The Secret to Happiness

happy words

We need three elements in our lives to make us happy. 

The three ingredients for a happy life are:

Purpose

We all need a purpose in life, something that engages us and helps us look forward to the day.  It doesn’t need to be paid work, so long as it is an activity that gives us connection and interaction.

Relationship

We need someone in our lives to share the good and the bad.  Someone who cares about us, someone to love.

Money

We don’t need heaps to make us happy.  We just need a modest amount to feed, clothe and house ourselves with a bit left over for pleasure and to save.

Healthy and Happy
What makes for a Happy Life?

If you are lacking in any of the above three elements of happiness, you must first BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.

What is Happiness?

Be Happy

Happiness means different things to different people. Happiness to some means success. To others it has more to do with looks, height or achievements in life.

Happiness is a mental or emotional state of well-being, often defined as “living a good life”.  Happiness can also be described as being at peace with oneself… being at one with who we are.

How to be happy

When you are feeling unhappy you have one of two choices .. to stay in that frame of mind or to change your thoughts and your thinking.  We all have the capacity to choose to feel differently or to stay in that negative, self destructing state.  Remember, no-one can make you feel unhappy. It is your choice to be this way and to stay there.  We have choices in every situation. We all have choices.

Our thoughts are what define us, our thinking, both good and bad.  In one day our thoughts can vary depending on what we have to do or what we don’t get done, who does or doesn’t talk to us.  How we start the day often determines our mood for the day.

We need to look at the reasons why people become unhappy.  It is because they allow people, situations, events and things to influence their thinking.   To change your thinking can be confronting and challenging. We have a new opportunity every day to wake up and look afresh at life through new thinking.  To change your frame of mind, use some self talk.  Tell yourself you are a changed person and others will not change or influence your thinking because you have decided to be happy.  

The Power of Positivity

how to be happy

Positivity is a powerful strength in any given situation. Smile more, be friendly and be interesting to be around. Ignore comments that are not positive.  Look happy, smile and stay happy.

Have a happy attitude to life. You will be surprised how much your demeanor will change others’ behaviour. Whenever a situation arises, realize that you have a choice and become the person you want to be.  It is possible to change your situation and if necessary, to change your friends.

Chris Sheldon
Diploma Graduate, Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors (AIPC)

We need three elements in our lives to make us happy.

The Power of Giving

giving to others

Many people go through life accumulating wealth and that’s great, but if it’s not coupled with giving to others, then what is it for?  

It is more about themselves than about others.

They need to discover the power of giving.

Giving means offering something without expectation of receiving something in return; or more specifically the act of giving generously of time, money or work without expecting return favours.  If we want our lives to count for something, we should live our lives to advance our knowledge and abilities so that we will have money and time to use for the benefit of others as well as ourselves.  This has been described as “win-win”. 

Life is not just about getting for ourselves and taking at the expense of others.  Life is so much more.  A full and meaningful life includes the joy of giving.

the power of giving

It can take only one person to influence another person’s life and this can impact on the whole family or the whole community and beyond, for the benefit of so many people.  One person’s giving can change a whole community or even change the world.  Giving to others generously and graciously can not only advance and improve others’ situations in so many ways and for generations into the future, it also does so much for our own sense of worth and well-being.

We should never give to others simply so that we can gain.  We need to give with gratitude, with no strings attached, no paybacks required and certainly no future reminders of how generous you were.  By giving from a gracious heart you will find you gain back so much more.  It will enrich your life beyond your wildest dreams.

The Benefits of Giving:

healthy
We are happy people for giving to others
  • Giving to others strengthens our own health and well-being.
  • It impacts on all parts of our own lives.
  • We are happier people for giving to others.
  • It improves our own sense of worth.
  • It gives us a sense of contentment, a warm and fuzzy feeling and we in turn reflect on our own self-worth and gain a sense of pride and achievement in contributing something worthwhile and of value to the world.
  • We gain depth of character.
  • It creates a desire within us to be more open to others and their social and economic needs.
  • We gain from giving to others and we then look for new ways to give of our money, our knowledge, our wisdom and insight.
  • It gives us a greater understanding of others and their real needs and a greater desire to resolve issues for them, that impact on the lives of others.
  • It gives us a stronger sense of love and kindness for others and brings serenity to our lives beyond what we could ever imagine.
  • It creates patience, tolerance and acceptance of others and gives us an inner desire to advance others.

Giving will make your own world a better place.  

Be generous and give of yourself to others.  If you have a heart to give to others, you will want to grow your own assets so that you are able to give.  Boosting your income is a way of increasing your own wealth and thereby your ability to give to others in need of help.

Giving gives us a stronger sense of love and kindness for others

Read more about Growing Your Wealth

The Secret to Happiness



Managing Personal Debt

Make Money Online

by Chris Sheldon

Do you have your credit card under control?

Having a Credit card can often lead to racking up huge amounts of debt, well beyond your capacity to repay within the month required by most credit cards.

The holiday season, Christmas time, can be a particularly dangerous time for over-spending.  “After pay”, credit cards, tap and go, all are fraught with problems for all of us.  Using these easy-pay systems feels so easy and we think we can pay these items off at the end of the month.  But the end of the month comes around quickly and we have forgotten about all the other items we also have bought, with absolutely no thought to keeping track of our spending.

Retail stores make it so easy for us to part with our money. We can pay the furniture or TV item off in two years’ time, but that time also comes around very quickly and huge fees can start applying, with no chance of paying it off quickly because in the meantime we have bought several large items, also on the pay-later scheme.  

It’s such a trap for us all.  Retailers just want our money whether we can afford it or not.  We often know at the time of purchase that we won’t be able to pay these items off, but the desire for the product outweighs affordability.  We just don’t realise how quickly debt can grow and often these items are things we don’t really need or could put off until we have the cash.

Many of us have been down this path of over-spending and built up credit card debt that has gotten out of control.  If you cannot pay back your credit card debt each month, then you have a problem. If you are spending more than you earn, your debt will escalate.

The Solution to over-spending

The answer is simply to BUDGET. We all must learn the skill of budgeting properly, writing a list of the things we spend on each month.

The first step is to open an account for a DEBIT CARD.

We live in an age where things are changing very quickly and we want everything now. We don’t want to wait… we want all things bright and beautiful that we see every day. We want the brand-new car, and a lovely house to show off to our friends, along with the latest new furniture, of course.  This can look very impressive to others but deep down we know that being up to your neck in debt can cause stress, leading to some long-term health issues.  Our neighbours, friends and family may also be suffering from a similar debt crisis. Living well beyond our means is a major problem. From the outside, it looks like we earn a great wage and manage our debts.  Some of us might be paying off the debt each month, but it is a huge issue for most people.  Banks or finance companies lend money so easily and retail stores have sales all the time and we are tempted to buy the latest and greatest. We live with an ”I WANT IT NOW” age.

Why Budget?

The top 4 things that most people want when they retire are …

  • To be debt free, their house fully paid off and to have a nice car
  • To be comfortably retired with enough money to enjoy a great lifestyle, being able to make lots of choices for themselves
  • To be able to travel frequently in their own country or overseas.
  • To be able to help their children financially.

This all sounds so familiar and to many so very unachievable, but by changing our ingrained spending habits, it can become achievable.

For a lot of us, most of our money each week is going out as soon as we get it, having to pay for all these items …

  • The loans for the cars,
  • Credit card repayments for the things we can’t afford right now
  • A 25 to 30-year loan for the new home, paying interest to the bank at a much higher rate than we are earning on our savings account.

Over spending creates so many issues.  We struggle to live in balance, causing much unnecessary worry and anxiety for ourselves.

Borrowing more is not the answer, as the cycle starts all over again.

Leakage and wastage

Wealth Management

We need to look at where exactly is the leakage or wastage happening. The money that is going on STUFF we really don’t need or can do without. The one item that give us no pleasure and we don’t feel happy about is CREDIT CARD INTEREST.  And this is one of the biggest causes of leakage. If you are still paying for the holiday you have not long taken, you obviously could not afford it in the first place.  If you keep putting items on the credit card and you never pay it off, just keep paying the monthly fee, your debt compounds.

Sound familiar?  If so, you need to take a good look at the monthly interest that you pay on each credit card or any other items you are paying off.  To seriously address this leakage or wastage, you may need to take out a loan for paying off all the items you have listed and reduce your credit card limit and only use your credit for emergencies or services charges only.  Then, take out a debit card where you put in each week an amount you can afford for food, petrol and essentials each week, to get your spending back in check.  

Then, look around your house and yard and see what items you could sell that you are tired of that could bring in money to help reduce debt.

To be continued [OTHER AREAS OF WASTAGE]

Gut Health

Gut Health

How is your gut feeling?

Our inner microbiome (gut) affects our total wellbeing, from hunger pangs to chronic illnesses, stress and sadness.

It is now well known that gut health is crucial to our overall wellbeing. It is also connected to everything that happens in our bodies. The trillions of bacteria that live in our gut affect our health, our mood and our weight.  In a way these microbes work together to form what can be regarded as an extra internal organ and play a huge role in our health.

“Your gut is the centre of your being – it digests and assimilates nutrients from the food you eat”, says wellness expert Robyn Youkilis

healthy gut

Health and Happiness

Most of your immune system actually resides in your gut and the gut plays an important role in your mood. Robyn had discovered in her practice as a health coach, that healing the gut resolved many of her clients’ health issues, even the most stubborn.

Poor gut health can lead to digestive issues, such as abdominal pain, bloating, reflux and flatulence and other complaints. including fatigue, joint pain, headaches and even skin problems.  Robyn says depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability and poor concentration are now also being linked to the gut’s microbiome.  Other more serious illnesses and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even cancer have been linked to an imbalanced microbiome .

Mental connection

The gut has also even been referred to as a “second brain” because it contains millions of neurones which are sensitive to emotion.  Our brain and our gut are, in fact, connected by an extensive network of neurones, chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback to and from the brain.  These signals carry information about how hungry we are, stress, sadness or even anger. Have you ever felt a sinking feeling in your gut when something happens that you were dreading? That’s the brain – gut connection in action. The emotion is triggering a reaction in your gut.

The connection can be a two-way street as tummy troubles will impact on our mood and happiness. Serotonin is responsible for good mood and it is estimated that 90% of your serotonin is made in your digestive track and production of this important chemical is reliant on health gut bacteria.

Weight Control

Research suggest that gut bacteria can alter the way that our bodies store fat as well as our response to hormones, making us feel hungry or full. Contrary to popular option, it’s not what your eat, or the number of calories you consume, that’s important, but how your body is using what you eat. You might be eating nutritious whole foods most of the time but still feel foggy, uninspired and generally less than your sparkling best. This is probably because your gut is not in good shape… not properly absorbing all the vitamins and nutrients from your food. This means that your cells don’t have the fuel they need to carry out their role in absorbing and assimilating nutrients from your food.

Sources of gut-friendly nutrients

Sauerkraut (fermented food)

Spinach

Lettuce

Silver beet

Collards

Mustard greens

Kimchi

By Liz McGrath

Read more about maintaining good health

Dream BIG

Dream Big

Most people spend their time, energy and resources.in life doing anything but their hearts’ desire.  A lot of people talk about what they are going to do one day but never really focus on their dreams and what they really want.  

Some people waste their time and their lives on frivolous things, trying to get from A to B to C but they often don’t have a purpose or a long term outcome… where they would like to be in the future.

Some work towards bringing them about.

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”—Christopher Reeve.

Dream Big

You need to dream BIG to achieve BIG.

Why not sit down today and write out your BIG dream?

Dream big

Read more about Accumulating Wealth


MAINTAINING A HEALTHY BRAIN

Boost brain function

The secret to boosting your brain power

As we age, many of us may think that our mental ability must necessarily decline. But new evidence shows that this is not neccesarily the case.

Many older people think that by regularly completing crosswords or sudoku, they will enhance their brain power. However, this is probably not true.  At best, it will do no more than improve their ability to do crosswords and sudoku.  Unfortunately, there is very little evidence that these activities, along with the myriad of phone apps available to improve brain function, achieve anything at all.

Improving Brain Function

According to Melbourne neuroscientist Dr Jared Cooney Horvath, the secret to keeping your brain fresh is continuing to do something unpredictable.  Recent research has shown that keeping your brain functioning well is not about repeating the same activities over and over, rather it is about undertaking new thinking patterns.  Dr Horvath maintains that there are twelve scientific principles controlling the way that we learn and remember. He says that the idea that we can use tools to boost brain function is not supported by current evidence. In actual fact, there is very little that is known about ways that we can help our brains to function better.

If we understand the way that our brain works, we will have a better chance of adopting habits and behaviours that will benefit us to the extent that we can develop a “super-efficient” brain.  As we learn, the brain starts to develop an automatic prediction mechanism. The secret is “you have to keep doing something unpredictable”.  

Learn Something New

Many people, after they retire, will start doing cross-words and playing golf and and may become very good at these activities, simply by virtue of repetition and practice.  However, if they were to take up something new, such as learning an instrument or another language or playing a new sport or even doing something outlandish, the brain will respond and new thought patterns will develop, thus improving brain function.

The conclusion is that any decline in normal brain function is not inevitable as we age.  In fact, if any decline occurs, it is most likely not due to any biological process, but rather sociological effects.

So, the bottom line, according to Dr Horvath, is… “force yourself to engage in something new and once you get good at it, do something new again”.  If you have never done a crossword, it will help your brain by starting to do them.  But once you get good at it, learn to do something else, such as a cryptic crossword or solitaire.  Keep on stretching your brain to function outside of its comfort zone.

In essence, the secret to keeping the brain fresh is continual learning.  If you want a well-functioning brain, you need to feed it new skills all the time.

THREE WAYS TO BOOST BRAIN POWER

1 Follow the Mediterranean Diet

We have long known that exercise, sleep and stress management are all essential for our brain to function at its optimum. But in addition to these three things, we can improve our brain health when we eat a Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet helps improve our short term or working memory.

In essence, the Mediterranean diet consists of eating lots of fruits and vegetables, along with fish, nuts and salads topped off with olive oils.  Diets based on these foods have been shown to greatly improve vascular and brain health. These foods can make up a very healthy lunch or dinner with olives, spinach, goat’s cheese, tomatoes, fish, nuts and extra virgin olive oil.

2 Learn Something New

Learning an instrument or learning a new language can help improve our intellectual skills. As well as this, new sensory and motor skills can greatly boost the brain function. Reading about new things also increases our vocabulary and working memory

3 Go out and connect with Nature

Time spent exploring the countryside is time well spent. Go for drives and explore nature. Meditate in nature, relax and have a picnic.  Appreciate nature… the sea, the countryside or bush land.  Being outdoors gets you out and walking, breathing fresh air.  This all broadens your perspective of the world at large around you and your appreciation of nature… bird life and animals.  So slow down, get off the computer or phone and take a picnic and explore nature. Not only will you improve your brain function, you will feel more connected with the outdoors, the people you meet and you will feel more relaxed and calm.

healthy food
healthy take out

Read more about maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle