Motivaiton

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What gets you up in the morning? What makes you flare up with the drive to go through your day? What flame burns within you that throttles your existence into full blast? What’s your motivation? Is it that freshly brewed pot of coffee? What about that magnificent breakfast that’s on the table? That new person that came into your life seemingly out of the blue or is it your beautiful children? Be it any of the above or something else we all have sources of motivation to be thankful for, and those of us who can’t seem to find any reason to move forward can still actively seek out motivation and role models.

The importance of being motivated is a topic that we should all look at. What is motivation? It’s when we are filled with desire to do things. Motivation is what keeps us moving forward. We’ve all seen motivational quotes via various sources. The newspapers, internet, magazines and what have you. They tend to be wise quotes that are meant to inspire and motivate us in to accomplishing our goals. The thing is though, we don’t need to solely think that our motivation can come from such sources. We can even find motivation within ourselves. Just the fact that I am healthy motivates me to get through my day and those who are worse set; their motivation can come from seeking better health. Everyone lacks motivation at some point, and that’s perfectly normal. As human beings it’s normal for us to have highs and lows and we can’t forget that. Sometimes we’re just so down that we can’t seem to find reason to accomplish anything. In most cases a lack of motivation causes this. That’s why this tool that we have, motivation, can drive us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. We need to actively seek motivation. Those who are motivated accomplish their goals and break barriers that have been holding them back.

So when we’re at a point where we’re lacking motivation and can’t seemingly find any reason to go out and do anything what should we do? How can we fix this? We can start by acknowledging our current mental state. How? As I always say, meditation. Listen to yourself. Go somewhere quiet and listen. Are you feeling like you have no energy to do anything and just want to loaf around all day? Sit down, close your eyes, and observe your thoughts. If you come to the conclusion that you’re lacking motivation then that should be motivation enough to go out and seek new forms of motivation.

Role models are a great form of motivation. Someone that you look up too. It doesn’t have to be someone famous. A role model can be your father, mother, friend, partner or just the man who performed a selfless act of kindness in front of you today.

Being tired of anything can give you drive to find motivation so you can make changes for the better. Realising that you have the power to change will motivate you. I had enough of being unhealthy and malnourished two years ago. When I finally realised that I had the power to change that I got motivated to do something about that. Today, I’m fit as a fiddle and due to those lifestyle changes I’ve created an endless source of motivation for self-betterment. You could say, getting healthy and moving fixed my lack of motivation for good.

We are all capable of finding and using motivation to be better than we were yesterday. I encourage you to seek motivation. You can accomplish your goals. You can find reason to start that project that you’ve been thinking about for the longest. The fact that you’re here experiencing life is the best starting point.

I believe in you all. Go out and keep doing beautiful things.

Follow your heart

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Modern society dictates that we should act a certain way. Dress appropriately. Don’t do that because someone might make fun of you. If you wear that outside of the house you’ll become a laughing-stock. Why would you cut your hair like that? I could go on for hours about the amount of questions I hear people ask each other; not to mention the ones I get myself. Why do we concern ourselves with how others perceive us? Why are we so afraid of doing what we want to do and being what we want to be?

Conformity is a big part of our human nature. If the majority does it- then we think it’s right and we should do exactly what they do. Basically, we play follow the leader daily. Now there’s nothing wrong with having a leader, but when it gets to a point where you’re doing something against your will. Well, that’s just plain unhealthy. The most important piece of advice floating around these days is to follow your heart. Trust me. Your heart will always have the right answer for you.

I always tried to find my own way of doing things and I still do to this day. Following procedures is something I do when what I’ve been doing is obviously just not going to work. I’ve always dressed the way I wanted to dress and lately I’ve been more colourful with my wardrobe; just to give an example. I find people wear a lot of neutral colours and I was there too. I never felt that neutral colours let me express myself properly, but it felt risky. “Will people make fun of this blue sweater with these red pants?”. So I asked my heart. It said that I should dress however I want to. Turns out, I really wanted to wear colourful clothes regardless of whether they clashed or not. People’s reaction? “Wow! That sweater is awesome man!”. So what am I getting at here? If you follow your heart then you will be absolutely fine. More often you will find that people will adore you for being yourself, and those that try to bring you down are actually complimenting you. “Why would you put on such bright colours!” or “It’s hilarious to see you with cornrows!” is those people actually adoring/looking up to you. Unfortunately, they don’t fully know how to express that so them saying things that we perceive as “negative” is the best way they can channel their adoration. Always remember though, the only validation that you will ever need during your existence is your own validation. You are capable of making your own decisions. You are capable of making yourself feel good. If you ever feel scared of doing something, ask your heart.

One of my best friends taught me how to ask my heart if something I wanted to do was right. Close your eyes. Ask the question three times. If you get a yes three times then you have your answer, but what if you don’t get a yes? Sometimes you get a no. What to do after a no is obvious. Sometimes, though, you get no answer from your heart. That’s happened to me a couple of times. What does this mean? Well, I’ve thought about it as an “ask me again later” situation. Even our hearts can be unsure and they need to be able to ponder on the question a little bit longer. You will eventually get your answer. This is how I choose to ask my heart for advice. We can all find our own way of asking our heart for advice.

Another friend taught me that I should meditate on my heart. Listen to it. Find out exactly where your heart is in your body and meditate on it. Chant your mantra. Go through your breathing exercises. Use your method of meditation and focus on your heart. It will make asking questions easier.

If you follow your heart then you will always be doing what’s right for you. Don’t let the mass media dictate how you have to be. Your heart is fully capable of helping you out in that area of life. If you choose to follow your heart, inner peace and happiness will come.

 

Kick back and Relax

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It’s Wednesday morning and here I am in Reykjavík. It’s raining outside. I like that. Many Icelanders tend to have a distorted view of rainy weather. A lot of them think that fog and rain make for terrible weather. I can give them the benefit of the doubt this time, but I find that rain and fog helps me relax better.

That’s what I’m going to be covering today. Two days ago, I pulled a muscle in my back. I was helping my father get rid of two sofas. I’d been working a lot lately and was starting to show signs of being overworked, but I insisted that I was big and strong and could move the sofas with little thought to how I was using my body. Boom, pulled muscle. I had no energy to talk because I was both overworked and in pain. I got better later in the day, but now I feel I need to share some knowledge with you all.

Don’t forget to rest. You need to sleep. You need to say no when you have too much going on. Your spiritual and physical health depend on rest. Unwinding after a long day at work. Calling in sick when you’re actually sick. Saying no to a project because you’ve already got four more extracurricular activities going on. Your health and well being should always be your first and utmost concern. Who said that our short existence had to be an uncomfortable one anyway?

Now say that you’re at a place in your life where sleep is  just sometimes hard to come by. You may work 12 hour shifts with a long commute home. You may have insomnia or for some other reason you just have a hard time sleeping. From personal experience I can guarantee you that the rest you long desire will come easily with mediation. Be it through mantras or simple breathing exercises. Whatever you find most comfortable. It will give you rest.

Here’s one that I enjoy. I sit down and take notice of my enviornment. I breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth for a few minutes. When I’m ready- I close my eyes on the exhalation. I notice all the sounds and sensations I feel. My body pressing into the surface I’m sat atop. Is there a gust of wind brushing across my skin. Then I proceed to look inward. I focus on my breathe for a few minutes before my mind runs wild. I sit back and watch as the thoughts scurry past like unguided sheep without their shepard. I come back to my breath and open my eyes when I’m ready. Give it a go.

I work a lot as I said earlier. A full-time job plus musicianship with lots of extracurricular activities fill my schedule from day to day. Sometimes I’m asked how do I have so much energy? I always give the same answer. I eat healthy, keep active and meditate daily. Once in the mornings and once during the night. 20 minutes each session and I’m ready to take on anything. After I added yoga into the mix I’ve managed to keep myself going strong for a long while, yet as of late I can feel I need to take a break.

An easy going yoga session can relieve so much tension both mentally and physically that you might actually end up sleeping where you placed your mat. We tend to save up stress and negative emotion into various body parts. When the body is relieved of its stress- the mind releases aswell. 10 minutes a day is enough.

Mental and physical exhaustion can creep up on the best of us. We need to take breaks every once and a while. We need to stop and breathe. Some people feel like that if they’re not doing anything then they are being useless. That is so far from the truth. I want to give you a challenge. When you have a day off- go meditate for a while. Do some yoga. Kick back and read a light book. Put minimum effort into whatever your doing and just take notice of your existence. Go through the day and just observe what’s going on around you. Then try to incorporate that into every day. Why should we make things more complicated than they need to be?

Take care of yourself. You’ll be thankful that you did in the long run.

Empathy

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Empathy. Everyone at a point in their lives has picked up on someone’s current emotion and felt said emotion. Being happy around an overly excited person. Feeling sad at a funeral. Feeling calm around a quiet person. We all manage to pick these emotions up from others every now and then. Some more intensely than others.

Sometimes we become uneasy because of that. We could be feeling great and then all of a sudden we pick up an emotion from someone else that changes our current mood. What happened? Why am I all of a sudden feeling very stressed out? Not knowing why our current mood/state of mind changed makes us very uncomfortable and that is what we need to fix. Realizing that we’re picking up emotions from others makes dealing with being overly empathetic much easier.

Empathy is important though. I’m not saying that you should try to get rid of your empathy. Why would we not want to pick up on how someone close to us is feeling? Being able to pick up on others emotions is a talent we should all be thankful to have. The most important factor is that we don’t let the emotion affect us. We know it’s there. Just notice the emotion and don’t give it anymore thought. Let’s not allow it overtake what we are currently feeling. Now that’s easier said than done, but with practice we can turn it into something positive.

A friend of yours is sad, but is hiding that from you. Over some time, if not instantly, you start to feel down. You realize that you have nothing to feel bummed out about so why are you in the gutter? Maybe you start to analyze why you might be sad and make something up about why you could be feeling down. We do this all the time. Maybe you read your friend’s body language and come to the conclusion that something’s wrong. You realize that you’re picking up your friend’s sadness. If you choose not to let it affect you then you will go about your activities as if nothing happened. It is up to us how we react to a situation like this, but we can now come at it from a more positive angle.

Here’s the thing though. You’ve just realized that your friend is sad and is choosing to not talk about it. If he slips up at what he’s doing or makes a mistake; all of a sudden it’s much easier to forgive him because you know his current state of mind is not functioning at it’s best. You may ask him if he’s not feeling well. He might respond with a lie, “Everything is fine, why do you ask?” and you could answer, “I’m just picking up a weird vibe is all” and go on with your day. If your gut tells you that you’re picking up a weird vibe from someone, trust it. We are hardwired to pickup on vibes from others. It’s our intuition that tells us that something is off. Emapthy and intuition go hand in hand and if you’re sensitive to the energy other people are giving off, but don’t realize it, then trust your intuition.

Somewhere along the way we will definitely forget that we are picking up other’s emotions and that’s okay. We aren’t as in touch with our own emotions or capabilities as we once were. That’s why we need to reconnect with ourselves via means of meditation, yoga and general spiritualism to ensure inner peace and happiness. Just imagine if everyone was incredibly empathetic. Let’s say that instead of stress- the main emotion is overall happiness and inner peace. Imagine how great of a world that is. Everyone picking up on such positive emotions. Then here comes the stranger. Sadness, stress, anger, feelings that we generally describe as negative. All of the empaths pick up on this and realize that someone has fallen out of balance. They do their best to assist the stranger back on his path. Not a lot of time goes by before the stranger is back on the horse riding happily.

That seems like a beautiful existence to me.

Vulnerablility – Dropping our front

Dropping our front for a while is such a hard endeavour that most of us end up holding on to it for too long and becoming exhausted on the way. Being genuine and letting yourself be vulnerable are important parts of your spiritual maturity and finding your inner peace.

We tend to try and hide things that we’re embarrased about and try to portray ourselves to society in the most glamorous way possible, yet somehow that real inner core personality and person only seems to show up when we feel either stressed to the bone or if we’re overburdened with emotion on our shoulders. Sometimes we become comfortable enough with certain people and drop our front. Being around said people is a blessing and I’m thankful for that. Those that you show your true self to and stick around are the people who will, more often than not, be in your life forever.
That’s one of the reasons why we need to let ourselves be vulnerable. Making true connections with people. Modern society is becoming more anti-social via means of electronic communication. People are hooked on getting notifications and when we’re confronted with real-life situations we seem to panic, close ourselves off and put up our emotional barrier. Our ego says no to confrontation and now, more than ever, we let it have its way. Which means that out mental maturity becomes stagnant.
Look, no one likes to get hurt. Be it through disagreement, rejection or the fear of making a mistake. If we don’t let ourselves be vulnerable, we will never move forward or make a genuine connection with the people that surround us.
You don’t have to be an emotional wreck when you show vulnerability. You will most likely be uncomfortable at first (see my blog about how important that is), but as you progress you will start to notice how this newfound vulnerability humbles you. You will start to be truthful about how you really feel and your reactions to difficult situations will be mostly positive. Friendships will last, relationships strengthen and your general mental health will improve. I read somewhere that it takes a lot more brain power/energy to lie rather than just telling the truth. Even when we lie- we always have a tell. So why protect our ego with a lie when we can nurture our soul with truth?
Drop the front. We’re not fooling anybody. Let your guard down to see if you actually need it. If you are hard like stone, nothing will get through to you. Soften your heart. If it’s hard, no one and nothing will get through to you and that, in all honesty, seems like a dull and grey existence.

I dropped my front a long time ago. It was just much easier to be my 100% self all the time. Although I never let myself get vulnerable until around a year ago. I decided to stop trying to defend myself so much. I would never admit mistakes (still working on that) and I would take things so personally and lock myself off from the posibility of a challenge. Said challenge was new ideas, expressing myself truly and letting my emotions pass through without obstacle. Leaving myself open for attack helped me grow into the person I am today. That saying, “Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”. I think I can agree to that. So here’s to being vulnerable. I had a 1000 yard stare the other day. I think I was most vulnerable at that moment in time, so here have a picture.

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Today, I can say I’m thankful for that. I hope you all find the strength to leave yourself wide open. I can say from personal experience that the payoff is so worth it.

Listen to your body

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No don’t get your headphones. Yes I’m aware that Christina Aguilera released a song called “Your Body” in 2012, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about listening to your body when it tells you not to lift that weight because your nervous system can’t take more beatings. I’m talking about calling in sick when you feel like this cold could turn into something worse if you don’t rest right now. Our body speaks to us almost constantly and we should value what it has to say because in some cases it could even save our lives.

Since I was 18 I tried to lift weights as my form of exercise. I would be on and off at the gym from 18 until around 21. I would go in with some sort of program to follow and I felt that I had to follow said program to the letter. If I had to benchpress 50 kilograms 12 times, but I could only manage 10 with good form- I would force out 2 more reps with terrible form putting immense stress on my tendons and nervous system. My body was telling me to put the weight down by the 10th rep, but I didn’t listen. I’m sure some of the people that are reading this are probably thinking “You need to push your limits to get stronger!”. This is true, but there’s such a thing as going over the threshold. More often than not we crash and burn and this is a terrible way of getting stronger.

Back to the story. I am now 23 years old and it’s been 2 years since I started lifting weights again. What’s different about this time around though? I make my own programs. I research different exercises and see if my body approves of them or not. I have a set rep range that I only follow if my body is ok with that. I go into the gym and only do the exercises I enjoy and I stay only as long as I want to. I trust that my body will tell me when it’s had enough. I’ve managed to stick going to the gym 3-5 times a day for 2 years and have no intention of stopping just by letting my body decide what it can handle and I’m in the best shape of my life.

Giving our body free reign is something we can do, but we need to learn how to interpret what it’s telling us. Say you’re starving. How much water have you drank today? Are you sure that you want something to eat or are you just thirsty? Dehydration can cause us to think we’re hungry, try a glass of water. Are you craving a double hamburger with extra fries and a large soda? Your body is telling you that you need a lot of carbs and fats right now. Fortunately there are better ways of getting them than gulping down a bunch of processed food with unhealthy fats and sugars. Keep that in mind the next time you’re craving sugar. Try some dates or cashews instead. You’ll notice that your sugar cravings will dissipate almost immediately.

Our body can even tell us when we need various minerals. Feeling pain or stiffness in your joints? You might be craving a banana right then and there. Bananas have potassium in them. Feeling jittery and stressed? Chill on the coffee because your body wants some magnesium.

If we look back on exercise, there are so many more ways our body tells us what we should and should not do. When I started practicing yoga, there was a pose called King Pidgeon with forward fold. I tried to do the pose exactly the same way that the yoga teacher did it. To say the least, it was very painful for my knee. I decided to look at how the beginners were doing it and modified the stretch so I could do it without experiencing joint pain. My body was telling me, “It don’t bend that way man”. Today, I’m getting closer to being able to accomplish said pose the way the yoga teacher does. I’m proud to say I’ve never had a sports related injury. No back problems, no joint pain, no digestive problems or any bodily problems of the sort. All because I decided to listen to what my body was whining about when I was doing something it didn’t approve of.

How you listen to your body is all of a matter of stopping for a moment. Obviously this is something we have to learn all over again. If you would ask me for the best way I’d say doing yoga and mediating are the best ways of learning to listen to your body. Bringing your awareness inward will help you scan for all sorts of problems you didn’t know you had and lead you onward to better general health.

Take care of yourself. You’re only here for a short while so why not make the best of it?

Get Uncomfortable

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Recently, I’ve found myself in positions I’d really rather not be in. This goes for work life, day to day tasks and personal life. Being uncomfortable can be absolutely nerve-wracking for some people, and that’s actually a good thing! Some people may strongly disagree, but I’ll do my best to explain what I’m getting at here with a few short examples.

The other day, I decided to purchase a book. It’s called The Real Book and it has a collection of jazz standards that musicians should really give themselves time to learn. I’ve been playing guitar for 10 years this year and have branched out into other instruments. I’ve done 4 years of formal music school and played many gigs both domestic and international. Some people would consider me a very confident musician, but here’s where all that starts to trail off into something else. I went through a few of the standards and found out two things. One: I really enjoy playing the jazz standards I can play and two: there are a lot of chords in this god damn book that make me so frustrated and uneasy- not to mention all of these notes that I can’t sight read.

This makes me extremely uncomfortable. I’ve been playing music for 10 years and for some reason I’m all of a sudden stumped by a bunch of chords? Surely if I can pick up a metal song by ear within an hour I should be able to play jazzy chord progressions. Wrong.

This discomfort gives me the drive to want to move forward with my musicianship and mature as one. The unfortunate thing is that there are so many of us that take this feeling of discomfort and try to push it away and not use it to better themselves. If you’re comfortable then you’re in routine. If you’re in routine you’re not moving forward, and if you’re not moving forward then where are you? At the exact same place you were when you started to get comfortable. That feeling of being uncomfortable is your friend. Why should we settle for stagnation when we can move forward at the cost of a bit of stress?

I invited a friend of mine over a few hours before a gig. We played jazz standards. There was a lot I didn’t understand and a lot he understood. He tried to get me to play some funky chords and show me all kinds of chord replacements. I felt like an idiot for a split-second and then realized that I was no idiot. I’ve just been in my comfortable pentatonic solo power chord chug chug box for so long that I was unhappy with the fact that I couldn’t quite grasp fully what he was talking about. I took that feeling of being uncomfortable and did my best to turn it into energy to focus on learning and I did a pretty good job of keeping up with the jazz man. By the time I went up on stage to play classic rock, I felt like it was absolutely no problem at all.

There are a lot of uneasy feelings that I deal with every now and again. I used to have a tendency to push them to the back of my head and let them just sit there. Whenever I would encounter a situation that would call on one of those uneasy feelings, I’d panic and bail. I never really dealt with those uneasy emotions until I finally said stop. Over time, I’ve been forcing myself to just deal with these situations. Running away will just keep me from growing as a human being and that’s the last thing I want to do. My new years resolution is always to be better today than I was yesterday. How can I follow through with that without being uncomfortable every now and then? I can’t. So I embrace these feelings of discomfort and power through uncomfortable situations. The reward? I’ve gained a new skill. I can now deal with that problem when it comes up again and it will be easier next time. I didn’t know how to do said thing. I got uncomfortable at the thought of making a mistake. I made mistakes. I learned to do said thing. Problem solved.

Go out there and get uncomfortable. Okay, maybe not willingly, but do something you’ve been afraid to do. Say something you’ve been wanting  to say, but say it without trying to hurt people. Pick up that instrument you’ve been wanting to learn. Sing in the shower even though people said you can’t sing and for the sake of everyone on the planet, do it for no one other than yourself.

Yoga – My experience so far

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So it’s been around 6 or 7 days since I started following a yoga routine that I do daily. I’ve been very fond of yoga poses for two years now and have used many of them to give me a quick fix with any tension I had in my body. I never could say though that I had practiced yoga. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Yoga is not a joke. I consider myself to be in very good shape, and I’d like to think of myself as flexible in a practical way. After practicing yoga daily for around a week or so- I can’t say I’m flexible. A flexibility routine winds me. The deep stretches burn (in the good way) and when I’m through with the routine, I’m a sweaty mess. Albeit a very happy sweaty mess. There’s something about stretching your body to the point of total relaxation that deepens your connection with yourself. When you’re in the final corpse pose of the session you feel tired, but euphoric and refreshed. The fun starts when we get into strength and balance routines. Somehow I have not yet managed to fall flat onto my face during these routines, but boy do my muscles burn. A 30 minute intermediate strength session really takes a toll on the body and you feel like you had a proper work out.

Yoga is deeply relaxing. This is usually obvious to some people before the actually do a proper routine. Even during high intensity yoga sessions you come out relaxed. So doing a routine built on a low-intensity relaxation scheme should be deeply relaxing, right? I can give that a definite yes. I do two sessions a day. One workout session sometime during the day (I make sure it’s been at least two hours since I last ate before I start) and one during the night to stretch out and relax. I’ve been sleeping better every night. The tension we build up in our bodies during daily life is something we need to get rid of before we crawl up into bed and drift of to dream land. It usually takes me two hours to fall asleep, but now I knock out much earlier and wake up more refreshed and in a better mood. Even a 10 minute session works wonders for your physical and mental health.

Yoga teaches you to listen to your body. A vital part of yoga is listening to your body whilst you’re going through a routine. A friend of mine said that if you’re in a certain pose and you can’t breathe down into your belly- you’re over-stretching. If you don’t listen to what your body is telling you when you’re practicing yoga, you will definitely end up hurting yourself in the process. Here’s the beautiful part though. The poses are perfect. They are made for our bodies and help us align ourselves so we can reach balance. If you listen to your body rather than your ego whilst practicing yoga then you will never do harm to yourself. An added bonus of this is that your body starts to tell you what food you need during the day. I’ve found that my body all of a sudden wants more fruit in its diet and that’s not a problem anymore. I happily eat more fruit now and less junk (junk food is definitely still in my diet though, this is a slow process).

Yoga teaches you self-discipline and patience. Have you even tried to hold a half-moon pose fora minute? If you have and succeeded then give yourself a huge hug. Some of these poses and routines require so much self discipline to hold. If you don’t have patience, you sure as hell will get some with yoga practice. Medidative yoga helps a lot here. Laying down in corpse and watching your thoughts from a distance for 20 minutes without a single body movement requires discipline. You can bring this into every day life and I promise you will be a better person afterwards.

Everyone should practice yoga. From age 0 until age dead. Either for a good workout or just even a few low intensity poses will do wonders for your physical and mental health. Your days will be better. You will be happier. You’ll eat better and you’ll be more thankful for everything that happens to you. The more good you do to yourself, the better you will be to others and that’s just another way to spread out any positive energy that we can muster into a world that can seem rather grey every now and then. Don’t buy a mat. You don’t have to buy anything other than a yoga book, an app or classes with a guru. Use your bed covers if you have to and use old clothes if you have to. Do yoga naked if that makes you feel good. Yoga is so readily accessible now and days that you can even start right now.

Yes right now. Go on, I’ll watch.

Or not.

I’ll just go and do a routine now, feel free to join.

Smile

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Some people say that we use more muscles to frown rather than smile. Some people say the exact opposite. Either way I’d say a smile is always the better option. A smile in extreme cases can save people’s lives. A smile can not only brighten another person’s day, but it can also brighten yours. Yes, the picture of my dog (Pjakkur) was put up there in hopes of making you crack a smile!

The importance of smiling is often over-looked in our society that chooses to be rather non-expresive from what I’ve observed. Appearing aloof or non-chalant seems to be trending these days so we can portray ourselves as cool. That’s not cool. Why would we choose to be expressionless and try to demonstrate lack of emotion when we are very emotional beings. Why should we try to suffocate our emotions, especially the postive ones, by sealing them in an air-tight jar and putting them up on a shelf somewhere far back in our heads.

I remember reading an article that says even forcing a smile produces endorphines causing your mood to tip over into a more positive state. Now if that’s not the case I’d say it doesn’t really matter. Why? Even if it’s a placebo effect and you’re not producing any endorphines, but you feel better, then forcing a smile should be good for you. As a person who believes in the importance of expressing your emotions truly this may seem contradicting, but if we can make ourselves feel better just by moving our facial muscles then I’d say that making a concious effort to smile, even when you’re down, is a wonderful tool in our arsenal that we should use more often.

Smiling to others encourages comfort in your presence. I’m not sure about the majority, but I know for sure that when I’m talking to a person that smiles a lot I feel a lot more comfortable during the conversation. I appreciate it when strangers walk by me and smile as they say, “Good day!” or even a simple “Hello!”. Just by doing that they spread out positive energy and therefore they recieve positive energy back. Don’t go staring at people with a wide toothy grin on your face though. The intention behind the smile is something everyone can read very easily, and I’m pretty sure a lot of us woud feel uncomfortable if a stranger was staring at us with a smile on his/her face.

If we go a bit off track for just a moment. Energy is a give and take system. The energy you give is more often the energy you will recieve back. In most cases, if you put out positivity you will recieve postivity. Same goes for negativity. It gets even better when negative energy is taken and turned into positivity. Someone scowls at you and in return recieves a smile from you. Many things can happen here. Sometime the person sits up with the negative energy because you decided not to take any part in it. Sometimes that negativity disappears due to the fact that you reacted with positivty. Either way, in a battle of the forces, the positive force is always the victor.

I’m sure everyone has a reason to smile. The fact that you woke up this morning is enough to justify a smile, not that a smile needs any justification. That first sip of coffee. The food you’re eating. The story that stranger on the bus told you. All reasons to smile. When we start looking at what we have to smile about, everything that we want to pout over suddenly disappears without a moment’s notice.

So do me a favour. Smile more often. Express your happiness, and even if you aren’t happy right this moment then that’s ok. You don’t have to smile right this moment, or all the time as a matter of fact. Just try to make a habbit of smiling. In the long run you won’t regret it. If the article about wrinkles and frowning is true then you have even more reason to show us that pretty smile. Remember to always express your emotions truly and have a great day.

This song always makes me smile. There’s something about whistling that just makes me happy.

Slow Down

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We need to slow the hell down guys. This car is doing 200km/h and we’re burning up fuel and engine oil at an astounding rate. I mean come on, if you’d just drive slower then you won’t be putting yourself and others at risk. You’ll arrive at your destination safe and sound even though it might take a little longer.

Ok enough with story time. What I’m trying to say is- we need to slow down in daily life. This instant gratification society that we live in today is putting so much stress on us that we can barely function anymore. Your phone won’t load the page right away? Louis C.K. said, “Just give it a fucking minute! It’s going to outer space! Gosh!”. When you think about the distance that information travels these days- you become a bit more patient.

Food isn’t ready right now? Trust me, if you cook the chicken a little bit longer then you’ll be in for a salmonella free and tender meal.

What about all those tasks piled up on your desk? You have a lot of deadlines to meet and a lot of work to do. Why not just take it easily and finish what you’re able to without producing so much cortisol that your body decides to eat itself since you haven’t given it any fuel through the day.

Slowing down and looking at things one at a time can be so beneficial to our mental and physical health. I’m writing this because that’s something I need to remind myself everyday. As a musician with a full-time job and responsibilities to fulfill you can imagine I have a lot on my hands. I’ve noticed that when I’ve stopped trying to multi-task all the time and finish what I can, when I can, I end up putting in a much better effort which results in a better product.

The best way to learn a song is to play it slow. When you first learn to ride a bike you do it slowly. You drove slow during your test and you took your time preparing that meal you made for someone special. In most cases, the result was that you either learned that song note for note, you learned to ride that bike, you passed your driving test and the meal was delicious. Why not keep up a good habit or atleast make a habit of slowing down.

You might say, “Every minute counts!” or “Life is short!”. That’s all true, but why try to do everything as fast as possible only to have to come back to the task later to do it properly? That sounds like time wasted to me. We should be maximizing our efforts in what we are doing so we don’t have to come back to it later and therefore waste time. Again, as I write this I realize that I need to slow the hell down myself.

You don’t need to be worried. Your barber can wait for a moment or two. I’m sure he/she will be forgiving that you misplaced your car keys which is what made you late for your haircut. Not only that, but because you slowed down for a moment you were able retrace your steps and figure out where you left those car keys.

Make a concious effort to slow down and be patient. You’ll smile a lot more and develop discipline that we so sorely need these days.