Mindfulness

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Smiling Man, Julie Santiago, Goaly Blog

Happiness isn’t as elusive as it seems….

All of us yearn for happiness, yet most of us have a very difficult time finding it.

How do we get it? What do we have to do? Is it even possible to find it considering what’s happened to me?

We talked with women’s empowerment coach Julie Santiago about happiness hoping to find answers to the questions we all have at one point or another.

She gave us a list of five great tips to get you started on your journey to a more fulfilling life:

1. Claim you’re ready to be happy

“So often we know that something’s off in our lives but we aren’t really sure what it is and we’re afraid to admit it,” Santiago told us.

These moments or seasons of dissonance reveal something important: we’re missing an element of happiness. The good news is, Santiago said, you can find it.

“It’s time to make the claim that you are ready to be happy and you are ready to do something different.”

Start by making the claim that you want to be happy, whether it’s by verbally saying it every morning, writing down on a note card and sticking it to your mirror or saying a daily prayer for happiness.

“If you don’t say it and you don’t claim it it can’t really happen. Whether you repeat it or write it down, it’s time to make the claim that you are ready to be happy and you are ready to do something different,” Santiago said. “When you make this claim or say this prayer or set this intention, everything in the world begins to align to help you you find exactly what you need.”

2. Keep a journal

You’ll discover that keeping a journal is essential to personal development, particularly when it comes to cultivating a life of happiness.

“It’s so important to tune in to what’s actually happening in our lives and our bodies…those things hold the key to our happiness.”

Writing down the way you react to certain events or people you encounter during the day will guide you in your journey to happiness.

“A journal is an indispensable part of keeping track things. It’s so important to tune in to what’s actually happening in our lives and our bodies – when they’re open and when they’re closed,” Santiago said. “Those things hold the key to our happiness.”

3. Write down the things that make you feel alive

Your journey to happiness is a matter of keeping your eyes and your journal open. In the positive sense, it’s essential that you make a note of the activities, relationships and events in your life that make you feel vibrant.

Smile, Julie Santiago, Goaly Blog

 

“Check in with yourself when you’re doing things that make you feel resonant,” Santiago said. “Write down when you feel alive and when you’re resonating with what’s around you when you resonate with what you’re doing and when you feel open and expansive and alive.

4. Write down the things that make you feel closed in or dark

On the other side of the happiness spectrum are the moments in which you feel closed in – when you are feeling disconnected and distant. It’s just as important to make a note of these moments as it is to record the moments which make you feel connected.

“Notice when you feel dissonant, when you’re contracting or feel closed or dark or moody or angry.”

“Write down what makes you feel closed, dissonant or unhappy,” Santiago said. “Notice when you feel dissonant, when you’re contracting or feel closed or dark or moody or angry.”

5. Let go of one of those things that makes you feel closed.

As you open your eyes to the things which affect your mood and outlook, it will become clear that certain things in your life need to go. Saying “No” to the things which make you feel dark or trapped is one of the crucial steps on your journey to happiness.

“In order to bring in more of what you love in your life, you have to first let go to what you don’t love.” 

“In order to bring in more of what you love in your life, you have to first let go to what you don’t love,” Santiago said. “If you’re holding on to these things you’re doing just because you feel like you have to do them and they’re making you feel flat and uninspired then you can’t be given the things you do love in your life.”

Saying “no” to the things which detract from your happiness isn’t only a matter of cutting off the dead parts of your life – “When you let go of something you don’t love, you’re making space for something you do love.”

Want More Happiness?

Julie Santiago’s step-by-step Goaly strategy is titled “Find Happiness and Purpose in 8 Days”. The free 10-session strategy plan is pretty amazing.

Click here to begin your journey to happiness through Julie’s “Find Happiness and Purpose in 8 Days” step-by-step strategy!

Here’s Julie’s introductory video for the “8 Days” strategy:

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The world is sleeping…

Even though it’s clicking, liking and sharing, interaction on a deeper human level is lacking for many of us. Rates of loneliness and depression are rising in the Western world ( Data) even though our connectedness is better than ever before.

According to a 2013 article in Canadian publication The Globe and Mail, 25 percent of Canadians say they feel lonely. In the United States, 40 percent of people say they feel lonely, a number which has doubled in the past 30 years.

Modern-Day Zombies

Zombies are fictional, of course — they’re mindless, reanimated human corpses with a hunger for human flesh. Anyone who’s seen an episode of The Walking Dead knows what we’re talking about.

But in today’s society, we’re becoming more like the zombies we see stumbling around on our television screens. We resemble the living dead in the way we are present with our family or friends, but so far removed as we gaze into our phones and scroll through Facebook and Instagram posts, hardly aware we’re surrounded by humans who love us.
Girl Zombies, Goaly Blog
Meanwhile, we’re fighting obesity, depression and loneliness even though we have a gym on every corner and healthy food on the shelves of our local stores. Why do we feel so disconnected and distant in such a connected world? Why are we living like the dead?

The Science Behind Our Loneliness

There’s a reason why we go into a zombie-like coma after using social media, and Facebook in particular. A study by two German universities showed that 1 out of every 3 people using Facebook “feel worse after visiting the site and feel more dissatisfied with their lives.”

Another study showed users with low self-esteem and high narcissism use Facebook more frequently, for longer periods of time and post more self-promotional material.

Eventually, with enough scrolling, posting and liking we become unconscious of our own mental patterns and choices.We are running on autopilot, and for many, it creates a mental state I like to call “zombie”.

7 Ways To Tell If You’re A Zombie

1. You’re sleeping through everyth…zzzzz…..

You don’t like your life, the people in it, or yourself, so you switch your brain into off mode. Autopilot. Time-lapse wonderland.

You escape life through daydreaming, addictions, overeating, and anything else you can find to numb out the noise of reality. 

Suddenly you find out you have no idea how this week, month and year — or a decade, if you’re a pro zombie — disappeared.

You escape life through daydreaming, addictions, overeating, and anything else you can find to numb out the noise of reality. You silence your emotion, too, which is the tuning fork to by which we experience reality in real time.

2. Narrow focus

Modern-day zombies don’t waste their energy on trying to be happy — it’s too costly and draining. Instead, they use reptile reasoning to make it through the day. Like an alligator, snake or other creepy/slimy ground dweller, their interactions with the world are focused on three thoughts:

  • Can I eat it?
  • Can I have sex with it?
  • Will it kill me?

We’re not kidding when we say reptile brain, either. Experts call it the “old brain”, an ancient part of your mind linked to our basic human instincts.

“The job of your old brain is to constantly scan the environment and answer the questions: ‘Can I eat it? Can I have sex with it? Will it kill me?’”

Behavioral science specialist Susan Weinschenk says “the job of your old brain is to constantly scan the environment and answer the questions: ‘Can I eat it? Can I have sex with it? Will it kill me?’ That’s really all the old brain cares about: food sex and danger.”

If this focus gets too extreme, addictions get added to the list and you  take your zombieness to another level, cutting out empathy and self-respect to support a habit that makes your brain and body addicted to escaping reality.

3.  Reality Check

You may not be a zombie by technical definition, but you pretty much try to eat people alive when they point out your strange, act-like-the-dead behavior. Do any of these sound like you?

  • You get angry when people remind you about your behavior or lifestyle.
  • You are scared of change, and since you can’t control your mind, you react to fear with anger.

    ‘You are scared of change, and since you can’t control your mind, you react to fear with anger.”

  • You lack true empathy because empathy does not support your own behavior.
  • You attack others, gossip and lie in order to support your mindset.
  • You are insanely jealous of people who have things you want because it reminds you of the reality you want.

 

4. Zombified Response: Run, Attack or Denial

Zombies don’t like to be confronted about their behavior. Since they are in reptile brain mode, they see questions about their behaviors as an attack. Only two responses exist: attack, or run.

To simplify a complex world, you make blueprints to handle situations that are meant to wake you from your zombie state.

5. Zombies Are Your Only Friends

You love like-minded zombies who mimic your (supremely low) level of enthusiasm and do not challenge your beliefs, thoughts, or pattern of behaviors.

“Anytime anyone criticizes you, you go into full zombie-attack mode, hungry for warm flesh and the death of all who dare point out your zombieness.”

You lack coping mechanisms to make friends with honest non-zombies, so anytime anyone criticizes you, you go into full zombie-attack mode, hungry for warm flesh and the death of all who dare point out your zombieness.

Misery loves zombie company, right?

6. No Mindfulness

You have little or no ability to concentrate or meditate .. it’s a waste of time, and it’s for non-zombies who are spiritual or into some weird alternative world.

You hate mindfulness because it takes your head out of the sand and makes you uncomfortable. Your goal is to numb your feelings and keep yourself removed from reality. Your number one focus is to binge on video games, TV, food, drug/alcohol addictions and anything else that can remove you from the unpleasant human world.

Girl Eyes, Zombie, Goaly Blog

Your dream is to get home from work so you can do absolutely nothing.

Your entire identity is trapped in a uncontrolled, unaware zombie state  filled with limiting beliefs that scare you so much you shut off even more of your conscious mind and your brain goes into permanent autopilot. Denial of reality is the main force behind your zombieness.

7. Emotional Vampire

You eat others’ energy like it was warm flesh. After all, you stopped believing in your own passion and purpose a long time ago and settled into your bitter way of life.

When meeting people who have positive energy, you eat them alive or put them down because you feel scared and insecure they’re actually alive.

You get happy when someone falls to your level and indulges in zombie misery. You feel more connected with them especially if they also like to bury their days in a mountain of junk food, cigarette butts, drugs and a handsome sprinkling of empty beer cans. As in every zombie movie, you won’t attack someone who is “one of you”.

Big City, Big Zombie Problems

Traveling around the world last year, I saw a lack of zombies in Costa Rica and a serious concentration of them in New York. How is that even possible?! You’d think a third-world country with less resources and less education should be more zombified than the culture capital of the world. But, it’s not. Why?

Costa Rica is a place where the people live in the moment. They aren’t controlled by money or time or fear. Or Facebook. Or media and television. They spend time outside, focusing on friends and family in real-time and not through Facebook or Skype.

New York, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.

Endless options make people numb. The brain stops working. The ego takes over. Our lives become plastic and fake. Deep human connections are lost. Zombies rise up from their life-graves and devour the living.

New York City, Zombie, Goaly Blog

The bigger city, the bigger the community of zombies.

Zombiness is a disease. We get addicted to the mindset of being mindless. Of being in off mode. Of escape. Of demolishing mindfulness. And we lose sight of working toward a life we cherish, love and desire.

A Quick Zombie Checklist

Think of these questions in the context of what happened yesterday. If you answer no to any of these questions, seek human interaction immediately:

  • Do you remember what you did last day?
  • Do you remember what you ate?
  • Do you remember who you connected with?
  • Did you get a hug or did people avoid you (Run away?)
  • Did you see any nature, flowers or people and feel connected in that moment?
  • Do you go “offline” when you eat, and suddenly see you have eaten everything.
  • Do you get annoyed by support and guidance?

Four Ways To Cure Yourself from Zombieism

Are you a modern-day zombie? There is a cure. In fact, there are things you can practice every day that will snap you out of your undead state.

1. Mindfulness

Zombies are mindless. Mindfulness is the opposite of mindlessness.

A mindful life might be very unpleasant in the beginning and your reptile brain might tell you that embracing reality is way more boring that food, sex and survival. I promise, your new mindfulness won’t kill you.

The more zombie you’ve become, the more mindfulness you require. Unlatching that brain of yours from your piles of reality-robbing addictions and plugging into the real world is exactly what you need.

2. Self-Love

There’s a reason why you never see a zombie movie where the undead do yoga, hug a friend (without trying to maul them like a wild dog) or smile just because they felt like it. Zombies are busy feeding the numbed beast within.

Heart, Zombie, Goaly Blog

You can get a head start on self-love by determining your purpose in life, that thing which makes you jump out of bed in the morning (human flesh not included).

To figure out your purpose, take a look at the stuff in your life you embraced to keep yourself locked in zombie world — job, partner, friends, habits, etc. Find a way out that doesn’t involve self-hate, self-harm or daydreaming.

Then, practice the three P’s:

  • Find a purpose you love
  • Find passions you love
  • Find the people you love who will support your mission to unzombify yourself.

Once you’ll do this, you’ll start to feel the very unzombie feeling of love for and from your authentic friends. You’ll realize the power of being loved by people who love you for who you are and are willing to let you be whoever you want to be.

“Find a purpose you love. Find passions you love. Find the people you love who will support your mission to unzombify yourself.”

You’ll become aware of and connected to your mind, body and soul — this is self-love

3. Honesty and Trust

You wouldn’t trust a zombie, right? Honesty — being real and authentic — totally kills the zombie lifestyle. Honest people are trustworthy.

An honest life is built on a real foundation, not a bunch of false fronts and deceptions. I’m not going to lie — once you start leading an honest life, your zombie friends will run for their live because they do not like the sound of authenticity

It scares the crap out of them because they don’t know how to mirror authenticity in themselves.

4. Reduce Your Ego

Ego-driven people make the perfect zombie because they eat people alive. Their need to make everything about them goes back to the desires of the reptile brain – food, sex and survival.

Of course, you don’t want to a reptilian-brained zombie, right? So make sure your heart is bigger than your ego, and awake to experience all the great things zombies can’t see, hear or feel because they’re walking through life in zombie mode.

“A big heart doesn’t just cure zombieism; it makes your whole life more warm, loving and meaningful.”

If you need less ego, participate in activities which focus on others, not yourself: charity, support groups, a friend who needs your help or even a movie that makes you feel connected with the world in a bigger sense.

Do everything you can to train the empathy nerve that zombies numb or ignore. When empathy is triggered, the heart is growing, which is a good thing. A big heart doesn’t just cure zombieism, it makes your whole life more warm, loving and meaningful.