Monday, October 20, 2014

Are you happy?

An amazing article on science-Backed methods on happiness.
Too good not to share.


8 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness
FMT | Oct 19, 14 6:44am
Everyone's looking for that elusive happiness, but science has got it figured out.


Are you happy? Many people struggle to answer that question. Everyone’s ultimate goal is to be happy, and they usually search for that elusive happiness in their own way. Some dig around for gold, believing that riches will plant a permanent smile on their faces. Others collect friendships, relishing in the constant activity of a vast social network.
Whatever your method, in the end we are all yearning for that feeling of happiness, of ultimate contentment. There are of course, many ways to attain it. Happiness is a very personal matter, but there are scientifically-proven ways to make yourself and your body feel better. Do yourself some good and try them out:
1. Create something, anything
We are becoming a society of purely consumers. From the moment we open our eyes, we turn on our phones to read (and consume) what others have produced, then we go to work, listening to music that have also been penned down by others. We watch charity videos and “contribute” by sharing a link on our page, not thinking to do anything else. It’s an easy life. Convenient, entertaining, effortless. But there are also plenty of moments of emptiness, of feeling like you haven’t done anything of consequence.
The science
See, the reason we sometimes feel restless is because humans thrive on achievements. A study published in 2009 showed that mastering a skill may stress us out in the moment, but eventually gets us to a happier place.
Get happy
You don’t have to create anything major, or bring peace to the universe. Start small, perhaps instead of buying herbs at the supermarket, start your own herb garden. Instead of just reading blogs, pen down some of your thoughts. Learn to paint and come up with your own masterpieces. Arrange for an outing instead of always waiting on your friends. The possibilities to create are endless!
2. Give more
Who doesn’t love receiving presents? I know I do! Especially if the boyfriend got my very subtle hints right this time. But what beats getting presents? Giving them! You know those jitters you get seeing someone open the gift you got them? Or the excitement you feel making or picking something out for someone special at the mall? Those are there are a reason. Giving actually makes you happier than getting stuff for yourself.
The science
A research on happiness conducted in 2011 asked participants whether they’d choose to spend money on themselves or someone else. Those that made a purchase for someone else reported “feeling significantly happier”.
Get happy
Give more! Not just presents, but give more of your time to help those in need and you’ll find yourself feeling more fulfilled than you are now.
3. Get enough sleep
Lots of us are cranky without our morning coffee. Some of us are still cranky throughout the day for no reason. But is it really no reason? Perhaps being tired all the time is a good enough reason. With most people’s snoozing hours ranging from a measly 4 hours to a barely sufficient 6 hours, we’re sleep deprived and this is not just ruining our bodies but also causing our happiness levels to dip.
The science
A study conducted by the University of Michigan showed that getting an extra hour sleep each night actually had more effect on someone’s happiness than getting a large income raise (in this case, US$60,000) [3]. Another study found that those who take afternoon naps tend to be more positive as it helps tune out negative emotions [4].
Get happy
Instead of devouring useless Facebook and Imgur posts late into the night, tuck in an hour early! You shouldn’t say you don’t have time for more sleep, because by being honest with yourself, you’ll realise how much time you’re actually wasting each day instead of getting stuff done.
4. Get out!
Being cooped up indoors all day, everyday can really make you a gloomy bear. If the only time you’re outside is walking into the office from the LRT station or parking lot, and walking back home, then you’re probably not reaping the best benefits of the great outdoors.
The science
Besides giving you a boost of vitamin D, sunlight can actually put you in a better mood too. Last year, a study found that individuals with depressive symptoms showed less symptoms of depression after being out in the sun more than those who were seeing a doctor [5]. And sunlight isn’t the only factor in your happiness, just being outside helps with your mental well-being too. Researchers studied 1,991 participants found that walks in nature were associated with significantly less depression. Those who walked at least once a week “experienced positive emotions and less stress”.
Get happy
You can argue that you get enough sunlight from that tiny window in your office, but we beg to differ. Head out for a walk during lunch and make sure you plan some time outside during the weekend! Picnics or a short hike can be fun!
5. Be a good friend & family member
It might be more tempting to lie on the couch marathoning episodes of The Walking Dead than braving the traffic back home to see your family. Some nights, after a long day at work, you’d rather just head home than have that dinner on the other side of town with your good friends. While you should definitely get your rest when you need it, forgoing time with the ones you love could be exactly what’s standing in the way of your ultimate happiness. Humans are, after all, social creatures who crave meaningful connections.
The science
This isn’t science, but it made an impact on me so I thought I’d mention it anyway. Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who spent many years caring for those on their deathbed, observed that those dying often had similar regrets. And in the top 5 of regrets were not staying in touch with their good friends [7]. There’s plenty of science to back this up too. Social connectedness is associated with lower rates of anxiety and depression [8]. Long-term relationships help lower your risk of depression and suicide.
Get happy
Make plans and stick to them. It’s easy to cancel on people thanks to non-commital lines like “I’ll see if I can make it”, “not sure if I’m free” etc, but try. It’s also a good idea to build new meaningful connections, you don’t have to stop making friends just because you’ve found your “circle”.
6. Spend your money right
Lots of people say that “money can’t buy you happiness”. But numerous research has since proven that this adage is not as black and white as we assume. Money can buy some form of happiness, but what’s interesting is that what you spend it on could affect how you feel later on. So, maybe spending it on that Chanel bag isn’t as wise as using it for a backpacking trip across Europe.
The science
Harvard Business School professors Michael Norton and Elizabeth Dunn scoured through years of behavioral science data and research to find that in the long-term, experiences pay off while material goods depreciate [10]. Not directly related, but another research found that giving money to charity or spending money on gifts for other people makes you considerably happier [11].
Get happy
Perhaps it will make some sense to reconsider what you should be spending your money on. I don’t know about you, but personally I have multiple expensive purchases lying around that I barely use, while experiences spending time with friends at a good hawker stall or parasailing stay fondly on my mind.
So, instead of buying that bracelet or newest piece of technology, maybe try planning a trip or having a meal somewhere special. Oh, and since giving money makes you happy, these sites are great for some online altruism: Kiva.org (you lend needy people US$25 to help get their lives on track), Worldvision.com.my (you can choose to sponsor a child or donate money). You could always go offline to your favourite charity too!
7. Sweat it out
Everyone loves to hate it, but exercising really does score you some serious happiness points. You huff, and you puff, but working up a sweat releases endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel great. Maybe you haven’t gotten to the point where you feel uneasy and cranky without your morning run (we’re still working on getting there ourselves!), but there are people out there who are actually excited to work out, and positive feelings probably has a lot to do with it.
The science
According to Penn State researchers, people who are more physically active report greater levels of excitement and enthusiasm than us regular less-active people [12]. In a more recent study published last month, researchers from Sweden found that exercise could actually help remove harmful chemicals brought about by stress.
Get happy
You don’t have to go all out immediately. Start by doing a slow jog or brisk walk a few times a week, then gradually build it up when you have the stamina (and endorphins running!) No time or equipment? Try this scientific 7-minute workout formulated by the American College of Sports Medicine (you can do it at home!)
8. Be more grateful
Complaining can be really fun. I indulge in it from time to time, but what I found was that while doing the deed itself was fun, it annoyed those around me and the great feeling didn’t hold up later on. At the end of the day, my source of complaints would still by lying around poking me in the face. After observing those around me, I found that people who rarely complained were the ones who seemed the most content with their lives.
The science
Psychologists and researchers conducted a study where they asked participants to write a few sentences each week revolving around (i) things that they were grateful for that week, (ii) daily irritations, or (iii) events that affected them, both positive or negative. What they found after 10 weeks was that those who wrote about gratitude were more optimistic and felt better about their lives compared to the other two groups. They even exercised more and had less visits to the doctor!
Get happy
Start a diary of daily gratitude! Write 3 things you are grateful for each night and feel the difference! Say thank you more, smile more at people, and just generally try to think of situations as glass half full instead of half empty. I know it’s hard, I’m predisposed to being displeased myself, but happiness really is all in your mind. Change your mindset and you’ll charge up your happiness.
What are you waiting for? Go out and start soaking up the joy!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday to BIM

A video created specially for my niece, BIM .
Enjoy!

video

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What is your AIM in life? Find out about BIM's

To date, I'm an 11+ months old baby in Mandurah. My parents are PFM (parents from Malaysia) and so are my grandparents and siblings. I'm so lucky to be born in Mandurah, Perth, Australia and THAT makes me feel very special. My grandparents & Uncle MJ came all the way from Malaysia to see me by the time i came into this world - which makes me feel EVEN more special. I have my ONE & ONLY 姑姑 who is my AIM (Auntie in Miri), but sadly she couldn't make it to come so until now I haven't physically seen her. Nevertheless, I'm very confident that she loves me very much (Of course I love her too!). That's perfectly reasonable & logical since my parents were in love with each other too even before they physically met one another.. Isn't that sweet? =)

Okay, lets get back to topic. Well, yeah, my AIM is crazy about me, even before I was born! She bought me a Children's Bible which has many lovely pictures and interesting caption with both English & Chinese language.

My Children's Bible from my AIM





I received many other books gifts from my grandparents too. Wow, I guess they are all excited about me learning to read! My Uncle MJ has always wanted me to read an encyclopedia. Well, Uncle, I doubt you read when you were my age!






video

The video above was taken about half a year ago, when I was 6 months old. This was how I read a book. Firstly, I scrutinize it. Then, I would feel it, emotionally experiencing it with my imagination, and then finally sharing my comments on the book, expressing using my own language. It is very interesting, that has become one of my hobbies and I'm loving it! I love to taste books too, it's my way of reading and getting to know them.

I know, I know, it's in my genes. My parents blog, so do my AIM. They are bloggers! Not only that, both mummy & AIM are pianists, I'm not excluded from that too =)

video

Well, so much said about all the nerdy stuffs, please don't get me wrong - I'm NOT a nerd, I'm just an all-rounder. I took part in creative Fashion Show before I even know how to sit. Wonder how I did that yeah? :) I will blog about it soon. At the meantime, just to keep you in suspense. If you ask me now, this is the response I would give to you:



Oh, Perhaps you could try asking my AIM. 
****
Tough luck, she is giving a similar response:

What a cute AIM I have! I definitely have her genes too, don't ya think so?!


(Declaration: The content of this post may be true only to a certain extent, as it is written based on baby BIM's perspective which may be fictional.)

Baby Niece called BIM - a first introductory post

Born on the 15th of January, 2013, my baby niece is a baby whom I'm most crazy about ♥.
15 Jan 2013 is an official date whereby I'm officially upgraded to become a 姑姑 status, which is also her one & only 姑姑 in the whole wide world. And she, to date, is currently my one & only niece in the world too! 


I'm inspired by a blog dedicated especially to her, written by her parents (Mummy especially). They creatively called it "LIFE of BIM" (I certainly can guess where it comes from! Life of Pi!) "BIM" is short for "Baby in Mandurah", Mandurah being the baby's hometown. The parents chose to write the blog based on the baby's perspective, which I personally feel it very fresh & interesting.

Much inspired by that, I tried to write my own version, too. Me being, her AIM (Auntie in Miri).

It will be, of course, dedicated especially to the lovely BIM & her wonderful parents.

To make it interesting, I will be writing them based on BIM's perspective, too. The stories are true, pictures real; only BIM's perspective are being fictional. I wonder what will BIM think when she can read them in the future.. Anyways, I think BIM wouldn't mind because she will have a gracious heart like her mummy and daddy :)

BIM's parents took thousands & millions of her pictures and videos. Unlike most of us, the baby will have a perfect record of her life, from the very beginning. 

Also, she has her very own community page at https://www.facebook.com/babyinmandurah . Feel free to visit!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Appreciating the Greatest of all Miracles in the Midst of Total Simplicity

Thought of sharing this devotion.. in conjunction with the coming of Christmas season.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son (John 3:16, NIV).
Do you understand why Jesus came to earth as a man? Read on.

May God bless you all.
~
I make room for things that are important to me. I eat two or three meals every day and sleep several hours each night even though my "to do" list is not much shorter today than it was yesterday. I will choose to play with a grandchild over cleaning the house any day of the week. I manage to find a place for that great piece of furniture I don't really need ... but really like. After all, it was on sale. I like watches. Don't ask me why because I simply don't know. I only need one watch, but I own several inexpensive ones. I will have lunch with a friend instead of running errands. And there is always room for chocolate! Silly examples ... right?
I wonder. I wonder what the innkeeper thought as he turned away the young man and his very pregnant wife that holy night so long ago. He had no room ... it was that simple. Do we?
The Christmas season is here. Our calendars are already full, our bank accounts are closing in on empty and our hearts and lives are crowded with things we deem important. But have we made room for Jesus?
I simply cannot imagine a world without the presence of God and yet I often live my life as if He does not exist. A crisis hits, and I try to handle it on my own. I don't understand the trials in my life while those who could care less about God seem to prosper. Instead of reaching out to Him, I withdraw into the darkness. Financial stress fuels worry. Instead of turning to God, I rely on what I can see and understand. I settle.
When I do cry out to God, He lovingly fills each dark corner with Light. His love flows over the pain like soothing balm and once again, I experience the manger. Once again, Jesus Christ steps into the smelly, unlikely and very ordinary existence that is mine to change everything ... absolutely everything!
Jesus could have come to us in many ways. The simplicity of His birth is extraordinary and sometimes hard to grasp. Jesus could have been born in a mansion. He was, after all, a King. Instead, He came to a dirty smelly manger and His birth was announced by common shepherds instead of Kings -- the greatest of all miracles in the midst of total simplicity. Today, Jesus still wants to meet us in the midst of our simple daily lives. It seems too easy and too good to be true, doesn't it?
It was Christmas Eve, and the family was preparing to attend the special service of their local church. Everyone was going except Dad, who was an honest man, a man who could not seem to wrap his logical mind around the story of God come to earth as a baby in a manger. He didn't want to be a hypocrite, pretending to worship a Savior he wasn't sure even existed, so he stayed home, built a fire to dispel the bitter cold of that winter night and began to read the paper while waiting for his family's return. Hearing a knock at the window, he turned to see a tiny bird trying to reach the warmth of the fire. The man opened the window, but the bird refused to come in. Grabbing his coat, the man raced out to the barn and opened the barn doors wide ... but still, the bird refused to come in. The man thought, "If only I could be a bird, for just one minute, I could lead the bird to safety." At that moment, he heard the church bells ring and finally understood why Jesus came to earth as a man - to become one of us - so He could lead us to eternal safety.
The very heart of Christmas is Emanuel, God with us ... with me ... and with you. Christmas is not a date on a calendar. Christmas is a way of life that celebrates the presence of God in the simple, ordinary happenings of daily life: where we go and what we do -- the smile we give the harried stranger or the patience we choose in the crowd of impatient shoppers -- the love that prompts the secret gift or the heart that constantly celebrates His birth through every sparkling light, every beautifully wrapped gift, each special meal, every card, phone call and visit. God is with us ... if we choose to make room for Him.
Let's Pray
Father, today I celebrate the reality of Your presence in my life. Thank You for sending Your Son to earth as a tiny baby in a manger. I celebrate the birth of Jesus and the gift of life that He brings. I choose to receive Your gift of love and forgiveness for my sins. I now surrender everything I am or ever hope to be to You. Please take control of my life and direct my paths. I promise to follow. In Jesus's name, amen.
 ~
Amen. Merry Christmas to all! =)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Beyond that smile

Beyond that smile, there are hurts which you never knew...
Beyond that smile, there are tears which you never seen...
You can never understand how much a person can mean to somebody.. until you put yourself in her shoes.. And when you put yourself in her shoes, you can't seem to understand as much, until you face similar situation yourself..

How can a heart be so fragile? How can God created us this big need..to be loved, to be understood, to be accompanied, to be cared for? How can a seemingly important person in your life, suddenly become the least important person, & you wouldn't even care how is she doing?


Maybe, just maybe, time can fade everything away, every memory away.. But, it is worth it? Is avoidance the best way? Or do we have to deal with it honestly & openly?

I'm dizzy.. and confused. Are things going to be alright, if we keep using the tool of avoidance?

A friend who studied psychologist says, an issue will never really be gone UNTIL you deal with it. Avoidance is a bad way to deal with, because it may arise further complications in the future.. 1 day, the problem may pop up again & we'll still make the same mistake. We need to FACE it. But, how, oh how, can we have the courage? When will God give us this courage?

Hope is the only thing. Hope in God, that one day, in His time, He will make all things beautiful.. in His Time ...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

After 1 + 1/2 months of overworking

It's been about one & a half months that me & my team are working on this big project. We have been through sleepless nights together, zombie nights, sleeping talking, sleeping walking & even sleep-working. Towards the end of the submission due date, we stayed back late at night to work. Last night we were in the office until 2AM!

A glimpse of the piles & piles of files that has been compiled..






Along the way, i met many angels.. I'm so touched that when i asked help from colleagues from other department, their answer were:
"It's my pleasure!"
"What are friends for? A friend in need is a friend indeed!"
"Okie dokey!"

I said, "You are my angel".
Her reply, "You are my angel too.. You always cheer people up".

So these are the end product which are packed into huge boxes...





And with the naughty me sitting on it...





A result of all exhausted days & nights.. my brain became jammed many times.. oh no.. head damage.. i can hardly think clearly & brain has become slow.. due to heavy lack of sleep :(
Forgive me when i say weird things or being silenced at other times, all at either extreme. What i lack of is sleep. but i'm a weirdo who thinks sleeping is boring & lonely.. anyways.. ... ...

However, i can still sing & i enjoy singing for the Lord.

A "commercial" break ...

Notice the girl at the most left? She is from SMCGC. What a breath-taking gorgeous lady who look alike Final Fantasy!