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J – Jonathan Livingston Seagull #AtoZChallenge

J – Jonathan Livingston Seagull #AtoZChallenge

“We can lift ourselves out of ignorance, we can find ourselves as creatures of excellence and intelligence and skill. We can be free. We can learn to fly!” – Richard Bach

Stories of rising above the ordinary have always impressed me. Getting out of our comfort zones to push our limits can be such an exhilarating feeling. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is one such book, which inspires to look beyond the limits of our mind.

The gull sees farthest who flies highest

This is a story of an extraordinary seagull that finds it hard to be a part of the complacent flock. For most gulls, it is not the flying that matters as they learn to fly only to get food. But Jonathan loves to fly. He constantly looks to scale new heights with a strong desire to soar high. Defying those who criticise him, he hopes for his flock to discover what he has learnt too. He shares his joys with others. He is thrilled to find a new meaning to life, his higher purpose.

What this fable had taught me when I was a teenager:

  • The higher we set our goals, the higher we grow
  • Our dreams are ours to dream and not to please others
  • Believe in yourself and your abilities
  • Aim for excellence and perfection in all you do
  • Follow your heart’s deepest desires
  • The joy of freedom is unparalleled

 

Don’t believe what your eyes tell you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, Find out what you already know and you’ll see the way to fly.

 

To buy this inspiring book, click here: http://amzn.to/2pq1KUr

Image Courtesy: http://bit.ly/2omFzPF

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

I write about my spiritual and personal growth influences from A to Z.

My previous posts in chronology:

A: A New Earth 

B: Brahma Kumaris

C: Chicken Soup for the Soul

D: Dialogue with Death 

E: Eat Pray Love 

F: Finding a purpose in life

G: GANDHI

H: Healing with Chakras

I: I Believe in Angels

F – ‘Finding a purpose in life’ by R. M. Lala #AtoZChallenge

F – ‘Finding a purpose in life’ by R. M. Lala #AtoZChallenge

“God has a plan and purpose for each one of us. The purpose may not be something grand, though we could well be led to something much bigger than what we may have imagined.”  ~R. M. Lala.

We had the privilege of knowing author Mr. R.M.Lala personally as our family friend and philosopher guide. Russiuncle – as my siblings and I fondly called him since we were kids, had a special place in our home and hearts. We admired his tender-heartedness and his benevolent attitude to life. He had a charming presence with an infectious aura of optimism. We loved his sense of humour. Our respect for him grew multifold when he battled cancer in his last days with immense strength and wisdom.

Man always has and continues to strive to know his purpose in life. Why is he here and what place does he hold in this chaotic world? In ‘Finding a purpose in life’, Mr. Lala speaks about 26 people who inspired the world, their thoughts and what led them to pursue deeper meaning in lives. They include Mahatma Gandhi, Jamsetji Tata, Mother Teresa, Dr. Abdul Kalam, Sudha and Narayan Murthy and others who made an impact. By sharing their stories, he stimulates the reader to think of his or her own purpose in life.

Key Highlights:

“We need to examine our lives daily, where we spend our times and our energies.”

Man wants to know a place where he can anchor his spirit, find a direction and pursue a purpose beyond his own advancement. Those who find it have a sparkle in their eyes even at eighty years of age; those who don’t look vacant-eyed even at forty.

“Dreams need not die in the face of unfavourable circumstances. They may only be delayed. There is a right time for everything.”

“As my sufferings mounted, I soon realised that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation –either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force.”

Russiuncle, having left behind a legacy of inspiration, fondly remains in our memories.

 

To buy this book, click here:

http://amzn.to/2mVj4nr

Other books by Mr. Lala:

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from A to Z: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Read my previous posts in chronology:

A: A New Earth 

B: Brahma Kumaris

C: Chicken Soup for the Soul

D: Dialogue with Death 

E: Eat Pray Love 

 

Image courtesy: http://rmlala09.blogspot.in/ 

 

 

C – ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ books #AtoZChallenge

C – ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ books #AtoZChallenge

“We cannot learn without pain.” ~Aristotle

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when we find ourselves in situations we have no control over. Changes in our lives can be daunting. But when we realize that there have been many others before us in similar circumstances, it is comforting. ‘The Chicken Soup for the Soul’ has been a reassuring set of books with inspiring stories of people from all over the world. Many of their books have been a part of my daughters and mine reading ritual together.

There’s always a ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ book for you – no matter what your age or stage in life!

During the process of my divorce, its edition of ‘Divorce and Recovery’ was an eye-opener for dealing with everything related to divorce. Reading personal stories of grief and loss helped me deal with my own experience. I could relate to all the confusion and turmoil within, often with an objective view. The people in the stories were strangers, their situations were in a different context, yet it felt as though we are all in this together. The chosen ones!
This book helped me acknowledge all the crazy emotions running through my mind and heart. It brought forth a reassurance that a broken heart can be healed.

The thought of divorce meant entering a dark place, one I was determined never to know.

Throwing light on the various situations I could possibly face ahead, it helped me to deal with visitation scenario, financial perils, children’s well-being, dating after divorce and more. I was filled with the hope of surviving my divorce and the much needed optimism of thriving thereafter. Divorce can be life’s greatest lesson!

A highly recommended self-help book for divorced women, men and families.

Key Highlights:

‘For the first time I was doing what was best for me. I finally acknowledged that I deserved more.’

“There are all kinds of reasons for two people to stay together and all kinds of reasons for them to move apart.”

“To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.” –Robert Muller. 

Buy this book here:

http://amzn.to/2mUUIKG

 

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from AtoZ: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Image Courtesy: jackcanfield.com

 

 

B- BRAHMA KUMARIS #AtoZChallenge

B- BRAHMA KUMARIS #AtoZChallenge

“Making things positive doesn’t mean a sunny outlook; it means making the choice to see problems as opportunities.” ~ Brahma Kumaris

I happened to chance upon the ‘Awakening with Brahma Kumaris’ TV show many years ago. B K Shivani had held my attention then. I was impressed that here was truly a learned spiritual influencer who could speak with good clarity and diction.

A few days later, a dear old school friend gifted me something unique for my Birthday -‘The Happiness Index’ DVD set by the Brahma Kumaris. Some serendipity!

Listening to B K Shivani was like applying a soothing balm to the wounded heart. So much truth being spoken in such simple language. She emanates immense wisdom for practically dealing with our daily challenges. Watching this series was my introduction to the Brahma Kumaris movement and more importantly, to meditation!

No one is responsible for my hurt, pain, fear or anger. It is my own creation in response to their behaviour, and I have another choice. The choice to be happy.

What followed was my interest in some of their ways of life – the Rajyoga meditation at the B K centre, understanding the theory behind the Prajapati Baba, the divinity of the Didis and listening to the daily ‘murli‘ (divine message of the day).

People come to explore their own spirituality irrespective of their cultural backgrounds. The Brahma Kumaris meditations help develop inner calm, clear thinking and personal well-being.

‘Practical Meditation’ is a concise book on the foundation course of Rajyoga Meditation that includes Self-Awareness, Controlling Thoughts, The Law of Karma, Supreme Soul and the Eight Powers. A simple introduction to the simple ways of life, each lesson concludes with a suggested meditation.

Watch a glimpse of the first episode of ‘Awakening with Brahma Kumaris: The Happiness Index’ with Sister Shivani: https://youtu.be/YzkK2HndNuM

Listen to a few samples of Rajyoga meditation music here:

http://bit.ly/2nsxI0K

Om Shanti!

 

This post is part of the #AtoZChallenge 2017 Blogging from AtoZ: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Images courtesy: kerala.brahmakumaris.com; www.awakening.in; omshantimusic.net.

True love begins by loving ourselves first

True love begins by loving ourselves first

“Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” ~Carrie Bradshaw 

It’s Valentines Day tomorrow – love is in the air! Candlelight dinners are being booked. Valentine cards with pop-up hearts are selling across gift shops. Heart-shaped red balloons have been visible on street signals past few days. Couples of all ages right from teenyboppers to the newly marrieds to the been-married-for-decades look forward to this day in their own ways. The thought of spending precious time with your loved one and receiving lovely goodies makes it a day to cherish.

Thinking of it all makes me wonder what does Valentine’s Day hold for singles like me that do not have a doting partner. It’s a day meant for love, but does it have to be celebrated only by couples? Nah, it’s a day to celebrate love and love does not necessarily mean your special someone or spouse. There are so may people in our lives on whom we can shower our love. How do we make it special for them and for us? What does love really mean anyways?

With time and wisdom gained from life’s experiences, I have learned to believe that love truly begins by loving ourselves first. If we are unable to love ourselves, we cannot sincerely love others. When our self-love grows, we become happier and confident and thereby radiate more love. No matter how many relationships we have and whatever their quality maybe, it is essential to keep coming back to the one relationship that counts – with our self!

Here’s looking at a few ways to love ourselves more than we do:

  • Self-acceptance –We are all born as unique individuals. Beautiful, quirky, imperfect, flawed, talented – we are who we are with all our positive assets as well as our shortcomings. Rather than wishing that we were made differently or comparing ourselves with others, it is good to acknowledge everything about us. Self-love begins with accepting ourselves as we are.
  • Self-esteem – No matter what choices we make in life, be focused on who you are and not how others see you. Do not get defined by others’ opinion or judgment about you. Work on maintaining a healthy self-esteem and self-worth. What you think of yourself is much more important than what people think of you.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. –Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Self-appreciation – How wonderful it feels to be appreciated by people. To be applauded for your accomplishments, for how you made a difference to others and for the value you add in everyone’s lives. And when you feel less appreciated than what you deserve, or crave for, then give yourself a pat on your back every once in a while. Its good to remind ourselves of where we were and how far we have come crossing several life hurdles!
  • Self-care- Love means being kind, encouraging and caring. Self-love is to be that and direct all those energies towards us. We don’t necessarily need anyone else to care for us, we are capable of pampering ourselves in more than one ways. Look out for yourself. Take time to indulge in what makes your soul happy. A little celebratory pastry once in a while will not hurt your body.

  • Self-respect- Self-respect is a virtue no one can take away from us. Do not lose your dignity by demeaning or short-changing yourself. The way we treat ourselves is in a way an invitation for others to treat us. It’s important to stay away from people and situations that pull us down. Maintaining our self-respect is key to self-love, we must preserve it at all cost.

You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient to fill the yearning that your soul requires from you ~Dodinsky

Loving ourselves does not mean we are selfish or self-indulgent. It means nurturing ourselves and replenishing our spirits so that we can give from a place of fulfilment. It is a cornerstone for healthy love and healthy relationships!

Related links:

http://happyfoodhealthylife.com/50-ways-to-love-pamper-yourself-on-valentines-day-every-day/

http://tinybuddha.com/blog/increase-self-love-ways-good-to-yourself/

 

Image courtesy: Pexels

Comic strip courtesy: mimiandeunice.com

9 life lessons I could relate to lessons from running

9 life lessons I could relate to lessons from running

“Running has taught me, perhaps more than anything else, that there’s no reason to fear starting lines…or other new beginnings.” ~ Amby Burfoot

The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon recently saw its 14th edition completing in all its glory. The streets of Mumbai came alive in the early hours with hoards of cheerleaders, music bands, people lining up to cheer their folks, runners across different categories reaching the finishing line in exhilaration – it’s an extremely buzzing atmosphere every year.

Now, I have always been a sport enthusiast and a fitness freak but never so fond of running. However, last year I decided to attempt running purely for fitness reasons and also to satiate my fetish for attempting the new. And it turned out to be quite an experience to be part of a marathon training group and subsequently run three 10k marathons. What I landed up learning while running is I realised what we all learn from life everyday. A few take-aways I would like to share here:

  1. Action – We all think of doing so much in life, but very few take the necessary steps to initiate an action plan. Dreams will only remain in our wish-list until we act upon them. Action counts.
  1. Motivation – Self-motivation is the key to achieve our goals. Life’s path, just like the running path, is uneven with several twists and ups and downs. What we constantly tell ourselves, the inner dialogue we have and how we push ourselves is what really matters at every step.
  1. Team Strength – When we work together in a group of like-minded people with common interests, the strength that we derive from each other is unparalleled. Being a part of an extremely enthusiastic training group (read related links below) has been highly inspiring and encouraging. A big reason I could push myself out of the bed in the early hours and put on the running shoes. 
  1. Setting goals – When I began training, I could barely complete 1km. of constant running. Then I started setting small goals – running up to that electric pole without stopping, running on a trot until 5 songs on my playlist got done, running for 20 minutes non-stop, etc. and thereby gradually increasing the targets. Within a few weeks of training, I could manage to run my first 10k marathon! Setting short-term goals is the key to long-term success. Small steps lead to bigger steps; small achievements lead to bigger achievements.
  1. Mind over body – In running as in life, it is the mind that rules over the body. Runners often suffer from cramps mid-way through the marathon, get dehydrated or have to face extreme climatic conditions. It is their unflinching will-power that keeps them going towards the finish line. So in life, we got to endure with our inner strength to move ahead and hurdle all tribulations until we reach our destination.

Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t

  1. Slowing down – During the course of my training, I experienced discomforting pain in my knee for the first time. I had to let it heal and was forced to take a break. In life too, sometimes situations leave us with no choice but to take a pause. It is then essential to rejuvenate and restart.
  1. Enjoying the journey – As kids we were taught that participating in activities is more important than winning. And as adults we also realise that it’s enjoying the journey that counts as much as reaching the destination. Being out in the open close to nature in the wee hours of the morning, with uplifting music for company and great team spirit around, made the experience a lot more fun. Not to mention the exuberance of finishing a marathon. In which ways are you making your life’s journey enjoyable?
  1. Getting out of our comfort zone – Every instance in life when I decided to venture into something seemingly difficult, I have grown immensely as an individual. My self-confidence took a huge leap. It is extremely vital to stretch ourselves every once in a while, challenging our resilience and expanding it. Growth truly lies in stepping out of our comfort zones.
  1. You are on your own – You start, you run the marathon and you finish on your own. Even though everyone is running together towards the same finish line, you are alone in your race. People will advise and encourage and be around, but you got to run to the finish line on your own. You and your thoughts. You and your self-talk. You and your journey. Isn’t it just the same in life?

Related links:

http://www.striders.in/training-programs/striders-training-program/

http://www.jollygymkhana.in/activites-marathon.html

Featured image courtesy: Pixabay

 

To everything new that enriches our lives

To everything new that enriches our lives

sunset-2

“I can hardly wait for tomorrow, it means a new life for me each and every day. ~Stanley Kunitz

Five years ago in the cold winter of December, I had joined an all women trekking trip (courtesy Women On Clouds – http://www.womenonclouds.com/) in Uttarakhand. A group of complete strangers, we had climbed together the Chandrashila summit at 13000 feet and seen one of the most spectacular sunsets ever (as seen in this image). This trip holds a special place in my heart, as it gifted me one new experience after the other, touching my heart in the most beautiful ways. At the end of that trip, I was a different person! It was then that I had made up my mind to do something new every year – build a life with enriched experiences and bring more meaning to my existence with deeper connections.

In the last few hours that remain of 2016 in my continent, I choose to look back and recall everything new that enhanced my life this year. I summarise:

NEW EXPERIENCES:

  1. Scuba diving –A desire to go scuba diving was long nursed, especially after watching Hrithik Roshan in ‘Zindagi milegi na dobaara’. It was simply fabulous to dive in the deep clear waters of Thailand, giving me a new high after I surfaced above the marine world. What a psychedelic existence there is down under! One beautiful adventure off my bucket list.
  1. My Blog – Maybe sometimes you have to live your story before being able to write your story. I’m glad I began ‘SoulMom’. Writing here is proving to be cathartic for me.
  1. 10 km. marathons – Though I have always been a fitness freak, running is something that never appealed to me. It seemed arduous and looked like an effort. Perhaps why I decided to venture, from a yearning to step out of my comfort zone. Ever since, it has turned out to be such a liberating experience. There I was struggling to run one km. at one go, and here I am having completed three 10k marathons this year. It truly feels like a huge feat – I have come a long way, literally.
  1. Santoor recital by Rahul Sharma – Music lifts our soul, but listening to Rahul Sharma playing the santoor goes a step further for me – my senses resonate to his tunes in some sort of spiritual harmony. Watching him perform live was such an ethereal experience. Another strong wish ticked off this year.
  1. Flying in the Airbus A380 – As kids, it was such a joy sitting in the red double-decker buses in Mumbai, quickly running up to the upper deck and grabbing the first seats in the front. I was curious to know what it feels like to fly in a double-decker airplane. Well, I did happen to fly in an Airbus A380 this year and marvelled at the engineering. But it did not come close to the gratification of the upper deck front seats of the bus.

NEW CONNECTIONS:

This year has been abuzz with Indian companies riding on the start-up wave and creating some of their own. What is even more heartening is to see the number of start-ups that have been founded by women. I happened to attend a few exciting events in 2016 and meet some of the most dynamic women in their workforces. Women who are making a difference in other women’s lives, who are passionate to turn their dreams into realities and who are hurdling umpteen challenges in their way. While I had the pleasure of interacting with several self-driven women who are making a mark in their own unique ways, I would like to make a special mention of a few who left a mark on me. I sincerely admire them for their indomitable spirit as well as humility. I feel quite challenged to describe them in only a few words, so I choose to just mention their names and links here:

Sairee Chahal, Founder-CEO, Sheroes: https://sheroes.in/about/

Aparna Vedapuri Singh, Founder and Editor, Women’s Web: http://www.womensweb.in/about-us/

Shaili Chopra, Founder, SheThePeopleTv: http://shethepeople.tv/shaili-chopra/

I feel lot of gratitude for all the ‘new’ in my life. What an inspiring 2016 it has been in an otherwise insipid year for me. I look forward to converting these inspirations into something more productive for me both professionally as well as personally.

The sun has set on 2016. Ring in the new 2017!

Seeking help for mental health therapy is not a stigma

Seeking help for mental health therapy is not a stigma

Counseling

“Pain can be a catalyst to look inside; to dig deep and heal wounds from the past, to create more vibrantly, love more whole-heartedly, and to be an integrity with your highest self.” – Kelley Kosow

“Dear ‘Dear Zindagi’ – Thank you for showing us so beautifully that therapy helps!”

In the wake of this heartwarming movie, I find it a great time to write about the benefits of seeing a professional counsellor for all our mental health related problems.

Science has progressed multifold over the years with advancement in medicines and treatments, thereby increasing our average life span. While physical health has been given due emphasis, mental health awareness is gradually evolving in India.

Actor Shah Rukh Khan who plays psychologist Dr. Jehangir Khan in the movie, states it just the way it is –going for therapy and counselling is still a taboo, a subject of shame in our society! People are afraid to speak openly about their problems here. Visiting a shrink is considered a western concept. Ours is a very society-driven mindset. ‘Log kya kahenge?’ is always playing at the back of our minds.

Dear ZindagiMental health related issues are usually brushed under the carpet. ‘Are you mad to see a psychologist?’ is what holds back many people. The film’s protagonist Alia Bhatt is initially reluctant to reveal her story to the psychologist, pretending to have come to resolve her friend’s issues. It is only when she acknowledges the presence of her problems as being hers, that she fully opens up to therapy.

Any form of healing begins with asking for help. When we need not suffer in physical pain, why should we suffer in mental agony?

Seeking a therapist during my challenging times has always led to positive outcomes. I needed to get over the initial inhibition of speaking my heart out to a complete stranger. The first step was to accept that I’m dealing with situations far beyond me. That I’m unable to comprehend and find solutions on my own. I had to decide that seeing a professional would mean giving myself an opportunity to move ahead in the healthy direction. I care about me a lot to take the effort to steer my life positively.

Very often, we stuff feelings inside of us until they choke up and we require an outburst. Until expressed, they tend to even harm our bodies. Having a release during therapy sessions was extremely beneficial to me. In the light of my own experience of counselling sessions, I list below the benefits of seeing a therapist.

Advantages of therapy:

  • A good therapist listens without judging you
  • It is safe to reveal our stories in complete confidentiality
  • Therapy helps us look under the surface, deeper into our feelings, emotions and inner demons
  • It initiates the process of soul-searching, which is vital to our growth
  • The therapist can recognise our characteristics which we tend to oversee
  • Therapy helps to resolve our problems before they pile up into bigger issues
  • We get an objective perspective to our situation
  • Therapist provides a platform to say it like it is, without any fear of hurting anyone
  • It is reassuring to know that we are not the only ones that need help
  • Therapy helps us weed through our pain enabling us to process our emotions
  • It empowers us to cope with difficult challenges ahead

Seeking professional therapy for our mental health is not a sign of weakness, instead it is that of strength. Strength to have acknowledged that there is a problem that needs attention. Strength to face it and resolve it.

The initiative of healing is with us; the therapist only facilitates our healing. We no longer need to remain in denial. We need not be embarrassed to see a therapist. There are psychiatrists, psychologists, counsellors, mental health institutes – a dime a dozen. We need to reach out to that one good therapist who we can bare our soul to.

If you think you need one, just go find one!

 

When bad things do happen to good people

When bad things do happen to good people

cry

“I’ve often wondered why bad things happen to good people – the answer is simple. Because it keeps them good.” – Adrian DeRoy

My first encounter with grief and trauma was almost two decades ago when a very dear friend passed away in a brutal accident. They were four of them in the car on that fateful night, two survived and two met with instant death. Why him? Why take him away? Why do this to his parents? That was the first time I had asked a very loud and excruciatingly painful WHY???!

WHY do bad things happen to good people? I kept asking this question, reiterating in every real instance concerning people whom I know –

– WHY does a tree fall on a teenager so badly that she has to get her leg amputated?

– WHY does the metal wire accidentally flings into the eye of only one man in a room of ten?

– WHY does a selflessly loving family get cheated of their rightful legacy of wealth?

– WHY does a poor maid’s only son becomes a drug addict and leaves her?

– WHY do life-threatening diseases attack the kind-hearted folks?

In our moments of deep pain and mourning, it is only human to question our faith. To question God. To question the very existence of God. If there really was God, why would He want suffering for us? Is He not supposed to love us, bless us, keep us safe? Why are we truly here and what is our life’s ultimate purpose?

The questions took a personal dimension, as I lay on the threshold of my marital separation. ‘Why would this happen to us? I haven’t hurt anyone or done anything wrong. I have been a good wife and a sincere daughter-in-law (or so I thought). This is so unfair!’ I found myself being unusually skeptical. Amidst my suffering and tribulations, there were innumerable times when I doubted my faith. The very core of my values was shaken and under threat. Life was posing more and more questions.

As I kept seeking, the answers came revealing in several different ways – through books, people, meditations, spiritual channels, quiet times, synchronicity, etc. It has been a gradual process of understanding and internalising. Purely out of my life experiences and my views only, this is what I believe I have learnt.

When bad things happen to good people:

  • The universe is interested in our personal and spiritual growth
  • The Law of Karma is showing up
  • Its time to learn the lessons we are meant to learn
  • A situation needs no labelling of good or bad, positive or negative
  • Life is not meant to be fair and doesn’t always give what we want
  • How we face things and live – that’s what matters
  • Our hardest challenges reveal our true spirit
  • Tough times don’t last forever, tough people do (clichéd but relevant)
  • Everything in our life happens for a reason, though we may not see it or believe it in that moment

“Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself. ” -Walter Anderson.

Looking at tough times from a different perspective:

It is in our darkest hours that we are inspired to seek the divine light. Hang in there and try to accept your life situation like a bystander, the pain will be significantly lesser. It is okay to be an atheist, but do know that God does exist. There is a strength that comes from within in God’s presence. And He is watching over us, constantly guiding us on the path we are meant to follow. Keep the faith and take one day at a time. There is a larger plan at work and the universe will fit all the puzzle pieces into one big picture. Believe!

8 simple ways to de-clutter our minds of negative thinking

8 simple ways to de-clutter our minds of negative thinking

Lantern

“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” ~Elbert Hubbard

It’s the season of Diwali, a festival celebrated with fervour by Indians all over the world. One of the customs of this festival is the ritual of spring-cleaning wherein a lot of time and effort is dedicated to thorough cleaning of the houses. Every nook and corner of the home is scrubbed hard to shine and look anew. It’s also that time of the year when we remove clutter from home – discarding things we do not need, giving it away to those who do and creating space for the new.

Having an obsession for all things neat and tidy (do not read OCD), this season strongly fuels my need for order. In true festive spirit, I have exhaustively indulged myself in the cleaning and de-cluttering traditions very seriously over the last few days. Organising things in their rightful place and packing off heaps and heaps of useless stuff into bags to give away. While spending all my energy into this tedious process, I’m amused at how things just get accumulated in our homes! And it sets me thinking…just the way a lot of unnecessary stuff gets accumulated in our minds too. Negative thinking for instance…

Negative thinking is alarmingly prevalent all around us, almost like an epidemic of sorts in today’s world. It seems easier to get into a whirlpool of negative thoughts and to remain stuck there. Negative thinking can sap our energies and before we realise, it can harm our bodies, mind and everything around us. In many ways, organising our physical space is making way to imbibe the positive elements into our minds and spirits too. This can then also be the time to de-clutter our minds with all the negativity and unnecessary trash we can do without. After all, there is a choice we can exercise, if we make a conscious effort to be aware.

Here are simple daily practices I have learnt over the years to bring in more positivity into our lives:

1. Positive thoughts – Catch yourself while thinking negatively and replace your negative thought with positive ones instantaneously.

2. Positive people – Surround yourself with people who do not put you down, whom you can learn from and exude a lot of positive energy.

3. Smile – It’s amazing how this one small curve on our face sets so many things straight. Even if you don’t feel like it completely, simply smile and feel the difference.

4. Inspirational reading – Reading books, quotes, articles, etc. that is motivating and encouraging is a helpful way to replace negative thinking.

5. Exercise – When you get moving, your endorphins get going. So quit the couch and do any form of fitness that suits you, daily.

6. Switch Off – Stay away from screen time and all gadgets that bombard you with negative information, thereby sapping your energy.

7. Music –Good music is therapeutic. Listen to the kind of music that you enjoy and see your mood change instantly.

8. Gratitude – Be thankful for everything you already have in life, sincerely from your heart.

It’s that time of the year when we must attempt to do away with darkness and light up – our homes, hearts and minds.

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