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

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/

 

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

The First Time I Had a Panic Attack

The First Time I Had a Panic Attack

It was a normal day… or so I thought!

I’m in bed trying to sleep, my mind is going one hundred and twenty miles an hour, my body starts to heat up, my heart is beating super fast and I feel a weird sensation in my throat like I want to cry but I can’t. I start panicking, thinking I need to run away from my own body! What is happening to me? I ask myself…

And then, a voice within me tells me to breathe, breathe deeply and steadily. And that is exactly what I did, I started breathing at my own pace, controlling each inhale and exhale.

the voice starts to become clearer… You are not your thoughts, it says! You are not your thoughts!

I start to calm down, still focusing on my breathing, my body settling back into its normal state… and I fall asleep.

What happened there? and why?

What happened is that my body was trying to cope with the thousand thoughts inside my head that it overheated, and wanted to shut down.

I was so fixated on my thoughts, focusing strongly and deeply on them that my body started living the sensation of these thoughts. And that is how we live each and every day of our lives.

In a constant state of reaction.

Try something with me, next time you listen to your favorite song, stay aware of your emotion and how your body will automatically want to start dancing. Or the next time you think of a sad situation you went through, focus on how your stomach will clench and your heart will feel heavy.

That is called an emotion: 

“the physical reaction of a thought”

But a thought is nothing but a normal brain function. We have sixty to seventy thousand thoughts a day, ranging from memories to pictures, to ideas, to songs, etc. It’s just what the mind does.

What you should know is that it means nothing! Yes, you read correctly. It means nothing! unless you choose to give it your attention and then it becomes your life.

What saved me from my panic attack the other night is my utmost belief that I am not my thoughts, that behind all this thinking I am okay, we are all okay and that is who we are- infinite space of peace and love.

I’m sharing this with you today to tell you that it’s okay, life can get overwhelming sometimes but always remember that it will be okay. 

And, if you have a panic attack please focus on keeping your breathing steady and deep, and keep repeating to yourself that you are not your thoughts. 

“We don’t strive for perfection we live for peace”

Peace & Love,

Sara

We Were Wrong All this Time

We Were Wrong All this Time

The pursuit of happiness should be the pursuit of the self.

What I’ve noticed lately from everyone I work with, or from anyone who approaches me for advice is that people are disconnected from their true self.

I’ve noticed that because I was that! (still in the process if knowing myself fully)

I was a stranger to my own self! And, sadly, that is how people are operating in the world we live in right now. People are losing touch with the soul of who they are, what they stand for, what they like, what they don’t like, how they behave and the way they think.

We no longer know what is important, because our priorities are all messed up.

What we think is important is nothing but an illusion… the new bag, the fancy car, the big house. This will never bring us fulfillment. (although they are all nice to have, don’t get me wrong!).

But, what I’m trying to say here is that the ego is taking over, we are surrendering to the dogmas of faith and society, disregarding our deepest and purest virtues.

We are prioritizing material over experience, we are collectors and consumers, we are trying to fill a void that can never be filled with things. Remember, we are spiritual beings in a material world, and as spirits we need freedom, we need self-expression and we need love. 

This is what will alter the fate of humanity, what will elevate human relationships and what will provide infinite fulfillment.

We are boundless and yet we treat ourselves as bounded beings, we always say how are ‘have to’ and how ‘we don’t have the choice’. But guess what? we do!

We always have the choice to get to know ourselves better and to take time of every day to know what is important, we have the choice to react in a certain way, to think in a certain and to behave in a certain way. We also have the choice to be free, to choose freely and to express ourselves fully.

Self-expression is the celebration of self-knowledge, it’s putting the common sense to practice, it’s respecting your own set of beliefs and it’s the courage of showing the world who you truly are.

By knowing ourselves, we will be liberated, we will thrive and grow like never before and we will see the horizon of infinite possibilities.

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
-Lao Tzu

Peace & Love,

Sara

 

Are You Feeling Lost?

Are You Feeling Lost?

Where are you now in your life? and how do you look at it?

For a lot of us, this is something that we think about but don’t really invest too much time trying to figure it out.

The thing is, we usually look at our life from one angle only- and that is the angle we think will provide us with the ultimate happiness.

So, for example, let’s say your career is on top of your priority pyramid. How will you look at your life then? You will over fixate on everything that is related to your career; whether it was the number of hours you work in a week, the deal you are waiting for, the project you are working on, etc. You tend to lose sleep sometimes because you have a deadline, or you miss your yoga class because you have a business dinner, or you take a raincheck on your date night with your partner because this project is just too important!

But, have you ever thought about how will this affect your life?

Let’s imagine something together- you have an empty garden, and you take one corner of that garden and keep planting it, taking care of it, and watering it. What will you end up with? a very unbalanced garden! Most of your garden will still be as empty as it was when you first were looking at it.

This is exactly how our life is. We have multiple areas that compromise our entire life experience and these include, our relationships, our health and physical exercise, our finances, our spirituality and our learning and growth.

Which is more important than the other? none is! they are all equally important. They all add up together to create this perfect well-rounded living experience.

Taking care of only one of these areas will leave you with a big empty hole, a feeling of dissatisfaction with the status quo, and an eagerness for change, or for having something different.

The secret to happiness is balance! it’s having loving and supportive relationships, a healthy body, a strong mind, a passionate career and progress in the right direction.

How does that happen?

By checking in with yourself and re-organizing your priorities every time you feel something is out of balance. It’s making sure you give your partner and yourself enough love after you come home from a ten-hour working day. It’s taking care of what you eat and exercising often enough that you know your body is growing stronger and not older.

It’s just giving yourself enough time to actually live your life and not just be alive! it’s making healthy choices and then sticking to them.

So, know your priorities, give balanced attention, and make smart decisions.

And by that, my friend, you will have achieved what I call “the balanced being”.

Peace & Love,

Sara