Adonis Diaries

Archive for January 9th, 2014

Only 7 steps to a happy Well-being? Like (new you, new year, new wife…)

Want this year to be your most contented yet?

‘Try to learn to breathe deeply, to really taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.’ William Saroyan, US playwright, a Lebanese Armenian who emigrated to the US

‘Watch your thoughts, they become words,’ says the old Arabian proverb.

‘Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.’ (Be present and interested in the moment)

GYLES BRANDRETHAuthor and broadcaster, published this January 5, 2014

Wellbeing: 7 steps to a happy new you

1 Audit your happiness

Research from around the Western world shows that happy people live between 7 and a half to 10 years longer than unhappy people. (Unless a case of traffic statistics)

Since happiness does not just enhance your life but extends it, it is worth giving the amount of happiness you are getting some serious consideration.

Today, take time to make a list of the 20 aspects of your life that make you most unhappy, from the trivial (cleaning out the hamster cage) to the serious (commuting to work), then sit down with your family and talk through the ways in which, by the end of this year, you can have halved the number of items on the list. (Moving house or changing your job to avoid the hell of that commute may seem drastic, but are you serious about living seven years longer or aren’t you?)

 
Happiness does not just enhance your life but extends it
Happiness does not just enhance your life but extends it

Next, make a list of the 20 things in your life that make you most happy (going to the movies, spending time with your children, bird-watching, soaking in the bath). Now get out your diary and allocate time for those things so that you double the hours you give to your happy activities this year.

We all need an absorbing passion
We all need an absorbing passion

2 Cultivate a passion

Outside yourself and your family and friends, what interests you most? Do you have a passion that drives and sustains you?

Do you have a hobby that’s truly involving? If you don’t, you should. We all need an absorbing passion.

Margaret Thatcher’s only passion was politics. When her passion was denied her – when she lost her job as prime minister – she had no others to fall back on and she died last year, aged 87, after 20 years of frustrating retirement.

Now consider another 87-year-old lady of distinction, The Queen.

If you saw the photograph of Her Majesty on the day her horse won the Ascot Gold Cup last June, you will have seen a picture of happiness. The Queen is driven by duty, but what keeps her happy is her passion for horses.

Everybody needs an interest that will keep them engaged in life, come what may.

George V collected stamps. The Duke of Windsor loved embroidery. Prince Charles is an avid watercolourist. Rod Stewart is never happier than when he is playing with his model railway. John Travolta gets his kicks parking his aeroplanes in his backyard.  (Who said trivial kicks are never within passion categories?)

This year cultivate a passion that gets you up and out of your chair – and preferably up and out of your house.

 
To be happy, you need to be a leaf on a tree - still unique, but definitely attached
To be happy, you need to be a leaf on a tree – still unique, but definitely attached

3 Be a leaf on a tree

Every leaf on every tree is unique. Detached from the tree it remains unique; it floats about a bit (the freedom can feel quite nice), but quickly falls to the ground and dies. To be happy, you need to be a leaf on a tree – still unique, but definitely attached.

This year make sure that you are actively linked to an organism that is alive and larger than you are. It can be a family or a school, a university, a church, a place of work, a social club – anything, so long as it has a life of its own.

If you sense that you are semidetached (you have a family, but they live in Australia; you have a job, but redundancies are in the air), cultivate a passion that will help you become a leaf on a tree.

Become a bell-ringer, help teach children to read at a local primary school, join a choir or the golf club, volunteer at the local Citizens Advice Bureau (yes, for that you will need training – you don’t get seven years of extra life for nothing: effort is involved).

 
Change is good for us. It is the salt in the soup of life
Change is good for us. It is the salt in the soup of life

4 Don’t resist change

Of all the seven secrets, this is the one I find the most challenging. I am conservative by nature. I resist change. I like the good old days. I preferred TV when it was in black and white. (I am sure the programmes were better then.) I am a technophobe. (I do not want to learn another wretched password.)

But I am wrong and I know it because when I hear myself railing against change I sound like a grumpy old man.

‘Don’t rock the boat’ – that used to be my motto. Not any more. A little gentle rocking is something we all need. Change is good for us. It is the salt in the soup of life.

So this year, don’t resist change when it comes your way. (The problem is to know that what was coming was a nice change)

Embrace it. And, if you can, get ahead of the game by trying 12 things you have never done before. Yes, once a month, surprise yourself.

If you’re a meat-eater, try a veggie diet for a change. If you have never ridden a horse, give it a go. Play a computer game. Go to a concert that normally you’d never dream of going to. And, in the summer, find a secluded beach and try a bit of skinny-dipping. I dare you.

Don't let your life become one long selfie
Don’t let your life become one long selfie

5 Break the mirror

The more outward-looking you are, the happier you will be. Introspective, self-regarding, self-absorbed people are not very happy – and, often, crashing bores.

If you talk about yourself all the time, it drives people away. Face it: people aren’t interested in you. They really aren’t. They are interested in themselves.(What’s the difference?)

So begin the year by monitoring what you say when you are chatting to your nearest and dearest.

How much do you talk about yourself? How often do the words ‘I’, ‘me’, ‘myself’ crop up in your conversation?

Don’t let your life become one long selfie.

Look at yourself less in the mirror (literally and figuratively) and try to get through a whole week of chitchat without once telling anybody anything about what you have done or are doing or are thinking or planning or feeling.

Talk to other people. Ask them questions and listen to their answers. Ask them more questions. Take an interest in everybody else and take a lot less interest in yourself.

When you have managed it for one week, try it for a second, then a third and a fourth.

Research shows (here we go again) that it only takes a month to change the habits of a lifetime. (Now, I need to read these research and check how the experiments were done…)

‘Watch your thoughts, they become words,’ says the old Arabian proverb.

‘Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.’ (Be present and interested in the moment)

 
Try to be aware of the here and now
Try to be aware of the here and now

6 Live in the moment

That’s easy to say, but how do you do it?

Make it a rule not to look back (there really is no point: what’s done is done) and, while you have to plan ahead and be sensible about the future, don’t let tomorrow overwhelm today.

A good way to free your mind from worries about the future is to list those worries once a week in a notebook – then forget them until you look at the list in a week’s time. And always try to be aware of the here and now.

Get yourself into the habit of savouring the moment by following the advice of the American playwright William Saroyan:

‘Try to learn to breathe deeply, to really taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.’

If you smile, others will smile back
If you smile, others will smile back

7.  And finally, if you want to be happy, be happy

Act it, walk it, talk it, do it – now. Dance it and sing it, too, if you can. Music and movement lift the spirits.

(Everyone I have met who has been on Strictly Come Dancing says it’s the best thing they have ever done.)

‘Choose to be optimistic,’ says the Dalai Lama. ‘It feels better.’ And you can trigger optimism more easily than you realise.

Begin by improving your posture (as you walk, lead with your nipples: that’s all it takes) and slightly increase your stride.

Hold your head high: stop looking down, start looking up and out.

And wherever you go, whatever you do, whoever you meet, however you feel, smile. If you smile, others will smile back. If you don’t, you will never discover how right I am. If you do, you will have a happy new year – and many more to come.

Gyles

The 7 Secrets of Happiness by Gyles Brandreth is published by Short Books, price £7.99. To order a copy for £7.49, with free p&p, call the YOU Bookshop on 0844 472 4157, you-bookshop.co.uk. Gyles’s Looking for Happiness show is touring the UK and will be at the Leicester Square Theatre, London WC2, in May. For further details, visit gylesbrandreth.net

Additional photograph: Geoffrey Swaine/REX

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41 Powerful Messages From A Selfie Protest In Lebanon

 A reaction to the post that went viral https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/selfie-mohammad-chaar-16-year-old-is-not-a-martyr-nor-a-hero/

This before-and-after photo of 16-year-old Mohammad Chaar  or Shaar (in the red hoodie) was widely shared after the teenager was among 8 people killed in a car bombing in Beirut on Dec. 27, 2013.

The teen’s death prompted a selfie protest in Lebanon with hundreds posting simple yet powerful messages about what they wanted from their country using the hashtag #notamartyr across Facebook and Twitter.


adonis49

adonis49

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