Moods are important! Emotions are part and parcel of every human being. The tradition with human feelings – these include both good and bad vibes! If anyone tells you that they only experience good moods, please realise you are dealing with a liar or a mentally disturbed person!
As fate would have it, it always seems harder to get into a good mood but always very easy to lose it. To put it differently, you are likely to change into a bad mood faster than it will take you to adopt a positive emotion. It feels like an exercise in futility, right? … Not exactly!
Why A Bad Mood Is To Be Avoided
It is important to consider the negative effects of a bad mood, hoping that this will jolt you into realising why you need strategies in order to rid yourself of a bad temperament. A foul disposition sets in motion a series of negative reactions to people, events and other external stimuli.
When you are in a foul temperament, you are likely to dent your reputation through negative talk and actions. You may say something you will regret. It is also possible to throw away opportunities and people that could have helped you. In other words, a bad mood beclouds the mind and precipitates negative conduct.
How To Change Your Mood For The Better
Here are effective actions to take when your mood goes south, as it will often do. You will realise that changing your mood to the better will demand that you address certain mental, physical, social and even dietary issues:
1. Treat the cause, not the symptoms: Your moods are indicative of a deeper problem within you. Perhaps it is self-acceptance or low self –esteem. Possibly there is an unresolved problem with someone else. It is time you took the bull by its horns. Iron out the issues with the other person, or, where necessary, seek professional assistance.
2. Set goals and priorities: Your foul mood is probably due to exhaustion and feeling that you have too much to do within a very short time. Write down all the tasks that await you and prioritize them. Identify the urgent and the important and decide what to do first.
3. Adopt a positive disposition: Whenever you focus on the bad that is happening or is likely to happen around you, you tend to feel to despondent. Focus, rather, on what makes you happy. Think about your past success whenever the present seems to be going against your present desires.
4. Grab a wholesome snack or meal: Your moods plunge when you are low on energy. The best solution is to eat healthy food like fruits, nuts, vegetables, avocado and dark chocolate, to name a few. The nutrients these foods carry will elevate your mood almost immediately.
5. Engage in an enjoyable activity: What is that pastime that brings out the best in you? Just do it. Get out there are and ride a bike. Volunteer for community service. Engage deliberately in activities that have previously lifted your moods and made life enjoyable.
6. Invest in some humour: Your mood has plummeted? Watch that favourite comedian or comedy show and bring back some excitement into your life. Call the funny friend who makes you laugh simply by being around you. Go out and meet them as this will spike your mood. How about remembering events and people that made you laugh in the past?
7. Bring a smile to your face: This is where we say you should fake it until you make it. Go before a mirror and smile at the person who is looking back at you. Act happy and you will be surprised at how quickly your thoughts pick up the happy mood.
8. Engage in a distraction: Instead of focussing on that issue that has negatively affected your disposition, look for something different but more enjoyable to do. It may not be something you have done before, but it has to help your forget your reasons for being sad.
9. Work out: It is rare to find a person who is exercising being unhappy at the same time. Exercise has a way of stimulating the secretion of endorphins thus lifting up your mood. Take a brisk walk, hit the gym or perform push-ups in your living room to drive bad moods away.
10. Practice spirituality: There is a soul inside you that yearns for connection with the Supreme Being. Nurture your soul by engaging in prayer, meditation or any other activity that nourishes the inner being. The ensuing peace of mind cannot c0-exist with bad moods.
11. Listen to your favourite music: Music, especially that cool and sentimental type and spiritual vibes, has a way of lifting up your spirit and giving you a reason to be positive and to smile again, despite the negatives around you.
12. Dance: Closely related to music is the idea of moving your body in unison with the beat and rhythm music you are listening to. Dancing, like exercise, has a positive impact on your endorphins, banishing away a foul mood and bringing back the positive vibe you need.
13. Reach out to friends and family: Some bad moods stem from feelings of disconnection from the rest of the society. That is why you need to call your friend and eat out or watch a movie together. A much cheaper option is to set out on a walk or picnic.
14. Play: Which is your favourite game? Football, basketball, baseball, volleyball, badminton? Get some friends or visit the sports club and play to your satisfaction. Bad mood will eschew you.
15. Disengage social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their cousins have a way of making you feel less successful, unimportant and less attractive, especially when you look at the posts and profiles of apparently more successful peers. Give yourself a break and focus on improving your self-esteem.
Most importantly, remember you can only get out of a bad mood by taking practical steps. Whatever works for you, bring the vibe and groove back, maximize on it, and bad moods will not dictate how you live your life!
Your Grace Guru
Happiness is something that all of us crave and search for all the time. It comes and goes, sometimes very quick and sometimes it stays a bit longer! Ask any person you meet what they want from life and chances are they will mention happiness are very high. We spend a lot of money trying to attain all that bliss, we go to great lengths – to the end of the world – just to feel that serenity and gladness that we crave so much.
So why is it that we don’t remain happy for long?
Here are 10 simple things you need to do to become happier or to inculcate an attitude of happiness:
1. Live a simple life: Most of us forget that life is meant to be enjoyed and the best way to do it is to live as simply as possible. Often, it is not the money and material things that bring happiness into life. Rather, it is the simple things that matter. Appreciate the very fact that you are alive and healthy; that you can talk to people and listen to the beautiful sound of nature. Much of these can be enjoyed away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Think about it this way: how would you live if you were taken to a world without modern technology?
2. Imbibe the fresh air from outdoors: There are few things that are as refreshing and invigorating as the outdoor. You level of happiness is likely to spike when your brain imbibes fresh air. After hours of interacting with many people and machines, some of them irritating, you need an injection of freshness and happiness from nature. Create time over the weekend or after work to visit that park or lake where nature teems. The blood in your brain needs that freshness to bring back happiness.
3. Exercise gratitude: It has been proved that people who accept themselves as they are often experience high levels of happiness compared to those who are always complaining. Learn to give thanks for the people around you like family and friends. Be happy when things go right and learn to appreciate when you don’t get your way. Instead of basing your daily disposition on the weather, train your body to appreciate all kinds of weather. Grateful people often find more reasons to become happier.
4. Engage in regular workouts: Regular exercise relieves the body from stress. It stretches out your muscles and brings relaxation. Your brain becomes invigorated because fresh air is mixed in the blood. Your mood is boosted and you begin to feel happier. Rarely will you go into the gym with a foul mood and low spirit and return with the same disposition. People who exercise regularly are among the happiest on earth.
The only bad workout, is the one that never happened!
5. Focus on the good, not the bad: To become happier, you need to identify issues that make you happy and those that sadden you. Your focus should be on maximizing on the positive issues and minimizing or eradicating the negative. In life, there will always be some things and people that exasperate you. Remember you cannot control what comes your way but you can decide how to react to all stimuli. Choose to be happy. Choose to see what is good inside you instead of focussing on the bad that some people associate with you.
6. Spend adequate time on sleep: The human body is designed with its own mechanism for happiness, and part of this is getting enough sleep. There is no way you will be happy when you deprive your body of sleep. Most of the time when you are irritable and likely to pick a fight with other people, it is because you have not slept adequately. It is important that you sleep for between six and eight hours daily since this will naturally rest your body and give you greater happiness.
7. Extend a helping hand: Human life was never designed to be a lonely and selfish affair. We are what we are because someone helped us along the way, we only become happier when we extend the same kind of assistance to other people who need it. Human nature is such that when we lift the spirits of others our joy is amplified. And there are many people in need of your help. Orphans, widows, the homeless, the sick and so on, can benefit from some of the surplus resources you have.
8. Have quality social time: Your friends and relatives play a great role in your life. They know you better than anybody else. Your good and bad moments are all engraved in their minds. Your happiness is connected with theirs. It follows that as their happiness increases, so does yours. Consequently, plan to spend more quality time with those who love you. Attend special occasions such as weddings and birthday parties to show support and enjoy these people’s company, and your happiness will increase.
9. Meditate: One of the most acknowledged strategies of making you happier is to meditate. Meditation helps you to bring your mind, body and spirit into conformity. It eliminates your inner conflicts, giving you peace of mind and contentment. The moment you give your inner nature contentment, you begin to become more positive and pleasurable to live with. Learn to spend time is silent contemplation of your life, listening to your inner voice.
10. Treat yourself well: Your happiness depends on how well you value yourself and how you treat yourself. You cannot make others happy if you are not happy with yourself. The battle must begin within you. Money may not buy happiness but you can use money to increase your happiness. Treat yourself to that special meal in the restaurant you like. Make that special trip to a place where you have always craved to visit. Buy that special smartphone or latest kind of clothing or car if you can afford it. You deserve it as this will make you happier.
When all is said and done, happiness begins with you appreciating yourself. Becoming happier is possible when you extend this love to others, appreciate what life brings your way, and find little ways to make life more bearable for all human beings.
Your Grace Guru
According to Vedanta philosophy, there are two categories of happiness. The first type of happiness is the one that is a result of things turning out the way we want them to be. For example, we can say we are happy because of our friends, family or even children. We are happy because of certain resources that are affecting us, resources that can be taken any time e.g. they aren’t permanent by nature – You could lose your job or wife, so reasons for this type of happiness can be lost any time.
The second category of happiness isn’t as a result of something we achieve or something we do but it’s a state of being. It doesn’t depend on the outer circumstances or our moods. As a result of this state our inner self tends to become calm and exuberant. Pure joy, in this case, is a result of a connection in our deepest state of unbound awareness.
Listed below are keys that will ensure lasting happiness in your life.
- Listen to your body’s behaviour and needs…
What are you comfortable doing and what are you not comfortable doing? When you are undertaking a task, ask yourself, “Do I like doing this?” If your body displays signs of distress and agony or anguish don’t proceed with the work. However, if you feel comfortable and eager to do the chore, please continue. Know what you love doing and what you detest doing then follow what your body says.
- Pay the most attention to the present…
Live and enjoy the present and always keep in mind it’s the only time you have. Accept what comes your way, maximize whatever it is and learn from it. Keep attention to what is on the table at the moment. The infinite laws of nature should be left the way they are, and life should be enjoyed to the fullest the way it is. The present is the way it is. The current moment is as it is because the world and universe are at is.
Ignore what others have to say about you. People may say all sorts of things because of how you look, the way you dress but you should ignore all the negative comments. Discover the infinite possibilities that you have on your hands. Look at life positively.
- Eat healthy…
Avoid alcohol and other fermented foods. Expose your body to safe and clean environments, nourishing foods, and happy and comforting experiences. Consider your life to be a life support system. It is like a transport system that will take you to where you desire to be. For you to arrive safely at a particular place, you need a road worthy vehicle. The same way, you should keep your body healthy. Avoid contaminating your body with toxins such as cigarettes, or liquor. Desist from alcoholic drinks. The human body is made up of cells that contribute to the state of comfort and well-being. Therefore, keep every single cell in your body in its purest form.
- According to psychology, the natural state of us humans is a state of love. Fear, hate and distress counter the state of love…
You should, therefore, build a “wall” that will shield all the hate and negative statements from your family and friends. Take part in undertakings that will have a positive impact in your life such as team building exercises. Take any fears you have and come up with ways of countering them with compassion and love. Instead of fearing exams, why don’t you study hard and work hard for them so that you won’t have to fear the outcome of the results. Once you read and revise, you will be happy when you receive your results. You can face threats because your inner self is invulnerable and impenetrable to fear.
- Create time for meditation and relaxation of the mind…
Meditation can be explained as the gateway to high levels of self-awareness, linking the mind to our inner power and eventually to self-worth. Look for space and release your feelings, breathe in the clean air, and discover your inner happiness and peace. You could start short e.g. with a ten-minute meditation either by listening to calming music or just relaxing over something that works for you. You could eventually lengthen the time you meditate by staying for longer periods every week.
How about you start each meditation session with a short prayer. Don’t ask for stuff, instead, connect your higher self and your source of light. Make it a habit, a daily practice. Pay a lot of attention to your inner life and shun external interpretations that aren’t good for you such as animosity and deception.
- Find a place in your heart to forgive…
Avoid reacting to opposition or anger with hatred, because through that, you will stressing yourself. You will make things worse because you will end up filling up your heart with disgust, and you will end up being furious. How about, you relinquish your anger as, through that, you will be cooperating with the universe flow of peace and tranquility.
- Show me who are your acquaintances and I will describe your character…
Such are wise words that we should always remember so as to remain happy. Your world “out there”, replicates your reality “in here”. Persons who you react with abhorrence and revulsion project your inner world. Be nice to those close to you. Whatever you love and care about most is what you wish for yourself. If you love someone and care about them, it means you would want the same for yourself. The key objective here is self-knowledge.
What Will Affect A Peaceful Mind?
- Special attachment is dangerous…
What we all call love is nothing but special attachment to someone or something. Such kind of attachment isn’t recommended.
If there is love, I will be at your service. Whatever you need, I will provide.
If there is attachment, I will look at you and ask myself, “What kind of service do you provide?”
One partner states: I deserve this because I married you.
The other half says: I deserve this because I married you.
This form of special treatment often passes off as love, because both the husband and the wife think that life is all about rights and not duties.
Affection + Egotism = Attachment | Attachment – Egotism = Affection.
Understand the statements written above. I don’t dispute love and its existence. I am just a firm believer that attachment isn’t something that should be approved.
Attachment is all about how many times you will see your partner and, therefore, there is no space for anything to blossom between the two of you. With love, you are open with each other, and there is a chance for discovery of new things between you two. Just like when flowers bloom during the spring season, your relationship will blossom, and you will be happy when there is love.
- Control your desires…
Uncontrolled feelings and desires cause mayhem. We are humans, and as humans, we can’t live without desires, needs and wants. However, the tricky part is, can we control our feelings? What happens once we let our emotions rage?
Feelings can be uncomfortable at times. Controlling what you feel doesn’t necessarily mean repressing or ignoring them all together. It means keeping them in check, the same way that thermostat keeps the room temperatures in your house in check. Doing so will help you become emotionally stable as well as bettering your health.
The best way of keeping your emotions in check is to focus more on your physical senses. For instance, is your heart beat rate faster? How are muscles behaving? Are they tense or tightened? Is your breathing shallow or rapid?
Acknowledge your emotions instead of suppressing them. Once you know they are there e.g. sweaty palms, and a faster heartbeat, you will be able to relax and heed what your body is communicating.
If you have heightened muscles, you could try PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation). PMR will enable you to identify any muscular tension in your body
Look for a quiet and relaxing environment and calm down. Relax for about 10-20 minutes.
Ensure you are always comfortable. Wear clothes that you like. Try to wear loose fitting clothes. Cleansing and deep breaths will help calm your mind and muscles.
Curl your toes as tight as you can for 5-10 seconds. Relax your muscles for around 20 seconds, and then move to the other foot. Do the same for all the other muscles in your body including those on your stomach, buttocks, lips, eyes, forehead, upper arms, hands, hips, thighs, feet and the forehead.
If you are always working, or if you are always busy, focus on the facial muscles. Engaging in such activities will help you relieve any stress you may have.
You could use visualization methods to relax. Picture yourself in a safe place. That place should be soothing and relaxing. That calm place could be quietest park you know, your bedroom, the spa, your worship place, or the beach. Create as much detail as you can. What do you smell, hear, feel, or touch?
You could imagine yourself as that pebble that’s thrown in the ocean. The pebble will drift away as the waves rise. Picture your problems to be that pebble. Imagine all that negativity, hate and animosity are drifting away just like a pebble. Comforting, isn’t it?
Visualization often seems weird in the beginning, but once you practice it, you will find it normal and comforting.
- What do you operate on? If they are likes or dislikes, be ready for consequences…
We are all unique in different ways. What I desire, might not be what you desire. For instance, a person might find pleasure in smoking, but another guy might not stand it. Some guy may look forward to selling his condo; another, on the other hand, can’t wait to buy it. Such happens everywhere.
What might be happy for someone may end up being sad and sorrowful for another. Therefore, it’s not a being or thing but how you relate and share with it. It’s not the external world that wrecks your peace but rather how you relate to it.
When you are operating on the mind level, it’s all about what you like and dislike and that is dangerous. For example, if you go to a certain country, and you find whatever food you like isn’t part of the menu, so what next? You will end up furious. And that will dent on the level of happiness you intend to achieve.
You should, therefore, operate on the intellect level instead of likes and dislikes as that will help you choose the correct path.
- The mind has a tendency of wandering…
Sometimes the mind rambles when you are talking to someone. It’s a little bit tough to concentrate 100%, even if you really want to. Lots of things are always running through our minds. The haunting past, anxieties about the future often affects our concentration.
Such worries tire us and tire our minds. Take time off and relax.
Avoid working on the weekends. Relax your mind, take a walk at the beach or spend your Saturday at the park. Children are most of the time happy. You have ever asked yourself why? Because they never worry about the past or future. Their minds are always relaxed and therefore, they are always joyful and happy.
Once You Change, You Will Be Able To Change The World!
Be the change that you want to see on the planet. Do things that you would want to see happen on the earth. If you decide to change your thoughts, your actions, the world around you will change.
View your environment with new lenses. I know everyone would like to see a clean and airy environment free from all filth and waste from non-biodegradable goods. I know you love it when the air is clean. Since you like it that way, then why would you want to engage in practices that will be detrimental to the environment such as unclean energy sources e.g. coal energy. Isn’t that going against what you would want the world to be? If you want a clean earth, green, use clean energy sources such as solar power. Avoid littering the environment. The main problem of changing the world without changing yourself is that you will still be you even after you change the environment that you dwell in. With all your negativity, hatred and flaws, you will stain the world with your sabotaging tendencies.
With you being in such kind of situation, you will not achieve whatever you intended because your mind is full of all that negativity.
Avoid spending so much time on other people’s mistakes e.g. “I wish he didn’t walk like that”, “I wish he didn’t drink that beer” Sometimes we end up forcing our closest friends or family members to change. The truth of the matter is, it’s a little bit challenging to change a person for who he or she is.
Instead, be an example, a beacon of hope. If you wish your spouse to be more positive, allow your positivism to permeate your relationship.
Your Grace Guru
One of the best ways to start the New Year is to let go off the past and begin on a new slate. I have in mind forgiving those who have hurt you and allowing positive feelings and thoughts to imbue you. But how easy is it to forgive? Is it even important to forgive in the first place?
Not an easy task!
Forgiving people who have hurt you, especially those who do it deliberately, is not the easiest of tasks. We are not talking about telling that person it is ok, then remaining with hurt feelings for days to come. Forgiveness is about letting out those feelings of hatred, anger and bitterness towards someone who has hurt you.
Forgiveness is not easy…
Forgiveness is more about you than it is about the person who has hurt you although some of them are hard to forgive. Think about this close friend who knows almost all your secrets and who broadcasts your dirty linen to the public.How do you forgive betrayal from a person who is not even willing to acknowledge they are wrong or that they need forgiveness? Your close friends are urging you to forgive that boyfriend who betrayed you with a close ally but now wants to come back. However, the person in the wrong has not even made an effort to ask you to forgive him.Forgiving is also not easy because sometimes the pain is too hard to bear. This is especially when the person who needs forgiveness appears to have had the motive to hurt you. It is no wonder that there are family members who can never see eye to eye. Some cannot sit in the same room or even share a table. I know some people who will get aggressive and prepare to fight when they meet their perceived enemies. Feelings of bitterness and grudges are bottled for many years waiting for the opportune time to explode. There are family conflicts that run so deep that generations of offspring who were never alive when the triggering events occurred can even kill their ‘enemies’.
But is it beneficial to hold grudges and refuse to forgive?
Earlier on we had observed that forgiveness is more about you that about the person who has hurt you. There is a saying to the effect that keeping a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die. In other words, failing to forgive a person hurts you more than the other person. It is ironical that the other person may not even be asking for forgiveness and has a light heart at a time when you are carrying an emotional burden in your heart. Yes, your self-mage and self-esteem were hurt by the actions of another person, but by holding on to feelings of bitterness, you hurt yourself more.
In essence, whether the other person comes to you asking to be forgiven or they simply pretend they never did anything wrong to you, you owe it to yourself to expel the hurt feelings from your heart and begin on a new slate. That burden that is weighing so heavily upon you cannot wait until a remorseful person comes to ask for pardon.I know you think that by stopping to talk to this person you are retaliating. Yes it is true that there is a form of relief from saying that hurtful word or hitting back in a way towards that evil person. However, when all is said and done, it is you who will be hurt whenever you meet this person or even hear people talking about him or her.
Health benefits of forgiving
And there is scientific evidence to back these assertions. According to the Journal of Behavioural Medicine, those who take time to forgive others enjoy better health including lower blood pressure, reduced levels of depression, less stress and a strong immune system. Forgiveness if kindness towards your soul, mind and body and giving yourself an opportunity to live wholesomely,
You also need forgiveness
Let us elevate this discussion. Are you also in need of forgiveness at one time or another? Unless you are not human, you can never avoid hurting people, whether deliberately or inadvertently. Honestly, how do you feel when you have hurt a person, and when you ask for forgiveness, the aggrieved person withholds it? Forgiveness is about empathy – walking the path of the other person and living their experiences. The golden rule urges us to do to others what we would want them to do to us.
Its normal to be hurt; it should be normal to forgive
To sum up, remember you cannot avoid being hurt by the people around you. While you should try to minimize it by being more empathetic and civil, do not hold on to hurt feelings because it is you they will destroy – not the other person. You have a choice to make; do it wisely. This New Year, determine to forgive the hurts of 2015 and begin on a new grudge-free and healthy slate.
Your Grace Guru
If you knew the potency of a smile, you would use it more often. The hearts doesn’t lie and one of the languages of the heart is your smile. Did you know that that positive reaction you craved from people, but never received, was denied because you never smiled? There is a profound science behind a smile which you should know so that you use this weapon more often to your advantage.
Did you know that a lot of the meaning we share in communication is actually non-verbal? People tend to believe more in what you don’t say than in what comes out of your mouth. One of the non-verbal cues that people resort to in order to judge your intentions and character is your smile. Even little children avoid older people who don’t smile genuinely and often!
Smiles are like communicable diseases
A smile is a contagious cue that transmits an emotion. More importantly, a sincere smile is easy to decipher and it comes our involuntarily. Your mood or emotion is like a barometer that people use to gauge approachability. Your smile represents the units of measurement. When you smile, you are telling the people around you that you are a positive minded person they should get close to you.
In addition, a smile elevates your mood and the emotions of people around you. Have you ever noticed how a smiling child brings cheer to people in the vicinity, including strangers? Try looking at a mirror and smiling at your face and you will be surprised at how your smiling mirror image will create wells of positive feelings inside you.
Research has shown that when a positive-minded and smiling person enters a room, the mood of the people in that space is transformed to reflect what the newcomer has introduced. The opposite is true. A smile is like an echo that must reflect back. The only way you can make people to view you positively is to be genuinely concerned about them to the extent that it shows on your face through your smile.
What else does research say about smiling?
• What would you feel if someone gave you a big amount of cash or you won the jackpot in a lottery? That is the feeling a simple smile will give you at no cost.
• When you smile, you help your body to fight against worry while simultaneously bringing down you heart rate and blood pressure.
• Do you love eating chocolate? A smile will bring so much happiness your way that not even 2000 chocolate bars will!
• A child will smile 400 times more than you every day. The best most of us can accomplish is 40 to 50 times, if we really love to smile.
• Endorphins, the feel-good hormones in your brain, are secreted when you smile thus increasing your propensity for positivity and success.
Let’s be more practical
When you smile often you increase your chances of succeeding in your interactions with other people and also in your individual pursuits. A smile is sometimes the differences between the job candidate who secures employment and the one who merely attends an interview. Of course you know that interviewers are human who cannot resist a smile!
A smile makes one salesperson successful while grumpiness drags the other person to failure even though the two have similar qualifications and the same products to sell. The reason some shopkeepers have a constant flow of customers and others end up closing shop in the first month is because one smiles with customers and the other doesn’t. Indeed as the Chinese say, “If you can’t smile, don’t open a shop!”
One woman has a hard time getting men to notice her despite her natural beauty and the added magic of makeup and stylish dressing. Another woman is confused on how to choose the right man for her because the number that is attracted to her warm genuine smile is too high to handle.
How then do you make smiling a natural habit?
1. Be grateful for who you are and what you have and you will realise you have something to give to the world including a genuine smile.
2. Maintain a positive mind-set and you will realize that the world has so much to laugh and be happy about.
3. Fake it till you make it. Go before a mirror and smile at yourself. Visualise yourself smiling before people and feel the positive vibrations you will create in these people.
4. Keep in mind that special person in your life. Think about the many happy times you shared together and particular events that are unforgettable for both of you.
5. Learn to see the unusual and hilarious side of life. There are many events, people, movies, songs and many other issues that should not leave you without a smile.
6. Surround yourself with positive minded people who also like to smile. Soon you will catch the smiling diseases and never get cured!
Finally, please remember to smile genuinely!
Your Grace Guru
Once again Christmas is around the corner, which includes extremely busy schedules and a whirlwind of activities. You will be expected to host parties for your immediate family, relatives, friends and neighbours where necessary. You will also have obligations to attend work events, neighbour’s dinner parties and make the trip to the grandparents’. To prepare for all these activities, there are hundreds of items to be bought. Somewhere in between, you may be fortunate to travel and enjoy some time with your friends. The list endless, but the fact is indisputable – your excitement will be as high as your troubles!
How do you remain sane in the midst of all these activities? We hear you say… Here are a few of our best suggestions to ease the chaotic holiday period:
There are many activities that you can engage in this Christmas. You are spoilt for choice on which destination to visit. Your friends and relatives are competing to visit you or for you to grace their parties this year. You want to purchase the best gifts for your family but with such a long list of presents to buy you may be stuck for money. Your salvation lies in having priorities. However, whatever you choose to put first, remember family is the most important aspect. If anybody wants to involve you in an activity that will disadvantage your spouse and children, turn the former down.
I want to believe that you took time to plan for this holiday. You must have decided how much you will spend on various aspects of the holiday including travel, clothing, food, parties and so on. If you haven’t, it isn’t too late. Remember January is coming and with it bills and expenditure. Do not plan to spend everything during Christmas and begin to struggle when the bills come your way in January. If you fail to plan, you will be working on autopilot and will not know when the gas in the tank will be gone.
Avoid Impulse Buying
Make sure not to overspend. You must be disciplined. Christmas spending can easily get out of hand. If you are the type that cannot remain faithful to a financial plan, you will soon be dealing with excessive spending and this will cause you a lot of mental anguish. Don’t purchase items because your neighbour has similar ones. If you are a parent, take advantage of this period to teach your children how to make wise purchasing decisions. You will not have peace of mind celebrating Christmas when you are unsure of your financial abilities in the New Year.
Learn To Delegate
If you don’t want to run around like a headless chicken, share out responsibilities with people around you! Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, partner, and family members for help! Sharing out your Christmas to-do-list is actually a great way to spend some time with your loved ones, away from the usual distractions of iPhones or TV! Prepare some meals with your partner, divide the shopping list with your friends, and open a bottle of wine to decorate your home! Who said organisation isn’t fun ;-)!
I know everyone will be looking up to you to deliver on this big occasion. However, remember you have a life to live and a Christmas to enjoy. Don’t forget to buy yourself a Christmas present. Get enough sleep in between parties and travels. If you are religious, remember to reflect on your spiritual beliefs of Christmas. Take time to pray and connect with the Supreme Being. Bring cheer to the lives of the unfortunates as this will bring cheer to your heart too. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will have a chaotic Christmas and that is the last thing you want!
Enjoy The Outdoors
Whatever you do this Christmas, take time to breathe fresh air. You can do this by making a trip to a favourite destination, having a picnic with your family along the banks of a river, visiting a children’s home and playing with the kids in the open or play your favourite outdoor game. The most important thing is that you absorb fresh air because it invigorates your blood and brain and renews you to participate in more events. Staying indoors for most of Christmas is likely to make you stressed and maybe even grumpy. Let nature help you to remain calm during this hectic time and you will not regret in January saying you just helped others to be merry at your expense.
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Your Grace Guru
People who associate winter with absolute gloom do not know Europe well. Winter is not the time to hide indoors and moan, waiting for the seasons to change. If you live in Europe or you would like to tour this great continent, plan your tour to coincide with the cold season and you will be surprised at the many exciting adventures and sceneries that await you.
If you are thinking of planning a weekend adventure or romantic gateway this winter, there are many European cities that will provide you with an unforgettable experience. One BIG advantage of visiting European gateways at a time when tourism is in low season is that in general you will spend less money than you would during summer. So, without further ado, here are our 5 top romantic European gateways to include in your bucket list:
For those who have never been to this exquisite city, your mind may initially think of the famous Red Light District. But please let me assure you, this is definitely only one side of Amsterdam. There are exceptional sights seen in the outstanding architecture and vast amounts of canals and bridges that structure the city! With amazing food markets, coffee shops and museums you will have plenty of opportunities to explore. In peak tourist season the roads and pathways can be super crazy with locals and tourists travelling through the city on bicycles! But with visiting in low season may reduce the crowds, and regardless I would highly recommend hiring a bike and taking a spontaneous adventure around the city, you never know what hidden treasures may on the outskirts of the city!
One downside to Amsterdam is it is slightly more expensive than other cities in Western Europe, but travelling prices are cheap and it is also easy to find a good hotel deal so your entire trip can be successful on a relatively low budget! All I would say is remember to pack enough warm clothing as it can get quite chilly in the spring season!
Another great European city to visit is Salzburg, if I say this is where Mozart found his inspiration, and it was the setting for the film “The Sound Of Music” you can imagine how incredible this city is. There is a certain buzz about the city and you get the feel that this is the place where almost everyone wants to hold a concert or festival. Chances are that your gateway may coincide with one of these exceptional celebrations of music or other social event! The city is enticing and enchanting particularly because of its beautiful vies of the Eastern Alps. Make sure you visit numerous castles and fortresses in the city, and grab a taster of delicious German cuisine to sample at the Old Town and other places in the city. This is just a snapshot; the real story awaits you in the musical city of Salzburg.
Perhaps because it has not been the subject of a lot of publicity like other European cities, the capital of Portugal is not understood as it should. This is the perfect getaway considering the city’s laid-back nature. This city encourages relaxation with its beautiful vibrant colours and hilly contours guaranteeing you will see great views from every corner you visit! Choosing to vacation in Lisbon this winter means you will have the opportunity to walk the city’s alleys without the inconvenience of crowds.
You will also be surprised with the way in which a modern city can grow within a village setting yet the incredible traditional antique architecture remains. Yes, the ancient bleached limestone networks rival skyscrapers for beauty and grandeur in Lisbon and this is where the air of romance begins to blow on your face despite the cold. Make sure you take coffee in the many cafes on the streets of this city, watch bullfighting, and lie of the tranquil beaches.
Okay so I know that Austria has already been mentioned but I cannot leave Vienna out! Famous for the culinary speciality Sachertorte, if you’re a fan of chocolate cake this is the getaway for you! Along with its highly recognised imperial palaces, Vienna has emerged as a contemporary city where the new and the old exist side-by-side.I would highly recommend visiting the Vienna State Opera which dates back to the mid-19th century, and rather than purchasing tickets to see the opera you can find opera tours which allow you to grab a snapshot of the Opera House for a less expensive cost.
I have not yet had the chance to visit this city but Budapest has been highly recommended by friends who insist it is enticing and romantic right from the moment you arrive. How about a city of two halves, aptly named Buda and Pest? The magnificent and renowned River Danube is the perfect demarcation of the two sides of this must-visit getaway. Each of the twin sides of this city has unique places to visit and wonderful sceneries. The restaurants are relatively inexpensive but high quality, and the nightlife is completely different to that of Western Europe yet will always provide you with a night to remember!
Considering the dipping winter temperatures, you will appreciate that this metropolis is called the city of spas, some stretching as far as the 16th century. Budapest is the perfect travel destination for anybody who appreciates incredible architecture and wants an experience that is very far from the landscapes of Western Europe!
I hope that one of these cities has caught your eye, if you do get the chance to visit one of these amazing locations we would love see your experiences! You can tag us on instagram @grace_guru or use any of our hashtags #graceguru #graceguruloves #gracegurulifestyle!
Your Grace Guru
December is here once again and people are about to get merry. That said the festive season is also a time to rejuvenate the body with some special foods that are only found during this month! It is important to understand that nature provides us with some amazing rich produce especially in winter. It would be silly not to take advantage and really treat yourself!
For this December, I would highly recommend trying out some of these yummy veggies:
This month, there will be a lot of white cabbage in the stores and markets. You already know about its crisp taste, but you may not have considered the many benefits that this vegetable contains. Cholesterol is one of the greatest fears of many people in an age when lifestyle diseases are prevalent. When you eat steamed cabbages, your body expels bile acid thus lowering cholesterol in your blood. The good thing also is that you can also eat cabbages raw!
Another plant that will invade the market and dinner tables of health-conscious families this December is beetroot. This coloured tap root has a sweet earthy flavour, a velvety and smooth texture and cam be combined with some fruits to make juices.
You may even want to combine beetroot with yoghurt and cream to make it even more delicious. Beets are full of antioxidants, protein, folic acid, potassium and fibre among other important minerals and nutrients. The benefits of beetroot include lowering blood pressure as well as fighting cancer-causing compounds.
Go apple crazy!! Orchards will be churning out an incredible number of different types of apples that some sweet, some sharp and always crunchy! They will also come in many colours including yellow, red, green and other shades. More importantly, use apples as snacks instead of sugary nibbles.
These fruits are packed with energy and can be combined with other fruits to make nutritious deserts. By making this choice, you will be guaranteeing your body healthy sugars, fibre, potassium, vitamin C and flavonoids. Your digestive processes will benefit a lot and your heart will be healthier than ever!
(ULTIMATE favourite!) Winter also brings to us one of the most balanced food crops – butternuts. You must know the small ‘pumpkins’ plants that are shaped like half-dumbbells or cylinders. They are found in very many places across the world. They are used to make soups, stews, curries and other dishes. Butternuts can be mashed or baked and enriched with cinnamon, nutmeg or cream. Eating butternuts squash will give you complex carbohydrates, sodium and low saturated fats. You will be eating food rich in magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene, calcium and manganese.
Whatever you feast on this December, don’t forget about the leeks! I know you are likely to say that this is just another form of onion and garlic. While this is true, but leeks are sweeter and have a stronger flavour than their cousins. You will find leeks on dinner tables where they make stews and soups more delicious and nutritious. They also create wonderful combinations with cheese and potatoes.
If you want side dishes that will enrich your supper, look no further than leeks. For making the wise decisions to eat leeks, brace yourself for a healthy serving of vitamin C, fibre and iron. Your heart and blood will perform at optimal levels if you make leeks part of your diet this December.
Another abundant vegetable during this December is very common but important – kale. This green veggie continues to grace the dinner tables of people who understand the importance of healthy eating. If you cannot get spinach or cabbage, try kale and you will not regret it! You may find it becomes one of your new favourites.
Apart from being a side dish, you can blend it with garlic and even add some soy to it. Your soups too will be richer with kale. Your reward is a healthy serving of vitamins E, A and C. You will also be giving your body a dose of important minerals such as sulphoraphane, iron, phytochemicals, potassium and calcium.
Another important fruits that will invade your territory this December is the pear. Just take a trip to the countryside and you will realise that there is a flood of these sweet fruits. More importantly, nature has timed the coming of this fruit with the holiday season so that you can enjoy their exceptional nutritional elements. Pears are available in many textures and flavours.
There are also a variety of ways for you to enjoy them. How about snacking on pears alone? Well, you can also poach them with vanilla or eat them with chocolate. Don’t forget to try a salad that contains pears. For all your efforts, expect energy, optimal and healthy sugar levels in your blood, copper, potassium and vitamins C and B6. Have a pear feast this December because it will be raining pears!
I hope that one of these veggies has caught your eye, if you do try something new I would love see! We would love to see some of your pictures, you can tag us on instagram @grace_guru or use any of our hashtags #graceguru #graceguruloves #gracegurulifestyle!
Your Grace Guru