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Gratitude exercise: Write & remember affirmations of gratitude

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I am grateful that I am alive.
I appreciate that I have an attitude of gratitude.
I am thankful that I see the blessing on the flip side of the challenging issues.
I appreciate that I love myself through the hard times.

I am grateful that my health is better than yesterday.
I am grateful that my health is better than last week.
I am grateful that my health is better than last month.
I am grateful that my health is better than last year.

I appreciate opportunities to learn different, useful things.
I appreciate that my ability to understand things effortlessly is improving everyday.
I appreciate opportunities to enjoy greenery, sunrise, sunset.

I am thankful for my parents, my husband, my baby.
I am thankful for my siblings.
I am thankful for my friends and acquaintances.
I am thankful for my job and my source of livelihood.

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Written by blueroselady

May 20, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Posted in family, lifestyle

Tagged with , ,

Gratitude exercise: Food that makes you happy

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Since food is one of our essential needs, I ask myself why not enjoy them more and let them make me happy.

On the last Thursday of August 2013, l squeeze a South African orange that tasted so sweet. A previous orange from the same batch tasted sour. In an analogy, l hope that sour relationships in our life turn sweet, when we are patient. Being patient is an art.

On the 2nd Monday of September 2013, I had a lunch with Thai friends. A guy who is returning to his home country praised my hard work, he often saw me also working in the weekends. During the lunch, I also tried stir fried fresh bamboo shoot, they taste crunchy, I like it!

In October 2013, I meet up with a mentor Keith Ferrazi, an Italian American. His surname sounds like Ferrari, the fast driving luxurious car to me. Keith’s main message of never eat alone is like a wake-up call for me. Up until 2011, I signed myself up for a challenging project with a deadline of 2011. I was struggling and stressing, I put extra efforts, energy, sweat, time, and even tears into my project. Since my time was limited, I often chose to eat during off-peak hours (I saved time on queuing and finding a seat), but that also means that I could not find someone to eat with (at weird hours). Gradually, I have learned to be comfortable with eating alone and be happy with myself. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because we have to be independent. However, I sacrificed opportunities to develop my inter-dependent skills by eating alone. Now, it is time to form new relationships, to revitalize old relationships, and to sustain harmonious ongoing relationships.

Free food served in association with conferences / talks. Actually, there is no free lunch, someone else is paying for our food, so I can only be grateful. It often makes me think how to increase the production of healthy food to sufficiently and sustainably feed the fast-growing world population.

Simple, relatively bland homemade / home-cooked food after a day of eating strongly-flavored, mass-produced food, to detox and re-balance our body. I am not totally anti-junk food. It is ok to have the indulgence of e.g. desserts, ice cream, curry, etc, but not for every meal!

Some nights, I cook soup overnight using the slow cooker. Having a (sometimes 2!) bowl(s) of hot soup in the morning really makes me more grateful than ever, especially to Mom & Dad who bought the ingredients for us. Thank you for loving us!

In December 2013, I packed snack to work. My snack includes different kinds of fruit (including Thailand longan, Korean Jeju Mandarin, nectarines from Australia), bread, and KitKat Hazelnut! Sometimes, I got free snacks. Life is awesome.

Written by blueroselady

February 17, 2014 at 9:08 am

Gratitude exercise: Write & remember affirmations of gratitude

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I am grateful that I am alive.
I appreciate that I have an attitude of gratitude.

I am thankful that I see the blessing on the flip side of the challenging issues.

I appreciate that I love myself through the hard times.

I am grateful that my health is better than yesterday.
I am grateful that my health is better than last week.

I am grateful that my health is better than last month.

I am grateful that my health is better than last year.

I appreciate opportunities to learn different, useful things.
I appreciate opportunities to enjoy greenery, sunrise, sunset.

I am thankful for my parents, my husband, my baby.
I am thankful for my siblings.
I am thankful for my friends and acquaintances.
I am thankful for my job and my source of livelihood.

Written by blueroselady

October 22, 2013 at 10:20 am

Posted in family

Gratitude exercise: write a letter / post about a gadget / an appliance that benefits your life

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I am grateful for my blender.
Blender is a versatile small appliance that everyone who loves home made, healthy, and delicious food must have.

Herein, I write a post to describe how my blender has benefited and brought joy to our lives.

Dear blender

Thank you for being so efficient in providing my family with delicious and healthy food.

We have enjoyed so numerous healthy and delicious items.
Papaya milkshake
papaya banana milkshake
banana chocolate milkshake
strawberry banana milkshake
avocado chocolate milkshake
avocado coffee milkshake
honeydew milkshake
They taste so delicious, preservative-free, 100% natural, and healthy (I normally do not add additional sugar like commercially available juices).

Puree for baby (ideas for recipe here)

Next, I plan to try use blender to make soup (Oh! how I miss those hot / warm soup of 2007-2009).
The following recipes are designed on my mind (no testing done yet) as inspired by other recipes.

PUMPKIN SOUP
1. cook / the followings in a pan / pot / rice cooker / slow cooker:
# pumpkin
# meat / pork rib and/or dried scallop
# 1 clove garlic, minced
# 1 onion, chopped
# pepper to taste
# thyme, chopped / ginger / cinnamon / Rosemary
PS: I may also saute the garlic, onion, thyme / ginger with olive oil / sesame oil.
2. Then blend in small batches (e.g. 1 cup / time) / use hand blender.
3. To make the soup creamier, add milk.
4. Garnish with fresh parsley / coriander.

SWEET POTATO SOUP
Same as pumpkin soup, just replace the pumpkin with sweet potato

CREAMY BAYLEYS MUSHROOM SOUP
Use low heat to saute mushroom in little olive oil.
When the liquid is released from the mushroom, add Bayleys and cream / oat.
Transfer the mushroom into a pot of boiled meat / ribs.
Bring to boil. Add milk.
Add pepper to taste.

More ideas …
barley soup
pear soup
add carrot to sweeten to soup

Tips:
for your safety, use bottle brush to wash to prevent the blades from accidentally cutting any of your finger.

Written by blueroselady

October 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm

My gratitude list : Last summer week in Cambridge in a nutshell

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23/5: Walking home dog.
24/5: Last mass at Our Lady and English Martyr.
26/5: Sent letters and gifts for my mother and Darling.
26/5: Subway of the Day dinner at Trinity backs.
27/5: Donated my winter jacket, some clothes, etc. Heavily carried them to the Salvation Army on the Mill Rd.
28/5: Sold my metal-horse for 20 pounds. Received two hugs, Hugged 傻喜.
29/5: Just remembered that I should print my ESTA authorization.
30/5: Bye Cambridge. California dream, here I come!

傻喜 is taking advantage of me, she knows that I am so gentle that she loves to run away when there are people ringing the doorbell delivering things, and I am too distracted to keep an eye on her.

Positive things to learn from the British:
Be polite.
Be generous. There are many charity shops and people donate things that are still in good conditions.

Written by blueroselady

May 31, 2009 at 12:15 pm

Posted in experience, travel

Things to do at age 32-47 (1.5 precious decade)

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  1. Be grateful. Gratitude can soothe your desire and competitiveness. More importantly, gratitude is the root of happiness.
  2. Love yourself. Stand up for yourself for things that matter. Get out of a bad relationship.
  3. Believe that you are beautiful.
  4. Believe in miracles. “永远相信,美好的事情即将发生”
  5. Travel and continuously learn and learn how to learn (meta learning). “Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you.” ~ God via Robin S. Sharma | Learn new languages by immersion.
  6. Love your work. If you cannot do what you love, at least love what you do. According to Frankl, “We can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering”
  7. Take (at least a big) risk(s) to realize your dreams, step by step strategically. Be courageous to explicitly/implicitly express “I love you”. When you’re old, you won’t care if your love wasn’t returned — only that you made it known how you felt.
  8. Be thick face enough not to care too much about what other people think.
  9. Plant kindness. Do your best to ensure that those who are less fortunate than you, believe that there are sunshine and beauty in this world.
  10. Build connection capital. Connection here refers to genuine and authentic relationships, true friendships.
  11. Cherish people, use things (not the other way round).
  12. Appreciate now and here, the moment, the nature and beauty in the forms of visuals, arts, music, delicious cuisine.
  13. Master the art of endurance.
  14. View a painful experience as an avenue to increase your wisdom.
  15. Move / exercise / dance / walk / hike

Ideas are inspired from:

Written by blueroselady

May 2, 2015 at 3:24 pm

Inspirations from Shakira

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While I was attempting to find out which places are ideal for me to live (via WG via facebook), I recall how much I love Shakira. She makes a woman like me go mad.

Lessons from Shakira:
# be compassionate. To instill gratitude in Shakira for her upbringing, her father, a writer of stories, took her to a local park to see orphans who lived there. The images stayed with her and she said to herself “one day I’m going to help these kids when I become a famous artist.”
# be a slash person / multipotentialite (e.g Shakira is a poet, a songwriter, a singer, a dancer)
# embrace multi-disciplines (adopted many genres, including folk, mainstream pop and rock)
# be curious to learn (好学). Shakira frequently studies the history and languages of the countries she visits.

20150502

Written by blueroselady

May 2, 2015 at 6:19 am

Posted in family

Recipe for a Happy Life : 44 ingredients and instructions prepared with love

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Towards the end of 2013, I am grateful that I have an serendipitous opportunity to meet & learn from Cheryl Saban. Her eyes, gaze, smiles and life experience reminds me on Louise Hay.

Cheryl introduced me to a coffee table book of her, which is beautifully prepared with pastel-tone, day-wedding-like photos. I am also grateful to Emily Westlake who was responsible for the picture research. Those charming, gentle and simple photographs and images of flowers, glasses, plants, seaside, nostalgic items are indeed heart-warming for cold December. Those soft, natural light falling gently on ordinary items make them look extraordinary.

Reflecting on Cheryl’s sharing, people do face financial woes, marital strife, and health problems. This perspective seems to connect with Michael’s view that it is rare for a person to have excellence in all areas of wealth, relationships, and health.

So, here are the ingredients & instructions for a happy life that I like:

@~@ LOVE & RELATIONSHIPs / CONNECTIONs
# Give love, create love, and receive love.
"There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved" ~ George Sand.
# Be kind & encouraging. "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." ~ Mohandas K. Gandhi
# Practice random act of kindness.
"Always be a little kinder than necessary." ~ James M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan.
# Give to others.
"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." ~ Maya Angelou.
# Give your time, talent, treasure to others.
# Connect to yourself.
# Connect to nature.
# Connect to God.
# Connect to others : family members, friends, colleagues.
# Find & cherish your soul mate.
"The key to succeeding in a relationship is not finding the right person, it is learning to love the person you found."
# Forgive yourself.
# Forgive others.

@~@ GRATITUDE
# Be content with who you are.
"To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson.
# Be grateful.
"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." ~ Marcel Proust
# Count your blessings.
# Respect the power of nature, be thrilled by the miracle of birth.
# Appreciate the special beauty that is present in even the most mundane & everyday things, e.g. the very air that you breathe, sunrise, sunset, moonlight.
"The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration." ~ Claude Monet.
# Be happy for others.
"This is not a competition — there is plenty of happiness to go around, once you know where to look." ~ Cheryl Saban.

@~@ HEALTH
# Eat reasonably.
# Sleep deeply.
# Walk.

@~@ BELIEVE & HOPE
# Pray incessantly.
# Nurture your spiritual beliefs
# Journalling / Keep a diary.
# Engage in positive internal conversations.
# Write your story (in encouraging ways).
# Meditate.
# Attract positive experiences.
"Remember the Law of Attraction, and make an effort to attract positive, happy experiences into your life."
# Develop inner strength.
"Be willing to live life to your fullest potential, and believe in the fact that you have plenty of it." ~ Cheryl Saban.
# Search inside yourself.
"The foolish man seek happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet." ~ James Oppenheim.
# Learn.
"Master a new skill. When you take the time to engage in activities that absorb your full attention, you’ll experience a sense of well-being and contentment." ~ Cheryl Saban.
Blueorselady : think of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s flow.
# Look for ways to be inspired.

@~@ INDEPENDENCE & RESPONSIBILITY
"Independence is happiness." ~ Susan B. Anthony.
# Choose happiness.
"50% of a given human’s happiness level is genetically determined (based on twin studies), 10% is affected by life circumstances and situation, and a remaining 40% of happiness is subject to self control." ~ Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness.
# Think positively. "The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts." Marcus Aurelius Antoninus.
# Learn positive coping skills.
"Avoid false fixes. Over-indulging in shopping, food, alcohol, or drugs won’t bring you happiness." ~ Cheryl Saban.
# Try to make at least three people smile each day — beginning with yourself!

@~@ PASSION
# Discover your passions.
"Explore. Dream. Discover" ~ Mark Twain.
# Improve your talents.
# Have purposes, dreams, goals.
"It is one of my dreams to publish a coffee table book, I believe I can. A book that can help myself, my loved ones & others to enjoy a lifetime of contentment and fulfilment. Thank you Cheryl for your encouragement!"
# Be proactive.
"Turn wishful thinking into positive action. Those who take a proactive stance in their lives tend to have an ample supply of joy and pleasure" ~ Cheryl Saban.
# Seek positive role models.
# Learn life-enhancing, esteem-building behaviors from your role models, heroes / heroines, masters, jedi / guru / mentors.
# Be persevered for things that matter. https://blueroselady.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/perseverance-why-does-it-matter-can-perseverance-be-learned/
# Work.
"Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others." ~ Buddha.

30 revealing ideas from social psychology that can help us to appreciate people and our lives

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Below are interesting points (sometimes with some of personal thoughts & reflections) that I have learned from a course on social psychology taught by Professor Scott Plous of Wesleyan College.

@~@ Know yourself. Seach inside yourself.
LaoZi : "He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is enlightened."
Benjamin Franklin : "There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self"
Daniel Gilbert : "We seem to know less about the worlds inside our heads that about the world our heads are inside."

@~@ People often MISWANT.
Blueroselady :
How to overcome the challenge that we are remarkably bad at predicting of what will make us happy?
This question is very important because many of life’s big decisions involve predicting our future feelings.
Examples of life’s big decisions : marriage, career / profession, migration, vacation.
Funny real-life example : a friend J told me that her husband fluctuates between praising-in-the-form of question and complaining:
(1) "why a such a smart woman like you wanted to marry a jerk and stayed on?"
(2) "It’s a nightmare to be with you for the rest of your life, I was enticed by your physical attractions"

@~@ Most people are too preoccupied with themselves to notice our shortcomings (e.g. your pimple, your spiky hair because of having no time to comb your hair because of waking up late).

@~@ "Research has found that audiences can’t pick up on your anxiety as well as you might expect …
Other people are noticing less than you might suppose."
Blueroselady: The next time you have to deliver a public talk / give a company presentation / make a sales pitch, do not worry. Just do it!

@~@ Susan Andersen & Serena Chen, 2002: In our varied relationships, we have varying selves.

@~@ Much of our behavior is not consciously controlled but automatic and unself-conscious.
Blueroselady: Be mindful. We can choose to practice mindfulness.
Mindful breathing… Mindful eating… Mindful doing…

@~@ self-schema vs possible selves
self-schema = beliefs about self that organize & guide the procession of self-relevant information.
possible selves = images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
self-schema strongly affect how we see / perceive, remember, evaluate other people & ourselves.

@~@ major negative events vs minor irritations
major negative events activate our psychological defense.
minor irritations do not activate our psychological immunity.

@~@ Role playing becomes reality.
As we enact a new role, e.g. college student, parent. salesperson, we initially feel self-conscious.
Progressively, the role playing becomes reality.
This reminds me on the message that Amy Cuddy wants us to remember in her TED talk on body language.
Fake it till you make it.
Fake it till you become it.

@~@ How do we decide if we are rich, smart, or tall?
The answer is social comparison (Festinger, 1954) in affluence, status, achievement.
Blueroselady: Many things in life (that I know of) are relative, particularly those that are measurable.
A reader’s question: "I have made a living comparing data in my job / career. Comparing has become my second nature. How can I stop comparing in life?"
Blueroselady suggestions:
# Gratitude exercises.
# Detachment exercises : Detach your emotions from the outcome of your comparisons. I hear you, it is easy to say, but challenging to do, that is why detachment is an art; for the sake of our happiness, we must practice the art of detachment.
# Mindfulness exercises : Remember that (1) social comparisons can decrease our life satisfaction. (2) 人比人气死人 (3) "There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."
# Kindness exercises : Be kind & compassionate to yourself, leave behind comparisons with others.
# Affirmations e.g. It is better to be a first rate version of yourself than a second rate version of someone else.

@~@ Children whom other people label as as gifted, hardworking or helpful tend to incorporate such ideas into their self-concepts & behavior.

@~@ Self-reliance
Self-reliant individual is celebrated in Western literature, e.g. The Iliad, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

@~@ Classifying / pigeonholing / labeling cultures as solely individualist or collectivist oversimplifies.
The oversimplification is because within any culture, individualism varies from person to person (Oyserman et al, 2002).
Blueroselady: Remember not to do hasty generalization.

@~@ Interdependent self
# has a greater sense of belonging.
# is defined by social connections with family, colleagues, loyal friends.
# has many selves: self-with-parents, self-at-work, self-with-friends.
# disapproves egotism, whereas independent self disapproves conformity.
# e.g. collectivistic Asian & Third World cultures.
# persists more on tasks when they are failing because wants to meet others’ expectations (e.g Japanese)
# prioritizes WE over ME

@~@ "So far, most of psychology has been produced by psychologists in middle-class White American settings studying middle-class White American respondents."
However, there are ways of life beyond the one that each of us knows best.
Blueroselady: In other space & time context (e.g. sociocultural context), there can be different ideas & practices about how to live a meaningful life.

@~@ Tips: eat before shopping.
Gilbert & Wilson (2000) showed that hungry shoppers do more impulse buying

@~@ Why is your friend’s success can be more threatening that that of strangers?
According to Zuckerman & Jost (2001), you feel that your self-esteem is threatened.
How do people react to self-esteem threat?
High self-esteem people blame others or try harder next time.
Low self-esteem people blame themselves or give up.
According to Roy Baumeister, folks with high self-esteem are more likely to be obnoxious, to interrupt, & to talk at people rather than to talk with people.
Bonus: It is useful for parents to know that
# among sibling relationships, the threat to self-esteem is greates for an older chld with a highly capable younger brother / sister.
# many people could not escape their tough childhoods, which is a cause of low self-esteem.

@~@ Secure self-esteem
# is rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, affluence / money, others’ approval.
# is essential for long-term well-being.
# Blueroselady views secure self-esteem neither as high nor low self-esteem, but self-esteem in equilibrium / in balance.

@~@ self-esteem vs self-efficacy
self-esteem = if you like yourself overall
Self-efficacy = if you believe you can do something

@~@ How to be less intimated (by others) & less gullible?
# remember that personal testimonies are powerfully persuasive but they may also be wrong.

@~@ Self-serving bias?
# attribute positive outcomes to oneself (e.g. own managerial skill)
# attribute negative outcomes to other factors (e.g. a down economy)

@~@ Examples of self-serving bias
# Group members’ estimates of how much they contribute to a join task typically sum to more than 100%. For instance, husband & wife are members of a group.
# most business people see themselves as more ethical than the average business people.
# Pronin & Ross (2006) reported that we see ourselves as objective & everyone else as biased. No wonder we fight!

@~@ Feedback is best when it is TRUE & SPECIFIC.
Specific feedback e.g. You are good at maths.
General feedback e.g. You are great.
To encourage someone (e.g. children, mentees, students, subordinates), remember that specific feedback is more effective than general feedback.

@~@ To improve performance, give self-efficacy feedback instead of self-esteem feedback.
e.g. of self-efficacy feedback : You tried really hard.
e.g. of self-esteem feedback : You are really smart.

@~@ When to listen to criticism & not to listen?
David Dunning’s gentle rule: "if two people independently give you the same piece of negative feedback, you should at least consider the possibility that it might be true"

@~@ Terror management theory by Jeff Greenberg: the reality of our own death motivates us to gain recognition from our work & values, but not everyone can achieve such recognition.

@~@ Competence + perseverance = success

@~@ Success requires enough optimism to sustain hope and enough pessimism to motivate concern.

@~@ According to Jule Norem (2000), defensive pessimism can sometimes save us from the perils of unrealistic optimism.
Blueroselady: Negative emotions such as anger and pessimism are not entirely bad, we just need healthy ways to deal with them.
Tips: Whenever you feel angry, remember that the person you are hurting is yourself.

@~@ Tyranny of freedom? too many choices can lead to paralysis.
According to Barry Schwartz, individualistic modern cultures have an excess of freedom which leads to the tyranny of freedom.
# Choice may enhance regret.
# People have expressed greater satisfaction with irrevocable choices than with reversible choices. This is because when people can undo their decisions they tend to consider both the positive & negative features of the decisions they had made. When they could not undo their decisions, people tend to concentrate on the positive features & ignore the negative features. For example, people expressed more satisfaction with their marriages several decades ago when marriage was more irrevocable.

@~@ Love causes marriage, but marriage would also causes love.
Blueroselady: This hypothesis may explain why arranged marriages (in some cultures) have successfully worked and survived.

@~@ The 5:1 ratio of positive:negative activities
To sustain important relationships such as marriage and parental relationships, ensure that you strive to increase the ratio of positive to negative activities by at least 5 fold.
e.g. of positive activities : holding hands, giving a hug, lending a listening ear.
e.g. of negative activities : arguing, complaining.

More
# Book: Social Psychology. Chapter 2. DG Myers. 2012.
# Notes at the end of email

Written by blueroselady

December 26, 2013 at 3:55 am

Happiness exercise: daily O.G.A.M for our well-beings

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Everyday, when you wake up try to practice O.G.A.M for your well-beings, as a part of happiness exercises.

Optimism increases our hope.
Gratitude increases our joy.
Affirmations increase our confidence.

Mindfulness increases our peace.

More:
Optimism / positivity increases our hope. Optimism : (1) the belief that good things will happen to us and that negative events are temporary / transient setbacks / challenges to be overcome (2) an inclination to put the most favorable construction upon actions and events or to anticipate the best possible outcome. Aim for realistic optimism.
Gratitude increases our joy ; gratitude is about appreciating who we are, what we have and where we are — right now, right here. Notice and be thankful for the present.
Affirmations increase our confidence / self-belief.

Mindfulness / mediation / praying / dreaming / mind time / mental processing increases our peace.

Written by blueroselady

October 23, 2013 at 5:36 am