How to get in touch with your soul and become a happier person.

We can all agree that life on Earth is becoming more and more stressful as the years go by. In order not to go completely crazy, many people turn to their inner selves, seeking meditation and tranquillity so they could easily survive the hectic lives we lead in this century.

Here is the list of the best ways to get in touch with your inner being, and thus help yourself get rid of the stress the environment imposes on you every day:

Do the things you love and love the things you do

What’s a better way to reconnect with your soul than actually doing things that you love and enjoy? If you’re a bookworm, use your day to go somewhere quiet, take your favorite book with you and indulge in all the adventures with the characters. If, on the other hand, you love drawing, feel free to draw as much as you want. It is very important that we let ourselves do the things we love from time to time and completely forget about our responsibilities. Leave your phone behind, forget the world and make yourself happy.

Connect with nature

You know the cliché sentence ‘’your body’s a temple’’, right? Well, it’s true. And not only that – your soul is a forest that needs constant nurturing. It’s well-known how relaxing and healthy being in nature is, but apart from that, the greenness and fresh air can definitely put your life into perspective and open your mind, especially if you are anxious, nervous or blue. A great exercise that you could do in nature is just observing the beauty, listening to all the sounds, and smelling all the scents. It sharpens your senses, it quiets your mind. And it’s perfect.

Try yoga and meditation

Quite similar to the previous tip, yoga and meditation really help in calming yourself down. Yoga is not only good for de-stressing your body, but also for taking a break from the world around you in a calm and soothing way. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and breathe. If you have scented candles, light them. Isolate yourself from the negative influences and people for at least an hour a day.

Dance

It’s impossible that Despacito didn’t make you dance at least once. You probably have a list of songs in mind that you just can’t be sitting down while listening to. That’s because music has a calming effect on our brain, and dancing to it relaxes your mind. If you are into hip-hop and street style dancing, it could be quite challenging and interesting to learn a few moves. And you should definitely do it; there are many beginner dance classes for adults out there, and who knows, maybe you’re the next Chris Brown!

Inhale love, exhale hate

This quite pacifistic approach to life can also do wonders. Don’t be a Carrie Bradshaw trying to find negativity everywhere (for God’s sake, she was unhappy even on her wedding day!) If you think about our time on Earth and how limited it is, you will see that life is too short for us to have negative feelings towards anything. Try to surround yourself with the people and things you love and leave everything else behind, without words or feelings of hate. Tell someone you love them at least once a day and always be thankful for the things you have.

Write down your thoughts

According to researchers from the University of Rochester, keeping a journal is a great way to keep track of the feelings you have, and a healthy way to dispose of negativity and reduce stress. Putting all your emotions on paper is a good way to get rid of them, and thus go to bed with a clean slate and clear mind. On the other hand, reading old positive motivational quotes can also alleviate your spirit. If you read an entry that was made while you were extremely happy, those feelings might come back even years later.

Yes, your body is a temple and your mind and soul are the forest surrounding that temple. Keep them clean and nurtured, don’t infest them with negativity and you will see how happier a person you will be.

The tempo of the contemporary world makes us feel guilty if we choose to put ourselves first – as if taking care of your most basic needs is selfish, so modern societies unwittingly celebrate self-destructive behavior. That includes skipping your meals, ditching your yoga class and sleeping poorly as soon as your schedule is overflown with tasks and assignments.

Even though you might feel equipped to handle this stressful rhythm, it will ultimately take its toll and wreak havoc on your mood, health, and overall well-being. It’s time to slow down, restructure your life and make smarter choices, in order for your future self will be grateful – so let’s talk self-care strategies!

Savor every bite

Make a solemn promise to yourself to ditch fast food, pastry shops and candy bars that would keep a sloth in an Irish-dancing mood. Your mindset matters, and if you perceive healthy food as your archenemy, that’s the first thing you should change. Convenience doesn’t have to be unhealthy either, as it pays to invest time to prepare food beforehand, and structure a meal plan that will safeguard your immune system.

A weekly grocery shopping spree to for a fresh supply of antioxidant-packed fruits, detox-friendly veggies, and other delicacies will help you stay on the right track. Pick your meal-prepping day to pack your lunches in separate containers, and clear out your unhealthy snack stash – you know you have one! Never again will you have to spend another work lunch feeling guilty for eating a snickers bar or skipping your meal altogether.

Exercise is a way of being

You may not have time every day to visit your Zumba class or work those weights, but whatever you’re doing at home can use a bit of spicing up if you move it, move it! Or not – even static poses can be beneficial for your health when done properly, as you can work on your mobility and flexibility and increase your stability and strength by enjoying an episode of GoT in a Sphinx pose.

Other ways of working your muscles and your endurance while on the job include desk exercises, walking and munching on your lunch break, taking a brief break to do a few squats, lunges or planks (especially for those who work at home), use the jump-rope, and stretch. Other than that, take the stairs, set up walk and talk meetings and avoid spending your leisure time sitting down, even when you don’t have enough time for a full-blown routine.

Support your self-care

Would you encourage your kids to ride their bikes without a helmet or remain indifferent if your best friend goes hiking in her flip-flops? The same way you’d care for someone else, you need to make wise decisions about yourself, especially when you’re about to put your body through a strenuous workout.

Iron-addicts among you know well that you need to protect your ankles with quality bodybuilding shoes and stay hydrated throughout your training session. Yoga enthusiasts always invest in a solid yoga mat and comfortable yoga pants, while runners know not to hit the sidewalk in the first pair of sneakers they come across. Don’t treat any of your routines as a chore, as it can backfire, and you might end up getting injured.

Sweet dreams

Beauty is not the only byproduct of healthy sleep – in fact, most of your problem-solving skills and decision-making ability depend on a regular and quality sleeping pattern. Feeling drowsy or having a headache is a momentary side-effect of poor sleeping habits, but long-term consequences span from increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, depression to diabetes.

Consistency is key, and the only way to restore your natural biorhythm is to create and stick to a sleeping schedule that allows your body plenty of rest. Think of it this way: if you don’t get enough sleep, you will definitely diminish your cognitive capacity to handle all those ambitious tasks tomorrow. Rest, healthy food and exercise are the holy trinity of self-care, but they require harmony to take effect.

Practice gratitude and mental hygiene

Facing fears and detoxing from stress is like flossing for your emotional well-being. It takes a long time to master the art of positive thinking and gratitude, especially when you encounter a setback in life, but it all starts with one caring choice at a time.

Don’t let your emotions fester underneath the smiling surface, but make time to process whatever’s bothering you. The same way you would lend your best friend an ear when she’s in trouble, never ignore your own issues. Start writing an emotion journal, consult a professional, meditate, but find a stress-fighting structure that will let your self-care become a natural set of daily habits and allow your positive mindset to flourish.

This article was originally created and published by Visual Meditation. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution (active link to this article) and author bio.

Do you have frequent and intense mood swings? Discover some surprising factors that affect your mood.

Mood swings can be real deal breakers: unless identified and remedied on time, frequent mood dips can shatter work focus, wreak havoc on relationships, and compromise long-term well-being through persistent appetite changes.

Unfortunately, psychological problems are all too common in the world we live in: studies show that about 9.5% of Americans aged over 18 suffer from mood disorders, and the figure is probably much higher as many cases go by undiagnosed.

But while psychotherapy and medications may be necessary in grave cases of mood disorders, slight lifestyle tweaks could help prevent frequent and intense bouts of the blues, irritability, anger, lethargy, confusion, and bad temper.

Sounds too easy to be true? It’s not really.

in fact, here are five surprising lifestyle factors that affect your mood, which you can apply right away.

1. Posture to Drive Away Mood Swings

You probably know confidence and happiness show in both the eyes and posture, but what you may not know is that the mood-stance link goes both ways. According to scientific research, slumping at your desk can give rise to feelings of hostility, anxiety, and unease, whereas sitting up straight will instantly boost energy and self-esteem.

Watch: Improve Your Self-Esteem

Similarly, walking with your back straight and your shoulders back can make you feel more positive about yourself and your surroundings, while a slumped walking posture can chip your confidence and mood and hamper your success.

2. Beat the Blues by Color Psychology

Clothes may not make the man, but the hues you wear certainly affect your psychological shape more than you think. Based on the principles of color psychology, hues can affect your mood and make or break success in various social situations, so strive to keep your wardrobe painted in the colors of the rainbow, or at least try to wear clothes in calming and vitalizing tones.

If possible, stay away from black and use brash colors such as red, bright green, and orange as accents as they can dial up stress for both you and people around you and send an inadequate message to others.

3. Gut Hitches Can Eat Your Mood Out

You may not be what you eat but your diet impacts your psychological shape in more ways than one. A recent study shows that excess sugar intake can increase the frequency of mood swings and depression, while a mild dehydration can lead to moodiness, fatigue, and problems focusing.

If you want to keep your mood stable, take care of your gut and feed it nutrient-dense foods. In case you’re struggling to meet recommended a daily nutrient intake, try and patch the gap using quality Biocare products, add probiotics to your plate, and up your water intake.

4. Get Offline and Log into Your Life

If you’re spending a lot of time on social media, no wonder you’re prone to mood swings. Seeing your friends posting about their happiness can affect your mood in a positive way, but living up in virtual reality is a risky affair.

As hilarious and inspirational as those viral videos might be, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can’t be a substitute for emotional well-being or real life contact with people you care about.

Offline is where peace, love, and happiness happen, so limit the amount of time you spend online if you want to prevent mood dips, increase productivity, and beat procrastination.

5. A Smart Mood Swing Spender

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy presents that will show your loved ones you care and make their life a bit better, if only for a short while. It’s a rule of life: emotions are contagious, so if your significant other, parent, or child is happy, you’ll be happy, too, and cute gifts are an easy way to dial up anyone’s mood.

Still, be aware that the happiness solicited through gifts is short-lived and can’t replace true love and care, so try to keep tabs on emotional purchases: after all, the last thing you want is to end up throat-deep in debt-induced stress and the evil of money.

There’s far more to stable mood than meets the eye: from posture and colors to diet, internet, and the way you handle your finances, a number of factors impact your psychological shape and emotional wellbeing.

Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to prevent mood swings from taking hold of you – and if you’re still here, you now know five simple strategies to do away with sudden and intense emotional shifts.

Never forget: the power over your emotions is in your hands and your hands alone.

What other lifestyle habits do you know that can affect your mood? Share in the comments section below.

Many choices we make in life -ranging from what we do, to how we conduct ourselves, and who we interact with -are subject to prying questions and commentary from those around us. Family members, friends, and even total strangers, it often seems like everyone has an opinion on the things we do, no matter how small or insignificant those things might seem to us.

Sometimes people go so far as to ask you to explain yourself for the decisions or choices you make in your own life. You might feel obliged to respond, but some things are really no one else’s business and you don’t owe anyone an explanation at all for the following 15 things -though you think you do.

1. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your living situation.

Whether you are cohabiting with your ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, crashing in different motel rooms across the country, or living with your parents for a while when you are past your twenties, you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone for who you live with and why if you don’t want to. If you are fully aware of your living situation, then it means you have your own reasons for being in that situation that are nobody else’s business.

2. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your life priorities.

You have your own ideas about the things that would make you and your loved ones truly comfortable and happy, which is your main priority. Since we are all unique individuals with different values, dreams and aspirations, your core priorities will be different from the next person’s. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for what you determine is your core priority in life. That is your personal business not other people’s business.

3. You don’t owe anyone an apology if you are not sorry.

If you don’t regret your actions, still think someone is wrong about something or don’t care much for their forgiveness, you don’t have to apologize. Many people are too quick to offer apologies and try to mend wounds that are not yet ready to be mended, which only serves to aggravate the wound and bring more problems. You really don’t have to apologize if you are not sorry or your side of the story hasn’t been heard.

4. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for requiring alone time.

You might worry that you will come across as “rude,” “anti-social” or “aloof” when you cancel plans or other obligations because you need some time alone to reboot, unwind or just enjoy a good book by yourself. However, spending time alone is a completely normal, natural and necessary practice that more people should adopt. Take your alone time confidently because you don’t owe anybody an explanation for it.

5. You don’t owe anyone your agreement on their personal beliefs.

Just because someone shares their personal beliefs passionately doesn’t mean you have to sit there and nod in approval to everything they say. If you don’t share in their beliefs, it is unfair to yourself and to the other person to suppress your own thoughts and feelings and pretend you agree with them. It’s okay and better to disagree with them gracefully instead of bottling up your disapproval and frustrations.

6. You don’t owe anyone a yes to everything they say.

You have a right to say no whenever there is no compelling reason to say yes. In fact, the most successful people in the world are those who have mastered the art of saying no to everything that is not a priority. Acknowledge other people’s kindness and be grateful for it, but don’t be afraid to politely decline anything that takes your focus away from your core goals and priorities. That’s how to get ahead.

7. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your physical appearance.

You might be slender, plump, tall, short, pretty, plain or whatever, but you don’t have to explain yourself to anyone for why you look how you do. Your physical appearance is your own business and you are obligated only to yourself. Physical appearance shouldn’t determine your self-worth.

8. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your food preferences.

There are certain foods that you just don’t like at all for different reasons, including taste preference and health issues. You don’t have to explain to anyone at all why you prefer certain foods. Your food preference is a matter that is best left to you. If anyone pesters you about why you are eating (or not eating) certain foods, shrug it off and just say you feel better eating (or not eating) those foods.

9. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your sex life.

As long as it happens with another consenting adult, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for where, when and how you conduct your sex life. You can wait for marriage, try one-night stands or experiment with same sex encounters to your heart’s pleasure and still not have to explain your sexual preferences to anybody.

10. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your career or personal life choices.

Sometimes circumstances force us to choose between work and “having a life.” The decision is not always easy and you might end up choosing work, not because you don’t care about your family or social life, but because you are working on something that will give you security in the future. Either way, you don’t owe others an explanation for choosing a career over your personal life (or vice versa) as long as you are confident about what you are doing and why you are doing it.

11. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your religious or political views.

Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, Catholic, Protestant or Muslim, that is your own personal choice. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you are what you are and believe what you believe. If someone can’t accept you for who you are, that is their personal dogma -not yours.

12. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for being single.

Whether you are single by design or by default that is nobody’s business. Being single is not a personality disorder. You are free to be in a relationship or not. Besides, you are far more than your relationship status and singlehood is just one of those social labels no one should really care about.

13. You don’t owe anyone a date just because they asked.

Someone might be nice, good looking and you may even be a little interested, but you don’t owe them a date just because they ask. If you feel deep down you don’t want to go on that date, then don’t. You may offer a reason for declining, but keep it brief and stick to your decision.

14. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your decision about marriage.

Whether or not you choose to get married and have kids or stay unmarried and be childfree, that is your own personal decision. Even your mom who is dying for grandchildren should understand that marriage is a personal decision and not suited for everyone. She should respect your decision about it no matter how hard it is to swallow.

15. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your relationship choices.

Sometimes people make inappropriate commentary about your romantic relationship(s), which is really none of their business. You might overhear comments like you are not the “perfect couple” or you should find someone else. However, you are not answerable to anyone but yourself for your relationship choices. Live your life and never, ever leave or stay in a relationship just because someone else says you have to. Make your own mistakes if you must, but learn from them always.

Orginal source: Life Hack.

About the author

David K. William is a writer, publisher and entrepreneur. Everything he writes is inspired by life experiences and study. He is also founding editor of WebWriterSpotlight.com. Check out the site for more great stories.

Do you have a personal manual of life principles to live by? What adages do you use to guide you in your everyday living?

Today, we’d like to share a list of 21 principles of life to live by from Japanese Buddhist master and expert swordsmen Miyamoto Musashi.

These rules are deeply relevant to our lives today. They explain the Buddhist way of life so brilliantly, helping us to live a life of purpose, meaning and detachment.

But before we show you Mushashi’s 21 rules of life, let’s talk about who the great man named Miyamoto Mushashi was.

Who was Miyamoto Musashi?

Mushashi was a Japanese Buddhist master and expert swordsmen who fought many duels in the seventeenth century.

He authored a famous book called The Book of Five Rings which is still studied today for its wisdom and philosophy on how to live “the way of the warrior”.

Musashi was also famous for developing the below 21 rules of life, which describe concisely how to live a life that is purpose driven but non-attached.

How can you use this list?

Even though this list has 21 points, don’t overwhelm yourself by reading and applying all the points right away. These principles are meant to be read and reflected on over time, as opposed to being a checklist that you tick and check off. As you read each point, think about the truth behind this principle, how it applies to your life, and the actions you should take in light of this principle.

Miyamoto Musashi’s 21 Rules of Life

So without further ado, here are Musashi’s 21 rules of life. Each line contains a different idea one would live by. Enjoy!

“1. Accept everything just the way it is.

2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.

3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.

4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.

6. Do not regret what you have done.

7. Never be jealous.

8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.

9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.

10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.

11. In all things have no preferences.

12. Be indifferent to where you live.

13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.

14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.

15. Do not act following customary beliefs.

16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.

17. Do not fear death.

18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.

19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.

20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.

21. Never stray from the Way.”

This article was originally posted on Hack Spirit.

Photo: Adawak