Thursday, 30 June 2016

How to become more creative

Motto: Art is the most effective mode of communication that exists. (John Dewey)

You got sometimes all that abysmal feelings, and you cannot find the words for it. But you can put them in a song or paint, if you are artistically gifted. Why? Because a song or a picture will transcend words, and will make you to become more creative than just talking about something. It is a good idea to try different ways to create, starting with painting, sculpture and singing. Learn an instrument. All this skills will bring new facets to your personality, giving you more deepness and understanding. This is one of the ways to become more creative and expressive. It will also impact your language and your ways to express yourself. If will make you to shoot ideas like a water fountain.

Good like with this experiment. If you want, you can tell me more later about the results.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Quote of the day

"For time is the longest distance between two places."
(Tennessee Williams)

I am relating so much with this verse. I understand it. And i relate it to happiness. I was walking by my childhood place, the familiar surrounding where i grow up. It changed so much, and it didn't. I can still see the remnants of my happy childhood, the signs known only by myself. I have some memories related to every inch of that place. And could be the total opposite of what T.Williams said, but it is also the same. It is the same place, unchanged. But it is different now to me, because i changed. The place i grow up, and the place that i am walking through it right now it is not the same, because of the time that passed by. I changed, even if the place stayed unchanged. It is the time that is the longest distance between my childhood and my "now" time. Uncanny, and i cannot stop wondering about it.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Quote of the day

"Courage is not living without fear. Courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway."
(Chae Richardson)

Why we stop, most of the time, in doing something that will help us to grow up, or to experience pleasure, happiness and success? The answer is, in most of the cases, fear. The reason we stay where we are, the bane of our existence. Without fear we will be (_____) (put the word here). We can live, we can enjoy, we can realize that we are able to do much more. But how one conquer fear? How did you learn to fear, at the beginning? It was direct experience, sometimes, but in most of the cases was acquired knowledge. We were told that is better to fear that emotion, that way of be, what I can say more about this, it is the we we learn all our primary beliefs, them being good or false in the same way. To conquer fear, it is only one way that was proven again and again. We can call it courage, or not. But we need to act that way, in order to surpass it. Are you afraid? Do it anyway! This is the magic formula, although no magic is involved. Did you heard me first time?

Do it anyway!

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Quote of the day

"All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream. "
(Edgar Allan Poe)

What a splendid parallel to our perfect little life. We dream about something, we wake up, only to realize that we are still asleep. We wake up one more, seems to be real, but even before was the same. It is my normal life, the one that i am used to live it, but so seems the previous one. I am living here, day after day, hoping to wake up once more. Isn't this the extreme awakening?

Have a good night sleep, my friend, let your imagination roam to some far away unknown realms. See you in my dreams!

Friday, 24 June 2016

How can a habit change your mind

I use to hate to go to gym, to see it as a chore. Anyway, all this changed when i took a personal coach, and i start to train at high intensity. Before, in the gym, it was a kind of unfocused, lazy exercise, that i would do only in my comfortable limits. With a mentor, the situation change. I start to have very powerful trainings, that sometimes will leave me with no energy left, done at 105% intensity. I mean, at the moment I was completely exhausted, I would still have 1-2 series until the end. It was different, being kept accountable by somebody else, I achieved in 3 months more than in 10 years of know-it-all training. At home, using nothing else than my body. No fancy monthly payments, not gym, no sauna. no protein supplements. It was an interesting experience. More than that, becoming a habit, I used my total immersion to anticipate the challenge, to feel like a legend every time I would finish my training. I start to like it. I applied the same strategy with running. It is still work in progress, but it is working. If you can, learn from an expert, even if that mean to pay him for a month. It is worth it, in terms of performance. Believe me.

I hope i inspired you, see you soon!

Quote of the day

"We are what we repeatedly do, therefore excellence is not an act, but a habit"

Oh, i can talk about this for hours. I am usually asked about learning and studying, by people who want to know how they can study 10 hours every day for 3-4-6 months, in order to pass some very difficult exam. I start by telling them that this is an impossible task, because i do not know anyone able to focus on studying for 10 hours. And i have my share of meetings with brilliant people. Then i tell them than it is possible to learn only a total of 3 to 6 hours, accumulated over a day, and remember twice as more as after 10 hours of unfocused learning. Because learning is not defined by the time spent, but by the quality of it. My first advice is to learn how to learn, to build a habit of learning without distractions, in smaller intervals of time, depending of each person optimal focus. I would suggest 30 to 45 minutes, follower by 15 minutes break. And then you can go again. 5 hours of intense study (45 min +15 min break) are enough to learn a one year study notebook in less than a month. If you add a minimal training in memory enhancing techniques (my book about this will be published at the end of this year probably), your work will be greatly improved. One day a week for complete relax, without study, will also help your brain and focus recovery from data overload. Remember, trying to force this, you can go for a while using your sheer force of will, but this is not unlimited and sooner or later you will be to exhausted to continue. While, by creating a habit, you will do this almost effortless.

Welcome to our pathways to excellence!

One year plan "Pathway to excellence"

As a result of achieving the brilliant and extraordinary body fat percentage of 30% and 85 kg, i decided that it is time to make a change. I become proactive and i made a plan for one year, to became a better version of me.

What i decided to do:

1. Training
-one yoga session daily, with yoga postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation
-high intensity training - meaning the one promoted by this website, 3 times per week, mainly for building strenght and stamina
-medium intensity training - which could be running, freerunning or parkour, martial arts (mainly Wing Chun)

2. Energy boosting - a clever use of supplements and exercise
-fasting - 24 hours once per week
-supplements - plants and herbs, aromatic oils, magnesium, omega 3/6 rich food, ginseng and bee pollen, cocoa, tea
-memory enhancing techniques - as i write a book about them, i found them useful to master it, for various reason (easy to learn, easy to remember stuff, easy remind lost memories - anamnesia)

3.Life enhancing strategies
-writing every day - books and blogs, poetry and text
-alkaline diet - 70%, plant based diet 70%, no chemicals, additives, sweeteners and such, minimum of sugar and last. I am also exploring the ketosis process (ketosis is sometimes referred to as the body's "fat burning" mode, using fats instead of sugars, on low card diet)
-proper hydration - 200ml every 2 hours.

This is what i got until now, i will review it every end of the month, so my first review is at the end of this month, as i am in the day 23 of my plan.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Quote of the day

"Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common bond and we cease to be alone."
(Wendell Berry)

Why? Because all the revelations are personal, all experiences we went through are real and moving for us and for us only. You cannot explain to someone what is love, does not matter what an awesome poet you are. He need to feel it first, and then you will have a common ground, a reference.

Quote of the day

"To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you."

Art of forgiveness is a long forgotten one. Not many people do it, and the few that are doing it, are doing it for their own interest in the most of the cases. "I did not have sex with Monika Lewinsky!" said Clinton and purposely tried to trick a nation. You probably remember also his excuse that followed soon after he was exposed. And you could see that he was not sorry for what he did. He was sorry because he was caught.
We need to learn to genuinely say sorry, but we also need to learn how to forgive. To forgive, not to forget, because that a different lesson. In the end, if you are not forgiving, it is you that suffer the consequences. Mostly.

Changing fate

How much change averse are we? I know i am. I am defined by order, my order, and once i get my own line of events, and it is working, i will not change it for a long time. I have my habits, some are silly, some are important. I have my way to clean and arrange everything in the house. And often enough, i decided to go for the sure thing instead of the much more riskier one, and maybe i lost some opportunities. So, i want to change towards my change habits. Huh! What do you want to change?

Check the video too:

Good luck!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Quote of the day

"Stories can conquer fear, you know. They can make the heart bigger."
(Ben Okri)

Experiencing a story can alter our neurochemical processes, and stories are a powerful force in shaping human behavior. We need to be careful with them, we do not need mindless TV news and movies, but the classical stories and tales, to properly shape a balanced and positive mindset for our children. We often tend to forget this. I can only finish this post with the quote of Neil Gaiman in Coraline: "Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us that dragons exists, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."

The inner child want to be alive.

In another lifetime, I would choose herbalism as proffession. I always liked to gather plants, to prepare herbal remedies. My fridge is always stocked with a minimum of first aid equivalent of herbs and potions. And aromatic oils. Which will take me to my second dream job. In another lifetime i would create perfumes. I know the theory. I also happen to have the basic ingredients. I use then for my hot baths. Which take me to the dream number 3. In another lifetime i would skinny dip in a frozen lake. But not for 10 seconds, like I did in the last spring. I would stay there for at least one minute, and i would come out warmed up, victorious.

But enough about me. What were you childhood dreams?

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The best of myself, upgraded version

Everybody know how to achieve perfect health, physically, emotionally and mentally. And it is not hard. We need to sleep well, a solid 8-9 hours, we need to eat healthy, more than 70% fruits and veggies, no chemicals, no additives, no fast food or fizzy drinks. Organic if is possible, and more than half alkaline, and to avoid salt, sugar and caffeine based stimulants. We need to drink at least 200 ml every 3 hours. We need to exercise 3 times per week, on average. That's it. Doing this will guarantee that we gonna age gracefully, and we will avoid many of the modern era illnesses.

But why some of us do this, and some do not? Where is the difference? To add to this, many of us want, start to do it, but become lost somewhere on the way? I will tell you. On your force of will alone, you will go for a while, using your energy. But, as your energy is not unlimited, you will stop at some moment. The trick is to learn how to create habits, and to continue after that effortlessly, by default. But this will raise another question. How i learn to create and dismantle habits? I will talk about this in a following post.

Good night, my friends1

Quote of the day

"Do i contradict myself? Very well, then i contradict myself, i am large, i contain multitudes."
(Walt Whitman)

We are not the same of yesterday, and tomorrow we will be not the same as now. We are constantly changing, evolving, or not. But, through the value of my experience, the old me is not as far as the actual me. The old me is only a dream of the past, the future me is nothing more than some incorporeal idea. The real me, the one and only true self, it is right here, right now. Do not let yourself surrounded by illusion, because given enough time, even the stars die. Nothing stay the same, nothing last forever.

Habits of grateful people

1. Once in a while, they think about death and loss.
2. They take time to smell a rose (savoring positive experiences).
3. They take the good things as gifts, not birthrights (entitlement is the opposite of gratitude).
4. They are grateful to people too, not just for things.
5. They mention the pancakes (grateful people are habitually specific, they tell when and why are grateful for it).
6. They thank outside the box.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Quote of the day

"Optimism represents the spontaneous flow of love. Also optimism represents trust in love. Therefore it is love trusting love, which is optimism."
(Hazrat Inayat Khan)

We do not see often this, but it is trust and love behind our optimism. Because in terms of metaphor, being an optimist means aspiring to be free of limitations, and how we can conquer limitations and achieve freedom, if not by love.

Benefits of gratitude

Psychological benefits:
-increased happiness and pro-social tendencies
-decreased negative states, stress and anti-social sentiments
-optimistic, satisfied view of life
-enhances the frequency and magnitude of enjoyment of pleasant, positive emotional experiences
-counteract hedonic adaptation and habituation
-make it easier to access and enjoy pleasant, positive emotions.

Physical and social benefits:
-fewer physical ailments and discomforts
-reduces blood pressure
-make you socially accessible
-greater relationships satisfaction
-find partners/friends for solid relations much easier
-remind us our partner strengths
-bind us closer to them.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Why we play?

There are many reasons why we play, starting as a toddler, with babbling and pick-a-boo, until we become a teenager, playing to fully form our identities. But if you really want to know more, read this link. Is too important to miss.

Spirituality and happiness

Apparently there is a link between spirituality and happiness. According to a research done by Myers in 2000, spiritually oriented people report higher levels of happiness, also according to a research made by Smith & co in 2003, spiritually oriented people report significantly less depression. There is a theory believing that the core of any real spiritual practice is the feeling of awe.

Scientist revealed that a brief experience of awe (10-60 seconds) will boost happiness, increase intellectual curiosity, deepen our sense of modesty and humility, lower cytokines levels(very important step in achieving a perfect immune system), change the perception of time (making us to feel that we have more time to grow). On an more earthly level, awe will make us to feel less entitled, less self-important, to need less money to spend and to become more altruistic. In a study made by Frances Kuo, awe is related to crime drops, better discipline for children, especially girls, lowered ADHD reactions for children, greater trust for neighbors in community.

Just to define it, Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast and greater than self, that exceeds current knowledge structures.

Ideally, you can cultivate awe by going in nature, especially on high peaks or ancient forests, gigantic waterfalls, but you can also experience it in urban settings too, being at the top floor of a skyscraper, for example. If you cannot do this, as last resort, it is good to watch at least 5 minutes of awe inspiring videos once a week.

Quote of the day

"There is no separation between self and other, and everything is interconnected. Once you are aware of that you are no longer caught in the idea that you are a separate entity."
(Thich Nhat Hanh)

There is some perfect definition of kindness here, and the best reason to be a kind person too. Because in the end, what i do for you, i do for myself. We are not separate, we are only thinking that we are. And in the light of living thru this concept, being alone, depression and many other negative feelings will disappear like darkness around fire.

About gratitude and way to increase it in our life

Being grateful is a way of life. The grateful person accepts all of life as a gift. It is about satisfaction versus deprivation. Gratitude strengthen social ties and increase one's sense of personal worth.

A. Gratitude journal -to write at least once a week, minimum of 5 things you are grateful for it- hints
- write and deliver a gratitude letter from time to time
- imagine a different life, substracting the good things
- deprive yourself consciously, find happiness in deprivation.

B. Gratitude letter - hints
-to someone who helped you, write a real letter with what she/he did for you, why are you grateful, how she/he impacted in your life.
-deliver it in person, face to face, read it to that person, pay attention how you feel, how she/he feel, leave the letter to her/him.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Quote of the day

"Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at it destination full of hope."
(Maya Angelou)

Why? Because being in love is pretty much close to our peak state, it is a biochemistry of the same origin as flow, but somehow lacking complete control. And this is good and bad in the same thing. Use this emotion as fuel, and you are destined for greatness. Let this emotion to control you, and it will be nothing more than some temporary madness. I will not go into the biochemistry of love and flow, i already exposed my hypothesis here and here, but i will only remind you what a great man of knowledge said thousands of years ago: To love and to not lose your mind, it is something that only a god can do.

The 3 F's (by Walter O'Brian - Scorpion)

The 3 F's are three processes that our body do without asking permission. They are:
1. Fear - happen when you are out of your zone.
2. Feed - and the constant inner dialogue - food what i want to eat, instead of food i must eat to get a balanced nutrition.
3. Fxxk (Fornicate - to say it in a intellectual way) - our body want sex, it is our way to continue to exist, if not the human species will die. Constant inner dialogue, again.

A very interesting speech about sexual continence (not abstinence) as a way to not diminish our immortality.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Quote of the day

"Art is the marriage of the conscious and inconscious."
(Jean Cocteau)

If you ever tried to explain a feeling, an emotion that you could only guess, and there were not enough words to explain the inexplicable, than you know that this phrase is true. Because art, and maybe painting or music a bit more than poetry, have something to do with a hidden power, unleashed by repeated probing into our unconscious.

Moonshots (Ken Rutkowsky)

Why to moonshoot? Not because it is easy, but because it is hard.

We have our intelligence:
IQ - Intellectual intelligence - fixed value
EQ - Emotional intelligence  - mobile
MQ - Moral intelligence - mobile
BQ - Body intelligence - mobile

So 1 out of 4 it is a fixed value, the other 75% can be improved.

Moonshots examples that everyone need to do at least once in a lifetime:
1. Start/grow/fund a business
2. Personal development
3. Physical health 100%
4. Create and maintain a loving relationship

Be part of the "WE" not of the "I". The power of We is incredible. One example is the Solvay conferences on Physics from 1927. Until then the scientist were somehow apart, but after this meeting, 97 Nobel prize were achieved. If you are a geek (or not), you can see in the pictures the great minds of 20th century (Einstein, Marie Curie and many others like them), and this was the event that shaped the life as we know it.

Think about this.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

About burn-out (Andrea Letamendia)

Burn-out - reduced efficiency of personal accomplishments.

Physical - nausea, stomach ache, jittery, dizziness.
Cognitive - forgetting, difficulty in concentration.
Emotional - depression, anger, irritability, numbness, abusing substances, PTS.
Social - intimacy problems, withdrawal, trusting issues, hypersensitivity/insensitivity.

"We each have two lives, and the second one begins when we realize we have only one. "

Monday, 13 June 2016

Jamie Wheal - flow and superpowers

Four forces are revolutionizing and creating superpowers:

1. Neurology - replace mythology. More room to roam.
2. Technology - give us scale and versability.
3. Psychology
4. Pharmacology - nootropics.

Anamnesia - reminds what we forgot.

Flow create powerful intrinsic motivation, cuts path to Mastery up to 500%, increase happiness.

Types of flow profile:
Hard charger
Deep thinker
Flow goer
Crowd pleaser

Anchors that keep you down and get you out of flow:
Harried - relentless inner critique
Hurried - often stressed, rarely present
Flat - gap between desired goals and current reality

Questions related to the anchors that stop your flow:
What's it costing to your life?
What's it costing your work in the world?
What's it costing the people you love?
How much longer until you get out of your own way?

Focused mindset - Jack Canfield

What fit your schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?

If you have problems with your password, change it to incorrect, so every time you forget your computer will tell you: your password is incorrect.

E+R=O Events plus Response equal Outcome. Take 100% responsibility for your actions.

Focus on the what, not on the how.

Use the technique of B.H.A.G. Big Hairy Audacious Goal. If you set breakthrough goals, then you will challenge yourself to do them.

Once per day, in the morning or evening, complete  the following phrase 5 times:
- I am so happy and grateful that i am now........

The brain-skin connexion (Jacqueline Schaffer)

Human growth hormone - is making us happy, help to focus, give confidence, help supporting the collagen. Do HIT run - 1 min - increasing it. Book to read Bruce Lipton "Power of beliefs"

DHDA - yogi master biochemistry - meditate 10-20 min to increase DHDA.

Estrogen - Skin glow and brain function, increase the number of neuro-synapses in hippopotamus, anti-wrinkling effect, can be found in flax seed.

Thyroid hormones - good indicator of diet and vitamins level,

Quote of the day

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. "
- Marianne Williamson -

Something to think about, isn't it? It is the same analogy as with the situation of winning the big pot at lottery. A lot of money will only magnify the personality of the person. If you were an ass-hole before, you will become a gigantic one. If you were a wise person, you will become even wiser.

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Brain hacks and tips (with the help of Dr. Daniel G. Amen)

Human attention span now is 8 seconds. Goldfish attention span is 9 seconds.

You are in a war for your healthy brain and your body.

Alzheimer start in your brain decades before onset. Depression, diabetes, obesity - according to the latest research the cure for all three is the same.

What about mindset, are you a sheep(90% of us) or a sheepdog(10%of us)?

50% of our brain is visual!

Ketogenic diet is helping with seizures. 70% plant food, 30% proteins.

Change your brain, change your life. Suplements: multivitamine, fish oil (omega3)

Essence - turning pain to purpose.

Get it. Give it. Keep it forever. Change the world.

P.M.S. formula. Primitive, mechanical and spontaneous - the steps of learning in martial arts.

People do not change when they see the light, they change when they feel the heat.

What is good and bad for your brain (Mark Hyman)

Bad for brain: sugar, flour, additives, colorants, alcohol, aspartame, heavy metals, drugs, lack of sleep, not exercising, some kind of food.
Good for brain: MCT oil, multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin D.

Quote: "The bigger the belly, the smaller the brain"

Helpful strategies:
-Optimizing your gut.
-Muscle mass - to maintain it. High Intensity Training - is very good.

Quote of the day

"Life's most persistent and urgent question is, 'What are you doing for others?''
( Martin Luther King, Jr. )

Why? Because in doing this we expand, we learn, we go through new experiences. Being selfish will contract you, will create a world contained into your own world, will make you to lack sensibility into approaching your fellow human. There are also many researches that will explain the positive impact of volunteering in helping other people, on many levels (physical, emotional, mental etc.).

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Your Flow Profile: Flow Goer

As i was talking about flow last weeks, here is something for you. To find your flow profile click here. This is mine.

Your Flow Profile: Flow Goer

You: Out of all the possible Flow Profiles, yours is the most freely flowing! We don’t mean that you necessarily have readier access to the Flow State than anyone else. Your life, your attitude, your activities, and even your appearance all reinforce the fact that being in Flow is central to who you are as a person. You’ve done your fair share of soul-searching to arrive here. You may have taken the road less traveled. You might have abandoned what you perceived to be a fruitless and neverending struggle for wealth and recognition in favor of a personal journey you designed for yourself. Where folks with other profiles tend to find Flow at special times and under specific conditions, you seek a life that is never not in flow. You might believe in serendipity, synchronicity, and that everything happens for a reason.

Flow Hacks: You’re drawn to activities such as yoga, meditation, and ecstatic dance. You might pursue eco-tourism, or embark on personal growth retreats.

Caution: In your effort to minimize struggle, conflict, and stress in your life, it’s possible to overshoot and to also minimize progress. It’s grit that makes a pearl, after all. The paradox of flow is that “effortless effort” takes a lot of work! Always keep in mind that the line between “going with the flow” — only doing things when they’re effortless and easy, always taking the path of least resistance — and only doing easy things is razor thin. Be vigilant against any behaviors that keep life in soft focus, especially self-medication.

Pro-Tip: Train your off-side. Make your bed every morning. Be impeccable with your commitments. Be punctual. Create systems for accomplishing tasks and managing finances and stick to them. You’ve worked hard to create a lifestyle around Flow, and, counterintuitively, you’ll find even more Flow in your life by facing the more difficult parts of your life head on. Practice having important conversations. Get comfortable with conflict resolution. Closing the open loops in your life will allow for (even more) bliss.

Quote of the day

"Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all is a form of planning."
( Gloria Steinem )

So after this amazing phrase i have only one advice: Dream big, dream often!

Friday, 10 June 2016

The 5 main points in Bruce Lee's philosophy (according to his daughter)

1. Feel into your own vital energy and use your heart as a channel for understanding how your energy wants to take a physical form.
2. Participate in life and make note of what moves you, bot good and bad. Investigate.
3. Cultivate the good and follow the bad to its solution.
4. Make a list of goals. Work towards them.
5. Learn from your mistakes. Keep going. Practice, practice, practice.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Miracles and mindfulness

I used to feel amazed watching this.

Quote of the day

"The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper."

(W.B. Yeats)

It is so much truth in this phrase. We all need to increase our awareness and be aware of our perception. Because if we are not, the biggest miracle can happen across the street, and we will not see it, our eyes looking in the screen of our phone, just to give an example. We can go to the most amazing seminar, see the best experts in the field, learn for them how to live for ever, think right there: Wow, this is super, I will totally do that!, and then go home, back to our daily habits, and forget what happened there only one week ago. Awareness is the key, perseverance is the hand that is turning the key and open the door. What door? The one that will let us to go outside and explore another world, bigger than our house (the comfort zone). Step outside and let yourself infused by a sense of wonder. This is the life you want!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Once in a blue moon (short story)

Motto: The real alchemist is the one who change the heavy lead of the desire and the quicksilver of the mind in the gold of wisdom, using the purifying fire of Love. (Ioan Gyuri Pascu)

She just learned about this technique at the psychology class she went today. Every time when you have a problem to solve, and it is very difficult for you, find a new way to act in that direction every day, in a small or in a big way. Communication was her problem. She was shy and she could not talk to any person she did not know, sometimes was hard to do it even with a person she knew very well. So today's challenge was to speak with a stranger. Easy to say, but hard to do it. And her chance there, in the lunch break, in the park near her workplace, when a young man sat down on the same bench where she was sitting eating her lunch. They started to talk, and she felt him very interested, listening carefully every one of her words. They talked about so many things, and the 30 minutes break passed in a heartbeat. She left the park happy, feeling that something inside of her changed. And, funny enough, if she would look back once more, she would see the young man smiling and fading away, disappearing out of thin air, leaving behind only one white feather falling slowly from his majestic wings. 

Why Gratitude Is Good

Why Gratitude Is Good

By Robert Emmons

This essay originally appeared on Greater Good, the online magazine of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.

Gratitude journals and other gratitude practices often seem so simple and basic; in our studies, my colleagues and I often have people keep gratitude journals for just three weeks. And yet the results have been overwhelming. We’ve studied more than one thousand people, from ages eight to 80, and found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:


Higher levels of positive emotions
More alert, alive, and awake
More joy and pleasure
More optimism and happiness

Stronger immune systems
Less bothered by aches and pains
Lower blood pressure
Exercise more and take better care of their health
Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking

More helpful, generous, and compassionate
More forgiving
More outgoing
Feel less lonely and isolated.
So what’s really behind our research results—why might gratitude have these transformative effects on people’s lives?

I think there are several important reasons, but I want to highlight four in particular.

1. Gratitude allows us to celebrate the present. It magnifies positive emotions.

Gratitude imageResearch on emotion shows that positive emotions wear off quickly. Our emotional systems like newness. They like novelty. They like change. We adapt to positive life circumstances so that before too long, the new car, the new spouse, the new house—they don’t feel so new and exciting anymore.

But gratitude makes us appreciate the value of something, and when we appreciate the value of something, we extract more benefits from it; we’re less likely to take it for granted.

In effect, I think gratitude allows us to participate more in life. We notice the positives more, and that magnifies the pleasures you get from life. Instead of adapting to goodness, we celebrate goodness. We spend so much time watching things—movies, computer screens, sports—but with gratitude we become greater participants in our lives as opposed to spectators.

2. Gratitude blocks toxic, negative emotions, such as envy, resentment, regret—emotions that can destroy our happiness. There’s even recent evidence, including a 2008 study by psychologist Alex Wood in the Journal of Research in Personality, showing that gratitude can reduce the frequency and duration of episodes of depression.

This makes sense: You cannot feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings. If you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for having something that you don’t. Those are very different ways of relating to the world, and sure enough, research I’ve done with colleagues Michael McCullough and Jo-Ann Tsang has suggested that people who have high levels of gratitude have low levels of resentment and envy.

3. Grateful people are more stress resistant. There’s a number of studies showing that in the face of serious trauma, adversity, and suffering, if people have a grateful disposition, they’ll recover more quickly. I believe gratitude gives people a perspective from which they can interpret negative life events and help them guard against post-traumatic stress and lasting anxiety.

4. Grateful people have a higher sense of self-worth. I think that’s because when you’re grateful, you have the sense that someone else is looking out for you—someone else has provided for your well-being, or you notice a network of relationships, past and present, of people who are responsible for helping you get to where you are right now.

Once you start to recognize the contributions that other people have made to your life—once you realize that other people have seen the value in you—you can transform the way you see yourself.

Challenges to gratitude

Just because gratitude is good doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Practicing gratitude can be at odds with some deeply ingrained psychological tendencies.

Give Thanks imageOne is the “self-serving bias.” That means that when good things happen to us, we attribute them to something we did, but when bad things happen, we blame other people or circumstances.

Gratitude really goes against the self-serving bias because when we’re grateful, we give credit to other people for our success. We accomplished some of it ourselves, yes, but we widen our range of attribution to also say, “Well, my parents gave me this opportunity.” Or, “I had teachers. I had mentors. I had siblings, peers—other people assisted me along the way.” That’s very different from a self-serving bias.

Gratitude also goes against our need to feel in control of our environment. Sometimes with gratitude you just have to accept life as it is and be grateful for what you have.

Finally, gratitude contradicts the “just-world” hypothesis, which says that we get what we deserve in life. Good things happen to good people, bad things happen to bad people. But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it? Bad things happen to good people and vice versa.

With gratitude comes the realization that we get more than we deserve. I’ll never forget the comment by a man at a talk I gave on gratitude. “It’s a good thing we don’t get what we deserve,” he said. “I’m grateful because I get far more than I deserve.”

This goes against a message we get a lot in our contemporary culture: that we deserve the good fortune that comes our way, that we’re entitled to it. If you deserve everything, if you’re entitled to everything, it makes it a lot harder to be grateful for anything.

Cultivating gratitude

Partly because these challenges to gratitude can be so difficult to overcome, I get asked a lot about how we can go beyond just occasionally feeling more grateful to actually becoming a more grateful person.

I detail many steps for cultivating gratitude in my book Thanks!, and summarize many of them in this Greater Good article. I should add, though, that despite the fact that I’ve been studying gratitude for 11 years and know all about it, I still find that I have to put a lot of conscious effort into practicing gratitude. In fact, my wife says, “How is it that you’re supposed to be this huge expert on gratitude? You’re the least grateful person I know!” Well, she has a point because it’s easy to lapse into the negativity mindset. But these are some of the specific steps I like to recommend for overcoming the challenges to gratitude.

First is to keep a gratitude journal, as I’ve had people do in my experiments. This can mean listing just five things for which you’re grateful every week. This practice works, I think, because it consciously, intentionally focuses our attention on developing more grateful thinking and on eliminating ungrateful thoughts. It helps guard against taking things for granted; instead, we see gifts in life as new and exciting. I do believe that people who live a life of pervasive thankfulness really do experience life differently than people who cheat themselves out of life by not feeling grateful.

Similarly, another gratitude exercise is to practice counting your blessings on a regular basis, maybe first thing in the morning, maybe in the evening. What are you grateful for today? You don’t have to write them down on paper.

You can also use concrete reminders to practice gratitude, which can be particularly effective in working with children, who aren’t abstract thinkers like adults are. For instance, I read about a woman in Vancouver whose family developed this practice of putting money in “gratitude jars.” At the end of the day, they emptied their pockets and put spare change in those jars. They had a regular reminder, a routine, to get them to focus on gratitude. Then, when the jar became full, they gave the money in it to a needy person or a good cause within their community.

Practices like this can not only teach children the importance of gratitude but can show that gratitude impels people to “pay it forward”—to give to others in some measure like they themselves have received.

Finally, I think it’s important to think outside of the box when it comes to gratitude. Mother Theresa talked about how grateful she was to the people she was helping, the sick and dying in the slums of Calcutta, because they enabled her to grow and deepen her spirituality. That’s a very different way of thinking about gratitude—gratitude for what we can give as opposed to what we receive. But that can be a very powerful way, I think, of cultivating a sense of gratitude.

Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., is the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and the founding editor in chief of The Journal of Positive Psychology. He is also the author of the books Gratitude Works!: A 21-Day Program for Creating Emotional Prosperity and Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

Monday, 6 June 2016


All around you is only love,
you can feel it in the flight of a dove,
in the shadows of a cove,
Love is all around,
this is why we are bound
together, with no sound.
And the hound
of Death,
is coming with great stealth,
hiding upon few stars,
but we are immortals.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Superhero Brain Conference

Today is the second day of this conference. I will make some very interesting posts about this in the following days.

See you soon.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

About group flow - 10 conditions to make it happen

We have individual flow, but we can also experience group flow. It is almost impossible to achieve individual flow, as it is seen as the ultimate expression of mastery of some skill (which is not true, as flow is a trainable skill), and thinking about group flow, it is like a once in a life time experience, pleasing the eyes to see it happen. But group flow it is not only something defining synchronous swimming or world class football teams.

Here are 10 conditions to make the group flow to manifest:
1. Group goal.
2. Close listening.
3. Keep it moving forward.
4. Complete concentration.
5. Being in control.
6. Blending egos.
7. Equal participation.
8. Familiarity.
9. Communication.
10. The potential for failure.

About each conditions we can write at least few posts, but i will keep it simple, and let you to do the research. Have a good day!

Friday, 3 June 2016

About flow, arousal and control

To find the "flow" is the opposite of the distracted mind-wandering. It is found when you are engaged in a task that is challenging, but for which you have the adequate skills, According to one of the lead scientists in the flow research, Mihaly Csicszentmihalyi, the flow is an intrinsically rewarding or optimal state that results from intense engagement with daily activities. Feeling flow is exhilarating, satisfying and happiness producing. 

How to recognize when you are in flow:
-you are completely focus on the task at hand,
-you forget about yourself, others and the world around you,
-you lose track of time,
-you become more creative and productive,
-flow is a successful habit in finding happiness.

But to be in flow, you need to know some key facts:
-the skills need to match the challenge,
-flow occurs when goal is clear,
-you need constant and immediate feedback about how close you are on achieving your goal,
-free to fully concentrate on the task.