happiness

Protected: Sometimes I float. A small string ties me to the ground, like a balloon. Up here I can see the stars and the moon. I am free like a bird, feeling warm even though it’s cold around me. Is this what love feels like? If so, I never want to be on the ground again.     Take my breath away 

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Protected: The sound of moving away 

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Protected: Sometime I don’t want to talk about it

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Ten ways to feel better when depressed

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Depression is like a heavy, black blanket where no light comes in. It is hard to breathe, as if someone put a candle inside a glass-jar with no oxygen. It is even hard to see any light, any hope as the blackness surrounding you hides what could have been positive and uplifting. Luckily, there are ways to throw the blanket away, even if it`s heavy and you feel like the energy to lift it just isn`t there. Here are ten things you can do if you feel depressed or hopeless.

  1. Try to figure out what used to make it happy. Write it down and read it when you feel sad. Try to do some of the things that were good for you before you got depressed. This can be small things, like eating something you like. For someone it can be meeting a trusted friend, or playing your favorite music
  2. Find or make a box that is only yours. Feel free to decorate it any way you want. In it you can put things that remind you of the good things in life. It can be pictures from times you felt happy, emails or letters from someone who care about you, or objects from your past that you loved, and that remind you of happier times.

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  1. Talk with people who care about you.
  2. Get out of bed. No matter how tired or lethargic you feel, try to get up and do SOMETHING. If you are seriously depressed, everything is an effort, so remind yourself that it is a real accomplishment if you manage to do small things. Depression is a serious condition, almost like having cancer or another disease. It`s not your fault, and you deserve to give yourself positive feedback like you would to a friend who suffers.
  3. Try to exercise. Research shows that only five minutes of intense exercise is enough to produce results. Your mood will life and your brain will be flooded with nutrients and oxygen that might contribute to feeling better. If you can`t manage to get a pulse, try to at least take a walk or do something else that involves moving your body.
  4. Take a warm shower, and feel every drop on your skin. Feel the warmth, if possible close your eyes to intensify the experience.
  5. Register what you think. Depression have a profound effect on your thinking, so it`s important to notice what you say to yourself, especially if you start to harass yourself. You would`t verbally abuse someone else, so why do it to yourself?
  6. Eat healthy. Some types of food are known to lift your spirits. It might be diary products like cottage cheese or warm milk with honey, or types of food with tryptofan, the precursor to serotonin. Serotonin if often lacking in depressed brain, so try to enhance the level of it by being conscious about what you eat.
  7. Read good books with tips, or stories from others who have been depressed and managed to get out of it. In this way, you won`t feel so alone. I highly recommend books from David Burns, they are easy to read and full of practical tips.
  8. Protect yourself. When depressed, you don`t need to put yourself down by being self-destructive. A lot of depressed people, feel they don`t deserve anything good. But isn`t it the other way around? When you feel so bad, you actually need to be taken care of, either by others or yourself. Self-soothing and self-compassion are two of the most important skills you need to get better.
  9. For some it might help to write down happy memories you`ve had. Read it when you feel like nothing good happens, because our brains are biased to search for mood-congruent information and this might get you out of the rut. If we are sad, sad memories pop up like balloons eager to burst. For that reason, reminders might be necessary to drag yourself out of the negativity spiral.

These are just some tips, what matters the most is finding your own ways to fight depression. These tips might ignite some ideas that might help you remember what to do when you feel like everything is hopless. Depression is like your enemy in a war, so be sure to be well equipped when you have to defend yourself from lethal attacks.

How to make a Blessings Box |

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The sound of breathing in and shouting out

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Just when you think you have it all figured out, you realize that you have to repaint the future you made. The canvas is filled with new colors, and you see that they look better than before. My picture was filled with the city line of Bergen, where I wanted to move. In the painting, some of my best friends stood next to me. In the horizon, I saw a new job, a new life.

RitzUnknown

Yesterday I was on an audition for a choir I have dreamt about joining since I moved to Førde. Two years ago, I was on my first audition with them, but I was so nervous that I almost could`t sing and I lost my chance to join them. My nervousness was right under the surface this time too, but I felt a little bit better since I have started to take singing lessons. The day before, I had a lesson together with my motivating teacher, who pushed my limits and made me sing at a pitch I felt uncomfortable with. But suddenly my voice did things it had never done before. We did a high-five after I finally managed to sing “stand by your man” properly. He told me I just had to believe in myself, and to not be afraid of “singing out”. For me shouting out sounded like I was an animal in pain, but he told me to stop thinking like that, so I did.

I drove to the audition with this in my mind. When I came there, I was as ready as I could be. I had chosen to sing “jar of hearts”, and managed to sing it without faltering too much. But then I came to “Stand By Your Man”, and everything went wrong. Each time I came to the point where I had to sing out, my voice disappeared, as if it suddenly decided to take a vacation.

Rica

I was sure I had ruined my chances, but luckily the woman I sang to, gave me another chance. She put on a karaoke version of the song, and let me sing again. This time I managed to sing like I had practiced at home, with some hiccups. When I didn`t manage to sing like I should, she suddenly came up behind me and started touching my stomach and lifting my hands. She told me this was to help me use my breath in the right way. With a firm tone, she told me to relax in my shoulders as they almost went up to my hair. She also told me I had to draw in as much breath as I could and then save the air until I started to sing. Otherwise, the air would leak out and I would`t have enough left to sing for more than seconds. Her energy and strange approach to my singing, made me laugh and relax enough to sing better than I thought I was capable off. At one point she told me she got goosebumps. I never thought I could sing good enough to evoke emotions in others, and now I did. I was still sure I had ruined my chances, when she told me that I would be invited to join them.

I started to cry and felt joy souring through me. I couldn`t believe it, and I`m still surprised when I think about it. Since this has been one of my dreams, I just have to grab the opportunity, even if it means staying in Førde longer. My plans of moving this summer, must be abandoned for the time being. From now on my painting will be filled with musical performances and new experiences.

Tammy Wynette – Stand By Your Man 

About the choir:

Showkoret Surround 

7 books that will change how you see the world

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I found this post on stumbleupon, and wanted to share it here. I have just read one of the books (antifragile), but heard about three of them before. The books look interesting, especially the first and last one. Hopefully I will have the chance to read them both this year!

Here comes the list:

Stumbling on Happiness

by Daniel Gilbert

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What It’s About:

Gilbert is a famous Harvard psychologist who has a knack for coming up with zany experiments that show just how flawed and biased the human mind is. In the book, he shows you time and again that as humans, we inaccurately judge, among other things, what made us happy in the past, what will make us happy in the future, and even what is making us happy right at this moment.

In fact, decades of Gilbert’s research on happiness all points to the same unsettling fact: happiness has little to do with what happens to us in our lives, and more to do with how we end up choosing to see things.

Gilbert’s theory is that we each have a “psychological immune system,” basically a bullshit generator where our minds explain away our past experiences, our future projections and our current situations in such a way that we always maintain a baseline level of mild happiness.1 And it’s when this “immune system” fails that we fall into prolonged depression and/or existential crises.

Notable Quotes:

“We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of most of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy… But our temporal progeny are often thankless. We toil and sweat to give them just what we think they will like, and they quit their jobs, grow their hair, move to or from San Francisco, and wonder how we could ever have been stupid enough to think they’d like that. We fail to achieve the accolades and rewards that we consider crucial to their well-being, and they end up thanking God that things didn’t work out according to our shortsighted, misguided plan.”

On The Genealogy of Morals

by Friedrich Nietzsche

genealogy

What It’s About: On The Genealogy of Morals is perhaps his shortest and most influential work, was starkest of all. In three essays totaling around 100 pages, he lays out the following:

  1. In any population, you are going to have a group of people who are more talented/gifted/intelligent than average. Let’s call them The Strong. You are also going to have a group of people who are less talented/gifted/intelligent than average. Let’s call them The Weak.2
  2. The Strong will naturally accrue the power in society for no other reason than they are more capable and talented than the others.
  3. Because The Strong won their greater power and influence through outsmarting or outperforming others, they will come to adopt ethical beliefs that justify their position: that might makes right, that they are entitled to their privileged position, that they earned what is theirs. Nietzsche calls this “Master Morality.”
  4. Because The Weak lost their power and influence by being outsmarted and outperformed, they will come to adopt ethical beliefs that justify their position: that people deserve aid and charity, that one should give away one’s possessions to the less fortunate, that you should live for others and not yourself. Nietzsche calls this “Slave Morality.”
  5. Master/Slave Moralities have been in a kind of tension in every society for all of recorded history. Many political/social conflicts are side effects of the struggle between Master and Slave Moralities.
  6. Nietzsche believed that the ideas of guilt, punishment and a “bad conscience” are all culturally constructed and used by The Weak to chip away at the dominance and power of The Strong. He also believed that Slave Morality is just as capable of corrupting and oppressing a society as Master Morality. He used Christianity as his primary example of this.
  7. Nietzsche believed that Slave Morality stifled man’s greatest characteristics: creativity, innovation, ambition, and even happiness itself.

Notable Quotes:

“Above all, there is no exception to this rule: that the idea of political superiority always resolves itself into the idea of psychological superiority.”

“Without cruelty, there is no festival.”

Umm... dude, there's something living on your face.
Umm… dude, there’s something living on your face.
Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder

by Nassim Taleb

antifragile

Some of the most important points in the book:

  1. Often the most influential events in history are, by definition, the least anticipated. These are called “Black Swan” events.5
  2. As humans, we are inherently biased against noticing both the amount of random events in our lives, and the impact these random events have on us.
  3. That due to the exponential scaling of technology, Black Swan events are becoming more common and influential than ever before.
  4. Therefore, we should build up systems (and ourselves) to be “antifragile,” that is, to construct our lives and our societies in such a way as to benefit from major unanticipated events.

Notable Quotes:

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

“The irony of the process of thought control: the more energy you put into trying to control your ideas and what you think about, the more your ideas end up controlling you.”

“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius.”

The True Believer by Eric Hoffer

believer

What It’s About: The True Believer discusses why people give in to fanaticism, fundamentalism or extremist ideologies.

Notable Quotes:

“The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.”

“The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”

“Freedom aggravates at least as much as it alleviates frustration. Freedom of choice places the whole blame of failure on the shoulders of the individual. And as freedom encourages a multiplicity of attempts, it unavoidably multiplies failure.”

Sigmund Freud

freud

What It’s About: Freud was an academic sensation at the beginning of the 20th century. He invented psychoanalysis, brought the science of psychology to the mainstream, and was highly regarded in intellectual circles around Europe. Then World War I broke out, and destroyed everything. Freud was deeply moved by the devastation and fell into a deep depression and secluded himself for much of the 1920s. Civilization and Its Discontents was the result of this depression.

To Freud, Hitler and World War II just proved his point a few years later. And as an Austrian Jew, he ran for the hills. The hills being London, of course. He lived out the last years of his life in a city being bombed into oblivion.

Notable Quotes:

“It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of instinct.”

“A love that does not discriminate seems to me to forfeit a part of its own value, by doing an injustice to its object.”

The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology

by Ray Kurzweil

The-Singularity-Is-Near

What It’s About: In the beginning of The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil shows that the processing power of computers and technology has increased exponentially through history and is likely to continue doing so.

He then argues that because of this, in the year 2046 all of our brains are going to be digitally encrypted and uploaded to the cloud where we will all form a single, immortal consciousness that will control all computing power on the planet.

The technological possibilities presented in this book are truly mind-boggling. And we will undoubtedly see a significant percentage of them in our lifetime. Medical nanobots that live in the blood stream that we wireless upload vaccines to. Genetic programming for newborns so parents can choose not only the physical characteristics of their children but their talents as well. Uploading and downloading consciousness onto the internet, so that you could download somebody else’s life experiences as your own the same way you downloaded the last season of Breaking Bad.

As Neo once said:

Notable Quotes:

“One cubic inch of nanotube circuitry, once fully developed, would be up to one hundred million times more powerful than the human brain.”

“Can the pace of technological progress continue to speed up indefinitely? Isn’t there a point at which humans are unable to think fast enough to keep up? For unenhanced humans, clearly so. But what would 1,000 scientists, each 1,000 times more intelligent than human scientists today, and each operating 1,000 times faster than contemporary humans (because the information processing in their primarily non-biological brains is faster) accomplish? One chronological year would be like a millennium for them. What would they come up with?”

The Denial of Death

by Ernest Becker

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What It’s About: Speaking of being afraid of dying… Here’s The Denial of Death in a nutshell:

Because man is the only animal capable of conceptualizing his own existence — thinking about his life, questioning it, imagining future possibilities — man is therefore also the only animal capable of conceptualizing his own non-existence, i.e., his own death.

In other words, humans were given the gift of being able to imagine the future and who we want to be, but the price we pay for this gift is the realization that we will one day die. A dog doesn’t realize she’s going to die. Neither does a fish. Or a roach. But we do.

This knowledge of our own inevitable death leads to a kind of ever-present “terror” that underlies everything we do. Becker argues that this terror inspires us all to take on what he calls a “hero project,” where we attempt to immortalize ourselves through our deeds and actions, to create something bigger than ourselves that will live beyond our own lives.

It’s when people’s hero projects contradict one another that we get conflict, violence, bigotry, and evil. It’s when hero projects fail that we fall into deep despair and depression because we’re once again confronted with the inevitability of our own death and meaninglessness of our lives.7

Notable Quotes:

“Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level.”

“The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.”

“What does it mean to be a self-conscious animal? The idea is ludicrous, if it is not monstrous. It means to know that one is food for worms. This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression and with all this yet to die. It seems like a hoax, which is why one type of cultural man rebels openly against the idea of God. What kind of deity would create such a complex and fancy worm food?”

Photo credit: The Eternal Perspective 

watching you build an elaborate Lego set called “Life,” and you turning around and saying, “Stop laughing, this is important!”

Read This Book If…

…you plan on dying one day. …you think you take life a little bit too seriously sometimes and need to chill. …you want to read a convincing argument for why we should embrace our pain and our fear rather than avoid it.

The choices that matter

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images-19Every day we must choose from different alternatives. Most of them are small, like if you want salad or bread for lunch. But even those small choices can have a great effect in the long run. Today I came home from work, ate dinner, and sat down to make a card to someone I know. I knew I had to go to the gym, since I had booked an exercise class. As the afternoon melted over to evening, I felt my  motivation drop. Wasn`excercise it better to just stay in? Make some tea, eat some chocolate and watch a movie? But no, I managed to haul myself away from those cozy fantasies, and went to the gym. When I came home, I felt good.  Knowing what happens inside of me each time my heart starts pumping in tune with the music, makes me satisfied. I know I do something good for myself, something that will last longer and give me more than watching another movie that I`ll soon forget. So, every day we make choices. We can choose better health, and we can choose small things that will affect us positively in the long run. .

The Blog Farm | Inspiration

 Market Place Lesson

The sound of shaking it off

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Life is strange. One day your singing with a really kind man who permits people to sing with him on his gigs, the next thing he almost wins Norwegian idol. I am so proud of what he did, especially since he had no self-confidence in the beginning. I went to the semi-finals to watch him sing, and saw a completely new man. At the last show, they did a “shake it off” dance, which you can see below. I love that song, as it always makes me smile and to “shake it off” myself.

sing2-2

Taylor Swift

Shake It Off

I stay out too late
Got nothing in my brain
That’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmmI go on too many dates [chuckle]
But I can’t make them stay
At least that’s what people say, mmm-mmm
That’s what people say, mmm-mmmBut I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop moving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it offI never miss a beat
I’m lightning on my feet
And that’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm
That’s what they don’t see, mmm-mmm

I’m dancing on my own (dancing on my own)
I make the moves up as I go (moves up as I go)
And that’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm
That’s what they don’t know, mmm-mmm

But I keep cruising
Can’t stop, won’t stop grooving
It’s like I got this music
In my mind
Saying, “It’s gonna be alright.”

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Hey, hey, hey
Just think while you’ve been getting down and out about the liars and the dirty, dirty cheats of the world,
You could’ve been getting down to this sick beat.

My ex-man brought his new girlfriend
She’s like “Oh, my god!” but I’m just gonna shake.
And to the fella over there with the hella good hair
Won’t you come on over, baby? We can shake, shake, shake

Yeah ohhh

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate (haters gonna hate)
I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break (mmmm)
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake (and fake, and fake, and fake)
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

Shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off (you’ve got to),
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off,
I, I, I shake it off, I shake it off

More about the Idol semifinals

Quotes to Refresh Your Body and Mind This Winter Season

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BodyMindQuotes.jpg

Although he’s not quite here yet (there are still a few red and orange leaves clinging for dear life), Old Man Winter is definitely heading up the driveway.

Personally, I love winter. I love snow and fireplaces and hot chocolate. I love snuggling up with my dog (and other loved ones!), decorating for the holidays, and baking warm goodies.

However, winter is hard on some folks. For many, it’s difficult to nourish our bodies and minds when we’re overwhelmed by the cold and dark. Some people deal with seasonal affective disorder, while others simply cope with the winter blahs.

Below are 12 quotes that can boost your spirits and keep you going throughout the rest of autumn and the upcoming winter months. As always, take what works for you and leave the rest behind.

  1. “A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.” — William Arthur Ward
  2. “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” — George Santayana
  3. “One kind word can warm three winter months.” — Japanese Proverb
  4. “Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine.” — Buddha
  5. “The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination.” — Terri Guillemets
  6. “When snow falls, nature listens.” — Antoinette van Kleeff
  7. “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” — Rabindranath Tagore
  8. “Dark clouds may hang on me sometimes, but I’ll work it out…” — Dave Matthews
  9. “Weather is a great metaphor for life — sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and there’s nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.” — Terri Guillemets
  10. “Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.” — Victor Hugo
  11. “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” — Alfred Wainwright
  12. “There is no season such delight can bring / As summer, autumn, winter and the spring.” — William Browne

How about YOU, sweet readers? What’s your favorite quote (or quotes) to get you through tough times?