Author: elenahj

You’re rich, connected and loved

If you’re reading this right now on a phone or a computer, you’re rich. If you have somewhere to go today, you’re connected. And if there is anyone, anywhere, who for any reason knows where you are at this moment, you’re loved. This landed in my inbox a couple of months ago. I usually delete subscription emails but kept this one because I knew I would want to re-read those words again. And I did yesterday when it snowed in London for the first time in five years – like, properly snowed, with snow lasting long enough to create a white wonderland out of the grey winter streets. It had been forecast, but everyone was still surprised to see snowflakes waltzing in the air. Why anyone was surprised about the travel chaos that followed is another story, because it always does when snow happens. Most people were genuinely excited because who knows when else you’ll be able to build a snowman, but some were grumpy. And you know who was the grumpiest of all in my …

Declutter

I have been in a decluttering state of mind for the last few weeks. I’m not sure what happened exactly, but I could almost physically feel the weight of all the useless stuff in my life, and it’s been driving me mad. I needed to clear my space to get rid of the oppressing feeling, both physically and mentally. To be fair to myself, I’ve never been a hoarder so it’s not like I have heaps of stuff lying around and collecting dust, it’s just in the back of my mind I am always aware of how many things around me have no purpose. For whatever reason I bought them – and most likely, the only reason was an impulse – I don’t use them, and they don’t bring me joy. Luckily, unlike many people, I have no trouble throwing or giving unwanted things away, and I dismiss all the ‘maybe one day it’ll be useful/fashionable/interesting to me again’ thoughts. The same rule goes for – gasp! – presents. I do not keep useless presents, however …

Mistakes I am proud of

Ask anyone about what makes them the proudest about their lives, and you’ll hear all kinds of answers about success and achievements: having a degree from a prestigious university, getting a promotion, winning an award, making enough money to buy something big, running a marathon in under 4 hours, sending their children to a great school, and so on and so forth. But no one will ever talk about their mistakes that they are proud of. Wait. What? Proud of mistakes? Mistakes are something to be ashamed and discreet about because they mean you failed and why would anyone be proud of their failures? Because they mst often achieve and succeed exactly because of their mistakes and failures. If you’ve never failed in life, you’ve never challenged yourself to be someone better and do something bigger. No one just stood up and walked, everyone tried for months before they mastered the balance of standing on their feet. No one made it through school without struggling with difficult subjects. No one sent a rocket into space …

Comfort food made healthy: hot & sour fish soup

When days are getting colder and shorter, comfort food gets yummier. If I have to tolerate chilly weather, the least I can do is warm myself up with some fats and carbs to keep myself cheerful. But comfort food isn’t always bad. For me, a bowl of steaming soup is the ultimate comfort food, and the good news is that soups are very easy to make healthy. This hot and sour fish soup was inspired by Jamie Oliver. I’ve chucked out some ingredients (not a fan of lemongrass) and added some others (Sriracha rules), and it never disappoints. The heat is just right, the sourness is perfect, the texture is great and the sweetness is on spot. To make 2 bowls, you’ll need: 2 tbsp of groundnut oil (toasted sesame oil will do, too) 4 spring onions, sliced 2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced 1 small chilli, sliced 1 small piece of ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks 1.5 litres of hot fish/vegetable stock 1 tbsp of fish/oyster sauce 2 tbsp of runny honey (more …

The Surprising Thing People Talk About Most in Therapy – by Katherine Schafler

Taken from Thrive Global. (Hint: you’re probably doing it right now). So, whenever someone calls me, I become confused. Why are they calling? Is something wrong? Is it my birthday today? And I just sort of stare at the phone until it goes to voicemail. Then I text later, ‘did you call?’ so we can have our conversation over text, which is obviously the civilized thing to do. But of course, we all have our tiny handful of people that we bestow with the ironic but ultimate gesture of modern affection: talking to on the good ole’ fashioned phone. Among my tiny handful is one of my best friends; when she calls and I’m not able to pick up, she leaves a full on conversation on my voicemail as if I’m on the other end of the phone. If the voicemail cuts her off because she’s been talking for 6 minutes, she calls back and starts another message with, “Hey, something’s wrong with your voicemail, anyway, so then…” This is an ordinary thing she does …

9 Phrases You Should Stop Saying if You Want to Be Happy and Successful – by Elle Kaplan

Article taken from Thrive Global. Change your vocabulary and you can completely change your success. Language matters. The right words can motivate you to take your happiness and success to the next level — but the wrong ones can stand in your way. Studies have even found that using positive or negative language can change your brain by impacting the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress. Even more importantly, it’s been discovered that we say that we say 300 to 1,000 words to ourselves every single minute. If you’re practicing negative self-talk, that’s a lot of negative words being thrown your way. If you’re serious about moving toward success in every aspect of your life — including your words — read on for nine phrases you should eliminate from your vocabulary. 1) “This has to be perfect.” American journalist, activist, author of six best-selling books Maria Shriver once said, “Perfectionism doesn’t make you feel perfect; it makes you feel inadequate.” Often, we strive for perfection because we seek approval and praise from others. When we obsess over …

Good reads for bad times

Everyone has their own ways to pull themselves through the bad times. Mine is simple: get away from the source of the problem, allow myself space and time to let it out and unwind, listen to calming music and read books. Well, wine usually happens somewhere in there, too. So if reading is your cup of tea on a rainy day, too, today I will talk about the three books that brightened my recent dark days. “The chimp paradox: the acclaimed management programme for confidence, success, and happiness” by Steve Peters (available on Amazon here). Summary: there are two minds in your mind – one is of a chimp, and the other one is a human – and the two make you think and do different things. The chimp mind is animalistic and acts on instincts and emotions. The human mind is analytical and logical. And the trick is to tame your inner chimp to be a better human. For example, if you drive and someone cuts in front of you, you probably will want …

Allow yourself to fail

Failures happen. And they suck. But when they do, allow yourself to fail. Allow yourself to admit you’ve failed. Whether it was something you did or something someone did behind your back. It happened. It is painful. It’s here. Allow yourself to be humble and vulnerable through this time. You’re human, you have feelings, so exercise your right to feel. You have a right to feel down and unhappy. Allow yourself to feel hurt. To cry. To unleash your pain. Somehow, when you cry in pain if you break an arm, everyone is sympathetic, but when you cry when your heart is broken, many shrug their shoulders. “It’s just a heart”. No, it’s not “just a heart”. IT’S A HEART, FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!! Allow yourself to be lost. When life hits you, it’s normal to lose a sense of who and where you are. You don’t need to rush to make it out of the woods. Instead, sit down and acknowledge your situation. When you’re ready, stand up and start walking. Tiny steps first, but they …

Dog and cat people

So I came back home yesterday after three weeks of nearly nonstop travel, and my husband welcomed me with the news that he was a cat. Erm. Ooooh-kay? It turns out he had a team training by Royal Academy Of Dramatic Art, and the trainer started the day by saying that most people behave as either dogs or cats. About 70% of the people are dogs, which shouldn’t upset the cat people – there are still over 2 billion of them in the world (not that, as cats, they would care much anyway). If “curiosity killed the cat” is true, then I knew right away that I must be a cat, because asked for a checklist out of, well, curiosity. So. Dogs’ golden rule: treat people the way I want to be treated. Cats’ golden rule: treat people the way they need to be treated. My husband and I both agree that the only thing that doesn’t make us 100% cats is “love intrigue”, but then again, I don’t know if anyone genuinely loves intrigue. …

You have to leave on your own terms

Two years ago, one of my best friends moved to Sydney after eight years in London. “Are you sad to leave?” I asked him. “I am,” he replied. “London has been great. It’s the city where I’ve met my now wife, made a lot of friends, had a great career and just grown as a person. For all that, I’ll always be grateful to this city. But I’m ready to move on. Because you know what? You have to leave on your own terms. Before things get too complicated and before you feel like you’re pushed out, by house prices or career limitations or whatever. I’m leaving with a feeling of gratitude, not resentment. And it’s a great feeling.” You have you leave on your own terms. This phrase has stuck with me ever since. All too often, when I was younger and when I found myself in stressful situations, I would give myself dozens of reasons why I couldn’t walk away – from “they will suffer without me” to “what will the neighbours think?”. …