7 Simple Things You Can Do Every Day To Improve Your Life

No of our lives are perfect. Everyone has room for improvement. Many people think it’s hard to improve their life. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to do anything drastic to improve your life.  Just do these simple things and your life will change for the better!


1. Make a daily list of 3 things you’re grateful for

Taking time to write down what you’re grateful for reminds you of what you already have.  Chances are you will find that what you already have many of the things you want!

2. Break a sweat every day

It doesn’t matter how you do it – walking, jogging, gardening, lifting weights,  or sex.  Just do it!  Being active daily is not only incredibly good for your body, it’s also good for your mental health!

3. Spend 5 minutes cleaning every day

Nobody likes to clean.  I get it.  But, in just 5 minutes, you can hang clothes, throw away trash, clean counters, sweep, and put things where they belong.
Cleaning just a little every day is much better than taking the time to do a huge cleaning on the weekend.  And, it will give you more free time on the weekend to have fun!

4. Look people in the eye when you talk to them

Maintaining eye contact is easy to do when you’re listening to someone, but try doing it when you speak as well. Looking someone in the eye builds confidence and helps build a connection between you and the person you’re talking to. It also makes you appear more trustworthy, self-aware, and self-assured.

5. Only do one thing at a time

Multi-tasking is over-rated.  By focusing on more than one task at once, we accomplish less and feel more stressed. Sometimes multi-tasking is inevitable, like when you’re a parent or an elementary school teacher (or really anyone who deals with small children), but most of the time it’s unnecessary.

6. Show some kindness to yourself

Maybe this means limiting how often you criticize yourself, learning that it’s okay if you can’t please everyone all the time or that everyone makes mistakes.  Think about it.  Are you kind to yourself?  If not, try to pinpoint why and when this occurs, then do your best to actively offer yourself compassion and kindness.

7. Talk to a loved one

Don’t stress out about setting aside an hour of your day to catch up with your sister or best friend.
Instead, opt for a quick five-minute call to say hi, ask what’s going on, or wish them luck for an important project or event. A few minutes of casual conversation with someone you care about lifts your spirits without taking up a lot of your time.

This Is What Happens When You Place An Ice Cube At This Point On Your Head

We all want to live longer, look younger, have more energy and lead a fuller life, right? How can it be done?
Of course, eat right, be active, keep your mind sharp, and don't do high-risk activities is one way. But it turns out, an ice cube and a few moments of your time helps too. At the base of your skull on the neck there is a point known as Feng Fu.
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It's a pressure point found at the base of the skull just below the bottom ridge of the skull cap at the top of the neck. If you put ice on it regularly, it triggers rejuvenation in your body.
Illness seems to disappear and you find yourself more energetic and just plain happier.
Lie on your stomach and put an ice cube at the Feng Fu point. Leave it there for 20 minutes. You can also use a bandage to fix it in place if you're on the go.

Doing it once in the morning on an empty stomach and then again once before bed. What does it do?

  1. It improves your sleep quality
  2. It improves your mood.
  3. It helps regulate your gut.
  4. It relieves colds.
  5. It relieves toothaches and headaches.
  6. It may help relieve lung and cardiovascular diseases.
  7. It may help thyroid issues.
  8. It may relieve PMS.
  9. It may improve mental health.

Sources

GET RID OF BLACK SPOTS ON FACE JUST IN 15 MINUTES

Increased production of melanin in the body leads to dark spots on the skin or hyper pigmentation. People with a darker skin tone are more exposed to this problem.
Dark spots on the skin can affect both sexes and people of all ages. It can destroy a person’s self-esteem and affects the way a person sees itself. Acne is a similar problem, but it can be resolved easier than dark spots. Dark spots are difficult to remove, and often require a combination of preventive measures and products to clear up.
The problem can be caused by excessive sunlight exposure, skin inflammation, hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, Addison’s disease, sleep deprivation and stress.
Thankfully, we have a few homemade solutions that will remove the dark spots on your face in only 15 minutes! Watch the video below for detailed instructions:

Here are some home remedies you must try:
  1. Mix 4 teaspoons of buttermilk and 2 teaspoons of fresh tomato juice and apply the mixture on your face. Leave it to work for 15 minutes, then wash it off with water.
  1. Grind half a cup of rolled oats, then add some lemon juice and make a paste. Apply the paste on your face and let it stay for a while before removing it with a cloth soaked in warm water. Do the process at least once a week for best results.
  1. Almonds are great for skin care, and they also work great against dark spots. Soak 8-10 almonds in water overnight, then peel the skin and grind them in the morning. Add 1 teaspoon of sandalwood powder and a teaspoon of honey and make a paste of the ingredients. Apply it on your face and leave it on for half an hour before washing it off.
To reduce the appearance of dark spots on your skin, you can also use lemon, Aloe Vera, vitamin E oil, papaya pulp and buttermilk.
Lemon juice contains antioxidants, vitamin and minerals that can fight skin blemishes and lighten the skin. It can also act anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and is considered as the best homemade remedy for treating dark spots on the face.
Buttermilk is a gentle natural product that can remove acne scars, pimple marks and even out your skin tone. It contains lactic acid, a substance that can improve the quality of your skin. As a replacement, you can use natural milk or yogurt.
Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which are effective for removal of dark spots on your face. It contains numerous essential ingredients which are beneficial for your skin. You can apply some Aloe Vera gel on your face and see the results for yourself.
Papaya contains minerals and enzymes that work great for removing dark spots on your face. Find a ripe papaya and apply it directly on your skin, then leave it to work for 20 minutes before washing it off with water.

What Is The Authentic BUDDHISM?

One of the questions I love to hear from new Buddhist practitioners and those just curious about Buddhism is, “which is the real Buddhism?” or “is this authentic Buddhism?” It doesn’t matter which tradition they are asking about, the question is always there. People are curious but skeptical.
If only so many serious practitioners to Buddhism were as critical in their investigation. Just as the Buddha stated in the Kalamasutta, we should not believe because of any conditioned reason but know its truth from the fruits of practice. So when we look at someone’s practice and ask if it is really authentic Buddhism, we should not judge it on its traditional authenticity but its progressive effectiveness to liberate from suffering (dukkha).

In the West (particularly the United States, we are unbound by cultural mores, tropes, and paradigms to the definition of Buddhism. We are free to choose the Buddhist traditions and practices of a particular culture or belly up to the buffet and pick and chose aspects of multiple traditions to be a part of our practice. Historically, Buddhism (unlike Christianity) integrates into local society instead of supplanting it. Many of the liturgical and ceremonial aspects of Buddhism come mainly from the local culture and not the teachings of the Buddha.
However, with such a melting pot of cultures throughout America, Buddhism in the United States has become less of an Americanized Buddhist diet but instead a pot luck or multi-cultural cuisine. Each offered meal made from the same foundation ingredients but with the local flavors added. Like authentic home cooking, each person offers what they feel is the “authentic” recipe.
But if I ask for authentic soup, and five people bring me miso, chili, tomato, clam chowder and chicken noodle; how am I to choose which is authentic? Are they all authentic? Is chili a soup or a stew? What makes a stew not soup? Who is the person who decides these answers?
The question of authenticity is the wrong question. We must look at the purpose of soup, and why we need it in our diet. What are the results of all of these “soups” and if they all yield the same results. In the same way, the traditions of Buddhism (and their authentic credibility) are not really the issue, but do they yield the results of liberations from suffering. Do they promote the successful walk along the Middle Path.
Whether it is Theravada, Mahayana, or Tibetan, the goal is the understanding of suffering and the practice to liberate from suffering. The genuine Buddhism is the one that reaps the fruits of its practice to the realizations and liberations experienced by the Buddha.
All knowledge and action that is in conducive to liberation is in accord with the teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha said himself that he was neither the originator nor the sole keeper of the dhamma. There were Buddha’s before him. He rediscovered the dhamma like a lost city in forgotten woods by a forgotten path.
To cling to the idea that there is one Buddhist practice that has more veracity and authenticity than another is to cling to a fetter of delusion. Just like members of a gym can’t claim that their exercise programs are the authentic exercises, Buddhist practitioners cannot claim that their tradition is the only true Buddhism. There are only individuals who are having more progress in their liberation than others.
In fact, to liberate from such clinging to the idea of authenticity could be argued to be one more obstacle that is removed from the path to enlightenment. If Buddhism is viewed not by tradition but by philosophy, practice and truths—there is no difficulty with most Buddhist practices being seen as “authentic.”
The evaluation of authentic Buddhist foundation is then measured by the acceptance that all conditioned phenomena are impermanent (anicca); that life contains suffering from the thirst of craving (dukkha); that all identities (being impermanent) are void of any true identity (anatta).
The evaluation of authentic Buddhist practice is the efforts put forth to reorient the mind and body to embody these statements not just as concepts but realities that inform and influence our engagement with the world.
From these truths come the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, the goals and development of meditation practice, the Four Sublime States, the Three Heavenly Messengers, and list after list of Buddha’s teachings.
Each teaching steers us from nihilism and determinism and keeps us on the Middle Path. Each teaching steers us to develop our body and minds to become liberated from conditioned reality that is the soil that we cultivate our suffering. Each teaching is proven true by the transformative results in our relationship with the world.
So authentic Buddhism is not determined by a historical lineage or authorizing body of elders, but by an individual’s progress. The only true Buddhist temple is the individual who sees, hears and practices the dhamma.

By Sumitta

What Is Mindfulness (And How Can It Help You?)

In today’s day and age, mindful and mindfulness are buzzwords that are used colloquially. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve been told to “BE MINDFUL”?
Yet, what is mindfulness and what does it really mean?

What Is Mindfulness?

There are many definitions. My favorite is the one posited by John Kabat-Zinn, the pioneer of Mindfulness Meditation’s use in Western psychological interventions. He proposes that mindfulness is a state of greater awareness cultivated by paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.
Part of why I like this definition is because it speaks to the components of mindfulness that are important in cultivating its benefits.
image source
Let’s break this definition down.

1. On Purpose

When we don’t hone our focus, as Kabat-Zinn says, on purpose, we remain on autopilot. In this busy, hyper connected world it’s too easy to lose ourselves in autopilot for much of the day….every day. Living this way we often fail to:
1. Notice the beauty of life
2. Hear what our bodies are telling us and
3. Get stuck in mechanical ways of thinking and living that may be harmful to ourselves or others
When we’re in autopilot mode we get lost in ‘doing’ so we find ourselves striving and struggling and ‘getting stuff done’ instead of living.
In contrast, when we are attentive on purpose, we start to live more consciously. We’re more awake and more fully ourselves.
In this age of mass distraction, there is nothing more important. There are so many ways to disconnect and distract ourselves from ourselves. We easily disperse our energy, leaving little or none to nurture ourselves.

2. In The Present Moment

If we leave it to it’s own devices, our human mind habitually wanders away from the present moment. When we’re are not in the here and now, we dwell in the past, grasping and replaying it, or we project into the future, trying to anticipate the unknown (and often catastrophizing).
These habitual thought patterns don’t serve our ultimate well-being. When we don’t allow ourselves to attend to the present, we:
1. Place ourselves at greater risk for depression and anxiety, because we ruminate and regret the past or fantasize about the future.
2. Fail to notice what our bodies and minds are telling us at the deepest levels.
We like to hang out in the past, because although sometimes painful, it’s known and comfortable. Or, we hang out in the future, because we think we can control it!
Instead, when we’re mindful, we hone our clarity and focus as we attend to every sensation as it unfolds, engaged and undistracted in the present moment experience. We let go of the tension caused by wanting things to have been or to be different, and instead we accept the present moment as it is.

3. Non-Judgmentally

When practicing mindfulness, we’re not trying to control, suppress, or stop our thoughts. I’ve believe this is the biggest misconception many of us have when delving into practice.
Through mindfulness we don’t want to push our thoughts away. Rather, mindfulness helps us to pay attention to our experiences as they arise without judging or labeling them in any way. This, I think, is the essence of mindfulness.
When we cultivate a state of clarity in which we suspend judgment, we become witnesses and watchers of our present moment experience. Sure, there’s temptation to judge our experience as good or bad.
Yet, letting go of judgments helps us to see things as they are rather than through the filters of our patterned and conditioned modes of thinking. This way, we are less likely to mechanically play out old habitual ways of thinking and living.
In the end, mindfulness doesn’t eliminate life’s pressures, but it can help us respond to them in a less reactive, more adaptive and healthy way. It will help us recognize and step away from unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to everyday experiences.
It also provides us with a scientifically researched approach to cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and improve our quality of life.

10 Proven Habits of the Happiest People In The World

Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment and the remaining 40 percent is how we choose to respond.
In his TED talk, he summarized fulfillment and happiness as “consisting of knowing what your highest strengths are and using them to belong to, and in the service of, something larger than you are.”
There are dozens of researchers like Seligman who have studied the art and science of happiness. I’ve dived into the most interesting habits of the happiest people in the world and decided to share them with you here.
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1. They enjoy the moment

It turns out that taking the time to “smell the roses” truly does enhance happiness in life. When you enjoy the small moments- good or bad- you’re more aware of what’s happening around you.
The happiest people focus on what they can control and it’s possible to choose happiness in the moment, no matter the struggles you may be going through.

2. They have a growth mindset

In the book Mindset, Carol Dweck explains that the most successful and happy people have what she calls a “growth mindset” compared to a “fixed mindset.” A fixed mindset seeks success as affirmation of intelligence or worth; a growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence or unworthiness but as a catalyst for growth and stretching beyond existing abilities.
After twenty years of research, Dweck concluded that those with a growth mindset had happier relationships, achieved more success in the classroom, and were much more persistent through challenges.

3. They surround themselves with other happy people

As Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people around you.”
Who we surround ourselves with has a huge impact on how we think, feel, and what direction we head in life. It may sound harsh, but cutting out the negative people in your life is necessary if you want to be happier.
You won’t have to confront them personally about this; it could just mean spending less time with them gradually so you can focus on improving yourself.

4. They have a dream

Without a future to look towards, the past is the only thing we can look back on.
Whether your dream is to travel the worldstart your own business, or learn a new language, having a dream is one of the most important things in remaining optimistic when things get tough.
This concept of having a purpose is especially prevalent in Eastern Asia. In Japan, there’s an actual term called ‘ikigai’, which is translated as “the reason you wake up in the morning.” When some of the happiest and longest-living people were studied, they all had such a reason.


5. They can wait

The bigger the dream you have, the more patience you have to practice.
Happy people are willing to wait for the rewards and focus on the journey, how far they’ve come, and what’s ahead for them.
They understand that the best things in life come to those who are patient and can stick it out for the long run, whether that’s a job promotion, relationship, or a new skill they’re learning.

6. They schedule “me” time into their day

Saying “yes” to everything puts you on the fast track to being miserable.
Giving is important, but if that means taking up “your” time to relax, wind down, and learn new things, then you’ll have nothing to give over time.
You can’t always be agreeable; that’s how people take advantage of you. You have to set clear boundaries.

7. They spend money on experiences- not material things

That car that you just bought diminished in value the moment you drove it off the lot, but experiences are memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
The happiest people would rather go on a backpacking trip around Asia instead of buying a flat-screen TV that they’ll seldom use. According to Marc and Angel:
“Experiential purchases tend to make us happier for two key reasons: 1. Great experiences improve over time when we reminisce about them.  2. Experiences are often social events that get us out of our house and interacting with people we care about.”

8. They give more than they take

Since happy people live in a world of abundance where there’s always more opportunities to be had, more money to be made, and more love to share, they’re always giving when they can.
From raising money for a charity they care about, offering a dollar to a talented artist playing in the subway, to giving their precious time to mentor a mentee, they’re always giving.
As ironic as it may sound, happy people understand that this will actually make them happier in the end.

9. They embrace discomfort

According to psychologist Peter Kramer, resilience is the opposite of depression. Happy people know how to bounce back from failure. Resilience is a padding for the inevitable hardship human beings are bound to face. As the Japanese proverb goes, “Fall seven times and stand up eight.”
Struggle is the evidence of progress, and happy people live by this. Why? The rewards of becoming great at a skill far outweigh the pain they have to endure in the process.

10. They are always learning

Despite his ASL, Stephen Hawking has made prominent scientific discoveries. What is more, he has found the words to tell the world about his findings.
Like Hawking, the happiest people all have one thing in common. They are lifelong learners, constantly reading new books, exploring other cultures,learning new languages, etc. It is an ongoing process because without growth there’s no life.

These 3 Things Will Happen When You Follow Buddhism

The Unknown Laws of Buddhism

Buddha said it all.
He touched on lifestyle, morality, values, and ethics.
He seemingly left no stone un-turned.
But there were things that he should have said that he didn’t.

1. Your life is about to change…forever

There’s no doubt that Buddha was a transformative figure.
Both on an worldwide and personal level, Buddha advocated radical change.
Why?

One word: happiness.
Buddha taught that the way we seek happiness is completely flawed; seeking happiness from external circumstances never leads to fulfillment.
In fact, it leads to disappointment, dejection, and sadness.
In contrast, seeking happiness from within completely turns that equation around- suddenly happiness flows much more easily, without the fear of disappointment.
This completely shifts the way you look at life, especially when you begin incorporating meditation.


2. Things wont “stick” to you the way they did

Normally, when life goes awry, it seems to stick to you; that is, it makes you upset, hurts your feelings, etc.
But when you recognize that happiness flows from within, you know that you can overcome anything thrown your way.
It’s almost like you’re wearing a layer of armor that’s resistant to the bullets that life sometimes shoots your way.

3. You will attract attention

When someone says they’re going to make changes to their life, a lot times it simply doesn’t work out.
This is because there nothing internal changing.
The inner doesn’t reflect the outer.
But the path of Buddhism is all about the inner.
That creates a real change in a person, and people pick up on that.
They respect you for it, and they actually become open to your influence.

LETTING GO OF ATTACHMENT: 6 REASONS TO LET GO

The Buddha taught that attachment, which is the desire to hold on to a permanent state or keep a thing or person, generates craving, wanting, and insecurity, and he believed it is one of the main causes of human suffering.

Non-attachment, on the other hand, aims to cultivate a mind free from these limiting desires. Once we do this we can then move towards a mind of oneness, which involves compassion, clarity of vision, and an understanding of impermanence.

Not only do humans become attached to physical objects or things, but also to relationships, ideas, opinions, and success and failure. Most the of problems we face as a species and planet are a direct result of our attachment to one or more of these things.

If there is one thing that remains certain in this life, it is change. As soon as we realize the impermanence of our existence it becomes much easier to let go of attachment. While in theory this sounds easy, however, even the greatest of masters struggle with letting go…

6 Reasons Why You Might Want to Let Go of Attachment :


1. Less Pain and Suffering

Humans tend to hold on to things, but this futile grasping, this attachment, most often leads to pain and suffering. This is because we internalize possessions, relationships, or other objects of desire. Let me explain. Suppose I have access to something or someone from whom I derive pleasure, happiness, or some form of enjoyment, then suddenly this access is taken away. What happens? If we are attached, we suffer; we feel like we have been robbed. We feel like something that was once ‘ours’ is no longer. Hence, we suffer and experience pain.

2. Releasing Illusory States

The human mind is an aggregate of conditions, beliefs, experiences, and perceptions. We start building mental models of the way things should be. As most of us do not live in the present, we hang on to these illusions which exist only in our minds. When something comes along that doesn’t correlate with our illusory mental states, we again suffer and again experience pain. This is because we have anchored or attached onto some object, experience, or desire that we wish to possess.


3. Letting Go of Ego and Identity

We also become attached to our constructed identities. The ego is the I, the me,  our personal identity. It is our perception of self, the separation of ourselves from others, our attachment to who we think we are. It is an illusion that we have created to distract us from the truth. We fear losing our identity, as this identity gives us something to cling on to. Many people have experienced this loss of identity more recently with the global financial crisis. Jobs, homes, and relationships have been destroyed. Our attachment to these physical objects and relationships has left many people empty and struggling to find some form of identity.

4. Attachment Restricts New Experiences and Limits Potential

Non-attachment and openness allows the individual to accept alternative ideas, possibilities, and change. This facilitates the cultivation of new ideas and opportunities and promotes the state of  ‘beingness’ as opposed to ‘doingness.’ In this modern, 24/7 techno hyperdrive of sensory overload it is often difficult detach ourselves because we have become too busy. We are busy being distracted and seduced by the next sound bite, the next gadget, the next thing.

5. Experience Freedom, Space, and Meaning

Non-attachment gives us the freedom, space, and time to contemplate the true meaning of life, while attachment distracts us from reality. It influences how we perceive and react to our immediate world, since a world of excess leads to a roller coaster of highs and lows. This in turn motivates us to seek out more of those high moments of pleasure. We enter into a hedonistic world of want-fulfilment which creates further wanting in an attempt to bring lasting happiness.

6. Truly Experiencing What it Means to Love

While at first the concept of non-attachment in relationships and love seems almost contradictory, it makes complete sense when you consider the true nature of love. When you love without condition (without attachment to receiving anything back) you are truly loving. Love is a state of being.

When you love someone and expect something in return, that relationship is then based upon condition. When you love someone or something without being concerned for a result, or reciprocity, then you have mastered what it means to love. To let go of this state of wanting something in return is truly powerful and the highest form of love we can offer, as it exists without condition and without fear. It is pure freedom.

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