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What will you do differently this year? (DW#531)

We have been talking about completing an end of year review for last year before moving forward and making plans for this year. 

So, based on your learnings from this process, what exactly are you going to do differently this year? What has worked in the past that you can do more of, and what will you change?

Let’s look specifically at the goals from last year. When you review the ones that you did not achieve, what obstacles got in the way? Is that goal still relevant to you? If it is, then please go ahead and recommit to it intentionally (making notes about how you will do it differently this year). 

If it no longer relevant, you have the option to revise it so that it becomes relevant. Or you can go ahead and intentionally remove it from your goals. This is SUCH a powerful way to clear the emotional burden and mental clutter that comes from so many open loops in our lives. 

There are many goals and projects that find their way into our to-do list but which have...

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Your end of year review (DW#530)

Let’s briefly recap what to consider while writing our end of year review for last year. Doing this can greatly enhance learning about what worked and what we need to do differently this year.

Remember that it helps to break up our lives into the various domains of work, relationships, health and service to make this more accurate and meaningful. You do not have to review every domain of course, but it does help to consider the domains where you experienced the greatest challenges or successes.

So here are the questions:

1)   What went well? What were your successes?
2)   What did not go well? Where did you stumble?
3)   What are your greatest regrets? How closely did you miss success in this area? Were the stumbles a result of outside influences over which you had little or no control or were they the direct or indirect result of your own actions and mistakes?
4)   What were your biggest time wasters this past year?
...

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What were your biggest time wasters? (DW#529)

Do you know how much time you spend on social media every day? Or on YouTube? How about Netflix?

Let’s be honest. The vast majority of us have a (sometimes secret) guilty pleasure that we spend more time on than we intend.

So let me start by confessing something. I can be a workaholic. When I am researching, writing or preparing a presentation, I tend to lose track of time and work bleeds into family or leisure time. Recently, however, I have discovered the joys (!) of binge watching Netflix and find it really difficult to stop after watching just one episode of an engaging show. What I am noticing is that while watching a single episode of something can be rejuvenating, relaxing and a good way to wind down the day, watching three episodes in a row is much less so. After an evening of such binge watching, I end up feeling guilty and empty (and much too wired to sleep), and wishing that I had used my time in a much more productive fashion.

What were your biggest time wasters in...

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Who do you need to thank? (DW#528)

Continuing with our series on reflecting on the past year, today let us bring to mind WHO we were grateful for this past year. 

Before we begin, a quick question: have you heard of the "gratitude gap"? Let me explain what it is. 

The John Templeton Foundation did an extensive survey on gratitude in America. They found that when asked what they were grateful for, a staggering majority of people put family (90%) and friends (87%) at the top of their lists. 

But here is the sad part: less than half of women (and even less of men) expressed this sense of gratitude or appreciation to their family or friends. So even though many people are feeling gratitude in their hearts for people, they appear to be reticent to express this gratitude. 

In fact, the closer the relationship, the less likely people are to show their appreciation for their loved ones. So family and spouses appear to get the least verbal appreciation from us even...

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What are you grateful for? (DW#527)

As we have previously discussed, a gratitude practice is key to mental and emotional wellbeing. When we are intentional about noticing things that are right and expressing gratitude for them, we actually train our brains to become more positive and optimistic. 

There are however, more and less effective ways to express gratitude. 

1)   If we are putting gratitude on a "to do list" for ourselves, it can lead to it becoming a burden rather than a blessing, say researchers. The idea is to begin noticing things that we are grateful for as a first step. When a daily practice of gratitude leads to us noticing more things to be grateful for, it can work really well

2)   Go for depth rather than breath. When our gratitude lists are brief and general, they may do little to lift us up. A University of Southern California study found that writing one sentence about five things we’re grateful for is less beneficial than writing five sentences...

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Recap: Taking action can change your feelings (DW#480)

As a part of our series on emotional intelligence, we have been discussing how we can learn to accept feelings but that we don’t have to wait for our feelings to change before we can take action on our values.

Feelings, as we have been discovering, can often change by changing our behaviour.

Here is a recap of the actions we can take to impact our feelings:

Try power poses to increase your confidence [DW#473]

Smile to increase feelings of happiness [DW#474]
Follow what actors/lovers do on the screen to kindle feelings of love [DW#475]
Boost your own happiness by doing random acts of kindness for your spouse [DW#476]
Act in loving way to feel the feeling of love [DW#477]
Turn fear into courage by taking action in the face of fear [DW#478]
 
Prepare and practice to become confident in any area of your life [DW#479]
 
Which ones did you try? Remember our lives will be positively impacted only by acting upon what we know!

Which ones are the most challenging?

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The two secrets to confidence (DW#479)

Think of when you first started to drive, or learn a language or cook or do financial accounting . . .

Remember how nervous you were? How unprepared you felt? 

So how did you become better in these areas of your life?

You prepared yourself by learning, studying, passing a test . . .

And then you practiced.

A lot.

If you had waited till you had the confidence to do any of these things you would not have taken the car out of the garage, cooked your first meal or spoken a word of another language.

The confidence came from two things: preparing and practicing.

How about applying the same formula to areas of your life where you currently lack confidence?

You already know how, right?

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Try power poses to increase your confidence (DW#473)

Have you noticed how our posture reflects our feelings?

When we are sad, we tend to look down and frown, when anxious we might tap our feet, fidget or shift our eyes and when we are happy we often smile.

But how we position our bodies doesn’t just reflect how we feel, it can also change how we feel.

For example, if we act confident even when we are not feeling confident, we may increase our feelings of confidence.

According to recent research: "Posture has a bigger impact on body and mind than anyone believed. Striking a powerful, expansive pose actually changes a person’s hormones and behavior, and even have an impact on how you are perceived in the working world," saysWall Street Journal columnist Sue Shellenbarger.

And we don’t have to change your posture or pose for long. A few minutes seems to be all you need to have an impact on our feelings.

In her research with Dana Carney at UC-Berkeley, Amy J.C. Cuddy has focused on...

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Separating feeling and acting (DW#469)

emotions self development Oct 11, 2018

Let's assume that we all agree that exercise is a good thing. 

Are you one of those lucky people who love to exercise and look forward to going to the gym? 

Or are you amongst those who don’t necessarily feel like it but decide to do it anyway because you recognize that it is good for you?

Or do you wait until you feel like exercising and then do it? (How long have you been waiting by the way?)

Even though we don’t always use it, human beings have the ability to not act on every feeling and to act even when we don’t feel like it. 

In other words, 

1)    We can do what needs to be done even if we don’t feel like it (exercise, go to work, cook dinner etc.)

 

2)    We can stop ourselves from doing things which will harm us, either now or in the future even if we really reallywant to do it (eat too much, have junk food, have a fight with the neighbor, tell our boss off . . .)


So we have...

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Make it your own (DW#468)

One of the most inspiring and heart warming moments for me is when a reader takes a suggestion and makes it their own. 

A young lady wrote and shared that when she read about the six second pause, she realised that it was the perfect amount of time to remember God and His most beloved ones. 

She said that she will be using the six second pause to say this:
Allah, Mohammed, Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussain (May the peace and Blessings of God be on all of them). 

It reminded me that when I am feeling angry, unforgiving and my heart is constricted, I remember the most beautiful names of God to ground myself: 

Ya Rahman, Ya Raheem, Ya Karim, Ya Salaam
O All Compassionate, O All Merciful, O Most Generous and Noble, O the Source of Peace

If we adapt the pause to something that is meaningful for us, we are MUCH more likely to use it. 

So go ahead and develop a mantra of your own. What helps you to calm down and get back on track? Practice using it frequently so that it...

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