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Zen Habits of
Happy People
Remember how in this post I was telling you I had been learning more about Neuroscience and the effects of it in our emotions? Well, a lot of you asked what that was all about. I don't have a back story of how I became interested in this subject, I just picked up a book one day and got addicted to it as I realized how life-changing these things where. Before I get to the nitty-gritty I just want to mention that this is the first of many posts in this new series called "5" where I'll give you 5 pieces of advice (from my personal views and opinions because we all know I'm not an expert) on any subject you request. That way we'll keep the information relevant and the posts "short". Are you ready?

Happy People:

1. Get enough sleep  I used to work ridiculous hours and push myself with deadlines thinking I could recover one week of almost no sleep with a few extra hours on a Sunday. That was very untrue, I was lying to myself and deteriorating my physical and emotional health. I made the decision of sleeping 8 hours every night and sticking to a schedule long before learning about neuroscience, I did it because I found myself at a place in which I needed to take care of myself and my health and I needed to stop glorifying how busy I was all the time. Sleep has a restorative and adaptive process, not giving yourself the right to a good night sleep damages your neurological system and it could lead to brain damage. Lack of sleep also ages you and contrary to what we may think, it makes us a lot less productive because our minds will wander and we will feel lost when we have deprived ourselves of rest. I personally find this talk by Arianna Huffington to be very encouraging and true.

2. Have nutritious breakfasts It is a reality that the lack or abundance of specific nutrients can affect cognitive processes and emotions. We live in a time in which we are so health-crazed and willing to try anything and everything without truly understanding how our bodies work. Once you have those sleeping patterns right you need to know that in order for your body to wake up in the morning, it will produce high levels of cortisone, that is the substance that produces stress. Fueling your body with a nutritious breakfast is key to bring those levels down, give you energy and make your body function properly. A balanced diet is key to keep your physical and mental health in check. If your diet bases of sugars or carbohydrates your stress levels will be constantly high. Eating within one hour of waking helps give the body the nutrients it needs to lower the levels of cortisol. Remember that fruit juice, fruit and grains are carbohydrates. Vegetarian or animal based proteins, nuts and healthy fats are the way to go.

3. Live intentionally This is a very personal one but I believe in living life with intention, that means knowing why you do what you do. The biggest and the smallest things you choose to do can have a big impact in your life and your career. Deciding to live your life, defining what your life purpose is and staying focused is key in order not to wander aimlessly. Living intentionally sounds complicated but it's actually very simple. It's about knowing what steps you should be taking today in order to get you to where you want to be and following through.

4. Are grateful One of the best habits a person can have is to think about one thing they're grateful for every morning. I've tried it and that simple act turns my day around. Yes, we all strive, we all suffer and we all go through ups and downs but deciding to live with gratitude puts everything into perspective. It's transforming and powerful. I'm sure that you've experienced that in the hardest moments of your life there always things to be grateful for. Grateful people are happy people because they focus on the positive in their lives and are motivated by it.

5. Make themselves responsible for their happiness Understanding that we are the only ones responsible for our own happiness is life-changing, it makes you work harder, it gives you the desire to be better, accepting and very much HAPPY. Expecting others to be our only source of happiness is a recipe for disappointment.

Thank you for reading. I'm eager to know when do you feel the happiest? and What do you do to remain happy when life seems to be going wrong?

© Ana Degenaar

14 comments:

  1. I absolutely adore this–and couldn't agree more!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked it and stopped by, Lena! Thank you!
      x

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  2. Thank you so much for the tips, they're great and it really gives you a perspective on things. You make your own luck!

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  3. I love this, Ana! I've also been learning a lot about neuroscience, psychology and how our minds work in general. I find it SO fascinating. There is so much to be learned, and it really is life-changing. I've been thinking about how to integrate this new interest into my blog for ages now, but just haven't managed to yet. Something's been holding me back - I love how you just put it out there, and share your thoughts and knowledge. Really encouraging and I totally agree on all of the points you're making!

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    1. A kindred spirit! You're so right, Helena. How lucky are we that we came across it? Simply life-changing. Love.

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  4. Such a beautiful post. Sometimes, with life it's really hard to be 100% happy. You make it seem so simple! But then again.. maybe it really is that simple and that's what makes it tough.

    xo Aly

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    1. You're right. We over-think it while it's there, waiting for us to give a step. xx

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  5. This post is perfect, I can really relate to it all. Getting enough sleep certainly makes a huge difference to my happiness, and being grateful is another important one for me - it's so easy to forget all the good stuff when you're down!

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    1. Thank you so much, Sally! I'm glad you stopped by and commented.

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