our lives in work rather than pursuing our hobbies and seeing loved ones, or our increasing isolation from community and nature. Or, as is being increasingly suggested, we might just be looking at social media too much.

Whatever it is, many of us struggle with negative feelings  – such as stress, loneliness, envy, and worry – on a daily basis. And as many theories as there are trying to explain modern unhappiness, there are just as many suggestions to solve it.

We are bombarded from every side with ideas, advice, and instructions on how to better live our lives. Those who don’t subscribe to a particular religion can pick and choose the bits of spirituality that appeal to them, while rejecting anything that seems too at odds with how they would like to live.

Just One Too Many Ideas

With so many ideas, advice, and guidance on how to live our lives, and this unimaginably vast deluge of information all available to us at the click of a button, is it any wonder that so many of us are frozen into confused inaction? What’s more, the nature of the media and clickbait content is making this even more difficult to assess and sift through with any amount of good judgement.

There’s always the next new trend: the thing the media grabs on to and promotes beyond all sense, before subjecting it to a comprehensive backlash that ensures any good advice is utterly lost.

A couple of years ago, ‘clean eating’ was touted as the solution to all our problems, and wholeheartedly embraced. That was until the inevitable moment where the movement was completely trashed, and cited as the cause of everything from body fascism to eating disorders.

This cycle of extremes, and the Internet-borne impulse to discuss everything in the most polemic ways possible, make it difficult to trust anything. And things get even more obfuscated when you consider that with every trend and backlash, there are vested interests muddying the waters in their attempts to shape opinion one way or the other.

Seeing the Wood for the Trees

So, under the weight of all this advice, how do we find what works for us, and is truly relevant to our own lives? Unfortunately, in order to answer this question, I’ll be adding to the mountain of guidance already out there.

The first thing to do is make efforts to disengage a little. You know how kids are generally carefree and happy unless something immediately and obviously bad is happening? It’s because they have no problem existing in the moment, and tend to take life for what it is. They also only have to trust in one set of rules and ideas – that of their parents – which might not always be ideal, but certainly makes life simpler.

Meditation

I would recommend meditation to help yourself live more in the now, and give your mind some space from the chattering and assault of information that has become a constant in so many of our lives. It offers clarity, and an increased insight into how your mind works — along with the thought patterns, fears, and worries that tend to dominate.

And aside from all this, it makes some space in your day to simply be. In an age when our smartphones mean there isn’t one second of our time where we needn’t be entertained, informed, or socializing, this is very rare indeed.

Switching Off

You may also consider a digital detox. Rolling news and constantly updating social media feeds are pretty addictive, and a week where you turn your smartphone off (or just turn off the WiFi and data) can help you to stop mindlessly scrolling.

With an end to this stream of information, you won’t always be taking in differing opinions, the next new trend, and what product or idea has fallen out of favor. This will give you the chance to focus, and truly concentrate on finding the things that make you happy, rather than being pulled in hundreds of different directions.

Commitment

Lastly, it’s important to commit to an idea, at least for a little while. So many of us fall into the trap of believing that an overnight overhaul will lead to a totally comprehensive lifestyle change, where we join the gym, go on a diet, and start painting. Then, when we fail to keep any of this up, we berate ourselves and promise to try again next week, week after week, sometimes for years on end.

The content of our resolutions may change as different ideas fall in and out of fashion, but so often they are ultimately doomed. Instead, it’s far easier and clearer just to pick one thing, and do it for at least two months to see whether it results in us feeling happier and better within ourselves.

This might be using your lunch break to go out for a walk everyday, rediscovering your passion for climbing/pottery/cooking by devoting two hours of your time to the pursuit each week, or promising to read a few pages of a book before bed rather than checking your phone. Yoga is also a great place to start, because it’s a practice that isn’t focused on competition or performance, and something you can dive into whatever your skill or fitness level.

The trick is focusing on and committing to one thing – and not reading 18 different articles about the relative advantages and disadvantages of each habit before finding a new trend to try.

In an age where there’s such a wealth of opinions and information available to us, the simple act of choosing something to wholeheartedly believe in can be a really powerful step towards happiness.

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profilepicEditor’s note: This is a guest post from Holly Ashby. Holly is a wellness writer who has worked with Beeja Meditation, a meditation centre in London, for three years. They teach a form of transcendental meditation to help people cope with the stresses of modern life, hold meditation retreats, and help those living with issues such as anxiety and depression.

4 comments on “6 Tips for Finding Happiness, Peace, and Good Mental Health”

6 Tips for Finding Happiness, Peace, and Good Mental Health

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Sometimes life can throw us so many challenges, everything can start to feel overwhelming. It isn’t always easy to find the positive among the negative and keep smiling, and that’s OK. The good news is that there’s hope. There are countless ways to find the joy in life if you know how. Here are a few tips for finding inner peace and happiness:

  1. Play to your strengths

When we’re feeling down we tend to focus on the negative, often on our own personal weaknesses. Don’t! Consciously identify your strengths and build on them. Maybe you wouldn’t be able to run a major corporation, but you’re a star at running your kitchen as head chef. That would make you an excellent candidate to help out at a local community kitchen — you’d have the chance to excel at something you enjoy and for an amazing cause. Find rewarding ways to use your abilities and you can build your self-confidence and happiness.

  1. Get outside

Getting back to nature can do wonders for the human spirit. Make it a point to spend a little time outside each day, even if it’s only for a 15-minute walk. Better yet, break out of the ordinary, everyday, and take a day or weekend to visit a wildlife reserve, nature trail, or national landmark to completely immerse yourself in the natural world. It can be humbling to stand in the enormity of wilderness, and sometimes offers greatly-needed perspective.

  1. Be positive but realistic

Practicing “realistic optimism” can be an effective way to keep positive without giving ourselves unrealistic expectations and setting us up for disappointment. Sometimes constant positive thinking is counterproductive, giving us the false idea that if we simply tell ourselves something, it will eventually happen. The truth is, some things are beyond your control. Good or bad, some things happen because they just do and others will never happen no matter how positive we stay. Brace yourself for the possibility that things could go wrong, but instead of being frustrated focus on how you’ll overcome it and move forward.

  1. Focus on the present

Don’t let me scare you off, but here’s a fact: there are an infinite amount of things that could go wrong at your business dinner tonight or on your date next Thursday. But why worry about the future right now? Is fretting over the possibilities going to make any of them less likely to happen? Not a chance. So instead, keep your mind on the present moment because there are quite a few things you can do and control right now. For example, right now you can make sure you get your work done so you have plenty of time to prepare for your presentation. Right now you can grab some floss and get to work so that you have a charming smile for next week’s hot date. Focus on the present, and you’ll feel more in control.

  1. Get some exercise

A sound mind requires a sound body, so keep yours in shape. Get your heart pumping with some exercise at least a few times a week. Seek daily opportunities to stay active — taking the stairs instead of the lift is an easy one — and do so with others when possible. Swimming in particular can boost your mood and even help manage depression. But even taking a 20-minute stroll around the neighborhood can be a great way to clear your mind and keep you fit.

  1. Communicate

Relationships of every kind depend on clear, consistent communication. But being a strong communicator isn’t a skill that all of us have, and struggles with it can cause problems at home, work, and within our circle of friends. Be straightforward and say what you want to say; don’t talk around it. Be tactful, but if you aren’t happy about something, speak up! Whether it’s an unreasonable workload at the office or an argument with your spouse that’s still bothering you, find a way to calmly, reasonably approach your intended audience and talk to them about a solution. You may often find situations turn out in your favor: your boss genuinely didn’t realize he was overloading you and stops, for example.

Life will never be completely free of hard times or obstacles, but with these tips in mind it doesn’t have to break our spirit. If you think you may be struggling with more serious issues, don’t hesitate to contact a professional or confide in a loved one so you can find the support you need.

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Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Travis White, a foodie who loves to cook healthy dishes. At LearnFit.org, he enjoys writing about how to live a healthy lifestyle while focusing on mind, body, and soul.