INSPIRATIONAL

  • It only takes one person to make you happy and change your life: YOU.

    I am endlessly fascinated by the link between the way we choose to live our lives and the happiness we enjoy on a daily basis. There are choices that you make every day, some of which seem completely unrelated to your happiness, that dramatically impact the way you feel mentally and physically.

    In our daily lives it’s easy to miss the forest for the trees and completely overlook some of the small, simple things that can disproportionally affect our levels of happiness and general fulfillment.

    1. Start steadying yourself with simple rituals. – When life feels like an emotional roller coaster, steady yourself with simple rituals. Make the bed. Water the plants. Rinse off your own bowl and spoon. Simplicity attracts calmness and wisdom.
    2. Start learning to be more human again. – Gadgets are great, but they can get in the way if you aren’t careful. Control them so they don’t control you. In other words, put down the phone. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t hide behind a screen. Ask about people’s stories. Listen. And smile together.
    3. Start filtering out the noise in your life. – Be careful about who you give the microphone and stage to in your life. Don’t just listen to the loudest voice. Listen to the truest one.
    4. Start choosing differently, for your own well-being. – A big part of your life is a result of the little choices you make every day. If you don’t like some part of your life, it’s time to start tweaking things and making better choices, right now, right where you are.
    5. Start being way more productive than you are busy. – There’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. Don’t confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but never makes any forward progress. In other words…
    6. Start dedicating time every day to meaningful activities. – What you do every day matters, but WHY you do what you do matters even more. So quit doing just what you’re able to do; figure out what you were made to do, and then do more of it. And if you only have fifteen minutes a day to spare, no problem – make those fifteen minutes meaningful.
    7. Start being present. – If your mind carries a heavy burden from the past, you will experience more of the same. Let it go. And also be careful not to dwell so much on creating your perfect future life that you forget to live today. Be here now and make the most of it.
    8. Start replacing your worries with positive actions. – Most of the things I’ve worried about didn’t happen. Most of the things I’ve hoped for and worked hard for did. The same is true for the happiest and most successful people I’ve talked to and worked with over the years. So keep dreaming and keep DOING.
    9. Start running toward things, not away from them. – The best way to move away from something negative is to move toward something positive.
    10. Start letting your love overpower your fear. – There are only two energies at the core of the human experience: Love and Fear. Fear pushes what you want away from you. Love draws it in.
    11. Start doing what’s right, even if it’s not the easiest option. – Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean it’s worth your while. Do what’s right, not what’s easiest right now. It’s a less stressful and regretful way to live in the long run.
    12. Start comparing yourself to yourself, and no one else. – Forget what others have and where they are. You’re not walking in their shoes, and you’ll never comfortably walk in your own if you keep comparing yourself to them. So focus on what’s best for YOU and your unique circumstances. What do you need to do next for your own objectives? Do it! You won’t be distracted by comparison if you’re captivated with purpose.
    13. Start being genuinely happy for others. – The more beauty you sincerely find in someone else’s journey, the less you’ll want to compare it directly to your own.
    14. Start being more tolerant of those who see things differently. – Remember, love and kindness begets love and kindness. The way we love people we disagree with is the best evidence of what we really believe about ourselves.
    15. Start letting grace have the last word. – We’ll only lose the arguments our pride insists on winning. When it’s more important to win arguments than love people, we need to start all over again with our faith and priorities.
    16. Start giving without expectations. – You will end up very disappointed if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you. Which is why you sometimes must give twice as much without expectations to eventually get something better than you ever imagined. It’s about the long-term, big picture. The fact that you can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and give them hope, is proof that generosity works wonders behind the scenes. So…
    17. Start being the difference you want to see in the world. – Honestly, you were born with the ability to change someone’s life. Don’t ever waste it. Be kind. Be present. Be someone who makes a difference. What you give to another person is really what you give to yourself. When you treat others with love, you learn that you are lovable too.
    18. Start SHOWING your loved ones what they mean to you. – People who spend all their time trying to make money, spend all their money trying to make time. Don’t do this to yourself. Put first things first. Our closest relationships are vital to our overall wealth and happiness. As we tell those we love that we love them, we must never forget that the highest compliment is not to utter words, but to live by them.
    19. Start being grateful for the life that is yours. – Gratitude is simply the awareness of what’s good. Count your blessings, no matter how small, and start with the breath you’re taking now.
    20. Start replacing the phrase “I have to” with “I get to” whenever you catch yourself starting to complain. – So many activities we complain about are things others wish they had the chance to do.
    21. Start opening up to new growth opportunities. – In almost every situation, a little more willingness to acknowledge that there may be something you do not know could change everything. Go somewhere new, and countless opportunities suddenly appear. Do something differently, and all sorts of great new possibilities spring up. Keep an open mind and have fun with life.
    22. Start letting little frustrations go as soon as they arrive. – You can’t let one bad moment spoil a bunch of good ones. Don’t let the silly little dramas of each day get you down. Happiness starts on the inside. You control your thoughts about everything. Meaning, the only person who can hurt your happiness in the long run is YOU.
    23. Start focusing only on what you can control. – Never force anything. Give it your best shot and then let it be. If it’s meant to be, it will be. Don’t hold yourself down with things you can’t control.
    24. Start turning the pages that need to be turned. – No book is just one chapter. No chapter tells the whole story. No mistake defines who we are. Keep turning the pages that need to be turned.
    25. Start embracing the lessons life is teaching you. – Everything that happens helps you grow. Sometimes painful experiences teach us priceless life lessons we didn’t think we needed to know. If you’re having problems, that’s good. It means you’re making progress. The only people with no problems are the ones doing nothing.
    26. Start measuring your progress every day, no matter how small. – You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once. You may not be where you want to be yet, but look how far you’ve come, and be grateful that you’re not stuck where you once were.
    27. Start embracing the uncertainty in front of you. – Don’t let not knowing how it’ll end keep you from beginning. Uncertainty chases us out into the open where life’s true magic is waiting.

     

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  • Nigeria's royal wedding: Private jets, glitz and glamour

    Nigeria's royal wedding: Private jets, glitz and glamour

     
     
    Yusuf Buhari and Zahra Nasir BayeroIMAGE SOURCE@WRAITH_STUDIOS
    image captionYusuf Buhari and Zahra Nasir Bayero met at the UK's University of Surrey

    Private jets filled up the runway of the airport in the northern Nigerian city of Kano as members of Nigeria's elite and West African dignitaries flew in for the wedding of the president's son and the daughter of a prominent religious and traditional leader.

    The marriage of Yusuf Buhari to Zahra Nasir Bayero is one of Nigeria's biggest celebrity events of the year.

    Thousands attended the event at the palace of the Emir of Bichi, a town in Kano state.

    One historian told the BBC that a wedding between presidential and royal families was unprecedented in Nigeria.

    The pair met at the University of Surrey in the UK.

    The festivities continued on Saturday, when the bride's father Nasir Ado Bayero was officially crowned as the Emir of Bichi. His brother is the Emir of Kano, one of Nigeria's most prominent Islamic leaders.

    The Emir of Bichi holding the staff of office
    image captionThe Emir of Bichi (in white) was given the staff of office at another elaborate ceremony on Saturday

    The newlywed couple did not attend that ceremony.

    Yusuf BuhariIMAGE SOURCE@WRAITH_STUDIOS
    image captionYusuf Buhari is the president's only surviving son

    The groom's family paid 500,000 naira ($1,200; £900) as the bride price - about 10 times the average amount in northern Nigeria.

    The BBC's Ishaq Khalid in Nigeria says the pre-wedding pictures of the bride caused controversy on social media, with some calling her clothing "immoral" because her shoulders were exposed, while others defended her.

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original post on Facebook
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    While there are some reports that 100 private jets flew in for the occasion, an airport official told the BBC there were actually fewer than 50.

    Nevertheless, the festivities were scaled down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the guests wore face masks, with Nigeria currently struggling to contain an upsurge in cases.

    President Muhammadu Buhari and his son YusufIMAGE SOURCEFEMI ADESINA
    image captionBefore the wedding, President Muhammadu Buhari took a salute from his son

    There was heavy security at the wedding ceremony, with police and military officers guarding the palace and stationed at nearby strategic locations.

    Palace of Bichi
    image captionA huge marquee was erected at the Emir of Bichi's palace for the weekend of festivities
    The Emir of Bichi and President BuhariIMAGE SOURCEBUHARI SALLAU
    image captionIn-laws: The Emir of Bichi (left) and President Buhari
    Crowds waving at President BuhariIMAGE SOURCEFEMI ADESINA
    image captionSome people travelled long distances to welcome President Buhari to Bichi

    The wedding itself was conducted by Communications Minister Isa Ali Pantami, a qualified imam.

    Top politicians and traditional rulers from across the country flew in, including several opposition figures. Among them were President Muhammadu Buhari's predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, whom he defeated in the 2015 election.

    The Gambia's First Lady Fatoumata Bah Barrow and the former president of neighbouring Niger, Muhammadu Issoufu, were among the foreign guests.

    Yusuf Buhari and Zahra Bayero wedding fotos: President Muhammadu Buhari son fatiha fotosIMAGE SOURCEAISHA BUHARI
    image captionAisha Buhari (centre right) welcomed her Gambian counterpart Fatoumata Bah Barrow (centre left)
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  • 7 Ways Anger Is Ruining Your Health

    Sometimes anger can be good for you, if it's addressed quickly and expressed in a healthy way. In fact, anger may help some people think more rationally. However, unhealthy episodes of anger — when you hold it in for long periods of time, turn it inward, or explode in rage — can wreak havoc on your body. If you're prone to losing your temper, here are seven important reasons to stay calm.

    1. An angry outburst puts your heart at great risk. 

    Most physically damaging is anger's effect on your cardiac health. “In the two hours after an angry outburst, the chance of having a heart attack doubles,” says Chris Aiken, MD, an instructor in clinical psychiatry at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine and director of the Mood Treatment Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    “Repressed anger — where you express it indirectly or go to great lengths to control it, is associated with heart disease,” says Dr. Aiken. In fact, one study found that people with anger proneness as a personality trait were at twice the risk of coronary disease than their less angry peers.

    To protect your ticker, identify and address your feelings before you lose control. “Constructive anger — the kind where you speak up directly to the person you are angry with and deal with the frustration in a problem-solving manner — is not associated with heart disease,” and is actually a very normal, healthy emotion, says Aiken.

    2. Anger ups your stroke risk. 

    If you’re prone to lashing out, beware. One study found there was a three times higher risk of having a stroke from a blood clot to the brain or bleeding within the brain during the two hours after an angry outburst. For people with an aneurysm in one of the brain’s arteries, there was a six times higher risk of rupturing this aneurysm following an angry outburst.

    Some good news: You can learn to control those angry explosions. “To move into positive coping, you need to first identify what your triggers, and then figure out how to change your response,” says Mary Fristad, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the Ohio State University. Instead of losing your temper, “Do some deep breathing. Use assertive communication skills. You might even need to change your environment by getting up and walking away,” says Dr. Fristad.

    3. It weakens your immune system. 

    If you're mad all the time, you just might find yourself feeling sick more often. In one study, Harvard University scientists found that in healthy people, simply recalling an angry experience from their past caused a six-hour dip in levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, the cells’ first line of defense against infection.

    RELATED: 4 Ways to Let Go of Anger

    If you're someone who's habitually angry, protect your immune system by turning to a few effective coping strategies. “Assertive communication, effective problem solving, using humor, or restructuring your thoughts to get away from that black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking ...... those are all good ways to cope,” says Fristad. “But you've got to start by calming down.”

    4. Anger problems can make your anxiety worse. If you’re a worrier, it’s important to note that anxiety and anger can go hand-in-hand. In a 2012 study published in the journal Cognitive Behavior Therapy, researchers found that anger can exacerbate symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a condition characterized by an excessive and uncontrollable worry that interferes with a person’s daily life. Not only were higher levels of anger found in people with GAD, but hostility — along with internalized, unexpressed anger in particular — contributed greatly to the severity of GAD symptoms.

    5. Anger is also linked to depression. Numerous studies have linked depression with aggression and angry outbursts, especially in men. “In depression, passive anger — where you ruminate about it but never take action — is common,” says Aiken. His No. 1 piece of advice for someone struggling with depression mixed with anger is to get busy and stop thinking so much.

    “Any activity which fully absorbs you is a good cure for anger, such as golf, needlepoint, biking,” he says. “These tend to fill our minds completely and pull our focus toward the present moment, and there's just no room left for anger to stir when you've got that going.”

    6. Hostility can hurt your lungs. Not a smoker? You still could be hurting your lungs if you're a perpetually angry, hostile person. A group of Harvard University scientists studied 670 men over eight years using a hostility scale scoring method to measure anger levels and assessed any changes in the men's lung function. The men with the highest hostility ratings had significantly worse lung capacity, which increased their risk of respiratory problems. The researchers theorized that an uptick in stress hormones, which are associated with feelings of anger, creates inflammation in the airways.

    7. Anger can shorten your life. Is it really true that happy people live longer? “Stress is very tightly linked to general health. If you're stressed and angry, you'll shorten your lifespan,” says Fristad. A University of Michigan study done over a 17-year period found that couples who hold in their anger have a shorter life span than those who readily say when they're mad.

     

    If you're not someone who's comfortable showing negative emotions, then work with a therapist or practice on your own to be more expressive. “Learning to express anger in an appropriate way is actually a healthy use of anger,” says Fristad. “If someone infringes on your rights, you need to tell them. Directly tell people what you're mad about, and what you need,” she says.

     

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  • They always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is.

    A man sees in the world what he carries in his heart.

     

     

    Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no to the desires that drain you.

    They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. I don’t think anything could be closer to the truth, and yet all too often we find ways of complicating things for ourselves. We look for happiness where it does not exist – in shallow goals and desires – in possessions, quick thrills, and impressing the wrong people via social media

    There are many other sources of true happiness as well. But as I’ve said, there are also lots of common traps – goals and desires that we think will bring us happiness, but actually do the exact opposite. Recognizing these traps is the key. In fact, I believe one of the best feelings comes when you realize that you can be perfectly happy without the things you once thought you needed.

    With this in mind, consider the ten goals and desires (traps) below and how they may be holding you back. Each of them is popular in our culture, and thus common in our lives, but rather than contributing to our happiness, they rob us of it.

    So say it out loud with me:

    “To be happier, I do NOT need…”

    1. To please everyone – Be careful not to give so much of yourself to others that you end up completely losing yourself. When you go around pleasing everyone but yourself, you are the one that gets hurt in the end. The late and great Herbert Bayard Swope said it like this: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” That is spot on advice if you ask me. Because truthfully, you are never going to please everyone anyway. At some point you will hold an unpopular opinion – one that gives you meaning and makes you feel alive. And when you do, you ought to hold on tight, tune out the noise, and make it count.
    2. Everything to be easy – You have to do hard things to be happy in life. The things no one else is doing. The things that frighten you. The things others can’t do for you. The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward. Because those are the things that define you. Those are the things that make the difference between existing and living – between knowing the path and walking the path – between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with happiness and success.
    3. Certainty and guarantees – Some people build too many walls in their lives and not enough bridges. It sounds crazy, but they would rather be certain they’re miserable, than risk being happy. Don’t be one of them. Open yourself up. Take chances. Run free. To accomplish amazing things, you must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe. Be a dreamer, a believer, and a courageous and cheerful thinker. Be a positive motivator, a productive doer, and a go-getter who keeps her head in the clouds and her feet on the ground. Let the spirit of passion and possibility ignite a fire within you to do something worthwhile today and every day, and don’t forget to spread your enthusiasm to those around you.
    4. To be better than others – The size of our universe shrinks dramatically when we place ourselves at the center – when we think everyone is our competition – when we think we have to be richer, smarter, and more attractive than the person sitting next to us. Such a goal just keeps a person alienated and tirelessly running in place. Now, on the flip-side, take someone who doesn’t keep score, who’s not looking to be richer, or smarter, or more attractive, who has not the slightest interest even in being better than anyone else: she’s free. Bottom line: Compete with yourself only.
    5. More control over everything and everyone – Sometimes we put too much interest into trying to control every tiny aspect of our lives. Learn to relax and ride the path that life takes you sometimes. Incredible change will happen in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you do not. Freeing yourself from trying to control the insignificant and uncontrollable things lets you experience more of the goodness around you. In fact, the greatest joys are often the unexpected surprises that arrive when you are flexible and open to life’s twists and turns.
    6. Immense moments of glory – Graduations, wedding days, lavish vacations – these times are often fun-filled and deeply celebrated, but these times pass, because time passes. This is something we rarely grasp at first. True, lasting happiness is found in the appreciation of all the small things. For me, there are random moments – coming home from work, Working on my animation, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the sun rising or when it is raining, hearing a giggle from my son's playing in the other room – when I feel a wavelike rush of joy. This is my true happiness: arbitrary moments of sudden, throbbing appreciation for a life I feel privileged to lead.
    7. Other people to constantly validate me – Relationships are essential, but happiness originates from within. It is not exclusively dependent on external validation or on other people. You become vulnerable and can be easily hurt when your feelings of security and happiness depend entirely on the behavior and actions of others. Keep this in mind. Never give all your power to anyone else. Until you make complete peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have or who you’re with. Learn to love and respect yourself first, before loving the idea of other people loving and respecting you.
    8. Perfect harmony in all relationships at all times – Harmony in relationships is nice when it’s sincere, but too often we try to fake it. Effective communication is king. You have to talk it out sometimes. After all, the only way to be happy in life is to live with integrity. This means: Not settling for less than what you know you deserve in your relationships. Being clear and asking for what you want and need from others. Speaking your truth, even though it might create occasional tension. Behaving in ways that are in agreement with your personal values. Making choices based on what you believe, and not just what others believe.
    9. A superior time and place – The reason many people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be. The key, of course, is to do the opposite. Appreciate your past without reliving it, handle your present with confidence, and face your future without fear. Life is simply too short to spend at war with yourself. Letting go of the past and future is your first step to happiness and peace in the present. Realize that you are today where your thoughts and actions have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts and actions today take you. Bottom line: You can’t stop the future. You can’t rewind the past. The only way to live is to press play, and dance.
    10. Happiness 24/7 – Absolutely no one is happy all of the time. Because you simply can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes. This is a harsh truth, I know. Just keep in mind that it’s perfectly normal to experience considerable fluctuations in your level of happiness from day to day, month to month, and even year to year. Believing and expecting otherwise will only lead to disillusionment. But even when life is less than blissful, you are still in charge of how you respond. Choose positivity, always. The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face the day, with a smile.

     

     

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