Finding joy in the little things.

Finding joy in the little things.

HAPPINESS–the one elusive thing we are in pursuit of, all our lives. Funnily, we look for it in all the wrong places! We look for it in everything we work hard for and expect to work out for us. Little do we realise, that it is not the big things that hold the key to our happiness, but the tiny things in the here and the now that we are so oblivious to–things that are right in front of our eyes, but, which we fail to even acknowledge.

Last year, I wrote a post on 20 things that bring me happiness. Ironically, just after that post, Life took a U-turn and changed my world, completely. It felt like the Universe meant to make sure I practised what I preached:

“Look for happiness in the little things!” it told me.

And, I did!

I am grateful to the Universe for making me aware of the fickleness of Life. I have, since, learned to be truly happy for every thing that happens in Life. And, hence, this post.

HAPPINESS COMES IN TINY PACKETS!

1. My winged babies who fill my world with their shrill whistles and adorable bird-speak.

2. Working from home.

3. Making art, which, I felt, was not my cup of tea, and realising how wrong I was in limiting myself to one particular style thinking that the one I fancied, was difficult.

4. Writing–in my diary, or a post/article. Sheer bliss!

5. Connecting with friends and sisters, who are my much-needed support system.

6. Soaking in the early morning sunshine in my kitchen window. Those few quiet moments of feeling the warmth of the sun on my face, the gentle caress of the cool, morning breeze, feeling one with the Universe, makes me feel blessed!

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Feeling the warmth of the early morning sun.
7. My workout sessions in the mornings and my walks in the evenings–without any company! How I love those silent moments, when all I hear is my breathing and my heartbeat.

8. Dancing to the tune of songs that lift my spirits and leave me feeling energised.

9. Humming a song, with Cookie on my shoulder, humming along in her own parrot-y way.

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Cookie rules my world!
10. Realising how possessive Cookie is about me–I just can’t get over this one!

11. Realising how emotionally independent I have become in the past year, in spite of the loneliness that threatens to swallow me up, at times.

12. Counting my blessings and appreciating every little thing that worked out for me, and every little thing that did not. There are reasons why the things you wish for, don’t come your way. Be grateful for all your dreams that did not come true. There are better dreams waiting to become a reality!

13. Noticing the improvement in my overall health since I began working on myself–mentally, physically and emotionally. I realise every day how awesome I am!!!

14. Every little victory that comes my way–makes me understand what it is that I am doing right.

15. Watching my friends happy in their world, makes me truly happy.

16. Being showered with love and warmth by an aged neighbour–the way she hugs me, makes me feel like I am with mom (coincidently, her daughter’s name is Shilpa, too!)

17. The canine babies in my neighbourhood, when they leap at me in joy and go crazy demanding my attention.

18. Hearing my babies learning to speak the words I teach them. (although, each time I try to record their chatter, they clam up!)

19. Watching my blog go from strength to strength.

20. And, finally, connecting with you, dear readers, gives me unlimited joy! So, thank you for visiting me, here.

I keep counting all the little things that fill my world with happiness–some, I note down in my diary, and others, I store away in the ‘Happiness’ file, in my memory. And, each time I do so, I send a ‘Thank you’ to the Universe, which is doing its job brilliantly!

What are the little things that bring you joy? Do share with me, or in your blogs. I would love to know.

Love,

SHILPA…

Chemical-free hair colour.

Chemical-free hair colour.

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

To begin with, this is not a sponsored post. This is about a product I have been using for quite some time now and being satisfied with it, wished to share it with you all.

I began using Greynil about two years ago, on the behest of my cousin. Before that, I used to apply henna to cover my greys. It gave my hair a fiery red shade and then orange, much to my dismay. I did not want orange hair and neither did I wish to use chemical hair colours.

So, I opted for Greynil and am really happy with the way my hair feels today!

GREYNIL:

Greynil is a chemical-free, herbal hair colour. It is manufactured by Dr. Jain’s Herbals brand and is prepared using the following ingredients:

INGREDIENTS:

Henna powder

Indigo (Neel)

Sofia Oil (Perfume)

DIRECTIONS FOR USE:

Greynil is available in two shades: Brown and Dark Brown.

Choose the shade that suits your natural hair colour.

Take the required quantity in a bowl and add boiling water to it to make a paste. Leave it aside for a few minutes. Wear the gloves that come with the pack and apply the paste to your hair when it is lukewarm.

Part your hair and apply from roots to the ends with a brush.

Once you have finished, cover the hair with a shower cap and then tie a towel, or a cotton dupatta on top, like a turban. This will keep the hair colour warm and prevent you from catching a cold or experiencing a headache.

Keep it for two hours and then wash off with cold water.

DO NOT SHAMPOO the same day.

Once the hair dries, you will find it rough to touch and tough to comb and de-tangle. Do not worry. Just comb as gently as you can and tie your hair in a bun.

Oil your hair the next morning. Your hair will soften as soon as you apply oil.

After 2 – 3 hours, wash your hair using your usual shampoo and conditioner, or even shikakai, if you use it (you will find the lather turning blue–that’s because of the Indigo.).

Let your hair dry naturally, or towel-dry it, gently.

De-tangle the hair once dry.

Initially, you will need to apply Greynil every 8 to 10 days. Later, you may use it every fortnight.

BENEFITS OF USING GREYNIL:

1. Greynil, being a pure herbal hair colour, is free of any chemicals, and, is therefore, not harmful for your hair and skin.

2. It makes the hair softer, silkier, improves hair-growth and the health of your crowning glory!

3. You will also notice a decrease in dandruff with regular use of Greynil.

I add half a spoon of methi seeds’ powder while making the paste. Methi is a miracle seed and a blessing for not just your hair but also your health.

4. Greynil doesn’t make your hair orange when it fades after some days, but leaves it with a brown tinge and then, back to your natural hair colour.

Greynil is available at your nearest chemist-druggist. You can also buy it online.

Hair colours–whichever brand they may belong to–contain chemicals that are harmful for our hair and skin and result in the hair turning grey sooner. Using chemical-based hair colours also results in excess hair fall, dry hair and dandruff.

Switching to herbal hair colour is definitely the best decision I took.

Will you?

Love,

SHILPA…

Chemical-free hair colours that help improve your hair.

Doodle away the Blues!

Doodle away the Blues!

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Do you remember how you would doodle away on the last page of your notebook while your teacher taught you a topic you found utterly boring? Or, when you try solving puzzles in the newspapers and fill up the blank spaces on the paper with your squiggly, swirly doodles as you think of an answer? How calming it must feel, isn’t it, making those doodles?

Doodling has this calming as well as mesmerising effect on our mind and that’s why therapists often advice their patients to try and doodle when feeling anxious, sad and gloomy, or even angry. Doodling gives your mind an escape into the world of squiggles and curves, and helps distract your mind. Any pattern that you make continuously with your fingers–be it with a pencil on a book, or with your fingers on the soft sand at the beach, takes your mind away from all that disturbs your peace of mind and helps you focus on the present moment.

It’s a therapy for the troubled mind and soul.

It helps you come up with solutions to your problems, too, as it de-clutters your mind.

Have you observed your little one doodling with his crayon in his drawing book, or even on the wall, lost to the world, totally engrossed in that activity. It helps build concentration in children, which is why, as kindergarten kids, this is the primary activity they are encouraged to indulge in.

And, for those of you, who feel you have not a single creative bone in your body, doodling helps bring that hidden creativity to the surface and express your innermost thoughts.

It is the one activity I have indulged in since childhood and, which, today, helps me keep my anxiety under control. Drawing is more of a therapy for me today, than just an art form–if I don’t engage in this activity, I feel I have missed out on something very important. It’s part of my survival kit today.

Sharing today, some easy-to-make, really basic doodle patterns to begin with. All you will need is a paper and a pen and you are ready to get going!

Do drive away those nasty thoughts that tease you about your lack of creativity. Just make the pattern that comes to your mind, or look around for inspiration–nature, children, toys or patterns like zigzag lines, curvy shapes, concentric circles–there are countless examples.

I am sure in a matter of days you will be hooked on to this activity and making new patterns of your own!

The patterns may appear childish, but, believe me, making these will really amuse you and quieten your mind!

Love,

SHILPA…

P.S.

My winged babies supplied the background score for some of the videos!

SHILPA…

Doodles help calm your mind and reduce anxiety and stress.

Get rid of that clutter.

Get rid of that clutter.

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

Marie Kondo has been inspiring people around the world to get rid of things they have no use and keeping only those that “spark joy”! I agree with her vision for a de-cluttered, peaceful environment to live in. De-cluttering needs to be a way of life!

However, today, I am writing about ways to clear up our mental rooms that hold clutter that could harm our mental health. I believe, we have quite a few rooms up there, in our mind, that occupy different things: people, issues and thoughts, most of which we really do not need. Rooms, that need to be de-cluttered regularly along with those in our homes!

It’s quite sometime now, since I have been de-cluttering my mental rooms. My anxiety about the stress related to my life had driven away my peace of mind.

That’s not to say that I am totally in control of my thoughts and that my mental rooms are now squeaky clean. There are days when my mind is overcrowded with disturbing thoughts which affect my mental health, my sleep and my entire day. But, then, so’s Life–there are sunny days and there are stormy ones, too!

20 WAYS TO DE-CLUTTER YOUR MENTAL ROOMS:

1. Maintain a daily journal:

Write down the thoughts that disturb you, whatever they may be, about people in your life, issues at work, your fears about the future etc. Then, revisit those pages after a few days, and read your words, objectively. Are those thoughts and feelings real, or are they your anxieties? Answer this question and you will know which thoughts to toss out and which to work on.

2. Let go of grudges:

A grudge stays in our mind for years together and ruins our peace of mind. It doesn’t harm the person we have a grudge against, but completely poisons our entire system. So, just let go of it. Forgive and forget for your sake. It’s tough, but it’s worth it!

3. Practice mindfulness:

Focus on the activity at hand, whatever it may be. This, too, is tough, but get into the habit. Write it down in your journal everyday when you were ‘mindful’ and reward yourself if you observe that you have been consistent in doing it. Remember: Live in the moment.

4. Learn to IGNORE:

Ignore the things you cannot change and change the things you cannot ignore.” Nothing is in our control except the way we react to Life and to people–the two things you can never change! So, why not change the way we look at them?

5. Read:

A book can transport us to a world far away from ours, so, what better way to busy the mind than to read an engrossing story!

6. Pursue a hobby:

It could be anything you like–there are a million activities that help us improve our mental health. Choose one that is sure to spark joy and pursue it with passion.

7. Follow a fitness routine:

Working on your physical health will give your mind something positive to think about. However, don’t make it something like obsessing about losing weight–that will worsen the situation. Engage in a fitness routine that makes you feel good from within. Over time, it will show its results on the outside, too.

8. Spend time outdoors:

Like on weekends, when you have some free time, you could visit a theatre, or a museum or a nearby park. It keeps our mind busy when we are outdoors, amongst people, or surrounded by nature.

9. Ignore the trifles:

Things that are of little or no importance to us need not be encouraged to occupy our mental rooms. Just trash the useless stuff and free yourself!

10. Positive self-talk:

Begin every day with a positive affirmation. Tell yourself that you are an awesome person and how proud you are of yourself, and that whatever comes your way, you will face it bravely. Do it. Every. Single. Day.

11. Practice Gratitude:

For whatever you have been given by Life–good times and bad–be grateful. The good times brought you happiness, but the bad times taught you precious life lessons and made you a better version of yourself. That’s what difficulties do for us. I am so thankful for things that go wrong; I learn from them so much! Just a “Thank you, dear Universe!” is more than enough. But, do it with all your heart.

12. Let go:

Let go of people who serve no purpose in your Life; let go of everything that does not matter in the larger scheme of things. Hold on to people who matter and who care, and memories that bring a smile to your face.

13. Focus on your work:

Be it as a homemaker, an office-goer or a student, focus on your work a 100%. I read a quote that says, “Six months of hardcore focus and alignment can take you 5 years ahead in Life.” Why not tweak it a bit and say, “Every moment I work, I will do it with hardcore focus and alignment.” ?

14. Communicate:

Share your fears and anxieties that bother you, with your close ones. Many a time, our fears are baseless, a figment of our imagination. Speaking things out loud also helps you listen to what you think.

15. Look for your stress-busters:

What is it that helps you de-stress? Listening to music, playing with your kids or spending time with your pets? Do it every time you find yourself sitting idle. Remember what we learned at school? “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop!” It so is.

16. Plan for the day:

Take one day at a time, make a list of tasks and work towards fulfilling those tasks to the best of your ability. At the end of the day, tick off those tasks you completed perfectly and in time, and push those you couldn’t to the next day. Do not fret over the latter ones. It’s okay to miss out on a couple of things, but not at all okay to lose your sleep over it.

17. Make short term goals:

Make goals that are doable and for a shorter duration than planning for the next 6 months. Life doesn’t need even a moment to change your world, spoil your plans and leave you heartbroken. I don’t mean to sound discouraging, but, it’s a fact, isn’t it? So, make tiny goals that you can turn into habits for a life time.

18. Change old habits:

Make a list of habits you need to really change and work on 2 of those for 21 days. Work diligently, consciously and see the results!

19. Spend less time on Social Media:

Social media ruins our mental health simply by sharing with us picture-perfect moments shared by people, who, we think “have it all figured out”. Believe me, it will take us a life time to “figure things out”…Life is such a mystery, I tell you!

20. Do not compare:

Comparing your life with others will only give you heartache. You never know the real emotions that hide behind those smiles!

 

So, these are the things I am working on and which are really helping me. Touchwood.

Do try out these de-cluttering ways and share with me if these helped you. Also, share with me any ideas you may have for de-cluttering–of the mental rooms. I would love to know!

Love,

SHILPA…

Where do you like to read?

Where do you like to read?

February is the Library Lover’s Month. I came across this information while surfing the net and felt that, actually, for a book lover, every month could be the Library Lovers’ Month, right? For so many of us bookworms, the library and the book shop are the most favourite places in the world!

I remember my college library, with its rows and rows of book stands, the peace and quiet of the place as everyone around busied themselves with a book. I wished I could spend my time at the library instead of the classroom, listening to those unexciting lectures. I would have learned a lot more at the library, no? 😜

And, entering a book shop makes me feel like Alice in Wonderland, with a hundred treasures waiting to be discovered. Picking up a book from the neatly arranged shelves, staring at its colourful cover, turning its crisp pages and taking in a lungful of their freshness and wondering what story they hold within them–how I wish I could live in that palace of books forever!

Anyway, coming back to the topic, I came across a post on Lydia Schoch’s blog about ‘What is the Perfect Reading Spot?” last year, and found it to be an interesting topic to write about. For, there are days when you want to give your mind a break from doing any research for your niche topic, and write something delightful and entertaining, instead.

So, as I asked, where do you like to read?
What’s your favourite reading spot?

For me, when I was a kid, it was a Gulmohar tree in my garden. I would climb on it and settle on one of its branches to enjoy a book during my summer vacations. It wasn’t a very tall tree, but its branches were pretty sturdy and held me perfectly well. The leaves would shade me from the sun and the breeze would sway the tree gently, making me feel overwhelmed by the experience.

My room was my other favourite reading spot and I would lose myself in the pages of one of my books and forget the world. Mom would keep calling out my name, asking me to come down for meals, or to help out with some chore. I would plead with her to give me “just five minutes more“, but, those five minutes would never end!

Now, I enjoy reading in the balcony of my house, sometimes. It faces an endless stretch of mangroves and is a very peaceful spot. So, in the evening, before going for my walk, I slip out there with my book and make myself comfortable on a low wooden stool and get busy reading.

I also like reading by the dining table that faces a big window and the mangrove stretch outside. Sitting on a chair, with my legs stretched out on another chair facing me, I sit for hours with my head buried in a book. My winged babies climb onto my shoulders to take a peep at what it is that has all my attention. They even try pecking at it out of jealousy!

Earlier, I used to read in bed. But, last year, after I began experiencing an unbearable backache, my doctor advised me to refrain from doing so. “Sit in a straight-backed chair to read; do not slouch, and DO NOT read in bed!” he said. So, I gave up that habit. On days when I feel like reading before sleeping, I do read in bed, but with a couple of pillows supporting my back. And, yes, I sit erect. No lying in bed to read!

Actually, if I have a book, I could read anywhere..even in a crowded mall, where hubby is busy window-shopping or looking at the cars on display at a car showroom. He is an auto buff and I am not. So, I prefer sitting with my book than torture my feet, standing and staring at those gleaming machines.

Come to think about it, my perfect reading spot would be at the beach. Just imagine….the wind, the surf, the soft, grainy sand, the sound of the waves, and I, with my book…and not a soul on the beach…just like in the image below.

Ah, bliss!

Hmmm….so, that’s it about me. What about you? What is your favourite reading spot?

Love,

SHILPA…

Celebrating the Library Lover's Month!