Appreciate A Clear Head At All Times (Not Just After A Migraine Or A Hangover)

The title of this article is a quote that I posted on social media a few
days ago. Of course, a lot of people who’ve had migraines and hangovers related
to it instantly. But also, people who’ve gone through some kind of pain.
Physical or mental pain. Or even people who’ve gone through some sort of
difficult period in their lives resonated with the idea.

There’s something about pain and discomfort and illness and all sorts of
ailments that makes you have a bad time but also makes you really sensitive to
noticing and appreciating the relief when you start feeling better. We all feel
horrible when we’re having a hangover but feel relieved when our head is clear
after that. We feel sick when we’re down with a fever but feel a sense of
comfort and strength when our body’s getting back to normal after that. This
unfortunately is short lived and once our bodies are back in form, we start
taking it for granted. By that, I don’t necessarily mean misusing it or abusing
it, though a lot of people are also great at doing that. I mean the strange
attitude that what’s readily available or what’s always there loses its novelty
and becomes unimpressive. It’s importance and value fades into the backdrops of
our lives.

Now, it’s all fine and dandy to say, you have to be in a constant state of
gratitude, count your blessings, appreciate what you have, what you focus on
expands, etc. Though every one of these clichés is a lot harder to practice and
bring into life. But here’s something simple, something brief and yet
practical. Spend five minutes every day to notice and appreciate what’s going
well in your body and mind. Set an alarm for a specific time every day when
you’re likely to be free for just five minutes. Here’s what you might want to
do when that alarm goes off. Just become aware of where you are. Then, gently
scan your head. By that I mean, just check how it feels. If it feels clear and
nice, take a few seconds to keep noticing it and appreciate that good feeling.
If you like, tell yourself something to the effect of, “wow! that feels good”
or “It’s just awesome that my head feels clear and fresh” or “I’m glad my
head’s feeling nice right now”, and really feel it. You can then do this with
your stomach, your back, your shoulders, legs, arms and the rest of your body.
Now it is likely that one day when that alarm goes off, you happen to be having
a stiff neck. That’s alright. Just spend five minutes noticing the rest of your
body that’s doing fine. In fact, you could even walk around and experience how
good various other parts of your body feel. You can think about your close
friends and family and about how they’re doing. If they’re all doing fine, then
there’s real reason to celebrate. Think about how you slept last night. If
there was nothing really bothering you and you slept well last night then you
should be grateful for that. Try this. Rate your current level of happiness on
a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being low and 10 being high. If you’re feeling anything
that’s a 5 or more, you should be celebrating. Because people who have some
serious problems probably feel like they’re at a -5 or a -10. All these are
just ideas. There are no specific rules. The goal is just to spend at least
five minutes becoming aware of and appreciating the good parts of your body,
you mind and your life in general.

Finally, in case you didn’t realize. This is a direct application of
positive psychology. This is gratitude and how gratitude looks like in practice
or in action. Over time, you can extend this to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, or keep
doing it for as long as you like.

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If you want to schedule an organizational training or individual coaching session or just have an exploratory consulting conversation. Get in touch with Vinesh Sukumaran.

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What If You Don’t Feel Like?

Imagine a day when you wake up, have to get to work or even to a family event but you don’t really feel like. What would you do? If you’re like most people, you might make up a reason for not being able to make it. Call in sick. Tell your boss that you have a family event that you forgot about or tell your relatives that you have some urgent work in office. Or sometimes, drag yourself to work or get to the family do and go through it. It surprises me how some people might even be comfortable making up a story and lying instead of just saying; “Hey! I didn’t feel like coming”. “I don’t feel like getting to work today”. “I don’t feel like going to the gym”. Or whatever. Here are a couple of my own musings about the idea of “not feeling like”.

First, it’s alright to tell someone that you don’t feel like doing something. It doesn’t call for justification. People often feel pressurized to ask, “Why?”, “What happened?”, “What’s wrong?”, “Is everything alright?”, etc. It’s alright to say, “Nothing. I just don’t feel like”. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for that.

Second, people or sometimes you yourself are justified in asking, “Why you don’t feel like”. Which is typically what happens. Think about it. If you work for a company in a certain role and if you repeatedly don’t feel like going to work, then it’s important to ask yourself why that’s happening. If every evening you’re feeling down or gloomy maybe there’s something more to it. Our feelings are great thermometers to something more that might be lurking below. Maybe you’re in the wrong job. Maybe something’s not going well in your life and you’re refusing to look at it. Maybe you need to do more physical activity and not just sit at home every evening after work.

Third, keep your larger goal in mind while you still respect your feelings. If you want to complete a college degree to get a better job and that’s a true mark of accomplishment for you, then pay attention to your day to day feelings while focusing on that bigger goal. If there is an occasional day when you don’t feel like going to college, maybe you’re just tired. Let that pass. If there are more than a couple of days that you don’t feel like going to college, maybe there is a big assignment that you’ve been trying to dodge. If you’re never excited to go to college, maybe someone just forced you into an education and that’s not your actual goal. Or maybe you want to get a college degree but you aren’t doing the exact course that you should be doing. A working professional whose goal is to grow his company, sell out and retire young might just feel like working day and night. He doesn’t just feel like but is in fact thrilled to get to work every Monday morning. Now that’s also worth examining. Maybe he’s just meant to be an entrepreneur. So feeling like is as important as not feeling like. They both have useful stories to tell and it’s worth respecting that. Start getting comfortable with your feelings. Particularly with respect to looking at your own feelings and exploring them rather than brushing them under the carpet or running away from them. Dive into your feelings a bit. “I feel really awesome today, I wonder what’s up”. “I feel really heavy and dull every time I eat so much, maybe I should start eating lighter”.

Lastly, extend the same courtesy to others. Just like I mentioned earlier that it’s alright to tell others that you are actually feeling what you’re feeling. Practice respecting someone else’s feelings when they share it with you. If you are the boss or the relative whose event it is and the other person is saying, “I don’t feel like getting to work today”. “I feel like spending time alone today. Not going to a family event”. “No, I’m not sick and I’m not planning to quit, I just don’t feel like getting to work today”. Practice saying something to the effect of, “Oh, alright. See you soon”. This allows the other person to sort out what they are going through without the pressure of denial or justification.

Remember that your feelings are your dashboard of what’s happening inside you and your life situation. Respecting that is a cornerstone of living a good life.

Are You A Musk Deer?

SF - March 2020The musk deer is a solitary and shy member of the deer family and is found in many mountainous regions of the world including the Himalayas. Musk is the name of the substance that is obtained from a gland of the male musk deer which is used as a base to make several kinds of high-end perfumes across the world. Now that’s obviously not the point of this article. There is a striking similarity between a possibly apocryphal story that I heard about the musk deer and the behavior of certain kinds of people I meet in my training and coaching sessions.

The story goes that a must deer once starts getting this wonderful fragrance from time to time and is wondering where it’s coming from. So, he decides to follow the fragrance and goes long distances trying to track it down. By now, since the fragrance is constant, the deer keeps at it and even scales high mountains and treads through dense forests to find its source. Eventually he gives up and lies down to rest in the middle of a large open field. In the midst of this relaxing moment he realizes that the fragrance is coming from his own musk gland. He confirms this by sniffing himself and the fragrance gets stronger. This showers the deer with an immense sense of peace and joy. The long search was over and what he was looking for all along was right where he was and in fact was within him. This is what I call the “Musk Deer Effect”. As a coach and positive psychologist, I meet a lot of people through my work who are on this constant search for something outside that will give them a solution for their problems. Now this search is a good thing and might be a great starting point to get what you want in life. But finally, nothing will ever work if you don’t work on yourself or apply what you find or learn on yourself.

For example, people who love to read end up reading several books on areas that they like. This is great, but eventually if you want to get better, you need to apply what you learnt into your life. You need to look inward. Buying a book on Zen or a book on Happiness is not an assurance that you are going be Zen like or become Happy. Nor is merely reading those books an assurance of that. You will experience Zen or Happiness only when you apply what you learn into your own life. Just like what the musk deer does in the end. He looks inward.

There’s another category of people who love watching motivational videos, attending motivational talks and seminars or even reading and sharing motivational quotes on social media. None of this goes anywhere if you don’t apply at least some of it into your own life. Listening to a motivational speaker might motivate you for a few minutes or an entire evening but if you don’t look into yourself and don’t find ways in which you can develop greater levels of motivation every day, then you’re not going to be motivated. Just like the musk deer, it’s important to realize that the source is within you.

For instance, I’ve met people in my training programs who tell me that they’ve had interpersonal relationship problems in almost all their jobs throughout life. Even so, like the musk deer, they always thought it wasn’t them but something outside, like a bad boss, the wrong company culture, horrible coworkers, etc. It never occurred to them to step outside the chains of the musk deer effect and say, “maybe the problem is with my behavior. I need to be a more comfortable person to be around with and work with”.

Likewise, in all walks of life, whether it’s getting fit, becoming happy, growing spiritually or even feeling a sense of accomplishment, try looking within yourself. Don’t be trapped by the musk deer effect and spend months and years chasing something which is right within you. The moment you realize this and make positive changes, you’ll realize that the wonderful fragrance is all yours.

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If you want to schedule an organizational training or individual coaching session or just have an exploratory consulting conversation. Get in touch with Vinesh Sukumaran.

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How To Have A Vacation Without Travelling

SF - December 2019Someone I was coaching recently told me, how he’s in great spirits when he’s vacationing in any place and how when he comes back to his routine life and work, it all vanishes. This is something that a lot of us experience. Feeling really excited when we go on a vacation, having fun, feeling lighter and even enjoying life overall; while we relate boredom, monotony and neutral emotions to our day to day lives.

Of course, there’s no taking away from the magnificence of monuments, the creativity in paintings at an art gallery, the quaintness of certain restaurants and cafés or even the beauty of landscapes. These are all part of our travel and vacation experiences and that’s awesome. As I worked with people and helped them experience more happiness in their lives, here’s what I realized. You don’t have to go on a vacation or travel anywhere to experience those great feelings. It’s about what you do, not about where you do it. As I kept asking people about what they did when they travelled, I noticed that there were a set of things that people did when they were on vacation that they hardly did in their regular lives back home. For example, if you visit art galleries, try out different cuisines, talk to interesting people or even just sit back at a public place watching the people walk by when you are on vacation. Then try doing those same things back home. Instead of sitting in front of the television, go visit the art galleries in your city and explore the art scene. Don’t just keep going to the same restaurant every weekend; try out new restaurants and different cuisines. Attend a workshop or some event in your city and meet and talk to some of the interesting people there. At least, go and sit at a convenient spot in your city center and experience the joy of people watching. By doing these things, in many ways, you bring the vacation and the travel experience into your life while you’re still in your own city. People often forget to do the things that they love in their day to day lives and some even save it only for vacations. Here’s what one of my clients told me. When she’s on vacation, she sits at a café and reads a book, visits old bookshops and strolls or walks around with no particular destination in mind, stopping wherever she felt like. Now when I asked her to do those exact three things when she gets a chance, at first she was a little uncertain. But the next weekend, she spent a day strolling through the heart of her city, she stopped here and there when she felt like and sometimes even at old book shops. She then spent a couple of hours sitting at different cafés reading one of the books that she bought that day. Just by spending a day this way, she had an epiphany of sorts. She realized that she could have a complete vacation experience anytime she wanted by just doing these things. A big part of why we enjoy vacations is because of the things we do. Most people end up doing a lot of things that they love and enjoy doing when they are on vacation. You could be on a vacation even in the most exotic location in the world and have a lousy experience if you spent the whole day doing all the things that you hated.

Look back at your past travels and vacations that you’ve been to.  Spot all the things that you did that you really loved and enjoyed and that really made it a vacation for you. Identify which of those things you can do in your own city and you’ll be amazed how many such things there are. Whenever you feel like having a vacation, spend an afternoon, an evening or the entire day doing those awesome things that you otherwise do only when you’re on a vacation. This is the secret of bringing the vacation to you rather than taking yourself to a vacation. Because a vacation at the end of the day is an internal experience.

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If you want to schedule an organizational training or individual coaching session or just have an exploratory consulting conversation. Get in touch with Vinesh Sukumaran.

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Can Someone Tell Me What Zen Is

SF - November 2019

In a recent conversation that I had with a friend, she was describing to me some of her recent spiritual experiences and some details about the path she follows. As I was listening to her, one thing that struck me instantly is that this is not Zen. There is something non-Zen about this.

Because of my interest in Zen and the several references that I make to it in my talks, my training programs, my coaching sessions and even in my writing, I get asked this one question pretty often. What exactly is Zen? I’ve read several books on Zen, watched videos as well as spoken to people. All of which gave me some knowledge about it. Yet my best and deepest understanding of Zen came from over 20 years of meditation that I’ve been practicing. The meditation per se is not focused on Zen. But when I started learning about Zen, I realized that I knew what it was a while ago. There are several quotes about understanding Zen that sort of suggest its inexplicable nature. Two that come to mind at the moment are these.

“There is more to Zen than the Japanese tea ceremony. There is no more to Zen than the Japanese tea ceremony.”

“If you understand, things are just as they are. If you don’t understand, things are just as they are.”

I particularly realized this every time I read something about Zen. You can never tell someone what Zen really is. If you do, then you end up telling them something that is well short of what Zen actually is. What has worked best for me and some others who’ve made a genuine attempt to understand Zen is to keep accumulating some of its qualities. It’s something like understanding what a teaspoon of honey feels like when poured into your mouth. Knowing that it is sweet, gives you some clues. Knowing that it has a thick syrupy feel gives you some more idea. Knowing that the taste will stay strong in your mouth for a bit and then fade away into your throat tells you more. Also, knowing what it’s not. Knowing that it is not spicy, not salty, not pungent, tells you certain things about what honey feels like in your mouth. Likewise, out of the many things I understand about Zen, here are four things that I can safely say are true. And still, these are by no means a substitute for actually tasting the honey yourself. These are qualities of Zen in terms of what it is and what it is not that would help in getting closer to an understanding.

First of all, Zen is not a thought, it’s not a concept, it’s not a notion or mindset and it’s certainly not an idea. It’s an experience. Therefore reading or talking about Zen will only get you to skim the surface.

Secondly, Zen is simple. If something is too complex and difficult to understand or grasp, then that is certainly not Zen. Zen is about simplicity. In fact Zen is so simple that you might discover it and be surprised that you missed it all along because of its simplicity.

Thirdly, Zen is never seeking to become or seeking at all. Zen is about being. Any phenomenon that is seeking to get better, seeking to be elsewhere or seeking to transform in any way whatsoever is not Zen. Zen is at peace with itself.

Fourthly and finally, nobody can tell you what Zen is. The best that a book or video or even a teacher can do is to put you in the general area where you might get a sense of what it is. You have to get a glimpse of it and experience it yourself.

Then when you do and you get repeated glimpses of it, you become more and more tuned to it and you tend to know almost through instinct whether something is Zen or not. That’s exactly what happened while I was talking to the friend who I described at the start of this article.

The “Now Nothing” Philosophy

The Now Nothing Philosophy - September Stayfit 2019

The chase is on for most of us. I’ve studied hard and gotten good grades, now what? I’ve found a girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband. Now what? I’ve got a great job and am doing really well in life. Now what? I’ve got a great circle of friends, I’m in great health, I’ve bought my favourite car, I’ve got a house, I’ve gotten my kids married, I’ve learnt many things that I’ve always wanted to, I’ve traveled to all countries that I’ve wanted to travel to, I’ve achieved spiritual progress and I’ve done everything on my bucket list. Now what? This is what I call the “Now What” mindset. The attitude of wanting to chase one thing after another and never reaching a point where you’re truly satisfied and want no more. The need to find the next high in life and pursue it in the fond illusion that when you get there you’ll feel good and be happy. Of course you will. But only briefly. Because you’ve trained yourself to not stay in that phase too long and quickly dive into the chase again. What this mindset does is that it keeps you tied on the endless treadmill of dissatisfaction, chasing, momentary excitement and then dissatisfaction again.

The opposite of that and perhaps a better way to live life is through what I call the “Now Nothing” philosophy. This is where you stop constantly asking yourself the question “Now What?” When you’ve had any sort of achievement in life, however small or big, and you catch yourself asking the question “Now What?”, just remind yourself that well, “Now Nothing”. This puts you in a place where you give yourself the permission to enjoy the moment and bask in the sense of achievement and experience the pleasure of living without diluting or diffusing happiness too quickly. While the “Now What” mindset hates the equilibrium that is achieved after a dream is realized, the “Now Nothing” philosophy embraces this equilibrium instead of disturbing it. People who’ve lived for years through the “Now What” mindset also carry this into their daily activities. I’ve read the newspaper, Now what? I’ve had breakfast, I’ve watched this movie, I’ve met my friends, I’ve taken the kids to the park….Now what. A new week has started, now what? The weekend is here again, now what? And so on.

The next time you catch yourself saying “Now What?” Just repeat to yourself in your head the mantra “Now Nothing” firmly and assertively. Then sit back and enjoy where you are and what you’re doing. Remind yourself that there is nothing that’s happening elsewhere and there is nothing you need to do that will make you happier than you are right now. When you’re chasing something, you’re telling your mind and soul that you don’t have that thing yet. There is something implicit in the phenomenon of chasing that conveys the idea of lack to your mind. When you follow the “Now Nothing” philosophy, you convey to your mind the idea of abundance and a sense of owning and possessing what you once chased. This will allow you to enjoy the simple and larger pleasures of life more thoroughly rather than zip through life with fleeting moments of happiness here and there.

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If you want to schedule an organizational training or individual coaching session or just have an exploratory consulting conversation. Get in touch with Vinesh Sukumaran.

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How Many Meetings Do You Have Left In Life?

SF - May 2019

I have a couple of really close friends who I’ve known from school. We spent a lot of our formative years together. Conversations that we’ve had during our late teens and early twenties, really helped shape our thinking into what it is today. But that’s not the point. I met one of them a couple of years ago and like always, every time we meet, we never finish talking about all the things that we want to talk about. There is so much to say and at the end of the meeting, we go back feeling satisfied and elated. As we spoke, we realized that because of where our lives have taken us, we live in different cities, work different kinds of jobs and mostly, it becomes almost impossible to meet and catch up regularly. The last time I’d met this friend was about 3 years ago and the time before that was roughly another 3 years ago. We’d both just turned thirty then. So I reminded my friend that if we both lived to be 70 years then we have about 13 or at best 15 meetings left before we died. Of course that’s a really scary thought and we both spent time discussing how we could stay in touch and meet up more often.

That’s really the crux of what I have to say in this article. Think about those 10 or 20 people who really matter to you in your life. Look at how often you meet all of them. If your parents are in one country and you work in another, then it’s likely that you don’t meet them too often. If your parents are really old and you meet them just once a year during your annual vacation, then you probably have just 10 meetings left with them. If you have a really close friend and you both got busy with your own lives and you catch up just once every 4 or 5 years, then you both have just 20 meetings left if you’re really lucky. You might also have relatives who you really love, who care about you and whose company you cherish. Unfortunately, if you’re meeting them just during that occasional family wedding that happens once every 8 or 10 years, then you can do the math yourself and figure out how many meetings you have left with that person.

Make a list of the 20 most important people in your life. It’s likely that you’re already in touch with some of these people on a regular basis and that’s awesome. If you aren’t, then pick up the phone, call them and make definite plans to meet and spend time together. Life is about spending quality time with the people who matter the most to you. Our busy schedules, our fast track careers and our luxurious lifestyles are meaningless if what we’re trading for it is quality time with the people who matter the most to us.

 

How To Practice Feeling Good

SF - April 2019

It doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in the wrong job, if you’re drowning in a horrible life situation or even whether you are at a point in life where something really horrible just happened to you. There are always things that you could do to make yourself feel better and in fact start feeling pretty good with a little bit of practice. On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there who have wonderful things happening to them in life but they still aren’t feeling good. That’s because feeling good is a habit and the more you practice it, the better you get at it. Here are five things that you can start doing right now to start feeling good.

 

Laugh

How you get yourself to laugh is really immaterial. You could watch stand-up comedy clips on YouTube, remember funny incidents from your past or hang out with a friend who always makes you laugh. The point is that you laugh. Laughter causes a reduction in the levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine and also causes the brain to release endorphins that relieve physical pain. So not only will laughter make you feel good mentally, you’ll also start to feel good physically. Moreover, laughter is not just something that will make you feel good, it’s also contagious. The more you laugh, the more you make people around you laugh and in the end a lot more people end up feeling good.

 

Smile

If you’re a person who is really feeling down and you think that laughter is too farfetched, then tone that down several notches and just smile. I’ve done this with several of my clients. At times when they weren’t feeling great about something, I’ve asked them to just smile continuously for ten minutes. For no reason at all. The interesting thing is that the brain doesn’t care whether you’re smiling for a reason or not. It still releases endorphins and the feel good hormone serotonin. Smiling faces are also considered to be friendlier and more attractive faces. That’s another bonus point on the feel good scale right there.

 

Help Someone

There’s something about helping others that makes you feel good. It’s not just therapeutic; it’s also great for your self-esteem. When you help others, you first of all move yourself out of the victim mindset, which is a big reason that a lot of people don’t feel good to begin with. By helping others, you also unconsciously tell yourself that you are better than certain others, you can give, which means you have a enough and also that you can empower and make others feel good which means you will be able to feel good yourself. When you help others and their lives improve in some way, the positive feeling you experience is really something that you benefit from the most.

 

Exercise

Any form of exercise is a sure shot way to make yourself feel better. Try this out. Give yourself a rating in terms of how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being really bad and 10 being awesome. Now exercise for 30 minutes. This could be a routine of floor exercises, lifting weights at the gym, running or even a brisk walk for 30 minutes. Rest for 10 minutes and give yourself a rating again on the same 1 to 10 scale. You’re bound to feel better. Cortisol is the stress hormone that is released by the body especially because of anger, fear or anxiety. Exercise makes you feel good by burning cortisol and also releasing endorphins.

 

Affirmation

A lot of times, what causes us to feel bad, worse and then really horrible are the things that we keep telling ourselves. Even on a day when you’re feeling pretty good, if you keep telling yourself, “I’m not good enough”, “I’m horrible”, “I feel lousy”, “I feel sick”, etc. you’re going to eventually fulfill those prophesies. Try this instead. The moment you catch yourself not feeling that good. Purposely and deliberately tell yourself something like, “I feel great”, “I’m awesome”, “I’m feeling superb”, “I feel amazing”, etc. Initially this might feel like a joke but keep at it. Soon you’ll notice that your body and mind respond to it. You actually start feeling better just because of what you’ve been telling yourself.

 

Use the above five methods like a bag of tools. Pull one out that suits your situation and the specific instance when you want to start feeling better. Try them out and see what happens. The more often you do this, the more control you will have over yourself in terms of moving your feelings in the direction of your choice.

The Secret To Finding Positive Emotions

I recently gave a talk at a health and wellness center to a small group of people. I started by telling people to sit down and focus on just being there, instead of worrying about finishing the talk and getting back home or focusing on what will happen next.  I actually announced that we were going to sit there for an hour and just let ourselves be. Allowing ourselves to do nothing and enjoy the process of just being there. I also emphasized that they don’t have to try to change their state or try to make themselves feel more relaxed. They can just sit there feeling the way they are feeling and experiencing what they are experiencing and that’s fine.  Most of them looked a little shocked but agreed to try it. As we sat there, there were some people looking around, some staring into thin air, some looking at each other, etc. Of course after about five minutes I told all of them that we were going to proceeded into the talk. The talk was about applied psychology and the content of it is quite immaterial for this article. What was really fascinating to me was the number of people who came up to me after the talk and told me that they really enjoyed what I made them do during the first five minutes. It made them more at peace, it stilled the wheels of their minds, it brought them back to the present moment and I heard many more such experiences that people had during those five minutes.

In my view, the reason that people found those five minutes so powerful was because, for once, they stopped trying to get into another state and accepted where they were and what they were experiencing. This is the essence and the secret if you like, of achieving some of the most sought after positive emotions in life. If, for example, you are not feeling peaceful for whatever reason, then don’t try to fight it. The moment you start fighting it and working on becoming more peaceful and start doing all sorts of things to achieve that peaceful state, you actually end up becoming a little agitated. And this takes away from the very peace that you’re trying to create. On the other hand, if you just tell yourself, “Well, I’m not peaceful. So what?” This indifference to your lack of peace actually makes you feel more peaceful. The same logic applies to most other positive emotions. Imagine you’re not feeling happy on a particular day for some reason. The more you try to make yourself feel happy, the more you start feeling concerned about why you aren’t so happy. The more you try to fight that lack of happiness, the more true happiness evades you. Try this. Just say to yourself, “Hmmmm.., I’m not really happy right now. But it’s alright. We all have good and bad moments”. This casual attitude opens doors to greater levels of happiness. At least you start feeling happy that it’s not bothering you that much anymore.

So the secret to finding any positive emotion is to not try too hard or even to stop trying altogether. There is something about trying to chase a positive emotion that takes you away from the emotion that you’re trying to experience. So just stop trying.

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If you want to schedule an organizational training or individual coaching session or just have an exploratory consulting conversation with Vinesh Sukumaran, click on the link below.

http://www.vineshsukumaran.com/contact.html

What Really Drives Your Behaviour?

During the launch of my book, “From Behaviour To Wellbeing”, I was asked an interesting question by a member of the audience. “Your book describes human behaviour as one of the most important elements in the world. So is there something beyond behaviour? Is there something more fundamental than behaviour?”

Of course there are things more important than human behaviour and things that actually drive your behaviour. Here are a couple of them.

 

Genetics

You are likely to carry behaviours of people from your previous generation. Particularly your parents and grand parents. Whether you like it or not, your genetics have a huge bearing on some of the behaviours that you demonstrate in life. This is not taking away from the fact that an arrogant father needn’t necessarily have an arrogant son and that children can be nurtured to be more composed and respectful. However, the chances of two arrogant parents having a son or daughter who might also be arrogant could be a little higher purely because of genetics.

 

Logic

This is another dimension that is fundamental to behaviours. People who are addicted to anything bad are almost always sure that there’s no real logic to their addiction. If you’ve ever snoozed your alarm in the morning and gone back to sleep, you know what I’m talking about. In the morning when your alarm goes off, you know that you’re supposed to get up and start your day. But it actually feels more logical to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.

 

Love

I’ve seen people who are in love, doing some of the most ridiculous things in the world. Sharp and intelligent men who are great at business and life in general, becoming completely irrational and demonstrating really unexpected behaviours. Likewise, people who are tough and pushy on the outside becoming soft and bringing out their innocent and vulnerable sides when they’re in love. Love could be an incredible driving force to bring out people’s power to stretch themselves, take more responsibility and commit to something that they never could have imagined.

 

Attachment

I keep telling people that a behaviour is anything that you do. And a habit is a repeated and regularly demonstrated behaviour. One of the reasons why people have certain habits that they struggle to change is because of their strong attachment to those habits. I don’t just mean the big addictions like cocaine or nicotine. Even if you’re really attached to your cup of coffee in the morning, it would make it a lot more difficult to change that behaviour and stop drinking coffee.

 

My point is that behaviour is an important dimension of your life and could well determine some other things in your life like the level of your overall Wellbeing and the extent of peace and happiness you experience. And yet there are other more fundamental aspects that could be driving your behaviour, a couple of which I’ve listed above. Identifying and working on these fundamentals could be a great way to both change your behaviours as well as develop new ones.