By Nishtha Shukla
Change for the better this New Year. You can begin with small things that together make a big difference. Kickstart 2003 by resolving to pave way for success, better health, emotional well-being and spiritual awareness
1 Act as if
“Act as if you are and you will become such,” said Leo Tolstoy.
So choose one trait or habit that you would like to change; for example, negativity. Promise yourself that for one week you will act like you are a positive, upbeat person.
Try to say what an optimistic person would say, do what he would do, act how he would act. At first, it may feel strange and forced, but if you stick with it, you will find that by the end of the week you actually feel more positive.
2 Age is never a bar
When we let our age dictate our lives we miss out on a lot of opportunities and do things even when our heart isn’t in it. For example, a woman of 18 only 100 years ago was considered an old maid, a poor soul likely doomed to a life of loneliness and poverty.
Maybe it’s time to stop acting your age, and start acting and behaving the way you feel. If you feel old, maybe you should work on your mind-set!
3 Aerobic activities
Fun can be derived from natural aerobic activities and from exercises that follow the body’s natural movements-like walking, jogging, swimming, the inch-step. Natural aerobics celebrates the body and its form.
When you cultivate a playful attitude towards your exercise, your mind and body will move with fluid flexibility towards a state of quiet, humming vitality.
The happiest people are those who are able to avoid constant arguments, let go of resentments and therefore build close relationships. But being agreeable doesn’t mean being a doormat. It means trying to be amiable and understanding others’ points of view.
If you already consider yourself agreeable but still have a hard time getting close to others, you need to examine your trust level-another thing that has been found to be closely linked with happiness .
Try to attribute good motives to people and assume that they’re being nice to you because they’re caring, not because they are manipulative.
There are times when everything we could count on, everything that we identified ourselves with (job, relationships, hobbies, home, surroundings) seems disturbed. This is when you feel as if you are floating without a real connection to your former self and life, you are anchorless.
The waves of change rock you so that even you don’t know where you are headed. When we rely too heavily on certain things in our lives for our identity, we run the risk of crashing hard if we lose that thing.
The way out is to work on being as well-rounded as possible and paying attention to many ‘anchors’ that we can drop when one piece of identity drifts away.
Put in the time to build a few quality relationships, take up meaningful hobbies, develop a latent talent, explore different sides of your personality. They’ll remind you of who you are and help you keep your eyes on the horizon.
6 Anger control
There are many ways to cool it. Here are some easy ones that don’t rely on ideas of restraint, controlling, cleansing, etc.
Drink Panna (a cooler made from the pulp of raw mangoes) or drink coconut water. Wash your face with rose water. Apply sandalwood paste on your forehead.
Avoid oily, spicy foods like pakoras, parathas and samosas. Try to stay away from the colour red because it is too invigorating and might make you angry.
7 Ask for help
Most of us forbid ourselves from seeking help. Asking for help when you need it will only help you reach your goal faster. The capable and the successful around us are usually more than willing to assist when told we would appreciate their help.
Friends, gurus, counsellors, teachers, consultants and advisers are definitely some people you can approach. Admit to yourself that you are not perfect and could lack something for which you might require help.
Admitting to this need enables others to identify with you and boosts your self-esteem in the process. In fact, confessions make you a more honest and likeable person.
8 Beauty tips from yore
· Italian: They applied a paste made of the white of an egg, rosemary and powdered milk on the face to erase telltale lines.
· Spanish: They used to rub lemon juice on their face at night.
· English women dropped belledona herb juice in their eyes to enlarge their pupils.
· Egyptians: They heated a lotion of lanolin, castor oil and glycerine mildly until blended together and then let it cool. It was applied to acne and pimples.
· Persians: They applied onion poultice on their face at night to remove freckles, acne and pimples
9 Body rhythms
Are you a morning butterfly or a night moth? If you are a morning person you probably are the beloved of the family-introverted, functional and non-adventurous. If you are a night person, you must be dark and unfathomable (in many societies) and given to aesthetics.
Test your natural affinity by taking your temperature every four hours and alertness levels every four hours (on a scale of 10). Morning people, whose temperature begins to plummet before 8 p.m., are anatomically inflexible, reaching their body temperature and alertness peak on the dot in the early afternoon.
Night people are more adaptable and able to conquer the demands of the body. They tend to fall asleep when their body temperature is on the decline and wake up when it begins its material escalation.
10 Breaking the rules
One of the simplest ways to get new ideas is to see what ideas have already been thought of, and then tweaking these to come up with new ones.
“Breaking the rules” technique challenges the rules set for something, to come up with something else. To be creative, you must know that what is perceived as impossible is not always the case.
It is about getting over stereotypes and messing with things that others have not thought of, are apprehensive about considering, choosing instead to ape the tried and tested than experiment.
11 Broaden your horizons
There are so many ideas we get in our heads from such a wide variety of sources (our parents, the media, our own experiences) but being conditioned, it’s not easy to pull away from our pre-set beliefs and take a hard look at them.
It can feel almost painful to give up an idea we have clung to for years. But this is what learning and growth is all about-dusting off the cobwebs in our heads and pondering over new perspectives.
Making assumptions resulting in prejudice can be a dangerous thing. It is like closing doors to change and development.
12 Cash flow
Cutting down on your entertainment expenses can prevent being broke before the month is out.
Curtail your outings-Saturday nights can also mean sitting with friends at home.
Cut down on the number of movies you see or the potboilers you buy. Television is good when guided by judicious discretion. Otherwise, it can be a passive and debilitating use of valuable time
It may sound hackneyed, but chewing well each of your food morsels holds truer today when we eat on the run all the time or in front of the telly or the comp.
The more you chew the better because it causes a strong secretion of saliva, which decreases the formation of mucus and helps prevent over-eating.
Proper chewing releases the nutrients locked within food. This reduces strain on the stomach, making digestion easier.
According to the Vedas, one should chew each mouthful 36 times.
14 Communicate with your body
It can tell you what is good for you and what is bad, if you constantly talk and listen to what it has to say.
All by yourself, in a quiet environment, you can use your body as a pendulum to sway gently in a yes or no fashion in response to questions. Initially, you need to tune in and ‘feel’ the response rather than expect to visually see it.
Get in touch when it is sending out subtle messages before it resorts to drastic measures of chronic pains and illnesses.
15 Child within
Keeping the child within alive will enable you to enjoy the little pleasures that come your way. It is about recapturing the magic of childhood, which is usually the happiest period of life.
Recall what it felt to be blissful, happy, wholly alive. Whatever you are doing, if it is agrecable you, it will be able to put you in that state.
16 Computer friendly
Now since it has become an indespensible part of our lives, we’d better learn to protect ourselves from the harms of extensive computer use. Use a wrist support to elevate the bottom of your wrists to at least the level of the front of the keyboard.
Also, use a device either on yourself (say anti-glares) or on the monitor to neutralize the negative impact of the electromagnetic radiation.
Also, take a break every 40-50 minutes-get up, take a walk, get fresh air, take a few deep breaths, look at something far away. Mind your posture too, sit erect.
You are creative when you are using both the left analytical brain and the right sensory brain together.
Experts have identified five stages of creativity. The first two and the last need left brain skills whereas the third and the fourth need the right brain.
· Preparing: Collecting information and defining the problems and clarifying the goals.
· Focussing: Disciplining yourself to do away with distractions for better focus on the immediate activity.
· Sleeping over it: Synthesise, collate, let the subconscious mind do the work. It knows best.
· Sudden insight: Let a spontaneous new insight-an expert mix of visuals, sounds and intuition-blossom at the culmination of the incubation process.
· Weighing up: Analyze and see the feasibility of a concept in its entirety. Plan a sequence of steps to be followed.
Go for a complete naturopathic internal body cleansing every six months or so. It releases the accumulated toxins in the system. A massage and steam bath or sauna every week helps too.
Trying to remember your dreams first thing in the morning can offer you strange insights into yourself and your surroundings. Allow some time to lapse between recording the dream and trying to interpret it.
Then use your intuition to understand it. Sit and sort through the dream, examining the actions, feelings and imagery. It will reveal a lot of new things about you.
20 Email etiquette
The hottest way of communicating today, it is estimated that about three billion e-mails are sent daily across the world. E-tiquette needs to be observed to make optimum use of this instant messenger.
So: Be brief as long emails are annoying and will most likely go unread. Spell-check notes to avoid bloopers before you click send. Be prompt in replying to emails, preferably answer mails within the day. Ignore chainmails, jokes and petitions and resist forwarding these.
Don’t bottle them up. The important thing about getting over depression is to start expressing your feelings. When you display your emotions, it will make you feel good.
Consider your emotions as a building. If you keep building more and more floors of negativity by withholding your emotions, with a weak foundation, the building will fall apart. With sharing, you can avoid that collapse.
22 Feng Shui
According to Feng Shui , the front door of your house should be in keeping with the size of your house. If overly large, your fortunes will suffer. If too small, ch’i is constricted and there will be disagreements within the family.
The front door should also be slightly larger than the back door (ideally not in line with each other). This allows the ch’i to flow in quickly and easily, and spend time in the house before flowing out.
The best position for the front door is on the left side of the house, looking out. This allows the green dragon to protect the main entrance.
23 Flow states
Use peripheral vision and flow states. It’s not so much what Creative Spirits do but how they do it.
Creativity can be considered a ‘state of being’. The Creative Spirit knows how to relax into it! Athletes call it the ‘Zone’.
It’s a very focussed and yet relaxed state where ‘anything is possible’. Generally the eyes are in wide vision. Literally expanding horizons!
To avoid a bout of stuttering, speak slowly. Maintaining eye contact with your listener also makes it easier for you as well as the listener to connect. And before you make an important phone-call, jot a list of the points you want to make.
25 Be a freshetarian
Fresh foods are sattvic-they are nourishing, refreshing and life-enhancing. Stale foods are tamasic because the life force is diminished or absent. So eat freshly cooked food or fresh fruits. However convenient, avoid over-processed foods, especially those with harmful additives.
26 Gazing at a photograph
If the photograph is of a loved one, it can stimulate blood supply to the brain, says researcher Andreas Bartels from University of London. It also reduces chances of depression and listlessness.
They can be a valid form of argumentation, yet it is important to beware of them for more often than not, our generalisations are fallacious. They can be hasty (based on insufficient number of instances), and sweeping (where the conclusion drawn far exceeds what the evidence supports).
Such generalisations can be derogatory to people and bar us from discovering the truth. You can try and correct myths and generalizations with statistics and facts.
Much maligned, it can actually play a positive role in our emotional well-being. It updates us on facts about our society, so we can be a part of it.
This information is not harmful to another and can establish moral boundaries within the society. This, however, is different from rumors which are mostly malicious, baseless information.
Instead of saying “I wish”, say “I hope”. With wishful thinking you are not connected to reality. This paralyses you and makes it impossible to take any action since you are hoping for a miracle to happen. Hope goes beyond longing since it converts wishes into plans of action to fulfil your wish.
30 Headache relief
For quick relief from a headache, take a deep breath. Slow, deep ‘diaphragmatic’ breaths involving pushing your stomach out as you exhale, pulling it in as you inhale can have an invigorating effect.
Add imagery to breathing. If the headache feels hot, for example, imagine cool compresses being applied and the heat evaporating into the air.
31 Hug therapy
It has been proven that being hugged by a member of the opposite sex produces a sense of well-being. It has especially helped in suicide-prone cases where the victim has lived happily for years after just one such embrace.
It is one of the easiest ways to shape up. It trims your weight, burns 100+ calories in 20 minutes, and loosens tight hips. To start, stand with your feet hip-width apart.
Spin the hoop around your waist while rotating your hips in circular motion. Keep your belly pulled in tight. Here are some other fitness tricks that you can try:
(i) ‘Hula jump': use a large hoop as you would jump a rope.
(ii) Spin the hoop on your arms to tone your shoulders.
(iii) Lay the hoop flat on the ground and hop in and out of it to improve balance and agility.
Read up information and articles on how to deal with and overcome your problem. Reading others’ experiences can reassure you and might even provide some answers.
34 Immigrant’s mentality
Immigrants to the USA are more successful in shorter spans of time. The ‘immigrant’s mentality’ goads the person to be more entrepreneurial and adept at work. If you consider yourself alien to your new workplace, you will demand more of yourself.
You will also tend to learn from the competent individuals around you.
35 Johari’s window
This four-paned window concept describes the degrees of knowledge about the self on two dimensions
(a) that which is known/unknown to the self and
(b) that which is known/unknown to others. The first ‘public’ quadrant describes things about us that we know and others are aware of.
The second, ‘blind’ quadrant is for things about us that others are aware of but we are not. The third quadrant describes that which we hide from others. The fourth quadrant depicts something unknown to us as well as others.
The more you push from the left to right in the Johari’s window, the more you share knowledge about your personality with other people. The more you push from top to bottom, the more you reveal of yourself to the world.
36 Know the limits
You can’t prove anything to anybody who doesn’t want to believe you. Just like you can’t attempt to help somebody improve their circumstances if they won’t let you coach them in that direction. But do it. In this process, you will improve yourself.
Whether in business or personal interactions, look for a way to honestly say, ‘I respect you’, ‘I appreciate you’, or ‘I agree with you’. Those three short expressions can sometimes, like magic, turn a discussion from adversarial to collaborative, from cordial to inspired.
Who says Indians don’t have a sense of humor? The existence of the ancient art of Hasya Yoga and the modern laughter clubs mushrooming in cities are proof enough. So laugh for a better mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. But don’t laugh at people… laugh with them.
39 Let go
Of material goods, of people, of limiting ideas and opinions, of negative emotions. Getting rid of the excess baggage leads to release and you feel light about life. Trust yourself, love yourself, accept not being in control and become aware of the abundance of the universe.
40 Light touch of the leader
Being a leader does not mean you are lord. Give your people the freedom to use their mind and reason, making your organization a thinking organization.
41 Linga mudra
Helps people suffering from excess cold, influenza and cough. It is done by joining the fingers of both hands, but keeping the thumbs upright. In Linga mudra, the fire (heat) element gets enhanced because the thumb is the seat of this element and hence is beneficial in curing ‘cold’ ailments.
42 Look back
Rely on ‘experience’. Reviewing an unproductive or unhappy event will reveal patterns suggesting how you can improve your behavior, attitude and ideas and ensure future success.
43 Love unconditionally
Everyone is here to learn and grow. If you are patient and accept people and yourself ‘as is’, you will love without any conditions or reservations. If all of us behave like that, the world will be a warmer, more affable place.
Don’t become slaves to comfort and technology. If you need to visit the market nearby, you don’t need to pull out the car. For money transactions with the washerman, you don’t need a calculator. And if you can go up to your colleague and ask for an update on that client, why send an e-mail?
If you have problems memorising, just try reading something aloud. You will retain 50 per cent more than otherwise.
46 Medicinal plants
For irregular menstruation, grind four Hibiscus flowers to a paste. Consume it on an empty stomach in the morning. To build immunity, make a decoction with the stem of Tinospora cordifolia. Take ½ cup of the decoction twice daily for seven to 21 days
Beware of mannerisms that can make even a highly competent person seem like a loser: Do you
· talk too much,
· fidget in your seat,
· play with your hair or hands,
· speak as quietly as a mouse or as loudly as a wrestling announcer,
· constantly interrupt? Have a friend do a mock interview with you. Ideally videotape it.
Show him the above list and ask if he thinks you have any annoying mannerisms. Rectify.
48 Negative talk is detrimental
Instead of saying to your child, “don’t bang the door”, say, “close the door gently”-this is because the mind has a tendency to not register the negatives. Also, try phrasing sentences in the present and in positives.
For instance, if you wish to develop your memory say: “My memory is perfect.” Don’t say: “I don’t have a bad memory.”
While communicating, it is necessary to acknowledge interference in the form of noise like electronic vibes, thoughts in your mind. Focussing on ourselves rather than the other person can lead to confusion and conflict.
Love and respect nature . Keep nature posters around you. Feel the cool breeze and the warm sun on your skin.
Imagining yourself within nature brings about bio-chemical reactions so your body experiences those comforting experiences.
This ‘eco-psychology’ describes the healing qualities of the earth, heaven, plants and wildlife when we allow ourselves to appreciate the connection.
Think before saying yes and learn to say no. This way you will develop healthy and meaningful relationships because it will not allow space for friction and conflict. There is increased self-respect; at the same time your self-esteem is enhanced, giving you control over your life and emotional well-being.
52 Natural room-freshener
Put fresh, white ‘bel’ flowers in a bowl and sprinkle them with water.
53 Nervous conditions
Do panic, fear and anger plague you at work? Deadlines, workload, crises, insecurity cause these.
Practise this simple relaxation technique: Sit with your eyes closed and your hands in your lap. Breathe slowly and rhythmically. Focus completely on the rise and fall of the breath.
54 Non-verbal communication
Research indicates over 65 per cent of our communication is done non-verbally. When people lie, they subdue their gestures and avoid direct eye contact, or may have shifty eyes.
The three primary facial gestures associated with lying are: “speak no evil” i.e. when someone filters their words through their fingers or uses their hand to block their words.
“See no evil” occurs when individuals rub their eye(s) while they are talking. The third facial gesture, “hear no evil”, occurs when a person covers his ear(s) or drills his finger into his ear while speaking.
People sometimes lie, but their body language always tells the truth! Increased self-awareness (without becoming self-conscious) and using non-verbal cues on purpose are probably the best ways to improve your non-verbal impact on others.
55 No snoring
A touch of clove oil on the inside of nostrils before bedtime can reduce snoring.
56 Ornamental plants
According to vaastu, tulsi should be placed in the north of the house to develop fortitude and awareness. Because it does not grow close to other plants, it promotes individuality.
Feng Shui advises that prickly plants such as cacti and spiky leafed plants like spider, ferns and palms are to be avoided indoors because they send out negative ch’i, which is harmful. Bonsai are most inauspicious for wealth since their growth and energy have been stunted.
Nadi Shodhana is simple.
· Block your right nostril with your thumb. Breathe in and out deeply and silently (but not forcefully) through your left nostril 4-5 times
· Repeat by blocking the left nostril and breathe in and out through the right nostril.
· Now block the right nostril, inhale through left. Now release the right nostril and breathe out through it, while simultaneously blocking the left nostril. Repeat this a few times.
· Repeat the above process reversing the nostrils i.e. block left, inhale through right and then block right, inhale through left
· Practise the above for at least a week. Now we can begin the actual nadi-shodhana.
Step 1 – Block right nostril, inhale through left. Block left, release right, exhale through right
Step 2 – Inhale through right while left stays blocked
Step 3 – Release left, block right, exhale through left It is important that there are no gaps between the three steps Repeat steps 1-3, two to five times only, according to capacity, three times a day at sunrise, noon and sunset.
Midnight is also recommended but can be impractical. In a few months, your nadis (psychic channels) will be purified as per the texts. This exercise is harmless if followed as per the directions and prepares one for pranayama.
Sibling rivalry is best left alone. Let your children learn to deal with their issues, and develop conflict-resolution skills. Yet, do set certain limits so one cannot harm the other or be involved in consistent aggression.
is not the ideal time to diet or fast as it can harm the baby. In case you want to lose excess weight, alter your dietary intake to reduce levels of saturated and unsaturated fats.
Also, reduce your salt intake as the body can swell and weight can soar due to salt and water retention, particularly during pregnancy. Replace with adequate toned milk, fresh food, green vegetables, sprouts and pulses.
60 Public speaking
Its essence is to ‘give’ not ‘get’. Humility and humor help. Sharing your faults and weaknesses with so many people will make you more credible and yes, respected. Humor can ease and bridge the gap between you and your audience. Or combine both: laugh at yourself!
Four behaviour patterns identified in people are Dominance, Influencing, Steadiness and Conscientiousness (DISC). While each person is a combination of all four, something would be dominant in everyone.
If you figure who is what, here is how you can deal with each of them:
· Dominant types sport a strong handshake, steady eye contact and exhibit a confidence that may overwhelm less powerful people. To get along better, provide brief, direct answers.
· Influencers are natural networkers. Where people usually talk at 160 words a minute, they comfortably speak at 400 words a minute. Provide them a favourable, friendly environment and let them verbalise about people, ideas, the weather and so on.
· Steady people are friendly, calm, soothing, sincere, loyal and team players. They are most comfortable when everyone gets along, thus the most disappointed when conflict arises.
Provide a sincere, personal and agreeable environment. Focus on answers to ‘how’ questions. Assure them you will personally follow up.
· Conscientious people are analytical, quality control people who make sure things are done right. Usually, they consider they can do it “most right”. Prepare your case in advance and logically present pros and cons.
Use it to provide a foundation for effective communication and performance. For instance, business suits do not define professionalism; however, the professional situation defines which clothes you should wear.
How you look demonstrates how you feel and will define how people see your professional being, inside and out.
63 Play with your pet
While you and your pet like each other’s company, your heart likes it too. Research has found that just being in the presence of a beloved pet can lower a person’s blood pressure and feelings of distress. Animals give an unlimited amount of unconditional love.
64 Pain control
Recent studies show that 5 to 9 per cent of adults visiting doctors with back pain or a headache also suffer from depression. If you have been low, upset or listless in the past two weeks, disinterested in things, you could be a victim. Try reiki , yoga and meditation .
65 Pearly whites
Rubbing your teeth with a piece of bay leaf (tej patta) is an easy way to keep them white and gleaming. Refrain from rubbing them with salt and charcoal as these can damage the delicate tooth enamel.
66 Pyramid of needs
All humans differ in their evolution and hence work at different levels of “need satisfaction”. Abraham Maslow, father of humanistic psychology, classified needs at five hierarchical levels: The lowest needs are biological (hunger and sex).
Next are the safety needs of security, stability and order. Then come belongingness such as affiliation, affection, and identification. Follow self-esteem needs including prestige, success , and self-respect.
Finally at the top comes the need for self-actualization, to develop one’s full potential in whatever field one works in.
67 Relax in a jiffy
Stand with your feet slightly apart, Take a deep breath as you stretch arms over head, Slowly exhale as you lean forward, bringing arms and head down, Repeat five times.
68 Rocking Chair
There’s nothing like the rhythmic sway of a rocking chair to clam a fussy baby. Now it seems that rockers bring similar comfort to elderly sufferers of dementia. Researchers at the University of Rochester encouraged 25 residents to rock as much as they like and they became less upset and anxious and required less pain medication.
Use a pre-competition routine like the use of imagery and visualization before the event to create a positive vision of the competition and to see oneself attain pre-set goals. Contro
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