HappyStepz

Your daily happiness platform.

MonJoy

MonJoy: Smiles on the streets of Rio

 Ilona


Monday June 27, 2016


Read about the inspiring smiles of the people of Rio

It's said that when in Rome do what the Romans do. This saying is always on the back of my mind when I travel because blending in is the best way to get the full travel experience. When I went to Rio I did what the Brazilians do - I smiled. I smiled back to all the Rio inhabitants who treated me on their warm and genuine smiles over and over again. It's a bit of a paradox really. Rio de Janeiro, the city that is known for it's many street robberies, might be one of the most dangerous cities I have ever walked in. Yet, I dare to say that the people I have encountered during my visit were one of the friendliest people I have ever met. 

Kindness is the way to share your happiness

It's the city where you never have to spend a day without pleasant company if you don't want to. I must admit that Rio's charming looks have something to with it. The sight of mountains, lively streets, palm trees and the beach not only made my face break into a smile, it also made me drool a bit. Nevertheless, if you are looking for random conversations at the supermarket, a helping hand when you are looking for directions, or some company while you are running, this is your place to be! The kind nature of the Brazilians feels like the treat of an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day. There is never enough of that type of refreshment. Kindness is the most beautiful way to treat others on your happiness. If you've got it, share it. Everything that you send out will always come back to you in tenfold. Why is it that I am so pleasantly amazed by genuine kindness though? 

Differences enrich your life

I live in a society where we are individualists. Interaction with random strangers is not often on top of our priority list. It's not that we are not kind or we don't care, it's just not part of our internal system to share it all the time. Although I always enjoy the experience of new people, I must admit that striking random conversations with strangers is not in my system either. I blend in my own society like I blend in the society of others. In my country we talk about the weather while waiting at the bus stop and that's about it. But, when I am abroad I am not shy to adopt to the local habits. When I was in China last September I sang songs with a Chinese man at Burger King. Apparently that's what The Beijingers do at Burger King. I know for a fact that they take naps in Beijing on the beds in Ikea as well but I am not sure if I should follow all the local trends blindly. The moral to this story is that expanding your horizon is a life enriching experience. In Rio I felt so heartly welcomed by people's kindness. Inspired by their friendly nature I intent to share my kindness with random strangers more often too. When you are open to other cultures and habits it can make you grow as a person. Keep that in mind the next time your wanderlust is taking you someplace new. 

Smile!

Ilona

Ilona


MonJoy: Breaking routine part two

 Ana


Monday June 20, 2016


How do you change your bad habits? Here is an examble how to use the four stepz needed to create a new habit.

The last couple of months I talked a lot about breaking routines, changing patterns and making the change needed for you to be happy with the way your life is going. Like many out there I too have some very annoying bad habits I need to break. I figured practice what you preach so I too am trying to break my routine. Using the four steps I mentioned in my last article I will do my very best to break my bad habit and reach my end goal. I am sharing my experience with you in the hope it will inspire you to break your bad habits. 

Step 1: The eagle eye view

I have been in a slum lately when it comes to exercising. I haven't hit the gym as much as I want and I end up dropping on the couch every time I get home after work. Once I'm on the couch I become one with the damn thing. My energy level just gets sucked into the couch and I feel more tired than I should. My low energy leads me to do less than I want, which leads me to be lazy and feeling depressed and irritated with myself. One bad habit turns into many more that is why it needs to be broken! I really want to get healthy and exercise more. Therefor I want to break the potato coach habit. 

Step 2: The end goal

My end goal is to have more energy and feel those happy endorphins buzzing through my healthy body. To keep myself motivated I keep reminding myself that in a few months I need all the energy I can muster. In September I am off to Peru. There I'm planning to be walking a lot and doing some serious hiking on high altitudes. I want to make sure I have the stamina to do everything I have planned. My end goal is to hike three to four hours non stop without fainting from exhaustion. This means I need energy and a healthy endurance. I am making a motivation board with all these things as a mental reminder. 

Step 3: The effortless routine

One of my problems is once I get home and the coach sees me it starts calling my name. The more I try to ignore him the harder the couch starts to yell. Ana I miss you. Ana come here. Ana just come and sit for a moment, just one second, what's wrong with chilling for a moment... I always concede. To avoid the couch I'm taking my gym clothes with me to work and I head straight to the gym after I'm done. Lately I also have been enjoying walking along the beach and dunes. If I don't feel like going to the gym, hiking through the sandy dunes is a good alternative and good practice. I'm making sure I exercise at least three to four days a week but the most important thing about my new routine is that I avoid the couch as long as possible. 

Step 4: The forward motivation

Keep moving forward is a motto I've had for a long time. Every morning I remind myself of my goal by simple repeating my mantra. I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Little things keep me motivated. My new hiking shoes, finding wildlife at the beach and Writing this article is also helpful. On days the couch does win, I stay positive and remember that tomorrow is a new day. 

This is my story on how I'm trying to break bad habits and create healthy new ones. You have your own story to tell. Your own path to create, I hope mine inspires and helps you along. Remember the four steps and believe in yourself. 

With love, Ana 

Ana About Us 1


MonJoy: Did you know stress is an anonymous serial killer?

 Ana


Monday June 13, 2016


Do you remember that time when you had to dial up to get internet access and that annoying connecting sound was the most exiting sound you've known back then

Do you remember that time when you had to dial up to get internet access and that annoying connecting sound was the most exiting sound you've known back then? It was the exiting sound of the new. Forget sending post cards, forget making a phone call, praise the universe we had internet! When life changed from inaccessible to multi-accessible, a stress free life became non-existent. That's how it feels at least. That multi accessibility gives our brain such an information overload on a daily basis that we almost can't remember how to connect to the quietness within. 

Society is always on high speed

That's the thing. Even when we think we live a stress free life, the society we live in is on such high speed our mind is under constant pressure. We work, we do sports, we raise kids and communicate with at least 25 people through group chats or something else on a daily basis. Stress is not always clearly present as stress because it presents itself as something that gives pleasure and we are unaware it can destroy us in the long run. We live our lives the ways we are expected to do. There is always the option to participate on a less intense level. 

Stress is the anonymous serial killer of today’s society

I dare to say stress destroys us. It's the anonymous serial killer of today’s society. If a body is under pressure for a longer period of time it loses the ability to function properly with physical and mental health problems as a result. I recently walked into the stress trap myself. It tried to knock me down. Before we take this serial killer to trial I must say I have let it happen. I thought being busy was a good thing. I never realized that everything I did was at such a high pace I was under constant pressure. Work, sports, social life, even when I decided to take a walk through nature my pace would be at the same level as marathon training. 

Slow down to a more comfortable pace

I can tell you that you will never realize under how much stress you have lived until you try to slow your high speed life down. It starts with doing absolutely nothing from time to time. In the beginning you want to fill in the nothingness, but if you just let it be nothing becomes something you can enjoy the fullest. A mind that is no longer on full capacity and fully slowed down is on a natural high. It is able to smell the roses better, to hear and actually listen, and to taste with intensity. I am no longer part of a society where people always claim to be busy. I do things at my own slow down pace and I choose to never be too busy to do the things I enjoy. A happy stress free life is a conscious decision. 

Be stress free, 

Ilona 

 Ilona


MonJoy: The tale of the tiny rabbit

 Ana


Monday June 06, 2016


A story about letting go of your fears.

The tale of the tiny rabbit

There was once a little Rabbit, who was living in a little garden, in a little house, with little companionship. He was living a mediocre life. Every day, from dusk till dawn, little rabbit filled his day with little habits; hopping in the garden, nibbling on grass or a carrot every once in a while.  

All his friends left that garden as soon as they grew bigger, leading a big life, in a big house in a big garden surrounded by many. The little rabbit always held on to his little life, because in order to leave his little garden he had to jump of a big cliff. Whilst under that cliff there was a big air cushion to break his fall, the little rabbit was afraid to jump. He was afraid to let go of all that was familiar to him even though the big life was something he desired for a long time. The only thing that was standing between it was a jump and letting go.  

One day, the grass in the little garden ran dry, and there were no more carrots to nibble on. Little rabbit panicked for a moment, but there was no other choice than to see this unfortunate event as an opportunity to move to the big garden he desired for so long. He walked towards that cliff that seemed so high, with his little furry paws he pounded on his chest while he said to himself: “Just because I can't see what is underneath it doesn't mean it won’t be better." Without a doubt, without looking back, the little rabbit jumped. Little rabbit didn't fall! He was flying! He felt free like a bird and enjoyed every minute. After a couple of minutes he landed softly on a big air cushion in the middle of the most beautiful and biggest garden he had ever seen. Although he never grew as big as the other rabbits, he lived happily ever after of course.

The end.

Do not let fears keep you from your dreams

Eckhart Tolle said: "Sometimes letting go is an act of far greater power than defending or holding on." He was right. Fear or doubt does not lead to happiness. Let the story of the little rabbit inspire you to follow your dreams, to not hold back and take the leap forward. The unknown sounds scary but there lies the adventure. Be bold and let go of your fears and you might find yourself in a beautiful garden.

Be Happy and with Love,

Ilona & Ana