I and my new year goal – How we work together.

I and my new year goal – How we work together.

Last year was tough, like every other year, but a bit more tougher in every possible way. However, after going through all the lows and the rough terrain, I ended up learning a lot.

I learned about Life, about how helpful those difficult moments had actually been and how I need to be grateful for all that happened. It changed me, my outlook towards Life and my reaction to circumstances good or bad.

Last year taught me to forget about the past and the future and focus ONLY ON THE PRESENT MOMENT–the moment that’s LIFE!

Ergo, my WOTY (Word/Words of the Year):

LIVE IN THE MOMENT

 

Just being physically present in the here and the now makes no sense if you aren’t mentally and emotionally invested in it. To be able to live fully and experience every moment in all its entirety, you need to be living and breathing the moment, focusing on it a 100%.  And, that is what I have been attempting since 2019 began.

I won’t say it’s easy, because it is not. We condition ourselves to forever look back at what happened and dream about what we would like to happen. Rarely do we forget the past tense and the future tense and concentrate on the present continuous. So, yes, it’s tough unlearning all that I was used to and learn something new, after all these years.

But, change, as we know, takes time to develop into a habit. It also takes a lot of hard work, patience and consistency. And, that’s what I have been working at.

There are times when I lose myself in the past, in comparing today with yesterday and how ephemeral Life is. But, after a while, I bring myself back to the present so that I experience well what the moment has brought for me.

HOW LIVING IN THE MOMENT HELPS ME:

Living in the here and the now helps me reduce my anxiety; makes me realise that, what I fear about tomorrow, is just my imagination and how I need to put my imagination to better use than conjuring all sorts of horrid things and ruining the peace I experience in this moment.

Living in the moment helps me focus better on my work–be it writing or art, or helping my nephew with his studies, or even managing my home.

Living in the moment helps me come up with ideas for my blog, topics I can write about or designs/illustrations I can work on.

And, finally, living in the moment helps me enjoy the present that I have, without worrying about the future that’s uncertain and ruing the past that can’t be changed.

It gives me peace of mind and a whole lot of sense about how I need to use my mental capacities for my well-being and my happiness.

How about you? Have you been working on your new year goals? Is 2019 in alignment with your WOTY?

 

Love,

SHILPA…

Is your new year in alignment with your WOTY?

A letter to my anxiety.

A letter to my anxiety.

My dear Anxiety,

So weird that I call you “dear”, considering you have caused nothing but distress for years together. But, since you have been an old companion, I’ll be polite with you.

I did think that it would be easy getting rid of you, you know? With the help of therapy and my meds, I had started to feel so much better, as if a load had been lifted off my chest. But, as a dear friend pointed out, it isn’t easy getting rid of you, completely.

You still exist in my system. You hide in the shadows, like a bandit, waiting for the perfect chance to pounce on my mind and destroy all the peace. You are very very wicked…oh yes, you are!

Haven’t you had your fill feeding on my mind all these years? Why can’t you just let me be? Why do you have to rear your ugly head every now and then and tease and taunt me so? Is it your mode of entertainment?

I know you so well now. I can instinctively sense you approaching when my heart starts to beat in that peculiar manner and my breath gets shallow. The restlessness and the panic and all those horrid thoughts that suddenly appear and crowd my mind speak loud about your vile intentions.

But, I have had enough.

I have decided to work harder at getting over you and not cower in fear.

I know, you will always be loitering around, somewhere on the periphery. But, I am working on getting stronger by the day, and learn how to deal with you, rather, make good use of you to face the fears you scare me with.

Yes, I am working on using you to my advantage; making use of my anxiety to get over my anxiety!

Like, the other day, when hubby disclosed his plans for the next month. My instant reaction was PANIC, followed by fearful thoughts of every kind.

But, then, something clicked, and I thought to myself how I didn’t need to think about the moment that’s still to come. How, we can take precautions and be prepared for any untoward events that might take place. How, those untoward events I fear, might not even take place, after all, and, it’s all just YOU trying to put those fearful thoughts in my mind!

What a relief it was, I tell you! Not because of what I had realised about you and your evil ways, but about being able to find solutions to eventualities that might happen.

it was our Scouts and Guides motto, back in school:

“BE PREPARED”.

So, that’s what I am going to work on.

On being prepared for anything and everything that comes my way.

And, making good use of you in looking for a way out of a difficult situation I might find myself in.

All I need to do is, BE PREPARED and BE ALERT.

Ah… That does feel so good now!

Try as you might, dear Anxiety, but I am NOT going to allow you to win.

I am going to fight you till my last breath.

So, YOU be prepared, too!

Love ‘n’ luck

SHILPA…

 

Use your anxiety to your advantage. Face it boldly and do not cower in fear.

 

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 provided the background score for some of the videos!

SHILPA…

How doodling can help you focus on the moment and get over your 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…

Happily Puzzled!

Happily Puzzled!

You might be wondering what I am “happily puzzled” about, isn’t it? Well, do you know, today is Puzzle day? Yeah! I really never knew there was any such day that celebrated solving puzzles. But, there is and it has a good reason behind it, too.

We all have solved puzzles right since childhood. Those simple jigsaw puzzles that we tried to put together as little kids, and then, those 1000 pieces puzzles that took a lot more time and effort to put together. Then, the crossword puzzles and the Sudoku puzzles, the Rubik’s Cube, the Scrabble Game…ah, there are puzzles aplenty!

But, do you remember how deeply engrossed you would get when you were in the midst of solving a puzzle? As kids, we would forget about the homework that needed to be completed; all we were interested in was solving that puzzle. And, the same goes for today, too. For those who regularly solve puzzles will know what I mean.

Solving a crossword puzzle on your way to work, or on a leisurely Sunday, or before going to bed, is such an interesting activity, we forget where the time goes. And, when we complete a puzzle, we are jubilant! It gives such a high solving a crossword or a Sudoku, however easy or cryptic these might be.

Do you know what exactly that puzzle does for you, for your mind, for your brain?

PUZZLES ARE THE BEST WORKOUT FOR OUR BRAIN

The way we give our body a workout through Yoga or a walk/jog/dance, so do we need to give a good workout to our brain. And, solving a puzzle does just that. It’s akin to sharpening a pencil! When you solve a puzzle, you are sharpening your brain, nudging it awake and making it think, work, make some extra efforts. And, you know, this exercise of solving a puzzle revitalises your brain, sharpens it thoroughly and helps it stay young, ‘wrinkle-free’. In short, solving puzzles is like giving our brain not only a workout, but also a thorough ‘body-massage’! And, who doesn’t love a body massage?

PUZZLES ARE THE BEST STRESS-BUSTERS

Last year, when hubby was admitted to the hospital after a Bi-Polar manic episode, I knew my stress levels would definitely drive me over the edge. So, as I sat by his bedside, I busied myself solving puzzles. It took my mind off the present situation and made me focus completely on the puzzle, giving my mind a much-needed break. This respite refreshed me because I hadn’t been wasting all my time worrying about the situation, or dreading about the future. And, we all know how, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop. So, why let the mind sit idle? If you have no work to do, no chores to complete, just sit down with a newspaper and solve all the puzzles printed in there. It will be the best thing you will be doing for yourself.

PUZZLES REDUCE ANXIETY

Because you are concentrating on getting the answer to that puzzle, you are not allowing any thoughts that cause anxiety to enter your mind. And, this, in turn, makes space in your mind for better thoughts. Be it a crossword puzzle or a game of Scrabble, your mind is busy coming up with words that will help you win the game or complete a puzzle that has been testing your vocabulary skills. Your anxiety is well handled and you are much at peace.

PUZZLES HELP IMPROVE OUR VOCABULARY

Teach your child to play Scrabble or the crossword puzzle and you will help him build a solid vocabulary. It will do the same for you, too. We aren’t familiar with so many words, and often, as we age, are at a loss for words. The right words elude us, leaving us feeling embarrassed or helpless. Word puzzles are not just entertaining but educative, too.

PUZZLES PROVIDE THE BEST COGNITIVE STIMULATION

Especially to the senior citizens, who are at a greater risk of age-related illnesses of the mind. A puzzle will help them stimulate their mind, give a workout to their brain and keep them occupied in something positive. Puzzles are considered perfect in preventing the brain from deteriorating. This particular information is something I always come across in articles by medical practitioners.

So, these are quite a lot of reasons why you need to begin solving puzzles, if you aren’t already, isn’t it? I love solving the crossword and Sudoku puzzle before I go to sleep. My bedside table holds a few newspapers everyday, folded in such a way, the puzzles’ page is always on the top, ready to be picked up and worked on before I begin yawning! It really helps me fall asleep soon, you know?

And, that’s the reason behind that title, “Happily Puzzled”! Solving puzzles makes me happy!

How about you? Which one’s your favourite? Do share.

 

LOVE,

SHILPA…

 

Improve your mental agility with the help of puzzles.