How Does Spirituality Make You Happier?

How Does Spirituality Make You Happier?

What is spirituality? and why is everyone so obsessed with it lately?

When I researched the word spiritual, I found a lot of different definitions. However, what was in common between all of them was the feeling of belonging, connection, and going beyond the physical.

Some people mistake spirituality for people who choose to abandon religion and adopt a new sense of belief.

Spirituality is a much broader topic than we can discuss here. Spirituality is a feeling, it’s faith, it’s the belief and trust in something bigger than who we are.

Spirituality is selflessness

I have always struggled with adopting a spiritual practice that worked for me, or to understand what its is to be spiritual in the first place. i looked arounf and saw people with string faith and belief systems and thought to myelf: “wow! I wonder where they bring this certainty from”.

And that is what spirituality gives us, a sense of certainty.

This takes me to the why behind choosing to write about spirituality today, and that is: discussing the relationship between spirituality and our wellbeing and happiness. Are they even related? and if they are, are they correlated?

My strong personal opinion is “YES” they are!

Look at all humans around the globe, from the primitive human to the one living in cities, to the forest tribes that have never seen civilization. They all came to build a spiritual belief system, a faith, a higher power to pray to and ask for help in times of need and difficulty.

If that tells you anything, then it tells you that it is in our human nature to believe, to be spiritual and to have faith that we are being taken care of by something bigger than who we are.

This gives us a sense of relief and safety; that feeling that everything is and will be okay, which is great! It also gives us a sense of belonging, we belong to a certain faith, or we belong to universal power but we belong and this also feels great.

Spirituality helps us relax and let loose, it helps us not take ourselves too seriously, it helps us shed the layers of ego because at the bottom of who we are, we know we are spiritual beings in a physical body.

This all feeds the most basic human needs of love, social belonging, safety, self-actualization and transendence.

For this to come to me it took practice, it took openness to believe and it took courage to let go of the need to control every little simple thing.

Now, I have my own spiritual practice, one that serves me, that feeds my soul and that helps me be more myself every single day.

Here is what I do:

  • Meditation: giving myself the time to be silent and still awakens something new in me every day. (I give myself 5-10 minutes daily after I wake up to just be and focus on my breath)
  • Prayer: that feeling of complete serenity, of surrender and love. Being in that space of no judgment shows me the real meaning of self-love. (I pray before I sleep and when I wake up, and I sit there soaking in all the connection)
  • Spending time outdoors: the closeness to nature in all its beauty just brings joy to my heart, helps me stay creative and connect to the wonders of this universe. (this can be standing under the sun for 5 minutes, to taking a walk on the beach, I mix and match)
  • Presence: to actually be there in my own life, in each conversation, for every meal. It just adds more flavor to each moment and gives life more life. (I make sure I hear my husband in each conversation, I feel the sun on my skin, or I taste the coldness of my morning smoothie)
  • Gratitude: to stay aware of all that is going good in my life, from the smallest simple thing to the biggest achievement helps me stay grounded and makes me look at my life with a fresh eye every single day. (I spend every morning after meditation and before prayer to count three things I am grateful for, I even sometimes count my blessing during with my eyes close, I visualize them and I feel them in my body)

At any moment, you have a choice, that either leads you closer to your spirit or further away from it.

Thich Nhat Hnah

Peace & Love,

Sara

5 Simple Steps To Learn How To Speak Up

5 Simple Steps To Learn How To Speak Up

If you don’t speak up, no one will know what you want. It’s that simple!

You see that all the time in relationships, friendships, at work, and even with your own self. You don’t say what you really want and therefore you end up not getting it. 

What happens then is your wounded-self starts to fabricate stories. I am never heard, no one loves me, I am not good enough or strong enough, why does this keep happening to me, what’s wrong with me, and the list continues. 

We shift to self-blame and self-doubt and start living our victim story. 

This is dangerous for so many reasons; first of all, it’s all imaginary, which means it is not based on any facts and therefore it’s a dark hole that you can keep falling into forever because no fact will help you snap out of it. Second of all, this can become a habit, and your ego can actually start enjoying this victim role and adopt it in every life situation. 

But don’t worry, because there is a way out. Here’s my 5 simple steps to learn how to speak up:

  1. Know your values

What is important to you? What are the things that really move you? Or inspire you? Or simply make you happier and more relaxed? is it honesty, love, simplicity, freedom, joy, or health? By knowing what your priorities are, you will be able to know what you want in the first place. And that is definitely a good point to start.

2. Get the answer to why you don’t speak up

There is always a reason to why we do something, and that is either to feel something, or to avoid feeling it. So, what is it for you? If it the fear of judgment, or the need to fit in? by discovering why you do something it will be easier for you to work on it and change it. 

3. Practice with yourself

Start telling yourself what you want, how you like your day to be, what schedule do you want to be on, or what daily routine do you want to have. The way we deal with ourselves is usually the way we deal with others. Do you have boundaries with yourself? Do you respect your own values? Do you tell yourself what you want? Or do you just do whatever, whenever?

4. Start Saying ‘no’

A huge part of speaking up and saying what we want, is saying what we don’t want. And this takes me to my first point of knowing your values. Start saying no to anything that doesn’t match or respect your values. If you love health, then it’s okay to say no when someone offers you a brownie. Setting boundaries will give you more space in your life to do what you actually want to do. 

5. Understand the game of speaking up

Humans are creatures of communication, and that is the only way we know how to understand each other. If you don’t speak up and share your wants and needs, how do you expect others to know them? It’s impossible! By speaking up you will help yourself have healthier, stronger relationships. The kind of relationships that not only respect your values but also allow you to feel comfortable defending them.

“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That’s why they don’t get what they want.” 

-Madonna

Peace & Love,

Sara

Featured image is by Unsplash

A New Approach To Setting Your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

A New Approach To Setting Your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019

The holiday season is here! I wish everyone all around this beautiful earth happiness, love, and fluffiness.

We’re almost welcoming 2019. Around this time of year, we all tend to think about where we are, evaluate our current situations and plan for the year to come, all in hope to actually achieve what we want and what we have been wanting for a while now.

This year, I chose to approach my new year’s resolutions differently, I chose to trust my heart and make it the number one decision maker in what I want for my new year.

Adopting this approach in setting our plans and goals for next year will help us have an emotional drive behind them, they will come out of a place of passion and not only from a place of mindset. Choosing your resolutions from your heart gives you a strong ‘why’ to continue and follow through no matter what.

Like Simon Sinek says: “Always start with why”

Here’s how it work:

Let it come to you instead of forcing it out-

Keep a small notebook on your nightstand next to your bed, or in your bag, or on your desk, somewhere where you can always reach it. Now, wait for these moments when your heart decides to talk to you, that urge that something is important to you and you want to give it your attention. (for example, you should start expressing your feelings more often)

At this moment, grab your notebook and write it down; ‘start being more expressive and share my feelings with others’. Here you go! this is your first new year’s resolution right there! Something that comes from the heart and will change your relationship with yourself and those around you.

Keep that listening ear and whenever this voice comes out again, write it down. This way, you will start having your list ready for the new year and it will come naturally from a place of realness and love.

You want your resolutions to represent who you are as a person and have an impact to change your life.

Here are my top 5 wishes for 2019!

1) Like Bon Jovi says in his song It’s My Life: “I don’t want to be just a face in the crowd” I don’t want to be just a voice in the crowd. In 2019 I want to find my own voice and I want to live and thrive from a place of authenticity and uniqueness.

2) I want to trust my intuition, I want to believe my inner voice and let it guide me through the thick and the thin, in 2019 I want to thrive through faith and belief.

3) I want to love myself, be sweet to myself, and most importantly be kind to my self ... We all tend to be hard on ourselves sometimes but for 2019 I want to thrive through love and kindness.

4) I want to choose my inner circle wisely, I am who I spend most of my time with. I won’t just ‘spend time’ to kill time I will make sure my time is spent with those who bring joy to my heart… In 2019 I want to thrive through joy.

5) I want to give more, I want to be there for those who need me and those who love me. I want to open my heart for giving love, support, kindness, inspiration, passion, and kindness… In 2019 I want to thrive through giving.

Feelings to be fostered for next year: Love, kindness, authenticity, giving, joy, faith and belief. 

Merry Christmas everyone and a Happy New Year 🎆 

Peace & Love,

Sara 

Eleven Keys To Having A Sweet Life

Eleven Keys To Having A Sweet Life

I’ve watched many many speakers talk about health and wellness, but this one, in particular, grabbed my attention. she was who she is, with no additives, no pretending, just the real deal. She cursed, she laughed, she inspired and she gave it her all!

She’s a Gynocologist who believes in the power of simplicity, in the magic of connecting to our mother earth, and in the divinity of going back to the simple ways of life.

Here are her eleven keys to having a sweet life:

1- Laughter & Sense of Humor

You know that feeling when you laugh out loud, the surge of happiness that rushes right through you. This is the release of endorphins (happy hormone) in your body. Laughter doesn’t only help us be happier but it helps us be healthier too. It boosts our immunity, relaxes our muscles and prevents heart disease. It also adds zest and joy to our life, releases anxiety and decreases stress levels.

2- Sunshine & Natural Light

I just love the feeling of sunlight kissing my skin, it feels warm and fuzzy! Being under the sun helps your body produce serotonin (wellbeing hormone), increases our vitality and energy levels and elevates our mood. It also helps reduce blood pressure, promotes bone growth and reduces inflammation.

3- Nutritious Food

Eating healthy is an act of self-love, it promotes a good self-image and ensures the feeling of wellbeing. It also helps boost our digestive process and works magic for our gut health.

To eat clean, add more whole foods to your diet, try to eliminate refined carbs and sugars and minimize processed and packaged foods.

4- Clean Air

We tend to spend the majority of our time indoors, in stuffy offices, in our cars or just laying around the house. Exposure to fresh air brings freshness back into our lives, it boosts mood levels and helps relieve insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Take 10 minutes every hour or two to just be outside and smell the roses.

5- Water

There is a relationship between our brain and how it responds to water. Just by observing water we become more connected to nature, it helps to soothe our mind and tap into our inner flow. Up to 60% of the adult human body is water, that is why consuming two to three litres of water a day is crucial for our physical and mental health. It helps keep the skin radiant, control weight and energizes the muscles.

6- Uplifting Relationships

Strong positive relationships help boost our happy meter and reboot our health. Scientists after investigating the health effects of relationships discovered that having deep connections improves our immunity and gut function. They also discovered that caring behavior triggers the release of stress-reducing hormones, and encourages the expression of affection.

7- Outdoor Exercise

Working out outside is so much more fun! I mean come on… Yoga on the beach, or a run in the park, it doesn’t get any better than that. On top of all the fun, exercising outdoors will give you a burst of Vitamin D, help you workout longer and burn more calories and will elevate your sense of wellbeing.

8- Satisfying Living & Working Environment

Fung Shui is a Chinese concept which claims to use energy forces to harmonize individuals with their surrounding environment.

The color of the walls, the pattern of the furniture, the smell of the air will all affect our mood. Sometimes you will go somewhere and just feel a sense of ease, you wouldn’t normally know why, but most probably it’s the environment.

Think of your environment as an extension of who you are, as yourself what are my values and how do I like to live and then check if your environment matches that vision.

9- Natural Sleep & Relaxation

Did you know that lack of sleep makes us more prone to having depression? It is also linked to weight gain, increased risk of stroke and increased risk of having diabetes.

Sleeping or relaxing helps our emotional processes stay in check, we will drive better, interact with people better and simply live a more vibrant life.

10- Inspiring Music 

Music is soothing for our soul, it’s the kind of rhythm that unites itself with every cell in our body, it’s like we become one with music. On top of that, music was scientifically proven to enhance our nervous system, alleviate pain and depression and help us better process our emotions.

11- Rythmecial Dance

Experiments have proven cognitive benefits from dancing, two groups of people were asked to listen to music, one while sitting down and the second one while dancing and roaming around the room. The group which was asked to dance showed enhanced problem-solving skills and elevated mood levels.

Dancing makes us feel alive, it connects us back to our primitive instincts as humans, by exploring our body movement and letting our inner energy flow.

“Happiness is a choice, a repetitive one.”

― Akilnathan Logeswaran

Peace & Love,

Sara

 

Article Sources:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm

https://wanderlust.com/journal/sun-makes-happier/

https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/lifestyle/come-outside-why-fresh-air-is-essential/

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/the-nature-conservancy-of-canada/water-happiness_b_5738114.html

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/the-health-benefits-of-strong-relationships

https://www.primalplay.com/blog/benefits-of-outdoor-exercise

https://www.elitedaily.com/life/how-to-make-yourself-happier-the-effect-our-environment-has-on-us

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/all-the-ways-sleep-affects-your-happiness-in-one-char_us_55ae4d55e4b07af29d564a29

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/good-news/seven-seas/why-dancing-feels-good/

 

Attention: I had a bad day!

Attention: I had a bad day!

That agitating feeling, the need to get out of your own skin. What is that? and what is happening to me?

I thought there was something wrong, I thought I was having an allergic reaction to my own thoughts. but what I discovered was, I was only trying to escape the moment, to change its features, to make it more into what I expected it to be rather than what it really is. But again, what is that? and why is it happening to me?

No judgement, just love. that was what I felt inside, what I was expressing to the outside world of my own thoughts.

“So you are worried”, I thought to myself. That is okay! Come dear worry and let me sit with you, let me get aquainted and get to know you. What is it that you want and what is it you are trying to tell me?

You know that even our deepest, darkest emotions carry the wisest of messages, the most painful reminders to open our eyes and see reality as is. To face our demons and for once not be scared of them, but familiarize ourselves with them and embrace them in the home of our mind.

I have demons but those are not me. that is the wake up call I got. 

Being human is not a physical experience, being human is a spiritual journey of love, hate, sadness and happiness. Of being water and moving with the flow of life, of going through the bottlenecks and still have the lucidity to know that our way out is by flowing through the bottleneck instead of fighting our way out.

Oh, dear self, dear selves of the world, it’s okay to not be okay that is only a stop in the railway of life.

‘When it hurts observe, life is trying to tell you something’.

-Buddha

Peace & Love,

Sara

How To Overcome The Paralyzing Fear of Change?

How To Overcome The Paralyzing Fear of Change?

The idea of change is scary. Just the idea of it, Imagine the actual thing! Right? 

That’s why most ideas never become reality, it’s just because we are so scared to act on them.

I use the word paralyzing here because that is exactly how it feels sometimes. Like we just can’t move. 

But, why is that? 

I did my own research from my personal experience when I was faced with the decision to move from Amman to Kuwait. What I discovered was that I was more scared of the mental picture I built in my brain for the change than the change itself. 

I was a creative author of a long scary story of negative thoughts, of loneliness and of self-doubt.

I was telling myself that I am not up for this change, I don’t have what it takes to survive or to make it happen. I used to literally tell myself that I wouldn’t be able to breath living away from home. And I actually used the analogy of being a fish taken out of the fish tank. 

And that is exactly what I experienced when I moved, I experienced loneliness, self-doubt, and suffocation, I felt like I can’t take a deep breath. But what was the real reason behind all of that? was it the move? or was it all in my head?

Let me tell you, the change was difficult, but my lovely little mind games were the true reason for my suffering. And that is how life is, change is not what’s scary, it’s our inner narrative that makes it terrifying.

To think about it, which fish is not literally waiting for the day someone frees her from the fish tank!

Now, five years later, I am free fish in the open water, my move is something I mention in my gratitude journal, something that I am actually thankful for. This move changed me drastically, it helped me re-discover myself and made me more independent, reasonable and more in touch with my inner being than I ever was living back home. 

The move re-directed my entire life, made me closer to my husband and helped me discover my passion for wellness, self-development, and health. 

The reason I am sharing this story today is to tell you to dial down the inner narrative you’re telling yourself about the change and the challenge you’re about to embark. 

Was my transition into my move easy? Hell no! But I survived and I came out a more aware person. 

You will too…

So, embrace that change, leave that job you are waiting to leave, tell that person you love them, tell your parents you want to move out, or let go of that toxic relationship. Whatever it is, accept it as part of your growth and life journey.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
-Lao Tzu

Peace & Love,

Sara

How The Word Normal Is Destroying Our Life

How The Word Normal Is Destroying Our Life

I was sitting the other day with a group of people and marriage was the topic of discussion. Everyone was arguing how most married couples are not happy, bored or just living life together because it feels comfortable, not forgetting that is also becomes familiar territory.

I kept listening to the conversation thinking to myself: ‘why would anyone stay with anyone if they’re not happy!’ and then, of course, being little ms. expressive, I had to ask the question out loud, and the answer I got did not, in any way, make me even slightly understand why would people do that!

The answer was: ‘it’s normal’

It’s normal for people to grow bored in a relationship, to simply just stay for the sake of surviving, for the fear of letting go, or the fear of simply starting something new.

This does not only apply to this subject alone, this applies to every other thing in our life- The job we hate but stay in… Come one! it’s normal, I mean who likes their job anyway! or changing yourself for the sake of fitting in, because again, it’s normal, that’s what society implies on us and besides, everyone else is doing it too!

But, what is normal? and who set the standard for that? and if that’s what normal is, then do you really want to be normal?

Another question I have for you today is: ‘if everyone is wrong, does that make it right?’

I mean this is not a grey area here, and I’m not discussing something controversial. I am inviting you back to your basic most precious gift as a human and that is THINKING!

Think of what you say before you say it, think of your life and how it is the way it is, think of your actions and whether you believe in them or not. Think of who you are? and the reasons for which you are that person today?

Do you live the way you do because it’s normal? or do you actually want to live that way?

Normal is just a word that we invented to label things that the mass do. but are we cattle? or are we unique genius individuals which were given the gift of choice.

We can choose to be in that relationship or to simply leave. To let our soul die in that corporate desk job or to follow our dreams. To be who we are without any ounce of attention to what other people think.

That is our choice and we have the full responsibility to make the right one for us.

So, ask yourself today, do I want to be normal? or do I want to be me?

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
-Maya Angelou

Peace & Love,

Sara