20 3 / 2013
There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, smiling and content with their life. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
The question is: how do they do that?
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …
1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Treat everyone with kindness.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges.
The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.
5. Dream big.
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
7. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
8. Never make excuses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
9. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
11. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
12. Choose friends wisely.
Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
13. Never seek approval from others.
Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.
14. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
15. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
17. Eat well.
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
19. Live minimally.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
20. Tell the truth.
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.
21. Establish personal control.
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.
17 5 / 2012
Ok, this is it— probably theee best cake i’ve ever made. Everyone loved it— even my dad. Why is that such a big deal? Because he never gives anything a high rating… his mind could be blown by the best filet mignon or creme brulee, and in the end, when you ask him what he thinks, his response will always be “eh..not bad”. Unless it was bad. Then he’d say something like “Eh.. I wouldnt recommend it”. But not this time! I watched baba eat every bite with a smile on his face… he said, “wow”. To top it all off, when I cut a [large] slice to take with me to visit my brother, my dad had an offended look on his face like, “where are you taking that?”… it was pretty special, not gonna lie :)
The combination of a sweet spongy cake, creamy coconut frosting, and chai flavor make this cake difficult to forget.
I’ll probably keep this one for special occasions only :)
The original recipe is from the food network’s site called ‘Jaimie’s Coconut Cake’, but i decided to add the spices I normally would add to the banana chai bread (allspice, cardamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger..etc) and put them into the cake batter. Also, I didnt have cream of tartar for the frosting recipe below, so I went with a cream cheese frosting instead. As you can see, its easy to get creative with this one. I think next time I’ll add banana slices to the filling…. we’ll see :)
- Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake but substitute 1 cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk for regular milk, recipe follows
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 cup flaked, sweetened coconut
- 1 recipe 7-minute Frosting
- Flaked, sweetened coconut, for sprinkling
Follow directions for Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake, substituting coconut milk for regular milk. While cake is baking, prepare filling. Stir together sugar, sour cream, milk, and coconut in a bowl until well blended. Remove cake layers from oven and allow cake to remain in pans as you prepare to stack and fill. Remove first layer and invert onto cake plate. Using the wrong end of a wooden spoon, poke holes approximately 1-inch apart until entire cake has been poked. Spread 1/3 of filling mixture on cake layer. Top with second layer, repeat process. Top with last layer and repeat process again. (As I stack layers together I stick them with toothpicks to prevent cake from shifting).
Prepare 7-Minute Frosting. Frost top and sides of cake. Sprinkle top and sides of cakes with additional coconut.
Yield: 1 (3-layer) cake
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Basic 1-2-3-4 Cake:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 3 cups sifted self-rising flour
- *optional* for chai flavor, add 1 tsp of each spice: cardamon, cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger.
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour 3 (9-inch) cake pans. Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream well for 6 to 8 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour ((with mixed in spices for chai cake)) and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Add vanilla and continue to beat until just mixed. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Level batter in each pan by holding pan 3 or 4 inches above counter, then dropping it flat onto counter. Do this several times to release air bubbles and assure you of a more level cake. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Cool in pans 5 to 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling racks. Cool completely and spread cake layers with your favorite frosting to make a 3-layer cake.
Yield: 3 layer cakes
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes
Ease of preparation: Easy
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar or 1 tablespoon white corn syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Place sugar, cream of tartar or corn syrup, salt, water, and egg whites in the top of a double boiler. Beat with a handheld electric mixer for 1 minute. Place pan over boiling water, being sure that boiling water does not touch the bottom of the top pan. (If this happens, it could cause your frosting to become grainy). Beat constantly on high speed with electric mixer for 7 minutes. Beat in vanilla.
Yield: Frosting for 1 layer cake or approximately 8 to 12 cup cakes
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes
19 4 / 2012
In no particular order: baking, cooking, activism for the global south, Palestine, good music, exercising, spirituality, my husband, my mom, and the rest of my immediate family are just a few of my favorite things… or perhaps pillars. Their the pillars that I find so important in my life… but thats not what i’m here to talk about.
In the spirit of this being a personal blog that allows me to express the lighter sides of myself, (ie a break from all the heavy political discussions/analysis/rants), I’ve decided that I want to share my fitness journey as well. Considering how important it is to me, how often I do it, and how much I love it (like baking/cooking/eating ;), it only makes sense that I include that in here as well… So, heres to my first fitness post *cheers* :)
As much as i’d love to post pictures of my body’s status/progress throughout the weeks, I won’t/can’t because I’m happy to say that 90% of my work outs are done at home (in my living room) in comfortable workout clothes. and I am a hijabi. Which means, no pictures of my progress on tumblr. sorry. But in reality, its fine since this blog is meant for me, myself, and I anyways.. so i can refer myself over to my phone. duh. lol :)
So, what inspired me to do this blog post to begin with is the accomplishment I felt after this mornings workout—that I created myself! I felt so good about it, so worked out and amazing, that I thought to myself: “I need to post this on tumblr!” (since i’d never post something like this on fb since there are over a thousand ppl on there and thats also where my ‘heavier’ political life resides).
Anyways enough with the chatter— and now onto the workouts!
Title: burn baby, burn!
Type: body weight
Timer: interval timer
Instructions: set your interval timer for 18 rounds of 10/50 (10 seconds rest, 50 seconds work). There are 6 exercises which means you will complete 3 sets in 18 minutes. If there are any questions on how to do the exercises, refer back to bodyrock.tv for a tutorial. Also see below for explanation.
1. Low Jack/Tuck Jump combo
2. Oblique/Side Crunch (Right)
3. Oblique/Side Crunch (Left)
4. Triple Plank Jump, Push up, Diagonal Toe Touch (2 rounds)// Dive Bombers (1 round)
5. One legged half squat pulse (Right leg)
6 One legged half squat pulse (Left leg)
1. Do three full low jacks (if you’re like me, then they’re actually 6 in and outs) and then jump up and slap your thighs for the tuck jump. This counts as one rep.
2. Lay on your side and lift your upper body and lower body simultaneously and bring them as close together as possible. the higher you get your lower body, the more effective the move will be for your abs. This counts as one rep.
3. Do the same as #2 but for the opposite side.
4. Get into the plank position, do a triple jump (bringing your feet towards your right hand, center, left hand), then drop down and do a push up, and then in the same plank position, bring your opposite hand to opposite foot for a diagonal toe touch. This counts as 1 rep. You will do this move for the first and last (third) rounds only… during the second round, you will do dive bombers during the 50 seconds… If you don’t know what a dive bomber is, go to bodyrock.tv and look at their exercise category and watch their tutorial video.
5. Get in the one leg squat position (right leg first), go half way down and pulse 3 times before coming back up…this counts as 1 rep.
6. Do the same for the left leg.
Complete this set 3 times through and you’ll be so glad you did… its only 18 minutes long and then you’re done for the day! *unless you decide to do what I did and go for a 3 minute bonus* ;)
Set your timer up for 3 rounds of 10/50…
1. Santana push up
2. Plank and reptile knee grab (switching sides)
3. Mountain Climbers
aannndd…21 minutes later… im done im done im donnnee!! and i felt incredible. seriously, so worth it. I kept track of my scores so I can try and beat them another time. woo!
1. Low Jacks and Tuck Jump: 15/15/15
2. Oblique crunch (right side): 25/25/30
3. Oblique crunch (left side): 36/39/30
4. Triple plank jump, push up, diagonal touch: 5.5/6… Round 2-Dive bombers: 7
5. Triple Pulse half squat (right): 8/7/9
6. Triple pulse half squat (left): 9/8/7
1. Santana push up: 11
2. Reptile knee grab: 14
3. Mountain climbers: 100
I’m reallllly hoping I can kick my own but at this in a few weeks or so… we shall see! If anyone is curious to try this and/or has any questions…please feel free to ask and share your score with me! Have wonderful rest of your day <3 xx