7. The Positivity Project – One Email to Read Before Work (Day 2)

Get your AM brain into gear by signing up to gohighbrow.com’s fun email-learning platform. It sends a five-minute lesson (on a huge range of subjects – money, art, tech, health) straight to your inbox each morning for ten days.

Day 2 – What is happiness?

From Highbrow:

A course to increase one’s happiness cannot help but start with a definition of happiness. That’s important because if the goal is to increase happiness, we have to first understand it.

Psychologists look at happiness from various different angles. The definition of happiness we use here is based on the work of Paul Dolan (author of the book ‘Happiness by Design’) and includes two components. Happiness from this perspective is best understood as experiences of pleasure and purpose.

Pleasure is about feeling good versus feeling bad. Pleasure as part of our definition of happiness refers to the range of positive emotions we can experience. From joy and excitement to fun and contentment. Feeling bad, on the other hand, means to suffer. This suffering encompasses all the negative emotions we can feel – from anxiety and stress to sadness and anger. Happiness – from the pleasure perspective – is having more of the positive feelings and less of the negative ones.

However, there is another component to happiness: Feelings of purpose versus feelings of meaninglessness. Feelings of purpose always come up when we do something worthwhile, something that’s meaningful and fulfills us. These feelings are different to feelings of pleasure, even though they often come together. An example would be working on a project that you really feel makes a positive difference in other people’s lives. Or teaching your child how to ride a bicycle.

The opposite of purpose is meaninglessness and many of us won’t have to think hard to come up with an experience that falls into this category. It can be anything from washing the dishes to preparing a report at work that you know will end up in the drawer.

To sum up, happiness consists of pleasure plus purpose. To be truly happy you need to feel both. Different people want different combinations of pleasure and purpose. But real happiness requires both to some degree – feelings of pleasure and purpose.

5. The Positivity Project – One Email to Read Before Work (Day 1)

Get your AM brain into gear by signing up to gohighbrow.com’s fun email-learning platform. It sends a five-minute lesson (on a huge range of subjects – money, art, tech, health) straight to your inbox each morning for ten days.

So I signed up to gohighbrow.com (Highbrow) to the subject on The Science of Happiness. 

From Highbrow:

For many of us, psychologists are those people who can tell you what’s wrong with you, who can look at you and find all those hidden fears and issues that we all have. But what if psychologists were those people that can tell you all your hidden talents and the wonderful sides of your personality that go so unnoticed most of the time?!

Positive psychology is a science that looks at what works, what’s right, and what’s improving with people. It is an approach within psychology that is meant to complement the majority of traditional psychology research done before, that’s focused on clinical settings and people with mental illnesses.

Underlying this new approach is the insight that happiness is NOT the negation of unhappiness. For example – overcoming a depression does NOT mean that you are happy and thriving. This course is based on a scientific approach that tries to find out what we need in order to flourish.

In addition to overcoming weaknesses, we will look at building strengths. Instead of running away from unhappiness, we will try to find ways to be happier. And in addition to overcoming tough times, we want to understand how to live a fulfilled life. 

The main question that we want to tackle: How can this research be applied to help us make long-lasting, positive change? This also made positive psychology the most popular course at Harvard – back when it was taught there a few years ago. Nowadays, organizations, consulting companies, governments, schools are taking on positive psychology.

Reached 1000 likes

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Hello to my fellow bloggers and friends,

Thank you so much for making my blog reach 1000 likes. It would not have been possible without your HUGE support, so thank you. I always read and pay attention to every single like, follow and comment (good or bad). I never miss one, and I never ignore, I promise you that. Thank you once again and much love always.

Puiyin W.L.

xoxo

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1. The Positivity Project – One App to Sort Your S**t Out

Never forget a deadline or your friend’s baby’s birthday with Wunderlist. This pocket PA syncs across all your devices. Free, with premium upgrade, or from £3.99 per month. 

Like many people, my life is hectic, and without a diary planner, I will lose my way and forget things. With today’s technology, there are apps to help us get organised. However, I am old-fashioned. I dislike using apps or anything technological to help me get organised. Instead, I like to write things down with a pen. Writing things down makes me feel more productive. And I don’t just have any diary planner. It has to be one that works for me.

Firstly, it has to be attractive and good-looking 🙂 It has to represent my personality and character. (My actual planner below).

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Secondly, the inside has to be laid out weekly at every page-turn and with plenty of space for me to write.

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Lastly, I keep a calender sheet in my planner (planner has an inside pocket. How convenient). I can ONLY look at the calender one way, as presented below. This way, I can easily (and immediately) see how many days, weeks or Saturdays there are in a month.

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I look at my planner a couple of times a day. Even the littlest thing I would write it down. Even if it’s non-work related, I still write it down.

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Puiyin’s Thai Green Curry

According to friends, I tend to make the most delicious Thai green curry. Whether it’s true or not, I have no idea. But they have been asking for the recipe. There are a few ways of making the Thai green curry. With the traditional Thai version, bamboo shoot is put in the curry, which gives it a really strong exotic ‘kick’. The ‘kick’ itself is like a marmite thing. Either you like it or you don’t. As for me, I prefer not to have it as the taste and the smell is quite strong. And with other versions, the sauce is thicker, whereas some have a slightly ‘soupier’ texture. It really depends on how you want the curry and what you want in it, so as long as it tastes like Thai green curry. In this post, I will share with you my version of the curry, also known as PY LAB’s Thai Green Curry, or Puiyin’s green curry amongst my friends.

Get ready onion(s), lemongrass, potatoes and chillies. It’s up to you how much of the ingredients mentioned you want to use. Traditionally, potatoes are not used in the green curry. But because I am a potato freak (I love my potatoes), I always use them in the curry. I have more potatoes in the curry than anything else. I’m not sure if lemongrass is used in the traditional green curry, but I love the ‘kick’ it gives, so I tend to put a lot in. Sometimes I like to use Thai basil as well. 15078720_10154038899998202_206636651525844298_n

As far as I know, chicken is the main meat used in the Thai green curry. In Thai restaurants, there are other options such as beef, pork, prawns and vegetables. For me, I always use chicken or king prawns.15134786_10154038905978202_6677827460711957242_n

Chop the ingredients to your size choice and wash them. It’s best not to chop the potatoes too small as they might break up easily during the boiling process later on. And as for the onions, I tend to chop them in big chunks as I don’t want to ‘cry’.  15094413_10154038906638202_6018731592218905806_n

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Make sure you have the coconut powder and Thai green curry paste. It’s up to you which brand you use, but bear in mind sometimes it does make a difference to which brand you use. One time I used African coconut bar and the entire curry turned out funny. It tasted nothing like Thai green curry. I always use the Maggi coconut powder as I like the brand itself. You can also use the coconut milk. But if so, it’s best to use the Thai brands. 15073573_10154038902798202_5967606796669707357_n

It’s best to use a pot to cook the curry.15085494_10154039264518202_1007339773389597103_n

Heat the pot and then add in the oil after it’s hot enough. 15085632_10154038912908202_2389539767607022929_n

Then add in the onions. You can choose to use red or white onions. 15134648_10154038914163202_4974267654206179857_n

After the onions are half cooked, add in the chicken.15192599_10154038915378202_1539537297310981917_n

Cook until the chicken looks cooked enough. 15095455_10154038916783202_3468618695726872139_n

Then add in some hot water. Just add about no more than 3-4 inch of water level. This is because the more water there is, it’ll be harder to get the curry sauce to become creamy, which is the way I like it. But it’s up to you how much water you want to add in. 15078676_10154038918228202_7998432021892127464_n

It’s now time to add in the coconut powder. There are two ways of doing it. You can pour some powder in a bowl and add in hot water and then stir it before pouring it into the pot. This way, you can make the coconut powder (into coconut milk) and determine the texture, whether you want it creamy, soupy etc. But it does take time as you would need to repeat the step a few times. Alternatively, my way is to pour in the coconut powder directly into the pot and I will determine the texture as I go along by adding water if needed. Remember to keep stirring if you are choosing to follow my method.  15135756_10154038919388202_2164422509123153845_n

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Now it’s time to add in the chilli paste. It is not cheating to use the ready-made chilli paste. Most Thai restaurants use the ready-made paste as it would take A LOT of time, work and ingredients to make the paste from scratch. Most of the ingredients must be traditionally Thai-based if you were to make the paste from scratch, and as far as I know, it includes fresh basil, cilantro, and coriander, as well as Thai green chillies, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, kaffir lime zest, fish sauce, shrimp paste, cumin and coconut milk. Also, you would need to get the taste and texture of the paste right. So it is not cheating to use the ready-made paste as it saves time. It’s perfectly normal. 15056441_10154038924463202_4236231259649998297_n

How much of the paste you use is up to you. Obviously the more you put in, the more spicier the curry is going to be. The lighter the ‘green’, the milder it is. And the stronger the ‘green’ the spicier it is. Don’t forget to keep stirring as you put in the paste and keep tasting the sauce with a spoon as you go along. 15094870_10154038923163202_8541769207283440889_n

For the last part, add in the lemongrass, potatoes and chillies.15037323_10154038929238202_7759132110882359899_n

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Cover the pot with its lid and leave it to boil in medium-low heat for about thirty minutes or so. 13532833_10154038930508202_62908490821058191_n

While you are waiting for the curry to boil, you might want to cook some Jasmine rice to eat with the curry. It is usually best eaten with Thai Jasmine rice, which is my choice. But it’s down to you how you would like it eaten. 15109432_10154038932228202_8465197200346015432_n

Your curry is now ready.15094473_10154038933403202_8626746228534859828_n

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Aroi mak mak!!! (Very delicious in Thai)

Gong Hei Fatt Choi 2013

Happy Chinese New Year everybody. In other words, Gong Hei Fatt Choi (in Cantonese) or Gong Xi Fa Cai (in Mandarin). The year 2013 is also the year of the snake. Not only is Chinese New Year celebrated in Asia, but also in Chinatowns around the world, especially in London’s Chinatown. Whether it’s sunny, raining, or snowing, nothing would stop the Chinese New Year from taking place in London Chinatown. There are lion/dragon dance, fire crackers, Chinese stalls, and performances by famous Chinese singers and musicians.
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During Chinese New Year, most family members and close friends would give one another ang pows, also known as red pockets, with money inside. The colours and the designs on the ang pows represents good luck, and the red is to wade off evil. The amount of money in the ang pows are usually given in lucky numbers. For instance, no one should give any amount that has the number ‘4’, because the number itself is considered bad luck in Chinese.

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Yee Sang, also known as raw fish salad, is a traditional dish that many Chinese have during Chinese New Year. The dish consists of strips of raw fish, usually salmon, mixed shredded vegetables, and some sauce. The dish symbolizes good luck and fortune, and it is usually eaten in a large group. Everyone would hold a pair of chopsticks, and then they would mix and toss the ingredients together, and as they do so, they would shout out good wishes. It is believed that those who manages to toss the ingredients higher than others will have more good luck and fortune.

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(Photo of people mixing and tossing the Yee Sang)cyn1

Gong Hei Fatt Choi to my readers/bloggers. I wish everybody a happy, joyous, and prosperous New Year.

(Special thanks to Erica Khaw, May Lee, and Wewe for some of the photos).