Life As An Orange

On frequent occasions throughout the day, we encounter situations that make us frustrated, angry and resentful.

During these times, we blame the other individuals or external forces. We feel they are the source of our ill feelings. They made us feel this way.

We often think, without these people in our lives, we’d be better off.

Oranges.

When you squeeze an orange, naturally orange juice comes out. Why does it come out? Because that is exactly what is housed inside that delicious rind.

Let us think of our bodies as individual little oranges.

When people take jabs at us, poke us and make us feel frustrated, resentful or angry, it isn’t them that make us feel those feelings.

Like the orange, we already hold those feelings inside ourselves. The jabs from the world accentuate the feelings we inherently possess.

We allow feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment to live deep within us and lay dormant until the world is able to poke it out of us.

So then, how do we remedy our internal feelings? How do we take charge of our thoughts, feelings and actions and explode with happiness rather than anger?

We’ve come up with a few techniques to train our body and mind, shedding away any ill feelings that lay dormant.

A) Cancel Rule

In our many life experiences, we have encountered many jabs and pokes. In most cases, these scenarios are largely unavoidable. Sometimes, the people we spend the most time with are the worst for us.

While we advocate ways to change our circumstances, there are alternate methods without drastically cutting people out of our lives.

In our next dicey encounter, let us remember the Cancel Rule. When someone takes a jab we must rapidly and repeatedly yell ‘cancel’ inside our heads.

We cannot let their words penetrate our fleshy rind.

We must train our brain to cancel out their negative thoughts. We must never internalize them or let them sit inside our bodies.

Allowing such a scenario only adds to our pot of ill feelings. Use the Cancel Rule as a method to avoid internalization.

B) Deep Breathing

Our brains chase the easiest method to any scenario. When we encounter a less-than-stellar situation, we often get flustered and our breathing gets shallow.

Shallow breathing is a reaction when we’re angry or frustrated. The primary muscles, which facilitate breathing—diaphragm, abdomen, chest, and neck—are tense which limits free-flowing unconscious breathing.

As our negative thoughts continue to circle around our heads, our breathing inadvertently becomes shorter and quicker, only increasing the ill feelings.

When the world pokes at us, let us stop and think of our breathing. Let us fill our bellies up fully and slowly till our angry orange juice subsides.

Live long enough, and we’ll encounter our share of tough times. That’s okay. We all experience this from time-to-time. Ill feelings are relatively natural within us.

But imagine if we could control our thoughts, feelings and actions? Imagine if we could truly harness our ability to choose happiness over anger.

Well, we can. We believe this goal is relatively simple to achieve.

Through some diligent actions and positive thoughts, we are able change our internal orange juice.

Until next time, my beautiful readers,

Be bold, be free and love on.

orange-quote-frank-sinatra

The 3 Mindsets You Need To Be Happy

When I was younger I had a blood disorder that affected my serotonin levels and caused me to be depressed.

At seven years old I would watch cartoons and break out into tears. I felt like I was losing the battle against my emotions.

I thought a lot about what it means to be happy, and how I could be happier despite this chemical imbalance.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever really won this battle of emotions. I still have ups and downs, good days and bad days.

But I’ve realized that when it comes to being happy, the circumstances don’t matter that much. It’s all about your perspective and your mindsets.

So here are the 3 mindsets that we need to be happy.

1) Our Present Does NOT Dictate Our Future

No matter where we are, how we feel, or what we are doing—that doesn’t decide what will happen in our future.

When everything is going wrong in our lives, we’ll have a hard time imagining a hopeful future.

And you aren’t the only person that gets trapped in this feeling of doom and gloom. Impact bias is the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future feeling states.

When we are depressed we can only assume that we will be depressed forever. We are twenty feet deep in a hole with only a shovel—we feel we can only go further down.

But if we have this mindset instilled within us, we’ll be able to get out eventually.

2) The Past Is A Story, The Future Is An Imagination

If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
But, if you are at peace, you are living in the present.
-Lao Tzu

We spend a lot of time regretting the past, or worrying about the future. But we don’t realize that these things are not exactly what they seem.

Humans are naturally pretty terrible at remember the past. Every time we recall a past memory we are actually remembering the last time we remembered it. In this process we alter the memory.

After years and years, the past is just a collection of completely inaccurate stories we tell ourselves. Some of us tell happy stories, some tell sad stories, but they are all stories.

Don’t base your emotions on the past.

The rest of the time we spend worrying about the future.

We stress about deadlines, awkward conversations, whether we will find love, get the job, and even whether or not we will be happy.

Think about that. We ruin our happiness in the present because we are worrying about whether or not we will be happy in the future.

Humans are bad at correctly recalling the past, and we are also terrible at predicting the future. Every doomsday scenario that plays out in our heads fail to come to pass.

The solution is to not regret the past, but move on, and not worry about the future, but live in the moment.

3) We Don’t NEED A Reason To Be Happy

This is the most important mindset for happiness. If you need a reason to be happy, your happiness can always be taken away.

Happiness is something we should try to cultivate within us. We need to learn to be happy for the sake of being happy.

Material possessions, promotions, friends, relationships, respect—these are all great and should make us happy, but we should never rely on them to be happy.

If we learn to be happy for no reason at all, we’ll be able to keep our happiness no matter what happens around us.

And that’s what we all want right, to be happy?

Stress, And Your Body Thinking It Might Die

You have a headache, an upset stomach, problems getting to sleep, elevated blood pressure and chest pains.

If you looked this up on WebMd.com you’d probably think you were dying from some sort of horrifying disease. But in fact, these are the symptoms of a much more common health problem affecting almost all of us.

Stress

In the same way that pain isn’t all bad because it lets you know the difference between a warm shower and scalding yourself with boiling water, stress isn’t always a bad thing either.

Stress responses in your body during life threatening situations signal your body to stop all non-life-saving functions and focus on getting you out of the burning building, or running away from the man eating lion.

But the problem with stress is that your physiological responses to non-immediate stresses are largely the same as when you’re fighting for survival.

In other words, your body will react roughly the same way whether you are stressing over a cell phone bill, or a meteorite heading towards the earth.

With that in mind it is easy to understand why people under stress can feel like they might die, because their body is reacting that way.

Relieving Stress

So your body thinks every homework assignment, messy kitchen, or job interview that stresses you out is going to kill you.

After a while of building up this stress you need some sort of relief. Stress that continues without relief leads to a condition called distress, which is where things can get really bad.

Distress can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, depression and anxiety among other things.

So what do you do when you are stressed out and need relief?

1) Complete A Repetitive Task

Studies have shown that completing a repetitive task can help your mind unwind.

When everything is piling up around you and you feel like you can’t tackle any of it, completing something as simple as doing the dishes can give you a much needed sense of accomplishment.

It also puts your focus on the task at hand, rather than the prospect of your cell phone bill killing you.

The next time you are feeling stressed, throw yourself into some easy housework. Fold your laundry, vacuum your room, or sort out your loose change.

You can find whatever simple and repetitive task works for you, then use it as your go-to stress reliever.

2) Take A Warm Bath

A warm bath or shower will boost your mood.

Studies have shown that the sensation of warm water triggers responses in the body and brain similar to those of emotional warmth.

When you are in the shower or bath, try to focus on the comfort you feel and keep your mind off of the things that are stressing you out. This will relieve your stress and prepare you to deal with future stress with more ease.

3) Treat Yourself To Endorphins

There are many ways to get those happy chemicals pumping in your brain that will relieve your stress. Here is my quick go-to list:

  • Pet a cat
  • Eat some dark chocolate
  • Enjoy a nice smell (spearmint and lavender have proven effects)
  • Listen to your favourite music
  • Have a good laugh
  • Get some exercise

We all know that you can’t avoid stress entirely. Whether a meteorite is heading to earth or you have a job interview, you are going to be stressed out at some point.

With these tips you will be able to relieve some of that stress, so that you don’t actually die.
Because that would really be stressful.

Your Happiness Must Come From Within You

If your happiness comes from anywhere but inside yourself, then it can be taken away.

I’m not saying that you should never allow happiness to come from the things and people around you, what I am saying instead is that you should try to develop a baseline happiness that emanates from inside yourself.

That way when things go wrong in life—and they will, very often—you can take it in stride, learn from it, and become better because of it. 

The goal is to raise our baseline happiness as high as possible, until it is relentless no matter what outside factors may be weighing at our feet.

Everyone Wants To Be Happy

This is a goal that many people never reach, mostly because they try to obtain happiness through money, power, respect, and material objects.

They don’t realize that all of these things can be taken away, and basing the foundation of your happiness on these things instead of yourself, is akin to building a castle on sand.

Even basing your happiness on the love of another person can be dangerous, and unfair to them.

So what can we do to build up a baseline happiness that will remain intact through the trails of life?

Here are my three tips to cultivate a strong foundation and baseline to your happiness.

Only Spend Time On Things You Care About

The theme of today’s society seems to be sacrifice.

You go to a school you don’t care about to work on projects you don’t care about to get a job you don’t care about. All the while you are sacrificing your happiness.

You might spend time with people you don’t care about, read things you don’t care about (AKA: fear-driven news) and go to events you don’t enjoy.

All of this is chipping away at your foundation of happiness and slowly lowering your baseline.

One of the best ways to cultivate a relentless happiness that will stand up to whatever life throws at you is to spend as much of your time as possible with the people you love, doing the things you love.

Treat Your Body With Respect

Whenever I’m in a bad mood I don’t look to the situations in my life for an explanation, I immediately ask myself if I have been treating my body with respect lately.

It has been proven that their are very strong links between sleep, physical/mental diet, exercise and your moods.

If you don’t ever move your body and get your endorphins going, and if you never get enough sleep and constantly take in junk food and junk mental content, you are going to have a hard time keeping good spirits.

I’ve come to learn that the way you treat your body affects your happiness more than almost any outside situation could.

If you eat a little better, sleep a little more, move your body a bit and watch the thoughts you allow into your mental space, your base level of happiness will jump by leaps and bounds.

Share The Positivity

The best way to cultivate something within yourself is to inspire it within someone else.

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
-Buddha

When you consistently help others uplift their moods, it will have long lasting effects on your natural level of happiness.

This is why people can lower their stress levels simply by petting a cat. It feels good to make someone or something else feel good.

When you help others find their way to happiness where ever you can, you learn new paths and perspectives that will aid you in your own journey towards happiness.

Writing and researching for these articles has taught me so much that I never would have otherwise learned about happiness, but it’s the responses I get when I’ve helped someone else that make me happiest.

If I can help a couple people every once and a while then I know that I have something to feel good about.

So don’t spend your time doing things you don’t care about, treat your body with respect, and then share whatever happiness you can.

You’ll create a baseline of happiness for yourself that will withstand any outside circumstances.

And isn’t that what we all want, just to be happy?

1 Timeless Way To Improve All Your Relationships

Most people will give you the same answer to the following question:

“Do you treasure your relationships?”

I asked myself that question yesterday and the answer was an obvious ‘yes!’ It is just a common trait that we share as social beings.

But then I asked myself a follow-up question. And most people, myself included, cannot answer with the same authenticity and assertion.

“How do you treasure your relationships?”

This question is a lot harder to answer. I found myself stuck, racking my brain for answers.

When was the last time I told someone I treasured them? When was the last time I paid a loved one a simple heartfelt compliment? Unfortunately, I have failed at this task.

While most people do treasure their relationships, they often forget to show it. Here’s how to remedy this major problem.

1. Friendships

My friends mean the world to me. I would do anything that is in my power to help them. Even if it were out of my power, I’d still attempt to move the world.

Most people would identify with the similar sentiment.

But it has been too long since I’ve said or did something that conveys my feelings. Today, I picked up the phone and told two of my friends that I love them. I told two of them, that I’m there for them no matter what.

I told two of them that they can vent and I’ll listen, they can cry and I’ll have a free shoulder, and they can feel lonely and I’ll always be behind them like their shadows.

Today, meet-up, call, text, email, Facebook, MySpace, or any other cryptic interaction you use and tell your friends that you treasure them.

2. Your Significant Other

I started seeing an amazing girl over the last month and half.

I treasure her. Every single moment that I share with her is never a waste. Every single moment has a burst of bliss, energy and affection. When I’m around her, I feel like that cartoon wolf with the bulging eyes and heart.

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When was the last time you expressed how you felt to your girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse? When was the last time you told them that you felt like the cartoon wolf when you cast your eyes on them?

Tell them and show them through your eyes and ears. They don’t want your money or fancy gifts. They just want you, through and through, fully.

Today, stare into their eyes and say something meaningful and heartfelt.

3. Family

Their love and affection is almost expected and that’s a terrible way to live because we take them for granted. I am guilty of this and extremely embarrassed.

I’ll be moving out of the nest and spreading my wings next Friday and as that day nears, I find myself getting bluer.

That expected love and affection from my family will not be an everyday occurrence and it seems that I have not treasured them as much as I should of.

I’ll miss just simply talking to them about nothing, resting my head on their shoulders, or receiving a warm hug.

Today, rest your head on your families shoulder, hug them, and tell them that you appreciate and love them for everything.

4. Strangers

The sad fact is that not everyone has friends, significant others, or families to treasure. If you lack one, depend on the other two. And if you lack the above three, you can treasure this category of people.

When you interact with a stranger for a brief moment – a cashier, a banker, a co-worker or even a telemarketer can quickly become someone to treasure. As awkward as it may feel in the moment, tell the stranger that you appreciate them.

Watch how they react to your heartfelt words. They will blossom and unfold in front of your eyes. They will begin to glow and radiate warmth towards you.

Telling or showing your loved ones that you care and treasure them will change and improve all your relationships. It produces profound affects on anyone you interact with.

Today, I hope you take a little bit of time out of your schedule and treasure your relationships. It is as simple as listening, asking, and cherishing, complimenting, being and loving.

As always, my beautiful readers,

Be bold, be free, and love on.