We often take people, places, our health, everyday existence and life itself for granted. It is not until we lose something that we realise its importance. Remember to let your friends know how much you value them; your parents, children and pets – yes, all the love that can be found in your surroundings. None of this can be taken for granted so we should praise and nurture what matters to us every day.
We all have talents and human qualities. When we feel vulnerable it can do wonders to say our three major qualities out loud, several times in a row. This method boosts our confidence and our belief that we are valuable and deserve all good things.
Too much energy goes into thinking about the past or worrying about the future. This is often the cause of stress and anxiety. Children are born with the ability to live in the present. During the turmoil of the teenage years, the present often slips out of one’s reach and this can soon become a habitual situation. We forget ourselves many times a day – slipping into the future or the past. The best way to stay connected is to be present. Life becomes simpler when you are present. The mind can be compared to an aircraft carrier where your thoughts are like airplanes. When planes are constantly taking off and landing, and the barrage of thoughts is unrelenting, it is difficult to be present, making you vulnerable to stress and anxiety. The message of the Serenity Prayer is important in this context.
Times have changed. A sedentary lifestyle is increasingly common while the speed and stress of modern existence has increased. That is why exercise has never been more important. By exercising regularly, you can reduce stress and increase your quality of life. Allow the seasons to influence your choice. Don’t overreach yourself and don’t hesitate to ask for guidance or assistance. Exercise with others as often as you can. Use music if you find it encouraging or relaxing. Find the time that suits you best and remember the importance of breathing during exercise. Respect your body. Don’t get caught up in altering it according to external criteria but rather focus on what’s within. Research has shown that exercise has a positive effect on mental health.
Older people who have had a happy life often say, when asked about the mysteries of life, that they have never stopped learning or being curious and that they can always find something surprising in their environment. This attitude is inspiring, and it is important not to get stuck in everyday routines. We are never too old for anything, including our wildest dreams. It is a life-long project to get to know yourself and your reactions.
Our life is increasingly dominated by electronics. Our access to information through electronic screens and our almost compulsive "need" for the information they offer affects our well-being. It does not take scientific research to tell us that "screen life" is a major cause of sleep deprivation. This gives us no choice but to boycott the device for a while before going to bed. A good book is always a good idea. It will do no worse than put us to sleep, in which case we have achieved our goal. Good night, good book.
Research has shown that people are happier when they strive to be grateful for what they have. This is one example of how true happiness lies in simplifying your life. It is good to take regular note of what you have and be grateful for it. Even better is to to express it in some way. It is the nature of consumer societies to focus on the things that are lacking or things that you think you need. It is often said that the market generates constant dissatisfaction with ourselves, our lives and our bodies. In many ways, our attitudes are shaped by the development and values that matter to us. Our worth. What is our worth? Is our worth shaped by human or material value? Have we fallen into the pitfall of defining who we are as human beings according to the material things we have?
Everyone is talented at something and it is important that we look for our talents and cultivate them. When our talents are put to good use, we work to the best of our ability. We are all good at something. Where does your passion lie and where can your talents and abilities thrive? By directing your vital force to something you are good at and passionate about, you can achieve peace of mind and a positive flow to create well-being. When do you come into your own, in what situations do you forget yourself and feel that you enjoy and control what you are doing? Do more of this and become even better.
We grow, strengthen, and improve the most in new circumstances, but these circumstances don’t have to be exotic or complex to be fruitful. It's enough to decide to taste new food, read something outside your area of interest or meet people that you don’t think you are compatible with. Say yes to a strange suggestion, take a risk, try something new – it's safe for you to go beyond your comfort zone and experience something unexpected.
A sense of humor helps us to see ourselves and others in a different and more positive light, and allows us to be content with the things that are beyond our control. Try to use humor to turn irritation into lightheartedness. When you feel that stress or anxiety is overtaking you, try to smile, not broadly but just enough for the lips to turn upwards for a moment. Practice laughing at your mistakes and shortcomings to improve your self-esteem. That way, you can prevent negative thoughts. If you make it your habit to smile regularly at yourself, you will find it easier to be tolerant towards yourself and others.
To be happy in life, it is important to forget ourselves regularly and have some passion for what we are doing, as this allows us to experience relaxation and a connection with ourselves. Think of all your friends, acquaintances, colleagues and relatives. Who shows you the most interest? Who makes you feel the best? Where's the most laughter? With whom are you most relaxed? Focus on cultivating relationships with those who increase your energy reserves. Do you meet people every day who nourish you? You have to cultivate friendships and family relationships; they are not created out of nothing.
Self-respect is one of the most important things we learn in life. It is necessary for us to find happiness and achieve a balance between ourselves and others. A strong self-image includes the determined belief that we are valuable and deserve all good things. That we are enough. We understand our limitations and know how to use our talents. The most important thing is to be able to set healthy limits for others. It is a comfort to be able to show compassion and warmth to oneself, especially when we get caught up in thinking about broken expectations. Pain will always be a part of life but if we show understanding and warmth, we can prevent pain from turning into long-term suffering. All of us are endowed with a unique combination of talents and strengths that make us unique. The most important thing is to be aware of our strengths, understand where they come from and use them.
It is remarkable what you can achieve in this life if you do not care who gets the recognition. Taking leave of the ego rather than elevating it is a lifelong task of humility and humbleness. Practice not seeking recognition for what you do for others. Determine to do regular good deeds in secret, keeping the satisfaction for yourself. By working effortlessly without demanding rewards, you show that you are on the path of personal growth.
Life is a game – it is healthy for everyone to forget themselves while playing, and this strengthens the connections between the participants. The game does not have to revolve around competing and winning – but rather taking part and enjoying yourself. Experiencing the joy of life. The game moves us, we are on our toes, the blood is flowing and our attention is squarely focused on the game. The game brings us to life. We play and forget ourselves. Play a video game, play football, solve crossword puzzle or play in the children's pool with your friend. Toys and inner joy playfulness always await you. You just have to play.
It is a blessing to be able to see one's mistakes as an opportunity for a better life. Mistakes can be a boost for all kinds of progress and personal development. It serves no purpose to reflect on the past with a sense of guilt. We should rather consider the past to have made us stronger and better. The best chefs are usually those who have made mistakes in the kitchen.
Eating is one of the basic needs of life. The way we feel is closely linked to our diet. Eat three main meals a day and two to three snacks between meals. If you don’t eat often enough during the day, you are more likely to overeat at night. It is also important to enjoy the food and give yourself time to eat it. Icelanders often eat too fast. Meals have traditionally been a social activity where people experience their humanity. Sharing a meal with others can bring you happiness. Focus on the food and the company. Soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the relaxation that follows.
The better we prepare for the marathon of life, the less likely we are to overexert ourselves. That is why it is important to build yourself up, both mentally and physically. But what does it mean to be successul in the race? Is it how fast we run, how well we run or how many people watch us run? Applaud us? Love us? Who has the authority do decide the meaning of success in the race? Should we not be allowed to be in charge, keeping in mind that the race, i.e. life, is a common journey for all of us where the first to reach the finish line does not necessarily win? The victory lies in what you did on the journey.
We should know what we have in common with others before identifying what separates us from them. The reality of others affects your reality. If humans are grains of sand, then the miracle of our existence is reflected in the question of whether we want to experience ourselves as grains of sand or whether we want to experience ourselves as a desert. Many argue that we should give up our ego to become part of a desert, that is, not seek external recognition to boost our ego but find inner stability through love that benefits the whole community.
"Nice hair. Cool jacket. Good food. You're doing well." You don’t have to say this all at once, but everyone agrees that being complimented is a wonderful feeling. Praise improves our communications and is constructive while reducing the destructive forces of jealousy and envy. It feels good to compliment others. Point out the positive in the behaviour of others and you will reap great rewards. Take care to try to understand others. When people take long strides, it slows them down to put themselves in other people’s shoes. When all is said and done, travelling together is the only way ahead. Let’s give compliments.
Before we go to sleep and embark on the journey from consciousness to the subconscious of dreams, we should try to be content when taking leave of the day’s thoughts and actions. Not take anything with us. Some do this by writing in a diary. There, you can convey what could not be said in conversations that day. When you have no baggage, you have a greater chance of a good night's sleep and there is room for all your dreams when you return.
Today's ideals can become tomorrow’s reality, no matter what anyone says. These do not have to be grandiose. Simple goals or intentions reflect a genuine willingness to change. If there is something you want to do, something you want to change, you should set a time limit and be determined and patient in achieving the set goal. By writing down your goals, thus objectifying them, you have taken the first step.
It is important for each person's quality of life to not take themselves too seriously. Others are not constantly thinking of you. You are part of the environment, the environment is not part of you. A sense of humour is a major part of the search for happiness and mental balance. It can always be used to relieve tension and stress. It’s good to laugh. Whether you really laugh at something spontaneously or make yourself laugh, the effects on your body’s defence systems are the same. A good laugh releases tension while bringing increased energy. Allow yourself to laugh heartily with your companions and feel how this strengthens all relations.
Many people prepare for the day in the morning, before setting off, with meditation or breathing exercises – adjusting their attitude and expectations. Remind yourself that the day could be full of communication with other people who might be in all kinds of conditions and mental states. Fill yourself with tenderness and kindness to others before you set off and remind yourself that all the trees in the forest have a common root system – a common humanity that underpins and connects all of us. This is something that we can all grow within ourselves.
Long days can sometimes be a challenge to get through. Sit down every evening to review all of the day’s events, communication, thoughts and feelings, and try to be grateful for the day. Be thankful for all the waking hours of the day, whether they bring you pleasure or pain, and take from them a thankful conclusion that brings you close to acceptance. To accept life. Then make yourself ready to face a new day with new challenges and opportunities to improve as a human being.
Icelanders live in close contact with nature. Nature is a healing force. It brings us calm, strength, power, peace, harmony, variability and balance. For us Icelanders, nature is constantly present wherever we live. Find your places, both those that are nearby and those that require longer journeys. If you don’t have the chance to go out into nature as regularly as you would like, try to find it at home (movies, music, the view from the living room...). Enjoy each season. Make peace with winter; the snow, darkness, rain and ice.
Take a deep breath ten times in a row We breathe constantly throughout our life, and it matters how we breathe. Breathing deeply is a prerequisite for all self-cultivation and relaxation. Our breathing is a measure of our well-being at any given time. We have the remarkable ability to control our breathing, making it a very useful tool in our hands. Try to break up the day by breathing very deeply ten times, in any situation. Thus we cleanse the mind and body of unnecessary material.
Positivity is the basis of well-being because without positive thoughts, well-being is minimal. It can be argued that positivity is the key to success and a happy life. Your mindset can influence the way you feel. If we make a habit of thinking positively, our communications with others will improve. Positive thinking and a positive attitude shape all our communications and their outcome. Positive thinking is very important for the whole. Positivity is a courageous decision that is of course not always possible, but the effort brings hope and hope makes all communities tick.
Rejoice in the coming of spring In some Icelandic localities, “sun coffee” is enjoyed to celebrate the sun becoming visible again. This is done where the sun is not seen during the height of winter. It would not be out of the way for sun coffee to be enjoyed all over the country. It does not take a deep fjord or a mountain range for people to miss the light and warmth of the sun. It is appropriate to allow oneself to be thankful for the reaappearance of this great source of joy.
True happiness lies in simplifying your life. To focus on your needs rather than your desires - prioritising. It is important to identify and avoid situations that cause stress and discomfort. Worrying about what is yet to come is anything but helpful. It is helpful to train yourself to exclude negative influences in the environment, to simplify your life and choose what you respond to. That way, you can enjoy not having to respond to everything that life throws at you.
It was not without reason that the nation took these words of poet Einar Benediktsson to heart: “One smile can turn darkness into light”. A smile is a proven miracle cure. Smile in front of the mirror, say something beautiful and encouraging to yourself and you will feel better. If you make it your habit to smile regularly to yourself, you will find it easier to be tolerant towards yourself and others. There’s no harm in trying!