Feb 28 – Charity begins at home

There are only 28 days in February this year, but this day containts an important message in my BK calendar that I want to share with you. It is interesting how true it is and at the same time how often we forget it.. Let’s remind ourselves!

“It is often said that charity begins at home. So let me give respect to my family and friends.”

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Feb 23- The happiness formula

Today I stumbled upon a Happiness Formula in “The Happiness Hypothesis” book (more about the book here). I`ve been very interested in Positive Psychology and have come across multiple definitions and frameworks regarding happiness and can confidently say that this is the most comprehensive one that I`ve ever come across. And without a doubt, it is the absolute inspiration of today.

It is one of the most important ideas of Positive Psychology and can be presented in the following way:


  • H is, of course, Happiness 😉
  • S is our biological set point. It is scientifically proven that our genes play an important role in the levels of happiness that we can achieve. A person`s average or typical level of happiness is known as their “affective style”. This style is linked to the activity in our brain. People that have more activity in the right side of the brain would be more prone to “withdrawal- oriented” style implying relatively lower levels of happiness that people who have more activity in the left area of the brain and who have more of an “approach-oriented” style.
  • C are our external conditions. It is true that in most of the cases we adapt to our circumstances independently whether there are good or bad – this is referred to as the “adaptation principle”. However, it is proven that there some conditions are important to achieve lasting levels of satisfaction so it is worthwhile to develop an understanding of them:
  • Noise
  • Commuting
  • Lack of control
  • Shame
  • Relationships
  • V are our voluntary activities (and that’s where it gets very interesting). This is a matter of arranging your day and environment to increase both pleasures and gratifications. Pleasures have physical and sensory components; they can be derived from food, beach, sex and massages. They make us feel good only temporarily and have no lasting benefits.
  • Gratifications are experiences that engage you fully, allow you to lose your self-consciousness. These are the types of activities that put you in a state of a “flow”. It often occurs while doing physical movements such as skiing, running or swimming, but also in other situations where we are involved in a task that is both challenging, but also closely matched to our abilities such as painting, writing or photography. The key aspects of Flow are: There is a clear challenge that engages your attention, you have the skills to meet the challenge and you get immediate feedback on how you are doing at each step.
  • And this is where the main challenge lies. We need to find the right balance of pleasures and gratifications as we naturally have a tendency to go for pleasures and we should “encourage” ourselves to move to gratification-type of activities. They often come from learning something, improving something or accomplishing something. The key to finding your gratifications is to know your strengths.

I`ll end with two interesting scientific insights:

  • People who report the greatest interest in attaining money, fame or beauty are consistently found to be less happy and even less healthy that those who pursue less materialistic goals.
  • Research shows that it would serve us better to work less, earn less, accumulate less and consume more family time, vacations and other enjoyable activities.

So there it is. As usually my approach and advice is to take this with a pinch of salt. And use such insights as road maps that you need to customize for your own ways rather that as fixed recipes. In the end the path to happiness belongs to you only and nobody can walk it for you.

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Feb 3- Dream on

One of my yogi buddies brought her four year old daughter to our yoga class today. It was really nice and surprising to see the little girl not getting bored during this one and a half hour – she was following her mom’s movements and trying to do the same, or coloring her book.

But the most interesting part was the 10 min relaxation that we did at the end when we all lied in Shavasana (corpse pose) with our eyes closed. I can imagine that this can be an extremely boring thing to do for a four year old. But the mother whispered something in her year and the little girl lied down and closed her eyes with a blissful smile.

After the class I asked the mom what was that she told her daughter. “I told her to close her eyes and dream about her life when she grows up. I also told her that if she visualizes it well enough, it is going to come true. She is always super excited to do it.”

This made me think of the last time when I dreamt of something. Well, it was quite a while ago during a holiday. For me dreaming works the best when I am on the beach. But somehow not so great when I’m in my working mode. There are so many “important” and “ useful” things to be done. Who has time to dream?

But this is not true and everyone needs to be reminded of this, including me. If you think about it, the majority of the things that happen to us are first born in our heads during times when we are relaxed- for example, under the shower 😉 For instance- the idea for the blog came to me one morning while I was peacefully waking up in bed.

So let’s make the time and space to relax, dream an renew ourselves. Who knows, the next great thing in your life might be just be waiting to be visualized. Dream on!

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Feb 2- Find new eyes


A very interesting story that I read in “My Grandfather’s blessings”  (more about the book here) was the author’s experience with a gifted cancer surgeon who suffered from depression. One of the ways to improve his condition was asking him to reflect on the events that happened during his day and to write down the answers to the following answers: “What surprised me today? What moved me today? What inspired me today?” The idea behind it was to relive the day from a new perspective and to find meaning and joy.

Initially his answers were “Nothing, nothing and nothing”. But gradually he started noticing more things around him that could answer these questions. At first he would only notice these things a few hours after they actually happened. But gradually the lag became less and less and he started building a capacity for the blessings around him. Most of the things that moved him and inspired him were related to his patients and their strength and determination to live.

This newly developed capacity not only helped him to overcome his depression, but also to connect better to his patients and listen not only to their medical complaints, but also to their hearts.

This beautiful story made me think about the discoveries that we are capable of making at any time by seeing the world with new eyes. It is true that sometimes it is best to get out of a situation. But there are many other times when we need to seek meaning with a new outlook and most importantly- with our heart, in order to rediscover and cherish what we have.

So go for it- try to find answers to these questions for the next week, see if and how things change and share your experiences!

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