Friday, April 28, 2017

X - 5 Xcess baggages you needn’t carry...



When you fly, the airlines specifies the weight of baggage that you can carry. Anything more than the specified weight, you end up paying an extra tax for it. As with the airlines, so it is with our lives. All our lives we walk around carrying a lot of xtra baggage. It does nothing except make us pay for it by eroding our own peace of mind. What are these xtra, xcess baggages?

Here they are-  

Expectations.

We all have expectations from people in our relationships. We do something for them, and we want them to remember what we did, and give it back to us when we need it. And when they don’t, it doesn’t go down well with us. Expectations in a husband-wife relationship, child-parent relationship, or in friendship, are quite common, but they end up ruining the relationship.

Don’t carry that xcess baggage of xpectations.

Do your deed and forget about it. If you aren’t likely to forget it, don’t do the deed. Don’t give yourself an xtra baggage to carry, by counting your favours. Karma has its own way of finding its way back to you and repaying you for all that you did, good or bad.


Anger –

Anger is like a piece of burning coal. The longer you hold it, the more it burns your hand. It will leave you charred and worthless. Yes, circumstances make us angry, people make us angry, and many a times we have no control over those umpteen things that make us angry.

But don’t carry around the xcess baggage of anger.

Instead, whenever you are angry, don’t react. Pause for a minute, take deep breaths and do nothing until you are calmer. An angry mind is prone to taking decisions that we might regret later. But also, remember not to leave the issue unresolved. Talk it over, take appropriate action, but resolve the matter. Otherwise, you will still be carrying that anger in your heart!


Feeling of hurt –

People have the ability to cause hurt to each other. They say or do things that leave us hurt and upset. The feeling of hurt is more when people whom we love and trust are responsible for it.

Don’t carry the xcess baggage of hurt.

If someone has hurt you, do this analysis. Is the person a loved one, someone who’s presence makes a difference in your life or is it some random person who merely has a passing presence in your life? If they belong to the latter category, there’s no point carrying the hurt. If they belong to the former category, ask yourself if you want forgive and forget, talk it over or give up on the relationship. You will know what to do. By carrying around the hurt and not doing anything about it, you are doing a great deal of harm to yourself.  


Past mistakes and feeling of guilt –

Who doesn’t commit mistakes? No one is all-knowing, or godly enough to have never committed mistakes in their life.

But don’t carry that xcess baggage of guilt.

It was a mistake, you realise it, you feel bad about it and swear to never repeat it again. Leave it at that. What’s the point in going over past mistakes, ruminating over it and killing yourself with guilt? What’s important is to learn from your mistakes and get on with life.  


Revenge –

Don’t hate someone so much that you wait to exact revenge from them for the misdeeds they have done unto you. Someone might have broken your trust, or tampered with your emotions, but is revenge the answer?

Don’t carry that xcess baggage of revenge.

Even if you succeed in taking revenge and destroying the other person, you aren’t going to feel better. Forgiveness, on the other hand, is the best revenge.



Whether it is an emotional baggage or moral one, xcess baggage is xcess. You have to stop continuing to carry it. Leave it on the ground, and save yourself the trouble and pain.
No matter who is responsible of the action, in the end, your response is about you. Make that count.





Thursday, April 27, 2017

W- 5 ways to stop Wasting Time


If there’s something that runs away in the blink of an eye, it’s Time. We often complain that we have no time but if we’d just pause and look at what we have been doing, we have probably wasted away ours when we had enough.

“Every day you waste is another day you won’t get back” ~ Anonymous

Here are 5 ways to stop wasting the precious hours of our life.


Get off social media.

Social media has become the biggest killer of time. Whoever named it the World Wide Web, knew what a web it was going to turn out to be. Like a fly caught in the web of a spider, we go round and round, unable to break free of the tangle. With smartphones notifying us of everything that’s happening around us, we don’t even need to be logged into our PC.

So, we are either going green eyed at that cousin who’s having a destination wedding and posting hourly updates, or getting into unwanted arguments posting our point of view on topics that are irrelevant and a total waste of time, or busy updating the world about what we ate and if we burped and whether our dog did potty. To add to it we are in umpteen groups on our phone and the poor thing keeps beeping the whole day delivering you useless forwards that you forward it again till it comes back to you!

How to stop wasting time on social media? The best thing to do would be to uninstall every dam**d app from the face of your smartphone. Impossible, right? I know! The next best thing would be to turn off notifications when you are completing your work or studies. Avoid looking at the phone every now and then to know who did what. Deactivate once in a while. It is a good detoxifying therapy. The world will not come crashing down if you don’t immediately like someone’s status or post pictures of the food that you are eating.  


Get off the endlessly long phone calls.

If social media is bad enough, the long duration phone calls are even worse. They sap your energy and time. But when it’s your best friend or close relative or the love of your life, you cannot just tell them off. Your parents or sibling might understand if you tell them not to call during working or studying hours, but friends often do not.

How to stop wasting time on calls? If you are studying for an important exam or are neck deep in work, the best thing would be to switch off your phone. If that’s not possible, let the calls go your answering machine. Put in a message that you are studying now or are working and will respond to their calls after a particular time, say after 7 pm.  


Stop procrastinating.

Putting off things that you can do today to another day is such a waste of time. Sure, it might not be urgent and it can be put off, but if there’s time today, the best thing to do is finish it off. Completed work equals that much less stress.


Don’t do unnecessary things.

Don’t go and clean your garden when there are more important things to be done. Don’t sit and gossip when you need to devote time to something else. Don’t watch back to back movies on Netflix when your attention is needed elsewhere. There’s a time for everything. Relaxing is important too, but relax in between work, not vice versa.


Make a to-do list.

A to-do list is an effective way to get things done. I stick three different colored papers on my board, green for work that needs to be done urgently in a day or two, yellow for work that can be stretched to a week and pink for work that does not need immediate attention yet needs to be done within a time frame. I keep ticking off the ones in green as I finish and move to the yellow and then to the pink.


What's your mantra? 


   


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

V - 5 Valuable lessons I've learned from life..


I didn’t think I’d be able to write the ‘V’ post in time. But certain things happened that forced me into contemplation about life and the lessons it teaches us. Whether we learn from it or not is up to us.


Here are 5 Valuable lessons I’ve learnt from life-


Life is so very unpredictable.

We all know this, life can be so unpredictable, and therefore we can never be prepared enough. I met my close friend’s father on Saturday. He looked happy and cheerful and spoke to me for quite some time. But just day later, he developed a mild shoulder pain. He was even cheerful on the way to the hospital and chatted away with his family till they admitted him. He recovered enough by midnight and his family had just returned home to catch some sleep when they got a call that he had suffered a cardiac arrest. But unfortunately, his brain was deprived of oxygen for just a couple of minutes and he was declared brain dead.

In a matter of 24 hours someone who was alive was gone. Just like that. The uncertainty that looms over our lives is scary.


Set your priorities right.

Perhaps, that is why we need to get our priorities straight. Your boss, your job, your home, the car, these aren’t or shouldn’t be your priority. Your family, your friends, your passions, your health - these should be. You can always get another job or buy things, but there will never be another parent, or good health if you don’t pay attention to it. The sad part is the things that matter don’t really last. You have to care for it while they are there.   


Don’t hold emotions within.

We hold a great deal of emotions inside us, anger, revenge, stress, grief... why, even love and happiness. The heart cannot deal with so many emotions. Express it, vent it out, talk it over, but don’t hold them within. It eats you up from inside. I lost a cousin to stress. He was just 38, but was suffering from a great deal of work related stress. He just woke up one day and collapsed before anyone could realise what was happening. Sometimes, I wish he had spoken about it.


Don’t let ego and time eat up the relationship.

My friend said that her father had been coming down to meet her for the last three days before he passed on. But she had been busy ferrying her kids’ to summer camp and had been unable to meet him. She rues the fact that though she had the opportunity to talk to him, she didn’t, because she had been busy and now she wishes that she could have a few minutes with him, but can’t.

Life doesn’t wait for anyone. You will never have time - make time.  

Her brother had broken away from his family over some issues, but mercifully he came back a few months before his father passed on. The burden of not having time to say goodbyes, of not having the courage to mend relationships, can be too heavy to carry.

If that relationship is important to you, don’t let ego come in between.


Nothing is permanent, neither grief nor happiness.

Grief and happiness are like the spokes a bicycle. As the wheels rotate, so do happiness and grief, and come into our lives alternatively. When you are very sad, tell yourself that ‘this too shall pass’. We all suffer from pain – emotional or physical. That is not in our hands. But not letting the pain become a suffering – that is in our hands. Don’t keep scratching the wounds, let them heal.

When you very happy, be thankful for it, but don’t be sad when the wheels turn.   



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U - 5 ways to Unwind


After two back to back posts on why we shouldn’t overwork ourselves and why we should learn to relax, here’s one more that tells you ‘how’ to unwind and relax. I know, most of the times we have very little time at our disposal and sometimes we may have a little more. So here are five ways to unwind, depending on how much time you have on your hands. 


If you can afford to unwind for less than half an hour – Do Shavasana.

Shavasana or the corpse pose is a yoga pose we normally do at the end of the yogasanas. It is meant to relax the body. But it can also be done in isolation. All you need to do is choose a flat surface - your carpet will do. Lie with arms and legs stretched in a relaxed manner and close your eyes. Guided shavasana is even better. The yogic guide takes you through a series of scenarios which shuts your mind off from what you are doing and relaxes you completely. There are several well-known audio relays of such guided shavasana.


If you can afford to unwind for less than an hour - Lie down.

First create a space in your home other than your bedroom which you can use to relax. It can be a quiet corner somewhere, maybe a large window sill, or even your balcony. Use your imagination and creativity to decorate the corner in a soothing manner. Put a relaxing push-back chair, a rocking chair or a soft mattress and some pillows if you like to relax on the floor. When you need to relax, go your corner, lie down, and close your eyes. You may choose to listen to music or read a book or sleep. Why create a corner? Because, by marking a certain place as your relaxing spot, the body learns to relax when it is in that place.     


If you can afford to unwind for an hour or more - Take a stroll.

Find a place nearby where there’s a garden, maybe some birds and butterflies (do such places exist?), and take a calm stroll all by yourself. Solitude and nature are a great combination. Smell the flowers, admire the plants, breath in the cool air, and walk at a leisurely pace.


If you can afford to unwind for a couple of hours – Book a relaxing treatment.

Get yourself enrolled at a spa, or a Kerala Ayurvedic massage center or a fish spa center. Getting your body pampered is certainly the best way to relax. I can vouch for the efficacy of the Kerala Ayurvedic massages. They artfully knead your muscles into a putty and when you leave the place, you will have a broad smile on your face and a spring in your body. The fishes biting your feet is a delightful experience too!


 If you can afford to unwind for a day or two - Take a vacation

Skip the hot holiday spots. Steer clear of crowds milling around and opt out of sightseeing. Look for places that are far away from the city, have no wifi, and are set plush in the midst of nature.  You may not have to travel too far. The nearest village might be your weekend getaway. Do nothing. Just sleep, eat, stroll, repeat.

My most memorable vacations are – the one in a village called Magundi, Chikamanglur, surrounded by coffee estates, the Bhadra river flowing through it and surrounded by hills on all sides, the second one in Hebri, Mangalore, bang in the middle of a forest, the Sita river flowing by, and the third in Dandeli, near Hubli, the river Kali gurgling by and the Western Ghats surrounding the place. The common thread that linked all these three places was there was no network whatsoever, the rivers were practically uninhabited except by local people, and we were in the lap of nature for as far as we could go!



What's your favorite way to Unwind? 

Monday, April 24, 2017

T - 5 Ts of Togetherness...


Love is not easy. It involves a lot of effort. Irrespective of whether love has been around for 2 months or 20 years, whether the object of your affection is your child, partner, parent or friend - the effort needs to be renewed every single day. If being together with your loved one for an entire lifetime is your idea of love, then read on to know the 5 Ts that form the frame for togetherness.  

Trust –

Easily, trust forms the basis of all relationships. When someone places their complete trust on you, it’s their way of telling you that they feel safe and happy with you and are confident of turning to you when in need and know that they will not be disappointed. Don’t break the trust they have placed in you. Honour your commitments. If you have promised them something, keep it up, no matter how difficult it is, or else, don’t promise. If they have entrusted you with their secrets, with their issues, with their ambitions, guard them in your heart.

Truth –

Truth and trust are like two sides of the same coin. People trust those who are truthful. The moment you start having secrets that you cannot share, when you have to lie, be dishonest or cheat, be sure that the truth though hidden for some time will soon come out and the trust will be broken.

Time –

Togetherness demands your time. Isn’t ‘time’ the best gift you can give to your one? Agreed, in today’s fast-paced world, everyone is busy, there’s so much to do, and there’s hardly any time. But like it is said, ‘It is not about having time, it’s about making time.’ So, make time to be there for people you love.

Talk and touch –

Communication is such an important part of being together – both physical and oral communication. Most misunderstandings happen because people don’t talk, they don’t express themselves properly. People assume and presume, accuse and scream, and do everything but talk! Most issues would be solved simply if people communicated. And don’t forget to look into their eyes when you talk.

Touch is an important way to show love. Hug, hold hands, kiss. Make your loved ones feel loved.  

Tenderness -

As time passes, we tend to take people in our lives for granted. We expect more, we are disappointed more, we fight more and we hurt more. We forget that human hearts are as fragile as glass. Hence treat the people you love, like you would handle glass – with tenderness. Speak softly, act responsibly, behave gentlemanly and love endlessly, so with the adult, as with a child.  

What would you like to add to the list?



Saturday, April 22, 2017

S- 5 reasons to say Sorry


Sorry. A five-lettered word, but how difficult it is to say it! As kids, we are taught that Sorry is one of the five golden words. While we have no qualms about saying the others, ‘sorry’ doesn’t come as easily. But of all the words, ‘Sorry’ has the most power to set things right. Don’t let the ego come in between. Say Sorry when it’s needed.

Here are 5 reasons why you should say Sorry.

Makes you feel lighter instantly.

When you genuinely apologise for some wrong doing, it lifts a heavy burden off your chest. Whether we accept it or not, our mind always knows when are wrong. And then we carry that burden all along, without realising how much it impacts our well-being.


Makes the other person forgive you.

I remember an incident where a friend had hurt me with such harsh words that stung for hours after they were spoken. It left a very bitter feeling about that person, and I vowed never to interact with her again. But within a couple of days, she called up and profusely apologised. I could see that she really meant it. It made me forget everything that was spoken and I willingly forgave her. I also realised how little it takes to set something right. One heartfelt ‘sorry’, was all that was needed.  


Makes other people see things from your point of view.

When you say sorry, it brings any argument or feeling of one-up-man-ship, crashing down. The invisible wall of hostility that gets built-up, breaks down and allows the other person to see and understand your point of view.  

Makes your little ones learn from it.

As our kids grow, they learn from everything we do. They mimic our actions, copy our behaviour and learn from our mistakes. When you apologise to someone, the little ones learn that committing a mistake is wrong but they can make it right by apologising. They learn to respect relationships and feelings more than their egos. Don’t you want to set the right example for your kids?


It’s for yourself.  

Saying sorry and meaning it, is more for our own sense of relief than for the person we have wronged. Irrespective of whether the other person forgives you or not, it will help you to be rid of guilt and help you to move on. Help yourself heal. Say Sorry.


Friday, April 21, 2017

R- 5 reasons why you must learn to Relax!


Our schedules are so tightly packed these days that we are constantly flitting from one activity to the other. Irrespective of whether you are a homemaker, are working outside, or are a student, there’s hardly a minute to spare for yourself! In the process, you end up fatigued, worried and irritated all the time. Only if you’d slow down a bit a take some time out to relax, you’d see that you can complete all your tasks without keeling over from trying too hard.

Here are 5 reasons why you must learn to relax.


Panicking and worrying is not going to make things right.

Sure, there’s a whole of things that keeps us on our tentacles – work that is pending, work that has deadlines, work that expects us to be in many places at the same time, work that is not going as per plan, or work that drives you crazy because the other people involved in it aren’t as dedicated as you are! But panicking or worrying isn’t going to get you anywhere. Things will happen when they have to happen.  


A relaxed mind can take more rational decisions.

You will agree that we hardly take our best decisions when we panic or worry. We tend to shout, argue, fight, feel discouraged, or angry when the mind isn’t relaxed. But if you take some time out to relax, you’ll see that your mind can react to situations and adversities much better. You will be able to take better decisions.


Relaxing increases productivity.

A relaxed mind is more creative and productive. When you give yourself a time out and spend time doing deep breathing exercises, meditating, smelling the flowers, simply lying down, or taking a nap, the areas in the brain responsible for creative thinking are activated. People brainstorm better, are able to memorize better, concentrate better, study better, and handle work stress better after a power nap. So, next time you find yourself in a jam, just reach for the pillow!


A relaxed person has a calming influence on their surroundings.

A relaxed mind is contagious. People around you tend to calm down if you are relaxed. An agitated person tends to increase the tension in their surrounding but a relaxed person dissipates the existing tension.


Relaxing helps keep illness at bay.

Relaxing helps to calm the body and mind. It prevents stress and depression. It also prevents high blood pressure, migraines and such illness which are all a manifestation of panicking and worrying. What is the use of spoiling the health and regretting later?  



Take time out from your busy schedules and relax. The body needs to rejuvenate and recoup. Don’t deny it it’s due.  





Thursday, April 20, 2017

Q - 5 irritating Questions that people ask and how to tackle them!


Our lives are never private. There are people all around us trying to poke their noses into everything we do or don’t. They are so interested to know every little thing that goes on in our lives that it becomes a pain answering them.  

Are you free? they will ask. Your time is never your own. You will be expected to run errands, complete their child’s project, or whatever. But if you refuse to help, saying you have your own work to complete, they have the next question ready.

How much do you earn? they will want to know. Hah! They really expect you to tell them the figures? Don’t answer it, but if you did, well, God save you. If they think you are earning well, they will pop the next question.

Why are you single? What a waste of your life, if you aren’t yet married by the ‘correct’ age that society has set for you. Perhaps they will give you a cursory look and try to reason why marriage has evaded you.  

Why don’t you do something about your colour/ size? Poor souls. Don’t they know that one can do absolutely nothing about the colour of your skin, height and err…weight?  But when you eventually get married, you know what they will ask next...

When will you have a child? As if having a child is the sole reason why people get married!

After having given you the headache of a marriage and a child and seeing you run around like a headless chicken, will they get off your back? No! They will come back to question #1.  

Are you free?



So, here are 5 ways to tackle these irritating questions.

Use humour.

Find a funny way to reply back to irritating questions. If someone’s pestering you with the why aren’t you married question, roll your eyes and say, ‘Oh my, are you jealous?’, or wink and say, ‘Amn’t I lucky?’, or better, ‘Because I love bread pakoda more’!

Ask another question.

It always irritates people when you answer a question with another question. If someone’s asks, how much do you earn, say, ‘Why is that important to you?’, or ask them the same question, ‘How much do you earn?’ or even tongue-in-cheek, ‘Why, aren’t you paid enough?’

Be vague.

Giving vague answers which give out nothing about what they want to know is a clever way of getting them off your back. If someone asks, ‘What price did you sell your house for?’  say, ‘Even a million bucks would not be enough payment for this lovely home,’ or ‘Money is just a number, can it buy happiness?’

Give them an irrelevant and lengthy explanation.

If people have come looking for spice, give it to them. Take them round and round in circles, giving them all sorts of irrelevant information and take up so much of their time that they will think twice before asking personal questions again.

Refuse to answer.

Just refuse to answer. People aren’t expecting you to refuse to answer them. Knock them over with a refusal, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t want to answer that.’ Simple.

What's your trick? 


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P - 5 kinds of People we should be grateful for!


Life would be so lonely and burdensome if there were no one to share our pain and happiness. But thankfully, every time we are broken, there's that someone who glues us back. Do we know who these people are? Or do we just subconsciously go them in our time of need and forget them conveniently?  

Here are 5 kinds of people who form our backbone...don't forget to be thankful to them.

People who make you smile.

I'm sure there's at least one such gem in your life. Even if your chips are down and out, and you are struggling for breath, they know exactly how to make you smile and laugh. Just seeing them lifts your spirits. They may not always dole out the best of advice but from them, you will learn that life is too short to be taken so seriously!  These are ones that make life worthwhile!


People who motivate.

These are the people who always have your back. They will egg you on to do what you want to do, assure you that your dreams deserve to be realised and support you when you feel low. With them you’ll be always full of energy. You can dare to share your weirdest and most impossible looking aspirations and they’ll tell you that you can achieve it too! And no, they will never judge you no matter what you do.


People who are honest.

Everyone loves honesty as a quality, and yet, we don’t like people who are truthful. Quite a paradox? Yes, because truth is bitter. We label people who are honest as unthoughtful, rude, and harsh, but they have your best intentions at heart. They tell you things without mincing words. They are way better than those who sugar coat their words but aren’t really bothered about you. Keep the honest ones close.


People who love you and help you unconditionally.


To receive unconditional love is such a blessing. Yet, we take these people who shower us with unconditional love for granted. Are there people who have been there for you and have always helped you in your times of need? Never forget to show gratitude to these people. No, they will never stop loving you even if you don’t reciprocate, but won’t they be thrilled if you do? 


People who listen.

We all need our 3 am friend. The person who will be there to listen to our woes, to give us their shoulder to cry on, to hug us when we need it the most, no matter whether it is day or night. These are the people you can depend upon the most. There’s nothing that can comfort us more than a person who can you can give us a patient hearing, is there? Well, don’t forget to return the favour when they need you.


Who are these people in your life? Know who they are and keep them close. Perhaps, there’s just one such person in your life, but they might be a combination of two or more qualities or maybe even all 5. I hope you revere them for the sunshine they bring into your lives.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

O - 5 reasons why you shouldn’t Overwork yourself.


No one really has a 9-5 job anymore! Irrespective of whether you are an IT professional, marketing executive, doctor, banker or even a teacher or housewife, the one thing that’s common is exhaustion due to overwork. Every employer is looking at how productive the employee is, every home maker is looking at what extra can be done or has to be done in order to push through the day and in general everyone is slaving their behinds off overworking, till it kills them. The Japanese have a word for it - Karoshi - which translates to, death due to overwork.

But working those extra hours, slogging away till you fall down dead is not really a great way of living, is it? 

Here are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t overwork yourself.


You don’t want to live an incomplete life, do you?

Whether you work at home or at the workplace, they are just one part of your life. There are several other things, like your family, spouse, parents, family, interests, hobbies, travel, and so on and so forth. Making one part of your life into your entire life, is like just living 10% of your life, and neglecting to live the rest. Just like it is important to eat a proper ratio of carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in order to have a healthy body, it is important to play, relax, and enjoy along with the work that you do.


You don’t desire Loneliness, Do you?

If you continue to neglect all other parts of your life, they will start neglecting you too. The kids grow up before you have played enough with them, the parents are no more around to share in your happiness and grief, the spouse has given up and probably moved on, and you are too old to travel or even pursue your hobbies. When you are finally free to spend some time, no one has the time for you. What a shame!


What about the toll on your Health?

Overworking is stressful. You have to deliver, you have to not only be productive but increase your productivity as well. All this leads to a chronic stressful condition. Soon, it manifests as heart disease, obesity, insomnia, depression, back aches, headaches, stroke etc. You cannot sleep well, you cannot eat well or are overeating and not exercising, your heart cannot bear the pressure and in short, your health goes for a toss. Eat well, exercise, sleep well. These are as important.


What a waste of resources!

What use are the money, fame, and name you have earned if you have not spent them well? Whom are you saving for? The future generation? Does it mean you don’t consider them capable enough to earn their bread? Statistics say that most people who spend their lives overworking, die with more than 90% of their wealth unused for their own benefit.

A friend of mine has a three-storied bungalow which employs 12 servants for its upkeep, runs an AC in every room, entertains guests all the time, and needs a huge amount to be paid in EMI. The couple are successful businesspeople but hardly have time to eat and very little time to spend in their own homes! It makes me wonder for whom are they are working so hard? To make the banks richer, servants comfortable, relatives jealous and power companies prosper?


You don’t want to die with regrets, right?

No one wants to die with regrets. A housewife who has spent all her life just tending to the needs of her family but hasn’t taken any time off to groom herself, pamper herself, fulfill her hobbies or enjoy herself, will invariably find herself staring at an empty nest years later, wondering when her entire life passed by. Why die with unachieved dreams, unfulfilled desires, and unshed inhibitions?

The point is not to tell you to stop working and start enjoying. Rather it is to make you aware that there’s more to life than merely work. Don’t forget to give an equal share of the pie to every aspect of your life. Don’t say, I’ll travel when I retire or I’ll enjoy when I am free of responsibilities. Remember that all these aspects have to be taken care simultaneously so that you can live a fulfilling and happy life.






Monday, April 17, 2017

N - 5 ways to say NO!


How often have been have you been inundated with requests to help someone, accompany someone somewhere, complete the project on someone’s behalf, take someone’s place at work, at home, at some family function, babysit someone’s kid, or run an errand for someone…but you have been so neck deep with your own commitments and have wanted to refuse. But…you ultimately ended up saying yes, taking on an additional responsibility, straining yourself and wishing you could have somehow politely refused?

Happens all the time? Well, you aren’t alone. Many people find it difficult to say ‘NO’. Out of the fear of hurting someone, out of wanting to return someone’s favour, out of respect for someone position, whatever the reason, they get bullied into taking up tasks they would have wanted to refuse. They end up stretching themselves too much, get all worked up and end up short of pulling out their hair in despair!

Before you give in, consider these points.

Know your limits.

You are a human, not a robot. There’s only so much you can accomplish in a day. It’s therefore very important to know how much you can stretch yourself without keeling over. You know your routine, your commitments, and your limitations. Before you accept anything more, mentally find out if you can take up additional responsibility.

Prioritise.

Of course, you cannot always give importance to your own work. There might be people who genuinely need your help. See, if you can prioritise the work, yours and the other person’s in order of importance, urgency, and need for your interference. If the work cannot happen without you, then you might have to make provision for it.

If you know that: 
a) the work doesn’t need you to be a part of it, 
b) the other person is simply using your goodness to transfer their burden to you, 
c) you yourself are flooded with work and 
d) it’s neither urgent nor important enough for you to leave everything and attend to it, here’s what you can do.

Say NO without actually saying it!

Take time to answer.

Never be in a hurry to reply. Many time, after we have accepted the responsibility, we think, ‘I should have said this’ or ‘I should have checked with my schedule first’, but we have already committed and then we cannot back out.

Take your time. Say, ‘Can I get back to you?’ Tell them, you’ll let them know if you can take the responsibility after checking with your commitments. That gives you time to plan your work. If it is feasible, you can help and if it isn’t you will know what to say.

 ‘You’ set the deadline.

Do a quick mental math. How much time will you need to finish your commitments before you can go about helping them? Tell them that you can do them the favour but not before a particular date or time. That way, you aren’t refusing them directly, but they also know that they cannot bully you into accepting their undue request. Say, ‘I can do this on Saturday’ or ‘I am free only after 4 pm.’ And if they are in a hurry, they will have to look for someone else.

Refer help.

If someone keeps leaving their kid with you to babysit every time they have to go out, suggest a babysitter. If someone needs you to shop for them, teach them how to do it themselves online. That way, first, you are not really refusing help, second, you are teaching them how to help themselves and third, they’ll get the hint that you are not always inclined to oblige and that they cannot take you for granted.  

Ask for a return of favour.

If someone wants you to take their place at work while they take a vacation, make sure to tell them you will want them to swap places with you in the immediate week after. If someone wants you to run an errand or babysit or complete a project, make them do the same or something else for you. But make sure they return the favour.

If they agree, it will be a fair exchange, or else it will give you an escape from them forever! They will not be able to ask you for a favour again, and if they still do, you will have the right to refuse. And people who are simply trying to take advantage of your goodness without themselves intending to help will not be able to face you again.

Say NO.

Sometimes, people don’t stop harassing you, or promise to return favour but don’t or don’t get hints. In such cases, don’t hesitate to say NO directly. ‘Sorry, but I cannot help you this time. Maybe, next time,’ should suffice. Be polite, smile and refuse.



Don’t get me wrong.

I don’t mean to suggest that one should be selfish and self-occupied all the time. Our society thrives only when we help one another. But at times, there are people who take advantage of the fact that you cannot refuse or those who try to put their burden on you so that they can enjoy. There’s no harm putting your foot down with such people and letting them know that you will not be taken for a ride.


Do you agree? 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

M - 5 tips to Tame the Monkey Mind


Our mind is a tricky place. Billions of thoughts cross our mind every day, vying for attention and action!  Studies say that a staggering 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts cross the human mind per day, which means that we think anywhere between 40- 50 thoughts in a minute or about one thought per second!

Well, that’s not all, because the thoughts do not just come to our mind, they criss-cross, jump, meander and wander at will! And before you realise it, a simple thought can run into hundreds of parallel or unconnected thoughts in a single moment! How does one tame this monkey mind that shows no keenness to slow down?


Be Aware.

With our thoughts running at the speed of light or maybe faster, we carry out most activities without even being aware of it. In the morning, we get into our cars and begin our drive, say, to our office. The next thing we realise is that we are already parking our car in the parking lot. We are not even aware how we drove to office! In fact, we do every task as if we are automated machines. We eat, but we have no idea what we ate or how much we ate! We start a task, and we continue doing it, all the while letting our minds be plagued by a million thoughts.

That is why it is so important to bring awareness into whatever you do. Don’t focus on the past or the future but limit your thoughts to the present. Employ all your senses when you do a task.  When you eat, devote yourself to eating. Look at the food, smell its aroma, feel the texture with your hand, and tongue, pleasure your taste buds and feel it fill your stomach and heart. Express gratitude to the Lord for putting food on your plate. Chew every morsel well.


Don’t resist your thoughts.
If you resist your thoughts, they tend to persist – much like a nagging child. Don’t shoo them away. Instead, develop the art of listening to your mind. Listen to what the mind keeps chattering about all the time. Give it a patient hearing. Listening helps to not just have clarity in your thoughts but also to lets you plan what should be done about it. If you just keep pushing the thoughts out of the mind, they keep coming back with renewed vitality and continue to occupy your mind space.
Be thankful.

Being grateful for everything that we experience in our day to day life is a simple yet underrated practice. When the mind is filled with thankful thoughts, it begins to fill our heart with joy. Slowly it becomes a part of our thoughts. Negative thoughts are replaced with positive ones.

Meditate.

Meditation is easier said than done. But learning to sit quietly for a little time every day, learning to breathe well, to relax and simply let the mind idle away can have long lasting benefits.  Meditation is known to bring about physiological, psychological and physical changes in us- every cell in the body undergoes change and is filled with energy and healing. It is this renewed vigour in the cells that results in the positive changes that occur in the body.
As you learn to meditate, your breathing becomes more rhythmic, heart rate stabilises, and the mind and the body relax. With regular practice of meditation, you will be able to sleep better, stay stress-free, and even concentrate better.
Sleep well.

Sleeping well is quite important to have a healthy body and a healthy mind. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, so that the body’s internal clock falls into a pattern. What works for one person will not necessarily work for another, so choose your sleep hours according to your lifestyle. Eat light. Limit technology at bed time. Over a period of time, not only will the body learn to relax completely but your mind will learn to calm down as well. 

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