Character & Soul, Opinions, Self-Improvement, Tan Lili

The Best Decision You’ll Ever Make – Tan Lili

Choose to be happy. Always.

laughng girl

Given my office nickname – EmoGal84 – the irony that I’m writing a post about choosing happiness isn’t lost on me. But while I don’t deny that I occasionally wallow in depressing stuff (which is perfectly okay, by the way), I’d like to think I am a generally happy person. Or at least I try to be.

As much as we wish to be contented with what we have, to be more grateful, to stop having #firstworldproblems, being worry-free and happy when you live in this society is virtually unheard of. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. In fact, all the more reason to actively pursue happiness. Not everyone agrees, though – recent studies have warned of the dangers of seeking our own happiness, claiming that, in the pursuit, we end up feeling unhappy because we will come to realise we’re chasing an impossible dream. Well, I respectfully disagree with the researchers. Why settle for existing when you can choose to live? As Dr Alex Lickerman, M.D., author of The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self, says, “[The pursuit of happiness] is a hard enough process that if you don’t don’t intentionally aim to accomplish it, genuine, long-lasting happiness is likely to elude you.”

Does this deliberate attempt at finding happiness make us selfish people? It all depends on how we’re finding it. There was a line from an article I chanced upon a while ago: Selfishness and self-interest are two completely different things. If it is in your self-interest to do something, go ahead – there’s nothing immoral about taking care of yourself when it isn’t at the expense of someone else. Here are some suggestions on how you can practice happiness, according to psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter:

"Catch" your friend's happy vibe.

“Catch” your friend’s happy vibe.

Choose your company

Centuries of research have proven that emotions are highly contagious – the mimicry of emotional expressions sets off some kind of reaction in our brain, rendering us “innately vulnerable to ‘catching’ other people’s emotions”. Now that we know our own emotions can be easily influenced by the emotional states of others around us, make a conscious effort to surround yourself with positive people and steer clear of those who leave you feeling drained.

Choose to look at the big picture

It’s all too easy to lose perspective when met with setbacks, however trivial and temporary. Go ahead and vent, but remind yourself of the reason you started your pursuit and focus on long-term goals and accomplishments.

Choose to disconnect

Staying unplugged in this day and age for more than 12 hours is career suicide, let alone going on a digital detox for days on end. I hear you. Still, make it a point to distance yourself from your gadgets for a few hours every day (while you’re awake, duh) to connect with the real world. For instance, rather than spending your lunchtime refreshing your social media feeds, bond with your colleagues by engaging them in idle chitchat.

If all else fails, just watch this video – it will fill your heart with immense joy!

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TanLiliTweets.

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Character & Soul, Health & Fitness, Self-Improvement, Wellbeing

Living A Fully Engaged Life – Vanessa Tai

Do you feel tired all the time? Do you often find yourself checking the clock, counting down the hours till you can leave the office? And when you finally leave, do you find yourself squashed in public transport, getting increasingly miserable by the minute? The daily grind can be absolutely draining, both physically and emotionally. Sure, you may hit the gym every once in a while or even go on short vacations with your friends, but if you’re honest, your life feels pretty automated, without much passion or inspiration.

Are you going through life half-asleep?

Are you going through life half-asleep?

If the above sounds like you, don’t beat yourself up. It’s all too easy to live life on auto pilot. In fact, in a 2011 study of 5,000 adults in the UK, 52 percent of the population admitted to turning back unnecessarily on a journey because they could not remember locking the front door, and about one in five said they have drank a cup of tea … but have zero recollection of making it.

Automated behaviour is not always a bad thing. When your brain becomes accustomed to certain habits such as brushing your teeth or taking the trash out, performing these tasks become automatic, freeing your brain up for more important tasks. However, it’s when you find yourself falling into a rut at work or in your relationships that an autopilot life becomes a problem. So are there ways to be consciously engaged to your life? Sure there are!

1. Be More Appreciative 

You don’t need to start a gratitude journal to start appreciating the little things in your life you’re grateful for. One easy way to start is to offer a sincere “thank you” whenever someone does something nice for you. It could be your boyfriend who fetches you to work every morning, or your colleague who helped buy lunch back or even the bus driver on your daily commute home. Taking the few seconds to smile and offer gratitude will warm both your and the recipient’s hearts.

2. Shake Up Your Routine

Even if it’s something small like taking a different route to work or something major like visiting a country you’ve never been to before, it’s important to jolt your senses every so often. Not only will you feel reinvigorated, you start to view your life in ways you’ve never had before. Check out our guest writer’s post on how she goes on one adventure every single week!

3. Me-Time

15 minutes of daily quiet time does wonders for your wellbeing

15 minutes of daily quiet time can do wonders for your wellbeing

Our hectic lifestyles are often packed to the brim with work and social obligations, so much so that very often, the only time we’re truly alone is when we’re sleeping or on the can! Sad, but true. No matter how busy we are, though, it’s worthwhile to take 15 minutes out of your day to sit in quiet contemplation (no smartphones or tablets allowed.) Even if the bathroom is the only place where you can get a bit of privacy, it’s still very therapeutic to have that few moments alone where your mind isn’t wired to complete a task or engage in conversation.

It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit. – Denis Waitley

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets

[If you like this story, you might also like]

1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone Already!

2. 2o Reminders of Why Life is Beautiful

3. Why You Should Make Friends in Your 20s 

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