15. THE POSITIVITY PROJECT – ONE EMAIL TO READ BEFORE WORK (DAY 7)

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 7 – Writing a Gratitude Letter

From Higbrow:

Gratitude can help build flourishing relationships and establish new ones. When we become truly aware of the value of our friends and family, we treat them better. This can start an upward spiral, in which strong relationships give us something to be grateful for which in turn strengthens those very same relationships. That’s why today’s email is all about one of the most well-researched happiness exercise we know of. It’s writing a so-called gratitude letter. Ideally you find some time alone today (maybe about 15-30 minutes). When you’re ready, move on:

Close your eyes and think of someone who did something important for you that changed your life in a good direction but who you never properly thanked. It could be that you’re really grateful to a teacher who inspired your love of acting and who persuaded you to try for drama school when everyone else was dead set against it. Maybe you’d like to thank your boss or a colleague for helping you with a particularly tricky project at work. Or perhaps you choose to write a friend who helped you through a tough time.

In this exercise you will have the opportunity to experience what it is like to express your gratitude in a thoughtful, purposeful manner. Take your time to write a letter telling the story of what the person did for you, and how it contributed to where they are now in your life. Describe specifically what they did and what influence it had on you. Let them know what you are doing now, and mention how you often remember what she did. Make it sing!

You don’t actually have to send the letter but if you want to share the benefits of this activity with the other person, arrange for a visit with this person (but be vague about the purpose of the meeting). When you visit them, read this letter to the person. This is a powerful part of the experience and I highly recommend doing this.

14. THE POSITIVITY PROJECT – ONE EMAIL TO READ BEFORE WORK (DAY 6)

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 6 – Practice Gratitude

From Highbrow:

Practicing gratitude reminds many people of saying ‘thank you’ for a present. But being grateful can be much more than that. The leading gratitude researcher Robert Emmons defines it as a feeling of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation of life. His research from the last decade has shown a host of benefits; from stronger immune systems and better sleep to more happiness and better relationships.

Human beings like novelty and we adapt fast to new circumstances such as a new apartment or the last promotion. Gratitude helps because it allows us to benefit from the things we usually take for granted. There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful for. When we are grateful for something, we appreciate its value. And that’s why practicing gratitude on a regular basis allows us to notice the positives more and that magnifies what’s good in our lives.

But gratitude does even more good to us! It also blocks toxic emotions such as envy and resentment. You can’t, for example, feel gratitude and envy at the same time. Try to be truly grateful and at the same time envy someone for having something that you don’t have. It’s impossible, they are incompatible feelings.

If you want something to engage in, take this easy exercise: Throughout today, take notice of things you can be grateful for. Make a list of these things – no matter if small or big. And in the evening, take some time to revisit the list. You can ask yourself what your life would be like if those things were missing. And you can try to experience a bit  of gratitude for things that you probably haven’t noticed in a while.

11. THE POSITIVITY PROJECT – TAKE THE 21-DAY GRATITUDE CHALLENGE (DAY 4)

Record one thing you’re grateful for (flatmates with the same shoe size, a FaceTime chat with your mum, that free coffee in Pret – it’s all relative) each day for three weeks. Research says it can improve your mood, sleep and energy.

DAY 4 – Made in Thailand Sequel

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Once again, I would like to thank those who have purchased and supported Made in Thailand, and because of how well it is doing, I have decided to bring out a sequel, where the autobiography will have a broader focus on my life in 90’s Bangkok and much more. It is already in the works alongside the sequel to Who We Were. The sequel to Made in Thailand would not have come to plan if it wasn’t for the supportive bloggers, readers and fans. I thank you all, and hope that we can make the sequel an even better success.  

9. THE POSITIVITY PROJECT – TAKE THE 21-DAY GRATITUDE CHALLENGE (DAY 3)

Record one thing you’re grateful for (flatmates with the same shoe size, a FaceTime chat with your mum, that free coffee in Pret – it’s all relative) each day for three weeks. Research says it can improve your mood, sleep and energy.

DAY 3 – Bloggers, readers and fans

Today, I am thankful for having amazing bloggers, readers and fans in my life, because without them, my books would not be known. The last time I checked the sales for the latest book/autobiography Made in Thailand, it had surpassed my expectation, all thanks to the bloggers, readers and fans.

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As a writer/author, it is always important to remember to stay humble, no matter how big of a star we may become, because at the end of the day, the bloggers, readers and fans are the main people who will be buying the books and spreading the word. They are the ones doing the main ‘marketing’.

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Thank you to those who have been buying and supporting Made in Thailand. You have no idea how truly thankful, appreciative and grateful I am.

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.

6. The Positivity Project – Take the 21-day Gratitude Challenge (Day 2)

Record one thing you’re grateful for (flatmates with the same shoe size, a FaceTime chat with your mum, that free coffee in Pret – it’s all relative) each day for three weeks. Research says it can improve your mood, sleep and energy.

DAY 2 – I’m sexy and I know it!

Today, I am grateful for feeling sexy and fabulous. It is no surprise many women are cautious about their body image, especially after when they have had children, which is perfectly normal. I am amongst those many women…or I was.

Before I had my boy, I had a slim and beautiful figure. I felt sexy, and I would get loads of attention…if you know what I mean.

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But my body changed after giving birth. I felt ugly and fat. A family friend even said I looked so fat my tummy looked as though it was carrying another child (ouch). That put my self-esteem all the way down. My brain began creating an image of how I saw myself…fat. I guess it was also my postnatal hormones that was causing me to have the self-esteem issue.

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It took me a year to get over my self-esteem. By then, I saw the real image of myself. I didn’t have the same body size/image like I used to. Instead, I’ve become curvy. And to be honest, I liked it, because the new body really showed off my a**, especially when I walk…the catwalk.

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Over the years, I’ve learned to love the way I look. I’ve also come to terms with the fact that my body image will never be the same as it was, which was fine. Sometimes we just have to embrace what we already have rather than what we had. It can be a good thing with a positive impact.

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So stay beautiful and fabulous, my sexy people!

 

 

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.