There’s no question that in the present moment, we’re facing huge challenges—personally, nationally, and globally. Sometimes it can all be overwhelming, especially if we listen to or watch the news obsessively. This negative energy can affect us to our cores, thereby hurting our overall well-being. It’s very easy to lose perspective. We all have our…
Being able to practice gratitude daily is a great virtue. It helps people feel emotions that are positive and healthy. People who practice gratitude get more sound sleep and are kinder and more compassionate towards others. Practicing gratitude also creates an overall feeling of contentment and makes an individual feel satisfied with life. Science has proven that it can also lead to a stronger immune system.
Learning to practice gratitude begins with the understanding that ‘gratitude’ is not something that is meant exclusively for major events in one’s life. One is naturally grateful for things that hold special place in his or her life, like getting admission in a prestigious or desired college, or getting a promotion but what one needs to learn is that he or she can be grateful for things as small as a good cup of coffee after a hard day of work as well. In fact, this is the key to practicing gratitude in daily life. Following are some simple ways to practice gratitude in daily life and reap its wonderful benefits:
1. Nothing is small: When it comes to practicing gratitude the most important thing that we must remember is that nothing is small. One should appreciate and be grateful for every good thing, whether it is the wonderful weather or getting to work on time because, as said before, gratitude is not for the big things alone. Of course inculcating this habit will take time, therefore, begin with finding one thing a day to be grateful for. While being grateful, try to be in the moment completely, notice the minute details and appreciate everything whole-heartedly and with complete conviction. Only then will you be genuinely able to understand the importance and worth of gratitude. Soon you will notice how naturally it comes to you and that there’s so much in life to be grateful for.
2. Just the right comparison: Comparing ourselves to others is quite common considering the amount of time we spend on social media these days. It is quite unavoidable even. But the key to practice gratitude is to know what kind of comparison might help you be grateful. Comparing ourselves with those who seem better will only bring misery and will only rob us of our joys. Therefore, it is imperative to stop comparing ourselves with others if we truly want to be grateful.
Focus on yourself and be thankful for what you have. And at times when you find it difficult to be grateful, look around. You will find that there are so many others who are yearning to have what you have. This will help you appreciate your blessings.
3. Practice mindfulness: Practicing gratitude requires you to be mindful of all the little things around you whose value you fail to realize and those you often take for granted. Getting to office without getting stuck in a bad traffic jam, or taking a walk on a road that is clean and green are little things that often go unnoticed because we are not in the moment. Practicing mindfulness brings gratitude easily. You will notice that by being grateful, you’ve become happier and more empathetic as well.
4. Gratitude journal: Keeping a gratitude journal is a great habit. Develop the habit to write down all the things for which you are grateful daily, no matter how big or small. Keep a journal of all the positive thoughts that you experience while being grateful. It is also a wonderful way of realizing that there is so much in the world to be grateful for. Also, on the days you find yourself miserable or sad or down, this journal will help you feel positive. Practicing gratitude does not mean that you would never feel disappointed, sad, or low. You would, but the journal will surely come handy and will help you bounce back to a happy state quickly. You can keep a daily journal or a weekly journal whichever suits you better, though starting by keeping a daily journal will better serve the purpose.
5. Help others: Helping others or doing something for others, especially without expecting anything in return, can actually boost your happiness. Research has shown that helping others can increase well-being as well. When you bring smile on somebody’s face, you are bound to experience happiness yourself. Not only that, it will also help you be grateful for being able to do something for someone else. Small acts, such as effective listening or doing somebody’s work or simply being kind to others will instantly make you feel contented and give you a positive feeling of being capable.
6. Spend time with family and friends: Spending time with loved ones will not only make your relationships stronger but it will also bring you closer to your loved ones. Knowing that you have a loving family and friends who care, can make you be more grateful and appreciative. It will also provide you opportunities where you can do something for them and practice gratitude. Hence, make it a habit to meet and spend quality time with your family and friends no matter how busy life gets.
7. Consistency is the key: It is well known that it takes 21 days to two months to form a habit. Gratitude too is a kind of habit; and the key to attain it is to remain consistent so that being grateful becomes a part of your behavioral repertoire. Soon you will realize that what required an effort earlier, has ultimately become spontaneous. Thus, even if initially it takes a little effort to look for the things to be grateful for, it will steadily become more and more effortless and spontaneous.
Want to grow your well-being? First, let’s understand how complex it is.
In recent years, there is an increasing interest on the qualitative aspects of health. Thus, the role of somatic and physiological integrity of an organism is not diminished, but it is emphasized that health is even more complex than we thought, it was. In this context, two concepts become more important and relevant, for us to understand : well-being and quality of life. [. . .]
A scientist explains which plants are research-backed to help you rest and relax.
For thousands of years people have relied on plants and herbs for their medicinal properties, using them to create healing remedies, including as aids to promote rest and combat insomnia. [. . .]
Body image is a term that has gained significant importance in recent years, thanks to the recognition of its importance and role in an individual’s well-being. Body image refers to how a person views his/her physical appearance; it is a mental representation of how a person looks on the outside and how a person thinks or feels about this physical appearance. This perception is based partly on a person’s observation of self and partly on the reactions of others. In other words, our body image is formed not only by how we see ourselves on the outside, but it is also formed by how others react to our physical appearance. A lot of social factors such as media, culture, community, internet, etc. play a critical role in shaping our body image. This body image can be positive or negative. A negative body has, however, been linked with low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, and poor overall well-being. A person with negative body image has often been found to resort to unhealthy measures or extreme steps to attain a more positive body image like, crash dieting, plastic surgery, etc.
At the same time, a person who has positive or high self-esteem has been empirically found to have a positive body image as well. As far as gender is considered, more women have been found to suffer from poor body image as compared to men. However, this trend is changing fast, as more men are becoming concerned about how they look.
Overall, following factors have been found to influence a person’s body image:
a. How he/she views his/her physical appearance. This perception can, however, be incorrect.
b. How he/she feels about this perception, referred to as the affective aspect of body image. Whether he/she is satisfied or not with his/her physical appearance.
c. The behavioral aspect of body image which involves the behavior that one engages in as result of his/her body image.
d. And lastly, the cognitive aspect of body image which includes how one thinks about his/her body image. This may involve preoccupation with one’s physical appearance or one aspect of it.
Having negative body image can be a cause of major distress to a person and can greatly affect his or her overall well-being. In present times of social media, we are frequently and sometimes indirectly, bombarded with images of beauty standards which constantly and continuously shape our notion of ideal beauty, and unfortunately, give rise to insecurities. However, the suggestions given in this post can help you keep all the insecurities at bay and build a positive and healthy body image.
1. Positive self-esteem: As mentioned earlier, people with negative body image suffer from low self-esteem. At the same time, it has been found that, people who have positive or high self-esteem tend to have positive body image. So if you feel dissatisfied with your body image, you probably need to boost your self-esteem. This works in two ways. Low self-esteem can lead to negative body image and negative body image can lower your self-esteem. So in either situation, building a positive self-esteem can help you build a positive body image. When you value yourself highly, you are less likely to view your physical appearance in a negative light.
2. Find healthy role models: We are greatly influenced by the public appearance of stars or celebrities. We follow them on their instagram or facebook. We often find them perfect and flawless and start comparing ourselves with them. In doing so, we forget that what we are looking at is perhaps the result of long hours of makeup session, photoshop, and lighting, etc.
Alas we have been taught throughout history that “fair is beautiful.” And we often tend to feel inadequate or less worthy if we are not fair or have dark complexion. This has a detrimental effect on the body image. If you too feel that way, it is time to find such role models who can give a boost to your self-esteem. Celebrity tennis player Serena Williams is a good example of an achiever whose body color could not stop her from attaining great success.
3. Stop comparing: You are you and that is your power. In order to build positive body image, you need to stop comparing yourself with others. Accept yourself. Unreasonable comparison leads to disappointment. You need to understand that each of us is different, and this difference is what makes us unique. Start appreciating yourself.
4. Appreciate yourself: Remember, your body is your first home. Appreciate how your body helps you achieve your goals and dreams. Your body is doing a lot to help you move forward. If you feel you are overweight and you need to lose weight, then go ahead. But don’t do it just to impress others or you hate your body fat. Instead do it for yourself and for your body because it is healthy.
5. Accept yourself: When it comes to our body we need to understand that there are some things we cannot change while there are other things that we can surely work on to improve. For example, you cannot change your height, complexion, whereas if you are underweight or overweight, you can definitely do something about it. Attempting to change things that cannot be changed will only lead to disappointment and frustration, and will further deteriorate your body image. Accept yourself just the way you are.
6. Realistic expectations: It is important to set realistic expectation from ourselves, especially, for young children, who are blinded by popular figures in the entertainment industry. As mentioned earlier, there are certain things about our body over which we have no control and which we cannot change. So for a young teenager who wants to become a supermodel like his or her role model but is unfortunately not tall enough, having such an expectation can be unrealistic. And this can lead to poor body image.
7. Focus on your strengths: We all may not possess attributes of supermodels or movie stars like great figure, height, or flawless complexion, but we should never forget that we all have strengths of our own. And if we start focusing on our strengths instead of focusing on our weaknesses and the things we don’t possess, we all can become the best version of ourselves.
8. Take care of yourself: Eat healthy, get quality sleep, and love yourself. If you need to lose weight do it in a healthy way. Get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Isn’t it ironic that you tell every important person in your life how much you love him/her, and how much you care, but you seldom tell this to yourself? Next time when you see yourself in the mirror, don’t forget to say “I love you.” Once you start taking care of yourself and loving yourself, you can never feel or think bad about your own self.
Father’s Day Feature
Fathers play an important role in children’s development. The presence of a good father in a child’s life is a nurturing experience that is greatly beneficial to a child’s social, emotional and cognitive growth. Unlike mothers, who do more of explicit caregiving, fathers do more of practical nurturing such as taking children to the doctors, taking them out to play, doing drop-offs and pick-ups, or shopping for them. Therefore, the influence of the father upon children is different from that of the mother. While both of them want to empower and enrich their child, they contribute to the child’s well-being in their own respective way. While the mother encourages parity, security, and cooperation, the father stimulates independence, competition, and achievement.
The impact of a father’s involvement and parenting on the child begins in infancy and goes on to adolescence and young adulthood. Several studies have shown that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, academic achievement, intellectual functioning, and intellectual functioning among adolescents (www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/usermanuals/fatherhood/fatherhood.pdf). During the playful and stimulating activities with their fathers, children learn to better regulate their behaviour and emotions. In families in which the fathers are often present and highly involved, the children are also more likely to see parents in reassuring and cooperative roles. Such children see their parents making efforts to resolve conflicts, disagreements and clashes and thus, learn to do the same when encountered with similar situations in their own lives.
Parents unintentionally teach their children how to handle their lives and relationships and how to interpret and organize human interactions. A kind, caring, and involved father serves as a positive male role model for the children. While this helps the son develop positive gender-role attributes, a positive role model helps the daughter form positive opinions about men.
The impact of father and his role in the development of healthy offspring cannot be overstated. Most children love their parents or caregivers unconditionally and feel attached to them. Their first attachment patterns shape their expectations for future attachments. The quality of bond a child shares with his or her father will not only have a bearing on the child’s personality and value system but will also influence his or her future choices in terms of relationships. The son would emulate his father’s behaviour and act accordingly in his future relationships. The daughter, on the other hand, would use her father as an example, and often seek the same traits as or opposite traits to her father, in her mate.
Besides being an additional attachment figure (other than the mother) in a child’s life, the father also serves as an important figure in the separation process. In infancy, fathers function typically as the first safe “other” that an infant seeks. As early childhood progresses and the world of the child expands, the father, in comparison to the mother, tends to be more encouraging of exploration and trying out new things. While the mother tends to be cautious with her children, the father allows them to take healthy risks that will help in their growth and development. Hence children with involved fathers are likely to be more confident, emotionally secure, and form better social bonds.
While society often categorizes a father as the sole breadwinner and the mother as the sole caregiver for the children, the importance of a father in child’s development is undeniable. Just like the mother, a father is also able to provide distinctively for the child in a way that is enriching for both father and child and the society at large.