Don’t be a slave of your phone

phoneI have a 12 year old Beagle who even at this age loves to go for walks. In fact, it is because of her that I manage to fight off my laziness every morning and evening especially during weekends and go out for a short walk. It doesn’t matter whether it is raining or cold or sunny, every day somehow I manage to take her out. I liked going for walks even before I had my pet, but always had a hard time maintaining consistency. I would easily give up due to rain or other factors.

When I take my dog for walks, I never take my cell phone with me. I am not one of those who are glued to the cell phones all the time but I do feel tempted occasionally to check the news or other social sites when I have free time. Not taking my phone along during walks lets me focus on my dog, observe her how she loves sniffing through every single object she finds on the way, how she loves to pee even when she doesn’t need to go and how much she enjoys rolling on the grass. I love this one on one time with her and I think to some extent my dog looks forward to it as well.

The other day when I took her to the park, I noticed almost every other parent who got their kids to the park was busy on the phone. There was one near the swing whose kid was playing on the swing but the dad never really enjoyed that moment and was busy looking at the phone; and there were few others by the slide and the play area. Looking at that picture from far away made me very sad. I wondered why is it hard for people to give up their phone just for a few minutes and enjoy the moment with their kids or loved ones. When I can do it for my dog, don’t you think they should be able to do it for their kid?

I understand no one does these things intentionally and may be they were doing something important and I don’t blame them but all I want them to know is that sometimes it is important to enjoy the moment; do the things that you are meant to do. If you are playing with your child, give your 100% to it. If you want to play a video game, allocate a specific time and give it your 100%. Don’t try to mix and match, you’ll only end up wasting time and missing out on important memories. Also, don’t let devices control you, it should be the other way round. That is how it was built and that is how it should be.

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The power of Stoicism

balanceI have been reading The Daily Stoic the last two months and I must admit it is one of the best books I have ever read. It has helped me understand and see things differently. To be at a place where you can control your state of mind at all times is truly a great feeling.

Reading the book made me realize how easy it is for us to get driven away by external factors. A rogue driver, a loud colleague, a self absorbed friend or just about anything in life that goes wrong makes us feel miserable and react in a negative way.

How about seeing things differently. For instance getting mad at the rogue driver implies that we are allowing the driver to control our mind and body. Do we really want to give that person that kind of control over us? I started asking this question to everything in my life. When there are disagreements at work or at home, I stopped getting angry at the other person because I don’t want to give others that kind of power over me.

How we react to situations is completely our choice. We all have heard this multiple times but how often do we actually put it into practice. To practice self awareness, to think about what you are thinking and how you feel and behave is the key.

I will post more about this in future posts. It is a great principle and I believe the more people know about it, the better our world will be.

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Opportunity comes when you least expect it

opportunityJust when I thought my life was going nowhere, opportunities kicked in. Life can be complicated sometimes, especially at work. One day I am all happy and satisfied and then all of a sudden one day, I start to doubt if I am following the right path. I start to doubt my choices and whether my career trajectory is going in the right direction or not.

Just when I was battling with these ideas and pondering what to do next, out of nowhere a great opportunity arises that made me reinforce my decision and convinced at least for now that I am going in the right path.

The point is, good things often happen when you least expect it. Life is full of surprises – one day it can be gloomy and the other day there can be sunshine. Make sure to enjoy each day as it comes, do not wait for the events of the day to decide whether it is good or bad. Each day as you wake up tell yourself that today is going to be a happy day regardless of how it pans out. Starting your day with a positive attitude shuns away all the negative emotions and even if things don’t go as expected, you are prepared to face it positively.

Try it out and you will be surprised how much of a difference this small change can make.

 

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Health Benefits of Barley

barleyIt’s been a while since I did a post on superfoods. I discovered barley last week accidentally. Although, barley is no stranger to me; one of my earliest memories of barley dates back to my pre teen years when my parents fed my brother with barley water while he was recovering from jaundice.

Fast forward to 20 years and last week my husband got some barley while shopping for groceries hoping to drink the water. I used the drained barley to make some risotto and it turned out quite good. Curious whether its good for my health, I started researching and was pleasantly surprised at all the benefits this little grain has.

Lose Weight – Let’s start with the obvious and also the one that most people are interested in. Barley does help reduce weight. It has high fibre content and low in calories which means it makes you feel fuller faster and longer.

Cancer – Barley is rich in plant lignin’s which help protect us from cancer as well as heart disease.

Arthritis – Barley also has Copper which strengthens the bones and make the joints flexible thereby reducing arthritis.

Vitamin B – Great source of vitamin B.

Gallstones – Barley is rich in insoluble fibre and helps reduce triglycerides thereby avoiding stones and facilitates proper kidney function.

Zinc – Barley is rich in zinc as well which promotes healing

Vitamin C – Barley is rich in vitamin C which contributes to healthy skin and also improves immunity.

These are just some of the key benefits, there are many more benefits in this mineral packed grain.

Like everything else, excess of anything is not good for our body. To maintain a proper balance, its best to add variety to your meal. I usually try to incorporate different kinds of grains like barley, quinoa, millet, rice and wheat in my meals throughout the week. Similarly a proper balance of fresh fruits and vegetables is also important.

Ultimately, you are what you eat and what you eat in your early years plays an important role on how healthy you would be during your old age, its never too late to start eating healthy.

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Do you appreciate the good part of your life?

waterfallsA couple weeks back, I decided to keep a daily journal about “3 things that made me happy” on that day and as I started writing I felt awfully sad because I was finding it hard to come up with even one thing that made me happy. I felt sad and depressed wondering is there nothing in my life that I am happy about? Is there nothing that I appreciate?

It is easy to think about what all is going wrong in your life rather than enjoying the good part that’s happening around you. We are focused so much in the wrongs that we often forget to appreciate the right. I started this exercise to rekindle that appreciation. It was hard at first to come up with the list but as day passes by I am beginning to see things differently.

I won’t say things are different now, I still got all my complications and hardships and goodness in my life. It’s just the matter of how much importance I give to each of those aspects in my life.

When we think of addiction, often alcohol, smoking and drugs come to our mind but did you know complaining and gossiping is an addiction too? Do you have people around you who always complain? They don’t seem to be happy no matter what the situation is.

Don’t let the bad events take over good things in your life. Give more importance to what make you happy and wipe away the bad incidents from your memory.

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What’s in a gift?

giftAs a little girl, the one thing that I always wanted the most was a soft toy like a teddy bear or a barbie doll. My parents never indulged in showering toys at me or my brother because they wanted us to value them and not take it for granted and also because having a barbie doll was a luxury back then. So when I finally got one on one of my birthday’s, I was asked to neatly keep it in the display shelf in the living room along with other precious toys/display objects. I never actually played with it but was happy that I owned one.

For a very long time, probably until my late teens or even during my early twenties whenever someone asked me what I wanted for my birthday or Christmas; I would immediately answer a soft toy without even thinking. I always thought that playing with toys was my favorite thing to do. But little did I know back then that it was just something other kids did, either in television or in movies and I somehow made it my thing too. I rarely played with toys all my life even though I had many.

Of all the birthday gifts that I received during my early years, there was one gift that I still remember and it is the only gift that I remember using during my childhood days. It was a book about various cities in the world. It wasn’t a nerdy book in any way, it was a children’s book. I never appreciated that book when it was given to me but looking back now I think that it was the most valuable gift that anyone could have given to me. It helped cultivate my love for books and travel.

Many times, we think we need something like a big fat ring or a jewelry just because every one else likes having them; but is that something you really treasure? 25years from now will you remember that jewelry or will you remember the mitten that your friend made for you because your fingers are always cold?

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There is a difference between who you are and what you want to be

I have been hearing a lot about minimalism recently. Almost all advocates of minimalism claim that it has improved their quality of life and I completely agree with it. I am not a minimalist by any standard yet but I hope to become one some day. I do make it a point to get rid of things that I haven’t used in years periodically. I feel that’s a good start but there’s a long way to go.

I often come across people who call themselves minimalist just because its cool but don’t really practice it. I’ve had a friend who was living in a rented room with another family in their house and when she was moving out, she had a truck load of stuff to carry to her new place. I couldn’t imagine how someone living in one room could possibly have so much stuff. And here’s the funny part, that friend calls herself a minimalist.

Sometimes people have an idea about a state of life which they would like to achieve and often hope that they can achieve it if they talk about it often.

Most people when asked a question about themselves or asked to answer a survey about their personality, would often unconsciously reply based on what they want to achieve or see themselves in the future and not how they actually are.

For example, a question as simple as “How clean is your work desk” with the following four options 1- Very clean, 2-Relatively clean, 3-Could use some organizing, 4-Messy, often results in people answering 1 when they are a 2 and 2 when they are actually 3.

One of the key things to make a change in your life is to identify what you need to improve. By turning your back against all your negative qualities will only result in taking you one step backward rather than moving closer to your goal. Awareness is the key here, the more you are aware of who you are, the closer you get to changing it. No matter how much you hate it, don’t be ashamed of what you are now; everything is fixable.

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