Why smiling is healthy

A well known song of Charlie Chaplin (performed in a very moving way by Jermaine Jackson, at the memorial service of Michael Jackson, and below by Nat King Cole ) has the following passage:

'Smile! What's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile.' 

Beautiful, right?

Laughing is healthy, they say, but why? For many reasons, actually!

Smiling is healthy physically

When you smile/laugh (the louder, the better) your brain releases a chemical called endorphin. This is a natural painkiller and has a soothing effect, which lowers blood pressure. Laughing also strengthens your blood vessels as well as increases the blood flow, so it's very good for your heart!

It strengthens your immune system

Furthermore, your immune system is strengthened during laughing. Your body produces so called natural killer cells. This type of cell is comparable to M-O of the movie Wall-E, it scans every cell and destroys the 'bad guys' like tumor cells.

And gets rid of stress hormones

During a good laughing fit, antibodies are produced, that get rid of stress hormones. So laughing is seriously stress reducing! (In the clip below that fact is demonstrated in a very funny way :D)

Do the smiling test

Getting back to Charlie Chaplin, the good man was absolutely right. Even when you don't feel well, and smiling or laughing is the last thing you want to do, it helps when you just make yourself do it anyway. Slowly, but surely, you will actually start to feel better. You are kind of fooling your own body, but it really works! A fun detail (about which I could fill a whole other blog) is that it is not as easy to fool other people. A fake smile is usually easy to spot. Try doing the BBC-test  on real and fake smiles check how well your people insight is ;)

XOXO Maruja

Follow my work for Vocal Psychology, where I will teach you to sing your heart out, putting a smile on your face for sure!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rkNBH5fbMk

First published in 2013, updated in 2019

 

 

 


Ecofont

Save ink with Ecofont

How to save ink while printing

While reading Jason Mraz' blog (not only an amazing singer-songwriter, but also a good writer!) I discovered the EcoFont. This font was developed by Dutch communication agency SPRANQ to create awareness on our overly developed 'printing behavior'. Because there are tiny little holes in the font, you will save up to 50% of ink when you print out your document. In Holland we say: All the small things count!

I discovered this great solution

See the membership options of Ecofont. You can already get these ink-saving fonts for as little as 7 Euro a year!

Or download this Ecofont font for free

XOXO Maruja


Jojoba oil

Before I decided to focus on my music and Vocal Psychology to help people find their inner voice, I worked as a psychologist and gave trainings on the subject of personal effectivity. I would give people advice on how to reach their goals better, and 2 terms I used a lot were 'efficiency' (how you reach a goal) and 'effectivity' (IF you reach a goal). If there's one thing I'm very fond of, it's efficiency... I like it when things make sense, I like it when you can use something for multiple reasons, I love it when I have found the shortest route to what I want. And obviously I want my methods to work as well....

My discovery of Jojoba Oil

What's with the lecture, you might ask? To illustrate why I almost cried a little bit when I read an article from one of my favorite bloggers, Gala Darling. She wrote about how jojoba oil was 'the elixir of the gods', describing how it is really good (effectivity) for your hair AND skin (efficiency).

Needless to say, I was fascinated by this information... I ordered a bottle from an online shop and tried it out for the past 2 weeks. I used 2 drops of it every night after cleansing but before moisturizing my skin, and 3 drops after I washed my hair. Conclusion: I AM STUNNED! It really works miracles!

What did Jojoba oil do for my skin and hair

My skin is usually of the notorious combination type, where my T-zone is oily and the rest dry. The jojoba oil really evens it out, which is great for so many reasons: obviously it just looks better and healthier, I don't have to touch up my make up during the day, my hair stays cleaner etc.

My hair is curly and thick, and it gets dry very easily. The jojoba oil makes it look very shiny and healthy and my curls really come alive! Also, it seems like I don't have to wash it as often (which could also be the result of my better skin).

Other ways you can use it

  • Lip balm
  • Eye make up remover (that doesn't irritate your eyes)
  • Shave prep
  • Massage oil
  • For a higher IQ (ok, that might not be true)

I swear I am not a spokesperson for this product (yet). But I could be, I am psyched to have found this! Try it out at home, it's very cheap, you don't need much of it for any purpose (another efficiency factor) and it's effective... And I didn't even mention the fact that your bathroom will look so organized, after you've thrown away your moisturizer, lip balm, make up remover and hair products!

Read more about Jojoba Oil

XOXO Maruja 

Follow my work for Vocal Psychology, where I will teach you to sing your heart out!

Picture: Maruja Retana for her single Right Through Me.

First published in 2013. Updated in 2019


How to schedule your week

How to schedule your week (or: a spoonful of 'sugar')

Do you ever feel... No, not like a plastic bag. Do you ever feel like your days are superhectic and busy, but then when you lay in bed at night, you can't help but wonder: 'Uhm...what have I actually done today?' You start thinking about all the goals you have in life. I'm talking ALL the goals: write a book, write a grammy winning album, learn to play drums and guitar, go to Japan and eat Jiro's sushi, meet Oprah, build a school in a Third World country, and of course fold the laundry and get groceries for this week. Brain: “K, let's do all that tomorrow.” Result: insomnia.

This was ME, not long ago. I felt incredibly busy and unproductive at the same time. My to do list was getting longer and longer, and yet somehow I wasn't really focusing on what I wanted to focus on.

Until the magical New Year's Eve. Every year on New Year's Eve I write down my goals for the next year and this time something was really gonna CHANGE. I was going to make a schedule. But wait...I've made schedules before and was never able to really stick to them. How was I going to do it right this time and not get distracted by a million things? The answer was obvious: alliteration.

 Weekly Schedule

The first thing I came up with was 'Money Masterplan Monday'. It started as a joke in my head, but after a few minutes I was writing down ideas feverishly! Now, I promise I am an adult, but...I admit some part of me never really grew up. I still like fairytales and stuffed animals, and I'm not ashamed to say it! So whenever childish little me doesn't like something, it helps if I turn it into a game. I stopped eating sugar, but Mary Poppins would say: a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down :)

OYL-Agenda-Banner

So ladies and gentlemen, I present to you:

My Personal Schedule

Monday

Money Masterplan Monday

Send invoices, pay bills, organize administration, budget planning, visualize what I'll do with my first million... etc.

&

Music Mashup Monday

Check out new music and make playlists of references, and cover options, work on live show, create mashups and mixes to post online.

Maruja Retana

Tuesday

Technical Tuesday

Finish editing jobs, learn a new trick, try out new settings, develop mixing skills

AND:

New Skill Tuesday

now: DJ-ing
later: guitar

 

Wednesday

Errand Wednesday

Groceries, meetings, doing annoying things like cleaning.

&

Writing Camp Wednesday

Plan sessions or write 2 songs to practice speed, write article for OYL, columns and copy for promotion.

Thursday

Telephone Thursday

Call people

&

Topline Thursday

A "topline" is the vocal melody and the lyrics of a song.
Arrange, organize and finish toplines, create pitch plan, reach out to labels

 

Friday

Film Friday

Film a cover, an acoustic version of an original song or a new episode for my 'Maruja Says' youtube channel.

&

Finish Friday

Tie up loose ends and finish everything I couldn't get done this week

Friends Friday

Hang out with my friends!

Maruja Retana Lonneke Engel Joey Holthaus

Saturday

Social Media Saturday

Plan posts for the week, shamelessly stalk people on Facebook and waste some time on Tumblr and Pinterest

&

Celebration Saturday

Do something fun :)

Maruja Retana

Sunday

Sweetie Sunday

Hang out with my sweetheart and have a major cheat day (Nutellaaaaa)

So yeah...my schedule is not really a schedule, and that is exactly why it works for me. It is more a tool to focus on certain themes each day. The reason why I think it is so perfect is because I have a tendency to react instead of act. It helps me to not go straight to Facebook when I turn on my laptop, because that is what I do only on Social Media Saturday (unless I have something specific to post). It helps me to be more reliable and tell people: 'I'll finish this song on Wednesday', because that is when I write.

I highly recommend this system to all my fellow chaotic workaholics out there. Now, of course you can change it up as you like, e.g. my good friend Emily swears by her newly created 'Maintenance Monday' to keep her focused. Hope it helps you too, happy scheduling!

xoxo Maruja

Images copyright Organice Your Life®/Maruja Retana/Gijs Spierings

First published on Organice Your Life on January 22nd 2015

 


Los Angeles hotspots: Restaurant Granville

Dear readers, I…am an adventurer (*dramatic voice*). Always have been, always will be. If I don’t explore new places in the world and collect unique experiences on a regular basis, I get extremely grumpy. Recently, I moved to Los Angeles, and wow… do I have a LOT of exploring to do. As a true foodie, the exploring is usually focused around food and / or drinks. Usually I’m pretty health conscious, but I make the occasional exception for something truly awesome (I don’t need to bring up my Nutella addiction right? Please don’t make me go there.)

So while I'm doing some very serious research, I would like to share my best finds with you! Why? Because I love talking about food in a really snobby way, and also it’s a fantastic excuse to visit more restaurants. Oh yeah, and of course it will help you guys find the best spots in town. Some of these are hidden gems, others are tried and true classics that have also gotten my stamp of approval (whatever that’s worth).

Granville Los Angeles
Granville entrance

We begin this little adventure with one of my absolute favs: Granville in Studio City

Granville Los Angeles Atmosphere
I love the ambiance at Granville!

Granville's Atmosphere

Big fan. Granville is the kind of place that exudes an immediate ‘feel good’ vibe as you walk in. Unassuming, but not…boring. Sophisticated, but not swanky. Crowded, but not loud. The kind of place that sets the perfect tone for amazing conversation. And drinking lots of red wine.

Granville's Service

Although I’ve been impressed with the service of most spots in LA (or I guess you could say the US in general), Granville goes the extra mile. The waiting staff make a point of really catering to your deepest, wildest desires (sorry, got slightly carried away there) culinary wishes, and giving you a VIP treatment. Truly adds great value to the overall dining experience!

Owner Jon Weiss and friend and I.

Granville's Quality of food

One word: Omigod. AMAZING. Owner Jon Weiss speaks with great pride when he describes how Granville makes a point of mainly using organic, fresh ingredients. The dishes are classy and simple, in the best possible way. We had a delicious beet salad and some sweet potato fries (apparently one of their staples) as a starter. As a main course, I ordered some grilled salmon with a surprisingly awesome corn salsa on top. Originally, this dish comes with a side of mashed potatoes, but, because I was planning on partying after dinner and didn’t wanna fall asleep mid-dance, they suggested to replace the potatoes with asparagus. Granville, you guys know me better than I know myself (*wipes a little tear away*)

Granville Los Angeles food 2
the Granville beet salad

 

Granville Los Angeles food
My main course

Granville's Best Feature

Listen, I'm not saying you need chocolate to have a good time. Alcohol is also an effective way to enjoy yourself. (...someday I'll develop a better sense of humor, I swear.) ANYWAYS, I wanted to be a good girl and stick to my sugarfree diet, but I totally surrendered. Oh well.

Not only did I fall in love with their home made ice cream trio dessert (which everyone should put very high on their bucket list), I also joked to the waiter about my alarmingly severe Nutella addiction. He responded with: “I can make you a Nutella latte..?” And guess what happened? HE MADE ME A NUTELLA LATTE! (sorry, it was so good I forgot to take a picture)

Granville, y’all. Go check it out, you won’t regret it.

http://www.granvillecafe.com/home

https://www.facebook.com/GranvilleStudioCity

12345 Ventura Boulevard

Studio City, 91604

Love,

Maruja Retana

p.s. follow my work via Vocal Psychology


Banana Protein Pancakes

Ever since I was a little girl, I had this romantic idea of me in the kitchen, impressing dinner guests with complex culinary creations.

Unfortunately, this dream died slowly but surely, since I realized I'm way too impatient for the whole process of preparing food. Ain't nobody got time for that. Actually, great chefs got time for that, and thank God for this fact. I, however, am still very far from being the next Nigella Lawson, but I do hate processed foods...so over the years I have learned a thing or 2 about simple but awesome vegetarian and vegan home cooking. I have even accomplished that goal of impressing dinner guests on quite some occasions (as well as burned several pans on the stove and fingers on the oven). I'm always always always always looking for new healthy and delicious recipes, the simpler the better. And boy, do I have a WINNER for you guys & girls right now :)

I'm a big fan of protein in the morning, a hearty breakfast really fuels me for the rest of the day. I also have a very loud and obnoxious sweet tooth that I'm trying to please, without getting unhealthy (the struggle is real). Last week I found an incredibly easy recipe for banana pancakes, and I am now obsessed. Please try it, you'll love them. You're welcome.

Here's the soundtrack that should go with your breakfast:

[youtube id="GJs9c__Xvf4" align="center"]

Banana Protein Pancakes
Healthy protein pancakes to start your day right.

Author:
Cuisine: American
Recipe type: breakfast
Serves: 2

Ingredients
  • 2 large bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup protein powder
  • cocoa powder (to taste)
  • splash of almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt
  • cinnamon
  • coconut oil

Instructions
  1. Mash the bananas with a fork in a bowl.
  2. Mix with the eggs and protein powder.
  3. Don't be a perfectionist: it doesn't need to be be supersmooth, there should be some small chunks of banana in there.
  4. Add the almond milk, cocoa powder, baking powder and a pinch of salt and cinnamon,
  5. Give it another whisk.
  6. Heat a frying pan with a little bit of coconut oil over medium high heat.
  7. Pour or scoop the batter in the pan, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake.
  8. Cook until pancakes are golden brown on both sides.
  9. Serve hot.

Notes
I don't even use any syrup, they're sweet enough on their own.

 xoxo Maruja


Maruja Nutella

Maruja's Awesome Sugarless Diet

My start of a sugarless diet started something like this:  I broke up with my boyfriend Nutella some time ago. For a while I was heartbroken, but most of all, I was ‘hangry’ (a weird combination between ‘hungry’ and ‘angry’… A term I was convinced I had coined, but apparently has been around for ages), but now I am drowning my sorrow in healthy food.

And... it is amazing!! I feel more energized than ever. The first 3 days were not so fun (sugar rehab sucks, I’m not gonna lie), but I think I found a way of eating that really works for me when I want to lose a little weight. I usually do a strict version for 30 days, and then transition into a more lenient version to stay in good shape (and still have a life). Maybe my sugarless diet works for you as well!

Maruja by Gijs

Sugarless diet menu example

Breakfast:

  • 1 big glass of water, with a little lemon if you like (*side note: I still don’t know for sure if lemon water is a good idea, some people say it’s really healthy for you because it is alkalizing, others say it is bad for your teeth… what do you think, lovely readers?)
  • something hearty with lots of protein, e.g. 2 boiled eggs, or a protein shake if you are craving something sweet
  • in the morning you can get away with a little more than the rest of the day, so IF you have an intense craving for something not super healthy (like something fried), this is the moment to indulge. But try not to! ;)

Lunch:

  • this is usually the biggest meal of my day!
  • something hearty and filling, but preferably only veggies. I like to have a warm lunch, that fills me up more. My favorite is a nice thick veggie soup or an oven roast of lots of different veggies, like red bell pepper, zucchini and broccoli.
  • if you are really hungry, add something protein rich with slow carbs, like brown rice, quinoa or chick peas

Dinner:

  • healthy carbs with proteins, e.g. quinoa with veggies and shrimp, or spelt pasta with artichokes, or brown rice and beans etc,
  • put about half of what you would normally have on your plate, on a bed (as much as you want) of leafy greens like kale, arugula, baby spinach etc.
  • season with olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper, lemon and / or a home made sauce (keep it light, nothing too buttery or cheesy)
  • if you are still are hungry, have more! Just always make sure it’s at least 50% leafy greens

Sugarless diet tips and tricks

TRY TO AVOID  SUBSITUTE IF YOU CAN'T CONTROL YOURSELF
 Sugar in ALL forms: cookies, candy, and yes, even fruit that has a lot of sugar (bananas, mangos). Honey, maple syrup etc. are slightly better for you, especially when raw, but it’s STILL sugar, just so you know…  - Fruit that does not contain too much sugar (preferably in the morning), like: grapefruit, granny smith apples, etc. No more than pieces per day!- Carrots (especially those baby ones, mainly because they are adorable)

- A pot of tea (I like white and green tea)

- Eat a little more than usual, when you’re full you’re less likely to get a sweet craving

Handful of dried fruit, tea with some honey, a little bit of chocolate (as dark as possible, e.g. 72%)
 Everything ‘white’: pasta, cake, potatoes, white rice, bread Brown rice, quinoa, lentils, chick peas, beans  Choose the ‘healthy variation’, so spelt, wholewheat , sourdough etc.
 Alcohol  Glass of red wine (is even healthy for you!)  Another glass of red wine :D (no more than 2 per day) (but you can have it every day, AWESOME!)
 Meat  Chick peas, lentils, beans, eggs  Lean meats like chicken or healthy fish like salmon or mackerel,
Dairy  Protein shake, hummus  Mozzarella or feta, greek yogurt

Lentil Soup

I find it best to eat little portions throughout the day, about 6x times a day. This way you don’t get any cravings. I will either take breaks between my meals, or have a snack in between meals. Good snacks are, for instance:

  • handful of cashews or almonds
  • green apple
  • raw veggies: carrots, cucumber, tomato etc. (if this feels too boring, add some balsamic or apple cider vinegar, a few drops of a quality oil and a sprinkle of quality salt)
  • a light soup
  • protein shake (I like them with cocoa powder, natural peanut butter and chia seeds)

Sugarless diet rules

  • you really should never be very hungry, that makes you grumpy (you guessed it: hangry :D) but also you will be more likely to make unhealthy decisions. Be kind to your body!
  • eat mindfully (no tv) and enjoy it. This will make you chew your food better, making it easier for your body to process it. Also, if you remember eating it will make you eat less (did you know that people with amnesia eat more frequently?)
  • drink 1,5 liter of water per day, and a pot of green tea, no other beverages (except maybe for that glass of red wine, yay!)
  • I am still not convinced green juices are that great for you (don’t kick me off OYL, Lonneke, let me explain) I believe when you eat anything, it is best to have it in its purest form. Juicing is already processing fruit and veggies, and I think you get rid of the fiber that makes it so healthy for you. But I could be wrong, please correct me if I am. I do LOVE juices, they are like little (healthier for sure) energy drinks, so I drink them anyway if I feel like it (#rebel)
  • try not to eat too much late in the evening. I usually have 1 after dinner snack and most of the time when I think I’m still hungry, I’m actually thirsty (don’t laugh, it’s a very common mistake). So first have a big glass of water or a cup of green tea. If you’re really still hungry, have a light protein rich snack. No need to go to bed feeling miserable ;)
  • only eat when your body needs food aka do not fall into the trap of emotional eating. Sometimes you just need a hug, or a good laugh, or a good cry or to go out dancing. Learn to read your body’s signs.
  • very important rule: plan 1 cheat day a week! On this day you can eat ANYTHING you want… this is incredibly effective, because it keeps you strong in those moments when you are like: ‘ok, fine, I’ll have just this 1 cookie…how bad can 1 cookie be??’ It is in THESE moments that you have to control yourself, that one cookie is a gateway drug, I’m telling you. Just say NO.
  • really get to know your own pitfalls, and try to find substitutions for all of them. For instance, I have a sweet tooth as it is, but especially when my man and I are watching a movie in the evening. So now I make some tea and maybe have some dried fruit or popcorn with a little salt. Another pitfall is when I hang out with friends and/or go out for drinks, but I just try to stick to red wine. Sometimes a little more than 2, but hey… A girl’s gotta live too, right? ;)
  • when you do fall off the wagon: ENJOY it and get over it… But I know you can do this!

If you are one of those people that can eat anything… first of all, I don’t like you anymore (I’m kidding, I love you!). Second of all, this might be a little too extreme for you. I am unfortunately not one of those people :D so I need to be kind of strict with my diet to stay in shape (*sad trombone*). The first time I tried this way of eating, I lost those last 7 pounds that were always bothering me. I STILL look more toned than ever, even after Christmas (don’t even ask), Easter and the so-good-but-so-bad reunion with my ex (Nutella, in case you forgot the intro). Feels good to be back in the saddle though, and seriously, if I can do it, you can… So my dear readers, do you have anything to add to this diet? Any comments? What works for you, and what doesn’t ? I’ll share some recipes soon, and of course there are tons of good ones already on Organice Your Life! Good luck!

Maruja Video

Love, Maruja Retana

p.s. Read more of my articles on Organice Your Life, like How to Schedule Your Week, or Banana Protein Pancakes.

And... You might also like to follow my work @ Vocal Psychology!

Disclaimer:

This sugarless diet is based on personal experience. IF you make any dietary changes, ALWAYS make them from the perspective of loving your body, and the desire to make your body healthier and stronger.

Before starting any diet (including this one), and/or if you have ANY concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional. Do not disregard, avoid or delay obtaining medical or health related advice from your health-care professional because of something you may have read on this site. The use of any information provided on this site is solely at your own risk. Always listen to and trust your own body.

 


Workout playlist: 12 songs that make me push a little harder

Music is essential to my daily workout (ok, almost daily)! I picked some of my faves for you, these always get me running a little bit faster... What are your favorites workout songs?

Burn, baby, burn from MarujaRetana on 8tracks.


Style Recycling

In my transition from psychologist to superstar I have come across a TON of challenges.  Some are tremendously boring, like administration (although i do get a nerdy feeling of satisfaction when I'm done with it, or - oh, who am I kidding - when I even so much as hold a stapler).  Others are incredibly fun, like the challenge of finding a unique style and look. But...fun as it may be...it is freaking difficult!

When I discussed it with the manager and A&R manager (both guys, what the hell was I thinking?) they merely said: Just be yourself. Myself. Ok. Well, I love fashion, but what is typically me? And with that I mean: typically me that will make me a style icon!

So let's analyze: what do I think is important?  One thing I personally believe in with all my heart: you should have a sense of humour about fashion. Don't take it too seriously; have fun with it!  But know how to channel that humour... One of my good friends was complaining that she couldn't wear her favourite pink blazer to work (she's a lawyer).  As much as I hated that as well, I had to admit that wearing pink blazers (and glitter stars on her shirt) was kind of sending the message that she was a little girl and not the highly intelligent woman that she is.

What else? I really like a lot of styles, which means sometimes I'm casual, other times femme fatale, sometimes business woman, other times super-girlie, you name it. It's all me, but it might be a little confusing for my audience if I present myself as a rock chick one day, and as a hippie the next.

So, as much as I love authenticity, it doesn't seem to ensure success. Actually, after some research I realized it might be better to steal something good than to come up with something bad.

We already knew that every style comes back at some point: Leggings and oversized shirts are in fact so 80's, and the bell bottom jeans that are going to be the new trend are obviously inspired by the 70's.

So I think I will take something that has worked in the past and adopt it as if it were MY style. Stealing? No, I prefer the term 'style recycling'. Now, the only thing to figure out is...who to copy.

Haha, I'd better do a little more research! Looking for someone with a sexy, classy and feminine style, but with an edge. Sweet and spicy... What are your thoughts, lovely readers?

Any suggestions? How would you describe your personal style? Who are your style icons?

XOXO Maruja


Music and the brain

If this is not proof that music is a powerful thing... [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKDXuCE7LeQ[/youtube]

Just like smells, sounds can bring back very distant memories and evoke deep emotions. For more stories and information on how music affects the brain, read one of my all time fav books: 'Musicophilia' by Oliver Sacks!


Off day? Instant pick me ups!

We all have days that just feel off, even the most positive person on earth. Maybe you got some bad news, maybe it's raining, maybe you feel overwhelmed by your schedule, or maybe you just woke up in a bad mood for no particular reason. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, try these things first:

SMILE
Especially when you don't feel like it. Even if you don't 'smize', simply smiling with your lips triggers your brain to release endorphins. Smiling makes you more attractive, major plus! It is also 'contagious', the easiest way to make the world a better place in a small way ;) What else? It literally improves your health by lowering your blood pressure and boosting the immune system.

Still need some help? Here are my go to pick me ups
Instant pick me ups
Sayings & Quotes

BREATHE (properly, that is)
Take a deep breath and exhale all the way. Relax all your (probably tensed up) ab muscles, I guarantee you that will already feel better! I truly believe that this is why people feel like they need a cigarette when they're frustrated, they need to breathe all the way... In fact, I think I will write a more detailed post on breathing soon, it is something most people could do better (I know this sounds weird, but it's true).

EXERCISE
Run for 30 min, put your 'aggression' into lifting some weights. You have all this extra (negative) energy, why not turn that into something positive. I guarantee you: you will feel better.


ZOOM OUT
List all the things that you are thankful for and that you have going for you in life. Trust that things will get better, because deep down you know they will eventually.

FRIENDS
Your friends will always make you feel better, that's why they're your friends! Go out for a drink, go shoe shopping, share funny stories, laugh, hug, just hang out, even if your busy schedule only allows you 20 min of downtime. It will put you in an exceedingly better mood and you'll be more productive as a result.

And if aaalll this doesn't work, give yourself the day off and watch your favorite comedy movie. 'Dumb and dumber' always does the trick for me!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TViEzHJrMcM&feature=related [/youtube]


Blue Monday

So, did we all survive Blue Monday?? THE day of the year that we all have a legitimate excuse to be depressed.. Look, we can't help it, it's human nature!

A little background info:

The 'father' of Blue Monday is British psychologist Cliff Arnall. He compiled a formula, which calculated that the third Monday of the year is the day that most people feel sad, miserable and depressed. This because of the assumed failure of good resolutions, the fact that holiday season is over, the days are dark etc.

W = weather
D = debt
d = monthly salary
T = time since Christmas
Q = time failing New Year's resolutions
M = motivation level
N = feeling of need to take action

(Yeah, I can't help you any further, not a big math person)

So what are we (poor slaves of our emotions) supposed to do on this day??? I can personally recommend simply counting your blessings. (Cocktails also help, until a certain point.) As a megaperfectionist I can get a little depressed sometimes. The life of an artist can get very dynamic, not to say crrrrazy rollercoaster-like. Constant alternation between rejection and admiration (just read that back, it almost sounds like a rap, hah! I swear to God I didn't plan that) When I feel overwhelmed, counting my blessings ALWAYS helps. Even if it's as obnoxiously basic (to us) as 'I'm healthy, safe, have enough to eat, a roof over my head, etc.' Yes, it's very politically correct... but it's true isn't it?!

If you need more help, I read a great article this week on things you need in order to stay happy. Simple but effective, check it out here: http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/things-you-need-in-order-to-stay-happy/

Seriously, I really did my best to join in on the Blue Monday fun, it was all over the news! But I couldn't, it was too sunny a day to feel bad. And I think, with me, a lot of people went against the trend this year, if only to be a bit recalcitrant. Gotta love human nature...