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10 Ways To Grow Your Own Happiness

10 Ways To Get Happy Now

Today I am going to share with you 10 ways to grow your own happiness.  Are you struggling to shake off that gloomy feeling, or constantly shifting between cheerful highs and sorrowful lows?  In the past you may have looked for a distraction to snap you out of a bad mood, reached for the chocolate or, if all else had failed, resorted to antidepressants.  But if you find it hard to feel positive about life, the good news is that you can train yourself to be happier.  

New studies suggest happiness isn’t just a product of a stable childhood or a naturally sunny disposition – it’s closely linked with the physical structure of the brain, which is something that can be changed.

Researchers from Kyoto University, Japan, have found those who rate themselves as happy have more grey matter in a part of the brain called the precuneus.  Not only do these people experience happiness more strongly, they feel sadness less intensely and are able to find a deeper meaning in life.  And previous research has found it’s possible to increase grey matter in this area of the brain – meaning that no matter what’s happening in your life, you can develop your own happiness, rather like strengthening a muscle.

If you’re wondering why you should bother, our mood can dictate everything in our lives, from whether we’re able to form good relationships to how healthy we are.

One key activity that has been shown to help change the brain is meditation.  Studies have found that regular mediators alter the structure and function of their brains – an effect known as neuroplasticity.  As a result of years of meditation practice, French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard was shown to have increased activity in the left prefrontal cortex area of the brain, which is linked to positive feelings.

Ricard, author of Happiness: A Guide To Developing Life’s Most Important Skill, recommends meditating for 20 minutes every day.  ‘Start by simply paying attention to the sensations of your breath going in and out,’ he advises.  ‘If your mind wanders, which it will,  bring it back to your breath.’

As you get used to this, you can use the same principles throughout the day whenever your worries start to get on top of you.  When you notice yourself drifting from the present moment, you focus instead on feelings of hot or cold, or sounds around you.  It’s all about consistency, though.  ‘Regular practice is needed – it’s like watering a plant,’ said Ricard.

While meditation is an essential happiness skill, building contentment is also about doing lots of small things each day to lift your mood and cultivate positive feelings.  Of course this won’t guarantee permanent joy, but getting into the happiness habit can act as a buffer against life’s difficulties, helping you bounce back when things are tough and allowing you to enjoy the good times to the maximum.

Yuna Ferguson, assistant professor of psychology at Pennsylvania State University Shenango, USA, champions the idea of using meditation and other methods to enhance your mood.  But she offers a word of caution about constantly asking yourself: ‘Am I happy yet?’  She says: ‘Rather than focusing on how much happiness they’ve gained and doing a kind of mental calculation, people could focus more on enjoying their experience of the journey towards happiness and not get hung up on the destination.’

To actively improve your mood, try out these 10 exercises, remembering to enjoy yourself on the your journey to thinking yourself happy.

10 Ways To Grow Your Own Happiness

Let Go Of Your Expectations

Often, the big things we think will make us happy actually don’t, argues Professor Paul Dolan, government wellbeing adviser and author of Happiness By Design.  for example, parents report that bringing up children gives life more meaning, but it doesn’t actually lead to higher happiness levels.  Similarly, money can’t buy you joy.

So forget about concentrating on what you believe will make you happier overall.  Professor Dolan says it’s more about paying closer attention to what brings you pleasure in each moment.  ‘We’re happier if we are focusing on the person we’re with, and the thing we’re doing right now.’

You could get the most out of family life by enjoying a Sunday afternoon out with the kids – and staying closely in the moment rather than worrying about the next week at work.  If you’re playing with your pet, concentrate on the game instead of shaking a toy half-heartedly while watching TV.  Whatever you’re doing, you’ll get more from it if you give it your full attention.

10 Ways To Grow Your Own Happiness

Turn Negatives Into Positives

Our thoughts control our moods, so it’s worth trying to transform a negative mindset into a positive one.  ‘Positivity affects everything from how quickly we recover from an operation to how long we live – the positive among us live longer,’ says Rachel Kelly, who wrote Walking On Sunshine, to share the strategies that keep her upbeat after suffering from depression.

But how can you be more optimistic if you’re naturally a glass-half-empty type?  According to Kelly, the first step to improving your mood is to simply notice your negative thoughts.  It’s easy to allow them to spiral downwards, so make an effort to become more aware of any negative patterns.

‘Next realise these thoughts aren’t facts.  It’s worth questioning them because many turn out to be false assumptions,’ she says.  If you can’t successfully challenge a negative thought, accept it while breathing in.  When you breathe out, try to find a more positive way of viewing the situation or issue.  For example, if you’re feeling anxious that you’re going to argue again with your partner, tell yourself that if a row  does kick off, you’re going to listen as well as talk calmly – the disagreement could actually end up being positive.  Whenever you do this, the old neural pathways in the brain that process negative ways of thinking begin to fade and are replaced by positive ones.

Be Thankful

One study found people who write down the things they’re grateful for on a regular basis feel more optimistic, exercise more and visit their GP less.  The “three good things” exercise is a handy tool,’ says Rachel Kelly.  “As you wind down for the night, think of three positive things that happened that day.  

The more detailed and specific you can be, the better.  Reflect on each one how it made you feel.’  Tell your partner how much you appreciate them too.  Research shows that when people take time to express gratitude for their partner, they also feel more comfortable airing concerns and this can make the relationship healthier.

10 Ways To Grow Your Own Happiness
Write Your Gratitude List Every Day

Do Something Kind

Doing something thoughtful for someone else is a proven way to boost your own happiness.  The reason being it can help give your life meaning and purpose, and draw your focus away from your own problems.  To get the most benefits, Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, advises against random acts of kindness such as buying a coffee for the person behind you in the queue.  

While you might get a short-lived kick out of this sort of act, doing something another person truly benefits from gives you a deeper feeling of contentment because it genuinely helps them.  ‘Its more productive to target someone who’s in need of a little more help,’ says Rubin.  ‘Help a colleague even when you’re rushing to meet a deadline yourself, or go out of your way to assist an overwhelmed parent who is juggling toddlers and shopping bags.’

10 Ways To Grow Your Own Happiness
Help Someone Who Needs It

Act Upbeat

If you can’t shrug off that bleak mood, act as if you feel cheerful.  First, put on a smile – research has shown smiling, even when you’re faking it, helps you feel more relaxed.  And the more you can perfect a genuine-looking smile, the better – that means grinning so the smile reaches your eyes.  A study at the University of Kansas, USA, asked people to hold chopsticks horizontally in their mouths (try grinning and holding a pencil horizontally in your teeth), which resulted in them moving their facial muscles to mimic a smile.  These people were better able to cope with challenging tasks afterwards.  This is because your brain is constantly monitoring your body to see how you’re feeling, which includes scanning facial expressions.

As well as painting a smile on your face, Professor Sir Cary Cooper, a psychologist and wellbeing expert, suggests that you can trigger a good mood.  He says, ‘wear your favourite clothes on ordinary days and don’t save them just for special occasions.  Put on bright colours and talk about cheerful things.  This can make a difference and help you feel more upbeat.’

10 Ways To Grow Your Own Happiness
Smile

Clear Your Clutter

It’s been proven that being surrounded by clutter has a powerfully negative effect on your mood, according to research by neuroscientists in the USA.  The mistake many of us make, says Gretchen Rubin, is saving up for one big tidy.  ‘Mess makes it harder to focus and can leave you irritable,’ she says.  ‘Instead, you need to de-clutter on a regular basis.  Whenever you have a spare minute, clear a shelf or a kitchen drawer.  

If you’re standing around waiting for the kettle to boil or your toast to pop out use the time to see what you could clear up – even small things like a recycling of junk mail, putting away teabags or hanging up a coat can make a big difference.  Get rid of anything that isn’t beautiful or useful, too’.

Have a De-Clutter

Connect Physically

It can be tempting to stay in touch by email or social media, but it’s no replacement for seeing friends in person.  Plenty of studies have shown the happiest people spend more time socialising.  And that doesn’t just mean having nights out with lots of pals – spending quality time with your partner is also important.  Make the effort to snuggle up, even if you’ve been together for years, because frequent hugs can boost levels of the love hormone oxytocin, which encourages feelings of intimacy and closeness.  

Making small connections with others throughout the day is also beneficial, easing stress and boosting contentment, says Professor Cooper.  ‘Smile at people in the street, chat to bus drivers and people who serve you in supermarkets,’ he says.  ‘This kind of everyday interaction can give you a lift.’

Do What You Love

For me this is an obvious one to add to my 10 ways to grow your own happiness and have been saying this for so long.  Having a hobby that absorbs you is an important way to get sources of stress into perspective and boost contentment,’ says Professor Cooper.  A study at the University of British Columbia, Canada, found people who spent time pursuing their passions were happier than those who prioritised their job.  

So leave work on time and do something you enjoy.  ‘One of your hobbies should be an exercise you really like,’ says Rachel Kelly.  ‘I feel more alive when I live in my body as well as my mind,’ she adds.  So instead of focusing on what it is you can do to lose weight or get fit, find something you really look forward to, whether that’s dancing swimming or running.

Do Something You Love

Toast To Good News

We often see a harsher version of ourselves than is the reality.  So to give yourself perspective, be more attentive to your good points.  Notice your achievements – at the end of each day, note down what you’ve done well, whether that’s completing admin that has been hanging over you, getting to the gym despite feeling tired, or lending an ear to a friend who’s having a hard time.  This will build you self-esteem so you feel more in control.  

When it comes to the bigger bits of good news, like getting a promotion or plucking up the confidence to ask a friend out on a date, allow yourself to acknowledge it by telling others – research shows those who share good news are happier and more satisfied with life.  By choosing the most enthusiastic friends to tell you’ll get a more positive response, which will reinforce your own satisfaction.

Get Musical

Listening to upbeat music you like really can life your spirits.  Studies at the University of Missouri, USA , found listening to positive music daily for two weeks lightened people’s moods in the short-term and boosted their overall happiness.  There’s no other stimulation like music to arouse the brain,’ says Professor Paul Dolan.  Make music part of your daily life – put it on when you’re getting ready in the morning, exercising or whenever you need a lift.  Having a musical soundtrack to your day will help you feel amazing.

Listen to Music

I hope you found 10 ways to grow your happiness of interest.  I’m going to start applying these to my life; let me know how you get on if you do the same but remember it won’t happen overnight.  This is something to be worked on, on a daily basis.

If you would like to add your own items to my 10 ways to grow your happiness – please leave them below.

Tracey x

 

Last 15 Photos On My Phone

Yes it’s that time again I haven’t done this in ages.  A little sneaky peek behind the scenes.  Don’t hold your breath though it’s not very exciting but here we go:

Photo 1 – Homemade Ketogenic Cherry & Almond Breakfast Biscuits

Home-Made Keto Cherry Almond Breakfast Biscuits

Love these little beauties.  Made out of ground almonds instead of flour.  I will be putting the recipe on my keto website soon.  As you know I’m on a diet (aren’t we all) not only to lose weight but to help my fibromyalgia symptoms.  I miss biscuits with coffee but I can make these beauties and then I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.  

Photo 2 – Keto Packed Lunch For College

College Packed Keto Lunch

Now I know carrots are a bit carby but they aren’t too bad as long as they are in moderation.  So I had a few shavings of carrots for a bit of extra crunch mixed with baby spinach, chinese leaf lettuce, rocket, watercress, kale, tomatoes, spring onion, cress and cucumber with leftover chicken from the night before.  As you can see I also had fresh coconut and a homemade salad dressing of Avocado Oil, Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, MCT oil, Balsamic Vinegar with a little bit of  freshly ground Pink Himalayan salt and black pepper – Have to say it was delicious.  There was still some chicken left over so had the same thing again today.

Photo 3 – Back of Sewing Pattern

Sewing pattern

I’ve been inspired to get my sewing machine out again after watching The Sewing Bee (one of my favourite programmes and so glad it’s back on air). So I’ve been looking at patterns and this I took so I could see how much material I needed.  I’ll update you with the progress of this item I can’t wait to get started on it.

Photo 4 – Exante Diet Meal Replacement Shake Smoothie

Exante Diet Meal Replacement Shake

Now I made this for my daughter.  She is always at the gym and she likes to have a smoothie afterwards.  So I made her this out of Exante chocolate meal replacement shake, 1 tbsp of collagen powder, egg white protein powder, a banana and 1 tbsp of peanut butter powder and she loves it!  You can find the Exante chocolate shake here.  Also for my new readers you can get 35% off Exante diet meal replacement meals by using my exclusive code TRACEY35 which is fantastic.

Photo 5 – My Son’s Baby Tortoise

My Son’s Baby Tortoise’s

I can’t remember the names of these little guys but I find them fascinating.  This photo was taken on Mothers Day at his home when they were out having a bit of a run around well as much as a tortoise can do.

Photo 6 – Shepherds Pie with Cauliflower Mash

Shepherds Pie In The Making with Cauliflower Mash

Yep food again you know me only too well.  I know there are carrots in there but again they are ok in moderation on a keto diet.  We are potato free in my house now and they have been replaced by mashed cauliflower which is fantastic even my daughter loves it.

Photo 7 – Prepping For College 

Prepping For A Massage

I’m not sure why I took this and I don’t even remember doing it but this is where I study complementary therapies and a fantastic place it is too.  I think that may be Amanda’s backside you can see on the left.  Shall have to let her know that her butt is on the web.

Photo 8 – My Eldest When He Was Studying Drama

My Eldest

Found this recently and was so happy because I thought I’d lost it.  This is my eldest when he was studying drama.  This is one of the photos I took with me on The Fast Fix Documentary and had in my room.  So proud of him and also of all my children.  So lovely to see them growing and making their own way in life.  Sometimes I wish I could do it all again, I miss holding them in my arms and holding them close.  I’d do it now but I don’t think they would appreciate it.  So all of you out there with little ones cuddle them as much as you can while you can.

Photo 9 – Importance of Play Time

Important Message

I found this the other day and wanted to share it.  I have been saying for as long as I can remember how important it is to play.  To let go –  To have fun – to celebrate your inner child.  Life is too short and play keeps you alive.  For instance for me it is being creative whether that is writing poetry, painting, drawing, sewing a dress, playing with the dog, it can be so many things but whatever it is that makes your heart sing do it and then do it some more!

Photo 10 – Something That Made Me Smile

Made Me Smile

I think this will appeal to my hippy type friends.  You can’t beat a bit of sage.

Photo 11 – Face of Fibromyalgia

Face of Fibromyalgia

One of the worst conditions and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.  It’s about time they made cannabis oil legal.  People are suffering unnecessarily in this country and I find it appalling.  Children having over 100 seizures a day being denied something that will give them their life back but instead we fill them with hundreds of drugs just to fill the fat cat pharmaceuticals pockets.  

Photo 12 – Harvey Houdini My Trusty Canine Sidekick

Harvey Houdini

He’s still going strong bless him.  Found his place next to me in bed.  Not sure what would happen if I ever did manage to find a bloke they would have to fight over it.

Photo 13 – I’m Crap At Technology

Crap At Technology

This was me trying to ask Siri something but instead managed to take a screen shot.  I can’t believe after all this time I still haven’t got the hang of it – no smart remarks 🙂 

Photo 15 – My Dream (please come true)

I Need This In My Garden

I desperately want to get my garden sorted so I can have one of these in it.  I’d be out there all the time.  I’d also use it for massaging clients too.  So if anyone wants to help me sort out the garden (a lot needs doing) you can get free massages afterwards.

There you go I hope they weren’t too boring for you.  

Tracey x

 

64 Tips for Living a Happy Life Starting Right Now

Happiness is a habit that we have to practice on a daily basis. Life is full of uncertainty, fear, and struggle; but we can cultivate a practice that brings out the true joy living inside us at all times

Be happy

It doesn’t matter what your age is or how much money you have in your bank account, your marital status or what you do for a living, we all want to be more successful in our lives. Of course, defining success is different for each us, but here are proven ways that can make you more productive, happy and successful in life.

Please feel free to share this list, add to it, and make it your own. Happiness is a habit that we have to practice on a daily basis. Life is full of uncertainty, fear, and struggle; but we can cultivate a practice that brings out the true joy living inside us at all times. These practices will make us more resilient and allow us to bounce back with more ease and grace from life’s challenges.

64 Tips for Living a Happy Life Starting Right Now

Be committed

No matter what goals you have set for yourself in life, you have to be committed. It’s through commitment that you’ll continue to make the improvements needed to better yourself. Whether it’s taking a chance on launching a startup, getting a gym membership to improve your physical well being, or taking a cooking class because you want to become a chef, commitment is what drives us all to become more successful.

People care about you; not your success

Let’s be honest. People don’t care about the expensive clothes you wear, how big is the house you own or the car your drive. That’s not to say that they don’t respect your achievements or possessions. Instead, they care for you as an individual and they’ll support you no matter what — because they love you. Believe it!

Be grateful everyday

According to researchers Martin Seligman, Robert Emmons, and Michael McCullough, being grateful can result in feeling better about your life, more enthusiastism and more willingness to help others. Being grateful may even reduce coronary artery disease. Take the time to write down what you’re grateful each and every day.

Money can’t buy happiness

As The Beatles famously proclaimed, (money), “can’t buy me love.” You know what else money can’t buy? Happiness. Just because you’re earning six figures doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily content. Sure, money is obviously needed, and it makes some things easier. But, you should be focusing on your passion and not how much your paycheck is.

Don’t take rejection personally

At some point we all face rejection. Instead of taking it personally, use it as a learning experience. Why did a someone reject your proposal? Maybe there wasn’t a market for your product. Perhaps you didn’t have a convincing pitch. Maybe the their partner just called and said he’d spent their extra cash. Accepting and learning from rejection is one way to guide you to success.  Learn from rejection and use it as motivation to make things bettter!

Have a backup plan

You never know when the unexpected is going to happen, but when it does happen, you’re surrounded by chaos. Being prepared for the worst case scenario can at least make things a whole lot less chaotic. 

Travel

As Yii-Huei Phang states on The Huffington Post, traveling is a great way to “develop a person’s character” and become more open-minded. Additionally, while traveling is a great way to get away from the daily grind, it also helps you appreciate what you have back at home.

Don’t multitask

If you’re feeling constantly burnt out it’s probably because you’re doing too much at one time. Research has found that “when you switch away from a primary task to do something else, you’re increasing the time it takes to finish that task by an average of 25 percent.” You’re also burning your reservoir of energy. Both of these issues decrease your productivity and prevent you from accomplishing tasks and goal.

Embrace a growth mindset

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck argues that we have two-mindsets; “fixed” and “growth.” A fixed mindset “assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static.” A “growth mindset,” however, “thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”

Balance work and life

When work interferes with life, it can result in employees getting burned out and decreases base morale in the office. While this may not be an option for employees, it proves that everyone needs time away from the office. If you’re able to spend less time in the office by working remotely or having flexible hours, you should be able to be productive in both your personal and professional life.

Don’t hold grudges

There is really no need to hold onto a grudge. It can mentally wear you out and makes you miserable. And, doesn’t life seem to go a whole lot smoother when you’re not angry?

Stick it out

After years of studying both children and adults, psychologist Angela Duckworth found that one of the characteristics of successful individuals is having grit. During her TED talk Duckworth stated, “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Live in the moment

You can’t change the past and you have no control of the future. Live in the moment and enjoy what’s in front of you right here, right now. When you’re busy making too many plans, you’re causing stress that prevents you from enjoying the present.

Take care of yourself, then help others

According to Mark Snyder, a psychologist and head of the Center for the Study of the Individual and Society at the University of Minnesota, “People who volunteer tend to have higher self-esteem, psychological well-being, and happiness.”

Additionally, helping others is beneficial for our health. But, how can you help others if you haven’t taken care of yourself first? Take care of your needs first and then begin to help others.

Giving: Do Things for Others

  1. Give sincere compliments often. You can easily lift someone’s spirits by complimenting their work, attitude, style, or anything else you genuinely find remarkable. Not only will it help them but it will help you be seen as a person who is uplifting and nice to have around.
  2. Say thank you to the supermarket cashier, coffee barista, taxi driver, or anyone else who makes your life easier.
  3. Write a thank you letter to someone.
  4. Hold the door open for the person behind you.
  5. Carry a Homeless Care Bag in your car and hand it out when you see someone in need.

Relating: Connect With Others

  1. Say “I love you” to someone you love.
  2. Give someone a hug.
  3. Tell your co-worker how much you appreciate the work she/he does. Be specific.
  4. Practice mindful listening with your friends.
  5. Have device-free lunch and dinner time with co-workers and family. Each person agrees to turn off their devices and have a meal connecting with only the people at the table.

Exercise: Take Care of Your Body

  1. Take a walk and smile at everyone you pass.
  2. Do 20 Jumping Jacks. This easy, do-anywhere exercise is sure to give you a quick energy boost and get the blood flowing. It also helps get creative juices flowing, so it’s a great break to take during work or when feeling stuck on a project.
  3. Do a headstand. Headstands are a great way to flush fresh blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
  4. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.
  5. Go for a bike ride, walk or hike with a friend. Getting outside in nature has a restorative effect on the psyche. Research shows that just 15 minutes of walking in a park or forest increased feelings of vitality and relaxation.

Awareness: Live Life Mindfully

  1. Smell the flowers and while you’re there count the number of petals they have. Really notice the beauty nature provides us.
  2. Watch the sunrise or sunset. Remember that no matter how difficult things get, the sun will rise again tomorrow.
  3. Light a candle or fire and watch how mesmerizing the flames can be.
  4. Eat an orange mindfully (or raisin, piece of chocolate, anything you have on hand).
  5. Marvel at the all tasks your body performs automatically without you having to tell it anything. Breathing, feeling, digesting, thinking, yawning, blinking, sweating, shivering….how many can you come up with?

Trying Out: Keep Learning New Things

  1. Ask more questions. Keeping your mind open to the marvels of the world is fuel for your imagination.
  2. Visit a museum or historical site in your town or city.
  3. Try a new sport, yoga class, or activity in your area. Studies have shown that learning a new sport increases the volume of gray matter in parts of the brain responsible for motor movement.
  4. Learn to draw, play an instrument, cook a new meal, or learn a language. Learning helps build self-confidence and feeds creativity.
  5. Teach what you already know. Teaching others forces you to take a new perspective and often leads to deeper understanding.

Direction: Have Goals to Look Forward to

  1. Plan a trip. Having a holiday on the horizon builds the excitement of anticipation.
  2. Create a Weekly Ritual. Rituals provide stability and comfort while also connecting you to the present moment. If your ritual includes others, such as family movie night, it becomes a great way to connect and nurture relationships.
  3. Sign up for an event that you have to train for, like a mud run or a triathlon — bonus points for doing it with a group. The sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a goal after months of training is one of the greatest happiness boosters I know of. It builds confidence in all areas of life.
  4. Break down larger goals into small, attainable actions that move you towards your goal. Have a weekly check in to make sure you are on track.
  5. Find a mentor, coach, or teacher who can help guide you and hold you accountable.

Resilience: Find Ways to Bounce Back

  1. Listen to your favorite happy song at full blast and sing it loud! 
  2. Meditate. This is a great way to build strength of mind, heart, and spirit. If you’re new to meditation start with just one minute of focusing on your breath coming in and out. When you get distracted (and you will), just begin again. 
  3. Smile. Studies have shown that the body can trick the brain into thinking it’s happy by flexing the zygomatic major muscle, which is the smiling muscle. So when you’re feeling blue, turn up the corners of your mouth and your brain will get the signal to be happy.
  4. Be curious. Rather than judging setbacks or disappointments as bad or failures, approach them with curiosity, like a scientist. Figure out how you could improve for next time. Use everything as a learning experience and you will always be moving forward.
  5. Lean into the pain. This may seem counterintuitive, but a lot of our struggle comes from the resistance we use to avoid being uncomfortable. Often times, once we open up to the pain, sadness, fear, etc., we release the power it has over us and see it as the temporary state it truly is.

Emotions: Look for What’s Good

  1. Keep a daily gratitude journal. Each day write 3–5 things that happened that you are grateful for.
  2. Make a Gratitude Board. This can be a chalkboard, white board, bulletin board, any type of board, that you can write or post things you are grateful for. Keep it somewhere that you see often so it serves as a reminder of how much you have to be happy about.
  3. Make a practice of sharing the best moment of your day with family or friends at dinner each night. Knowing that you have to come up with something good that happened each night will train your brain to look for the good things in your day.
  4. Know what makes you happy and do more of it. Does dancing put you in a good mood? Then make a point to dance a little each day.
  5. Visit the Soul Pancake website. They create inspiring, heartwarming, uplifting, and humorous content guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Acceptance: Be Comfortable With Who You Are

  1. Practice loving-kindness meditation. This type of meditation cultivates the awareness that happiness is accessible to us at all times.
  2. Notice what your self-talk is like. Are you constantly criticizing and judging yourself? If so, try talking to yourself the way you would talk to a friend or loved one.
  3. Have an open mind. The more accepting you are of yourself, the less you care what others think. This allows you to open your mind and broaden your horizons.
  4. Challenge yourself. Step outside your comfort zone once in awhile and you will begin to grow exponentially. This can be as big or small as you like. I like to say each day I will do at least one thing a little more, or a little better.
  5. Nurture yourself. Get a massage, go to a spa, take a warm bath.

Meaning: Be Part of Something Bigger

  1. Volunteer. Whether your thing is teaching underprivileged kids, visiting the elderly, or helping clean up the environment, there are numerous ways to volunteer your time and feel part of a community.
  2. Visit the planetarium. It’s amazing what learning about the solar system does for putting things in perspective. Even gazing at the night sky can have inspire feelings of deep connection.
  3. Join a community group. Whether it is social activism or a recreational sport team, getting together with people in your community will make you feel a deeper connection to the world around you.
  4. Adopt a pet. There are an abundance of domestic animals that need loving homes. Having another living thing that is dependent on you brings deeper meaning to your life.
  5. Plant a garden. Tending to a plant, especially one that you will eat, creates an appreciation for the nourishment the soil can provide and a deeper respect for Mother Earth.

And there you have it, some of my tips for cultivating a happy life. I hope they provide some inspiration and motivation to discover your own best ways to live a happier and more meaningful life.

Tracey xXx

Time For A New Bucket List

Everyone should do a bucket list and check it on a regular basis. In this post I suggest ways of creating your own alongside making my own list.

Time to get out the pen and paper

Having lost all my last 3 years posts I thought I would start a new bucket list.  I think it is so important to have things to aim for, wishes to accomplish, challenges taken on and won; I would rather be like that than just plodding along meaninglessly and too far laid back to the point of being horizontal.   But that’s just me.

What’s A Bucket List?

If you have never heard of the term “bucket list”, it is a list of all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfill, and life experiences you wish to experience before you die.

Why Create A Bucket List?

if you don’t live your days by goals and plans, chances are that you spend most of your time caught in a flurry of day-to-day activities.  Ever felt that your days are passing you by without any tangible output?  What did you accomplish in the past month?  What are your goals for the next three months?  Look at the things that you have been doing and the things that you’re planning to do next  – do they mean anything to you if you are to die today?  Having a bucket list reminds you of what’s really important to you so that you can act on them.

Even if you live by goals or to-do lists, they are probably framed with a social context, e.g. performacne, career, health.  A bucket list opens up the context for you life.  It’s a list to identify everything you’ve ever wanted to do, whether it’s big or small, purposeful or random.

Things to do and places to visit

It’s just like planning all the highlights for YOUR life.  Even though I already set goals by default, I still found many new things to do while writing my own list.  It was an incredibly insightful exercise.  What’s more, coming up with my list gave me new-found enthusiasm knowing what I have planned ahead for my life!

The objective of creating this list isn’t to create some fear-based mentality toward death.  I don’t see our existence to be limited to our physical years on Earth – our physical lifespan is but a short speck of our existence in the universe.  The whole point of creating a bucket list is to maximize every moment of your existence and live our life to the fullest.  

The Universe

It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time on Earth so that instead of spending our time on pointless things, we direct it toward things that matter to us.

Time For A New Bucket List

Get Into That Size 12 Jeans Before I Am 50 In June

This has been on my list for as long as I can remember.  With my birthday being in June I’d better pull my finger out big time!   But to be honest I think I’d settle for a small 14.   For me health is more important than waist size.

Start Up With  A New Gym Membership

When my daughter started working at a local gym I stopped going to my regular gym and let the renewal lapse as I wasn’t keen on going on my own.  Now my daughter has been there over 3 months I am now allowed to have free membership.  So fingers crossed, this is going to be addressed this month.  I will have to start slow as I am out of practice but slow is better than stop.

Learn To Swim

Again I am sure this was on my last bucket list.  I would love to be able to swim and get rid of my fear of water.  Swimming would be an exercise much better suited to my health problems; i.e. fibromyalgia etc.  So I need to look into the new gym membership when I get it and see if they do lessons there; if they don’t then I will have them somewhere else.

Learn to swim

Sort Out My Garden

My garden wasn’t used at all last year.  It is far too big for me to look after on my own.  I would love to get it sorted and made nice.  If I had the money I would love to have a garden room for my arts and crafts and sewing and also growing my own veg.  I did about 5 years ago grow my own runner beans, and courgettes etc and loved it.  It was so nice to just go into the garden and pick your own vegetables and eat it the same day.

Wish this was my garden

Make My Own Clothes

I bought my sewing machine about 7 years ago and loved using it.  As space became a minimum it got put to one side and I have not used it for far too long.  I would really like to get into making clothes for myself and also things like soft furnishings etc.  Maybe even printing my own fabric.  It is something that I would really like to get some more lessons in.  I just love the idea of making something to wear; something that is unique and a one-off that fits my personality.

Sewing Machine

Level 4 Complementary Therapies

I am in the process of studying level 3 and would like to further my education even more and maybe go for a level 4.  The other thing I am considering is a course in complimentary therapies for palliative care and end of life.  I have worked as a carer in the care industry and do have some experience with end of life.  Although sad it is extremely rewarding knowing that you have made someones last hours as comfortable as you possibly can for everyone involved.  

I did consider for a long time a career in nursing but the nurses I have talked to over the years are more and more dissatisfied and unhappy with the situations they are currently working in.  So for me being hands on with a client is extremely important and being able to actually physically “care” for someone is integral to my beliefs.

Journey On The Orient Express

I would love to have a trip on this train.  The food looks exquisite but when I think of The Orient Express I think of romance, Agatha Christie, elegance, beautiful scenery and a trip back in time almost.

Write A Bestselling Book

Well I have written a few books now one of which did quite well but I want to push myself and take this much further.  I am in the process of learning and studying very hard and when I get to where I want to be there will be a book coming out alongside of it.  I am also compiling as you know a book; an anthology of poems written by people suffering from mental health issues and also by the loved ones of people who suffer.  So without giving too much else away I have quite a few books in the pipeline.  Also a big one which I start next January and will take me over a year to put together but I’m sure it will be worth it.

Have My Own Horse

Now I know I’m clutching at straws with this one I can’t afford a skateboard let alone a horse but I absolutely adore horses.  They are such a magical and spiritual animal.  I don’t know what it is but when I see one I have an overwhelming urge to touch it; to stroke its neck and feel the soft velvet skin around his mouth.   Having volunteered at a disabled riding group years ago I saw first hand the unbelievably amazing effect horses had on the disabled riders.  I won’t lie the first time I saw it I cried.

Horse

Live On The Coast

I have wanted to live on the coast for so long I can’t remember.  I am sure I am not the only who feels like that but when I am by the sea I feel a great sense of peace and calm come over me and I’m in my own little bubble.  I love Whitby and I love Bembridge on the Isle of Wight and could live at these places quite easily.  For me I would love to be able to fall asleep at night listening to the waves.  Ideally I would prefer a sea view but then wouldn’t we all.  A little place with not many neighbours with a quiet sandy beach, my dog running around on it and you never know maybe ride my horse and feel the wind in my hair.

Get Married

Yep… I would like to get married one day.  The problem is though I need to find someone to marry first and that is proving quite difficult.  I don’t think there are many eligible men around in Harrogate or men that like me that is.  I may have to resort to running over some poor unsuspecting man in a supermarket vegetable isle.  So watch this space you may see me appearing on Crimewatch in the not too distant future.

Have An Orchard

As well as vegetables I would love to have my own fruit trees.  I already have an apple tree which my mother bought me one year for Christmas.  So I have to say if I ever move house my apple tree is coming with me.  I’d love to have more apple trees, pear trees, plum trees; all sorts.   Also berries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries.  As you can see I don’t want much do I?

Be My Own Boss

I’m working on this and I can feel it is becoming more and more of a reality.  I’m not giving up; tenacious is my middle name.  So there is Karma Times on the horizon.  Karma Times has been a name I have had in my head and my heart for so many years now and I know that has been important to me.  Finally I’ve found the niche that this now fits and the path I am on is the right one.   I would like to specialise in relaxation, anti-stress, anxiety and depression; also chronic health conditions which are quite often linked.  

Make My Own Brand Products

I have made a start with this with the aromatherapy wax tarts and will be adding to this continuously.  All my products will be items that are good for the soul and also be part of Karma Times.  They will cover a wide variety of things so watch out for those too.  So currently there is Karma Times the complementary therapy website and a Karma Times Etsy shop which sells my jewellery products.  At some point in the future the two may possibly merge but I haven’t decided yet.   It may be that the Etsy will be just jewellery and the other products will be on the therapy site.

Karma Times Wax Melts

Get A Camper Van

I seriously want a camper van.  I can’t think of anything better than on a Friday packing up the van and just to travel around the coast visiting different places.

Get My Own Chickens

I would love to have a little farm-yard but I’d settle for chickens.  If it was up to me I would have chickens, a little goat or two, maybe a Shetland pony or even a donkey or two.  I’d be in dungarees and wellies everyday I’d be in my element.

My Own Art Studio, Craft Room, Sewing Room, Silversmithing Studio

I have so many creative ideas going through my head it’s unbelievable and I want to have a go at all of them while I can.  The only problem is being creative costs money.  But.. this is a bucket list and also a list of dreams and we all need dreams.  And.. sometimes dreams come true!

Go On Some Betty’s Cookery Courses

I think I would enjoy going on cookery courses.  I definitely would like to study nutrition and do a series of cookery books. (I’m working on this currently).

Set Up A Charity or Social Enterprise

I have been thinking about this for a while but even more so in recent months when I have seen the effect of giving free complementary therapies to people in the support group I set up.  The difference has been gobsmackingly amazing.  I wouldn’t have believed it unless I had seen it for myself.  

The sad thing is though the people who need and would greatly benefit from complementary therapies can’t often afford them.  This is why I have been giving free ones to people I know would benefit.  It also got me thinking more seriously about the charity.  I would like to be able to provide complementary therapies to people in emotional crisis.  I want to do this.   I need to do this.

Have My Own Business Premises

I guess this could be linked to the charity.  Either way I would at some point like my own business premises and employ other therapists on the same mission as myself and that is to make a difference.   I don’t want to be targeting the luxury market I want to target the people like myself, the people who need these therapies but can’t afford them.  

I want a business that can treat the person as a whole.  Address both physical health and emotional heath so incorporate mindfulness, coaching, counselling, therapies, creativity, nutrition, group meetings, outings etc for the local community.    Then hopefully one day being able to set more of these centers up to help other communities.  

It would be fantastic to be able at some point to provide an environment, a safe place for people in crisis where they can stay for a few days to access all the services and to leave feeling loved, cared for and with hope.

Face My Fears And Be A TED Speaker

I can’t think of anything worse than standing in front of a huge amount of people and talk about something and be able to keep their attention.  It must be an incredible feeling to be able to do that but one hell of a scary one.  I do love TED if you haven’t seen any yet head over to their site here.

Visit Historical Places

I love history particularly the Tudors.  I would love to visit Hampton Court, The Tower of London and Hever Castle (the childhood home of Ann Boleyn).  I would also like to visit the Palace of Versailles at some point.  The one place I do love is Osborne House on the Isle of Wight; the home of Queen Victoria.  There is something so beautiful about that building and the settings.  

Osborne House

I do love a good castle too.  So I think I need to find a man who fancies doing it with me.  I would also like to visit the pyramids of Egypt, Mexico etc.

Shark Cage

I would be scared to death but I would love to be brave enough to do this.  To see a great white in its natural habitat must be such a jaw dropping occasion.   I’d be terrified but what an exhilarating thing to do.

Learn To Play The Piano

I would love to learn a musical instrument.  I grew up with my granddad playing his harmonica and loved watching him.  I love the sound of the piano so that would be really cool.  I’d like to touch a harp too; it’s not something I’d want to play but I’d like to have a go on one.

Ride In A Gondola In Venice

I would love to go to Venice and ride in a gondola especially with the one I love.  How romantic would that be?  It looks like such a beautiful place so this is definitely going in my bucket list. It’s an art lovers paradise. 

Go Glamping

I loved camping as a kid in fact I still do but haven’t done it in a few years.  I would like to upgrade though and go glamping.  I still want to sleep under the canvas and stars but in a better bed.  To be honest I wouldn’t mind having my own large tippee or yurt in my garden; I’d love that.  It would be a great place to chill out.

Have A Go At Writing Your Own

If you don’t have a bucket list, I highly recommend you to create one.  how much will it cost?  Absolutely zero!  How long will it take?  Probably 30 minutes or so or even an hour, more if you get really caught up in the process of it all.  What do you stand to gain?  Significant clarity in what you want from life.  It’s an invaluable exchange if you think about it.

If you already have a bucket list, take this opportunity to review it.  See if there are new items you want to add-on.  if so, add them in.  check if all the items listed are still relevant.  If not then remove them.  Set a reminder on your calendar to look at it every 3 months or 6 months.

Where Do I Start?

Now take your pen and paper out or open up a text document and type it.  Read the following questions and then start writing what pops in your head.

  • What if you were to die tomorrow?  What would you wish you could do before you die?
  • What would you do if you hand unlimited time, money and resources?
  • What have you always wanted to do but have not done yet?
  • any countries, places or locations you want to visit?
  • What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  • What do you want to see in person?
  • What achievements do you want to have?
  • What experiences do you want to have/feel?
  • Any special moments you want to witness?
  • What activities or skills do you want to learn or try out?
  • What are the most important things you can ever do?
  • What would you like to say/do together with other people?  People you Love? Family? Friends?
  • Any specific individuals (celebrities, famous people, world leaders) you want to meet in person?
  • What do you want to achieve in the different areas of your life: Social, love, family, career, finance, health (your weight, fitness level), spiritual?
  • What do you need to do to live a life of greatest meaning as defined by you?

Come up with as many items as you can  

The items should be things you have not done yet.  Don’t stop until you have at lease 101 things!  If you find yourself stuck, chances are you are mentally limiting yourself.  Release those shackles – your bucket list is meant to be a list of everything you want to achieve, do, see, feel and experience in your life.  

As you can see I don’t have 101 things on my own bucket list yet but I have only just started.   If you follow my blog you will see me update this on a regular basis and will hear about the things I’ve done when I get to tick them off.

I would love to hear about some of the things on your lists so please feel free to share by leaving a comment below.  Also if you want to hear and read more about mine please hit subscribe.

Tracey xXx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jamie Oliver’s Meatballs

Jamie Oliver’s Meatballs

A fantastic recipe from Jamie and a great Saturday night meal. You can also create your own version of this and I give you several optional ingredients in the video.

You can also turn this into a keto meal by replacing the bread roll with a keto bread recipe or serving it with buttered courgetti. Also if you are not following a keto diet you could also eat these meatballs with some spaghetti and that would be great too.

I hope you enjoy the video if you do please like, share, and subscribe.

Mental Health Campaign Update

The weekend and Mothers day is upon us. To make it even better the weather is gorgeous. Stunning blue skies and an abundance of flowers.

As you know the bracelets went on sale yesterday on my blog and I am pleased to say that 3 have now been sold – woo hoo!  You don’t know how happy that makes me thank you so much to the people that have bought them.  It is a great start to what I hope is going to be a magnificent campaign.  For anyone who hasn’t seen them if you click on the shop tab at the top of the page it will take you to them.

A Darker Shade Of Blue Campaign bracelet

I’m quite surprised by how positive I am feeling now after the major hacking and loss of 3 years work; but I feel a bit like a snake who has just shed its skin and is starting anew and I quite like that feeling.  I’m optimistic, excited and feeling positive about the future; especially since I had my first proper client today too which was fantastic.  

I’ve definitely found my niche with complementary therapies I wish I’d done them sooner but to be honest I think now is the right time because I’m emotionally ready and have a lot of life experience and knowledge to work from.  Comibined with the Reiki is wonderful; I love it.

And the dreaded oppressive grey skies have gone thank god!  I hate winter and grey skies I really struggle with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and think this year I might buy one of those lights and see if it works.

Harrogate looks stunning at the moment; there are daffodils and flowers everywhere perfect for the upcoming Mothers Day.  

Have a fabulous weekend everyone and don’t forget to give your Mum the biggest hug ever.  As we get older we seem to stop being physical with our parents which is so sad.  As a mother I miss hugs off my children so much.  Take it from me give them a really good hug and I promise they will love it and while you are at it give them an extra one from me.

Time for another cuppa for me.

Tracey xXx

 

Clouds Have Silver Linings

Day 1 of the new blog, brighter, fresher, more streamlined and definitely more me.

Now yesterday if you had said clouds have silver linings to me you may have ended up with a black eye.  Well you wouldn’t because I’m not violent but you may have received a virtual one.  I lost all my 3 years of blog posts literally overnight.  Now yes I was devasted but.. after another stressfull morning of setting up my new sites and hackers trying again to get in I’m feeling much more positive.

I have redesigned and streamlined and threw security at it from all directions.  I’ve backed up and tweaked and ummed and arghed, scratched my head – lots!   But I think the basics have now nearly been accomplished.  

As I said to someone this morning as the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” well I am coming out the other end as the “Hulk” complete with ripped trousers.  And as my mate Del Boy says, “He who dares; wins!”

One thing I have learnt in life is to let go.  To let go of anger, resentment, guilt and to forgive.  It’s the only way you can move forward and stay healthy and sane at the same time.

So the new blog is I guess a bit of a fresh start.  I’ve learnt a lot over the past three years and I’ve learnt a fair bit about what makes a good blog post and article.  I’m going to be focussing a lot more on health and wellness, healthy diets including keto diets, recipes, creativity, things going on in the world or in my little bit of the world etc.  Hopefully too more interaction with my readers and a lot more campaigning for mental health awareness and also the charity/foundation that I am wanting to set up.  I also want to get some more books done.  So all in all it’s going to be a jam packed year.  

Next week, just to add a little bit more pressure I have my first Level 3 Anatomy and Physiology exam so this weekend will mostly consist of revision, revision and more revision.

 

So time for a well earned cuppa and a keto peanut cookie.

Back tomorrow 

xXx

Hello World Again!

So you may have gathered that my blog is looking extremely different. If you have read the bits on the home page you will have seen that my blog and my websites have been hacked to the point of being unrecoverable. The pages on Facebook are still ok it’s just the websites and I still have to link the two together again.

So will I let this stop me no I won’t. They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger in which case by the end of the week I will actually be “The Hulk” including ripped trousers.

In some ways, it might be a good thing. The blog had seemed to have lost its way a bit in recent months in my mind at least. So I am going to take this opportunity and get it more streamlined, more focused, and easier to use.

So yes I am devastated as I have lost 3 years of work but I am not going to let it beat me. I did it once so I can do it again.

Your support during this time would be truly appreciated and any subjects you want me to cover etc please just leave a comment or send me an email at info@traceyward.me (fingers crossed I got it working again).