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5 Tips to Feel More Grateful and Blissful


No one is immune to the stress of everyday life. The grind we face at work, the conflicts we encounter (and often cause) in personal relationships, the dissatisfaction with our selfhood – it all plays havoc with how aware we are of the true beauty that life holds. We miss the grateful smile of a waiter whom you tipped, the elderly couple celebrating their half-a-century of togetherness, and we’re blind to the beauty of an urban sunset, too busy rushing to catch our bus.

While it’s true that all of your troubles and their gravity can cause you emotional turmoil, we all have the ability and numerous opportunities every day to become more open to the wonders of life and feel genuinely grateful for them. It’s like finding your little safe haven of bliss in the eye of a storm: and here are the five ways to become more attuned to your inner child, one amazed and grateful for life even amidst chaos.

Find your words

Our mind is shaped by the words we use to describe ourselves. When you find yourself feeling guilty over a mistake you’ve made, you further exasperate the emotion and hurt your self-perception by “rubbing it in” with harsh language and self-deprecating thoughts. It becomes automatic, so we curse and complain and punish ourselves for the smallest of failings, no matter how human they are. We set impossible standards and expectations. And we always focus on our shortcomings, even when we do succeed.

Being more grateful should start within, by choosing a different language to describe yourself and your accomplishments. Would you ever use those stern words to comfort your friend for their recent failure? You wouldn’t even use the word failure in all likelihood. Start writing your words down, and start reshaping your self-descriptions with more love and more encouragement. It will ultimately help you perceive yourself as the worthy, imperfect, incredible person that you are. 

Nurture your closest bonds

As our lives develop, we spend so much of our time on distractions rather than our life’s substance and its deepest meaning. We’ll spend more time scrolling our Facebook feed than talking to our loved ones, or watching TV instead of visiting our family. Our parents are perfect examples of this digital abyss we’ve fallen into: they have helped us build our independence, and now we find ourselves mesmerized by the irrelevant, too busy to express our gratitude for such unspoken gifts.

While it’s true that holidays shouldn’t be the only time to show our gratitude for our family members, if you take the time to peruse through Mother’s Day gifts in order to find the perfect one for your mom, you’ll let your actions speak for you to express your gratitude. When it’s evident from the gift itself that you haven’t treated it as another chore, but as an opportunity to express your love, your family will know and appreciate the gesture. Remember, every day is Mother’s Day. So perhaps while we wait for May 12th, a phone call is in order?

Take a deep breath

The fact that some things go without saying, such as your mom’s love and affection, does not mean that we should take them for granted. Breathing, for instance, is a perfect example of something we take for granted that has an incredible ability to heal us. One of the best ways to nurture your mindfulness every day is to include breathing exercises paired with affirmations.

They will not only help you soothe your anxieties in the moment of practice, but they’ll also help you become more mindful of your every moment of every day. You’ll start noticing your stress triggers and you’ll have better control of your experience, you’ll learn how to let go of resentment and focus on the present moment.

Forgive yourself as well as others

While we’re on the topic of resentment, we spend too much of our time stressing over what we’ve done wrong or what was done to us in the past. The simple truth is that the only way you’ll ever have the chance to enjoy your present is if you let go of the past – it has already shaped you to an extent, we all have moments we regret, but they needn’t taint our present and our future as well.

Forgiveness is the only vessel we need to give ourselves a chance to fully enjoy our present, and the only vessel we need in order to outgrow our past self. If you let anger or regret permeate your entire life, you relinquish control to those negative emotions and the events that have caused them – forgiveness means taking back control over your life.

Make a difference

Finally, sometimes we need and should get a different perspective in order to fully grasp the value of our lives. Ask what you can do for others, how you can make a difference for others, and let your ego deflate a little bit – you and I are not the only creatures that matter in this universe. If you can do something to help others, whether it’s helping your elderly neighbor clean their garden or donate your clothes to those in need, you’ll quickly contribute to a valuable cause and give yourself a new vantage point, one of appreciation.


Life is indeed too short to spend it on resentments. Use these simple tips to help yourself feel more grateful, and you’ll unleash an avalanche of bliss into your life, no matter how many hardships you face in the future.


Written by: Sophia Smith

Sophia Smith is a beauty blogger, eco-lifestyle lover, graphic designer and food enthusiast.  She is focusing on minimalism and good quality. Her other hobbies center around her love for nature, well-being and living in balance. Sophia writes mostly about beauty-related topics in her blogs and articles. She has contributed to a number of publications including: Life Goals Mag, Savant Magazine, Secret Garden, Bonvita Style, Cause Artist and Book Meditation Retreats.
You can find out more about her writing by following her on:  Facebook  Twitter  Google +

What Does it Mean to be Authentic?

“Authenticity is not something we have or don’t have. It’s a practice – a conscious choice of how we want to live. Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.”

– Brené Brown


Being authentic means feeling comfortable sharing your flaws and failures as much as your triumphs and successes, and that you don’t need to be liked by others to feel as though you matter. It is a true recognition that you matter regardless of what others think, and being able to embrace your weaknesses as much as your strengths.

Being authentic means not striving to be what others expect us to be, or even what we think we are supposed to be, but rather loving the most vulnerable parts of ourselves. It means knowing that we can form opinions on our own, and to voice those opinions in a way that holds true to our values. Most importantly, being authentic means staying true to our core values, even when they are different from someone else’s.

We have all had those moments where we faked being happy when what we really wanted to do was fall apart. Why do we do that? Because we have been programmed to believe that who we are isn’t enough, and that how we feel isn’t ok. We are taught very early in life that people will only truly like us if we present them with something that feels good to them. This fear often holds us back from being authentically ourselves.

Imagine arriving to work, and when asked “how are you today?” you actually respond with how you are feeling; “I am feeling awful, my kids were having complete meltdowns” or maybe it sounds like, “my morning was horrible, my husband and I got into an argument”. Most of us would never say these things, even though they are exactly what we are experiencing and feeling. Of course there may be some people you aren’t willing to share that information with, and that’s okay too! Being authentic means doing and sharing what we feel when we want to, and with whom we want to share that with. Being authentic means not being scared to share those feelings in order to make others more comfortable, and sharing what we want to based on what we may need in that moment.

Lastly, I want to emphasize that being authentic isn’t something that we have to search for, it is being exactly who we are. To each person this will look different, and that is what is so beautiful about authenticity!


Written by Bliss therapist Tammy Benwell. Learn more about Tammy and get her secret “Tips From the Couch” here.

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Avoidance versus Self-Care?


You’re at home watching your favourite TV show, when Netflix asks you the judgmental question: “Are you still watching?” (Yes, Netflix, This is Us brings me to tears every time and I need to know what happens next.) You realize that one episode turned into several, and more than a few hours have gone by. But, hey, what’s wrong with a little relaxation and enjoyment during your time off?

The answer is “nothing” if what you’re doing is practicing self-care. However, what we categorize as personal care can actually be its cleverly disguised twin – avoidance. Both can involve enjoyable activities and time spent on oneself, but they are actually quite different.


Avoidance and self-care serve distinct purposes, but because the means of expression are similar, we can easily fool ourselves into believing one is the other. Here are the primary differences between the two:

The purpose of avoidance: To numb out, ignore, or escape from a task, problem, or difficult emotion.

The purpose of self-care: To respond to your physical, mental, and emotional needs in order to care for your overall well-being.


Both of these strategies are forms of coping; however, only one of them provides a long-term solution. (I’ll explain that more in the section “Why it matters.”)

First, ask yourself what the intention is behind the behaviour or activity. For example, let’s say you cancel an outing with a friend. If you cancelled because you had a long day and need to rest, then that’s self-care. However, if you cancelled because you feel anxious about meeting new people, then that’s avoidance.

Next, check in with your ability to manage whatever you are trying to avoid. This is known as your distress tolerance. Part of healthy emotional management is knowing when you cannot deal with something in the present moment. For example, if you are dealing with a family crisis but also have to be at an important business meeting, it makes sense to intentionally put your personal matters aside during the work day. However, what differentiates this from avoidance is the awareness and the follow-up. With healthy coping skills, you will be able to revisit and address the issue when you have the time and space to do so.

It can be hard to distinguish between self-care and avoidance, but being aware of your emotional state can help you better identify your needs and act intentionally on them. It also requires some honesty with yourself. Is it that you can’t deal with a particular emotion or situation, or is it that you don’t want to?

Using our earlier example, perhaps you realize that meeting new people makes you anxious, but realize that you have developed some tools to help you manage those feelings and you could challenge yourself to keep the commitment.

However, sometimes the answer to “Can I manage this?” is “No, not today.” Great! Knowing your limits and meeting your needs falls under self-care. If the idea of meeting new people is overwhelming today, perhaps you reschedule for another evening and prepare accordingly.


Avoidance feels like it protects us from the things that scare or overwhelm us, but in reality it just sustains them. In other words, we feel better in the moment, but are worse off in the long run. For example, imagine that you have an assignment to complete but that you feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, so you end up on Buzzfeed instead. You now have to pull an all-nighter and are not sure if you will make the deadline in time. While procrastination (aka avoidance) decreased the stress temporarily, it ultimately created more anxiety and panic. This, in turn, can lead to further avoidance of those difficult emotions, with the subsequent sensation of “spiralling out.”

Instead of ignoring those overwhelming feelings, let’s imagine instead that you dealt with them directly and in the moment. Perhaps you don’t even start the task immediately because you think a 10 minute meditation might be helpful to ground you. Even though this is delaying the activity, it isn’t avoidance. If you look back to the purpose of self-care, you can see that you’re addressing an emotional need instead of ignoring the emotion altogether. By doing so, you manage the anxiety and proceed with the assignment.

Acknowledging your emotions and taking care of your needs allows you to get through a difficult situation, which brings me to my next point.


Whether it’s drinking to forget a traumatic memory, exercising to quell the feelings of loss, or scrolling through Instagram to drown out negative thoughts, these strategies prevent us from ever truly addressing the underlying causes of our pain. Try as we might, there is no way to cut out the bad without simultaneously cutting out the good. Therefore, these avoidant strategies deny us the opportunity to find joy, contentment, release, and forgiveness.

If we put aside the avoidance and acknowledge the hurts, then we have a real chance at living the lives for which we long.



Being with Stressful Moments Rather Than Avoiding Them

Whole-Hearted Living: Experiential Avoidance

(This article was originally published on Stephanie’s Blog).



Stephanie Huls is a Registered Social Worker and private therapist at Reflection Counselling Services in Waterloo. She offers counselling services to adults and teens on a variety of issues and is passionate about helping people find the path to the lives they wish to lead. She prides herself on being open about her own experiences in counselling and has a personal understanding of how bumpy that path can be.

Self-care vs. Selfishness

If you find yourself thinking that the concept of self-care must be inherently selfish, you are not alone. For many of us, the very idea of putting ourselves first in any given situation feels wrong, or at least something to be avoided when desired. Nobody wants to think of themselves as selfish, or have others think of them that way.

But we are here to reassure you that a self-care practice and a selfish attitude are fundamentally different things. Here is why:

When someone is selfish they put themselves first in most, if not all, conceivable situations. They take up seats on the bus for their bags or their feet, even when there are others who could obviously use a break from standing. They won’t come to your birthday dinner because they don’t like the restaurant you chose. They expect you to drop something that is important to you in order to help them with something that could easily be done without you, or with the help of someone else. They are their own priority more often than not, but they might not even realize that this is the case.

When you practice self-care you continue to take others and their needs into consideration, but you learn to recognize that your needs are also worthy of consideration, and sometimes even need to be a priority. You might practice saying no to needy friends and family members when they ask too much of you. You might spend a night away from your kids or your partner when you notice you need some alone time. You might decide to pursue an old hobby that you haven’t had time for in a while, even if it means saying no to some extra projects at work.

Furthermore, when you practice self-care it benefits the people in your life. If you’re taking better care of yourself, you’ll probably notice that you become more enthusiastic at work, more patient with loved ones, more relaxed at home, and hopefully more content overall. While those who have a selfish attitude might benefit from their actions, those benefits typically do not spill over to others.

One of the most detrimental things that our society teaches us is that we have to choose between ourselves and others. You can take care of yourself and still be an extremely supportive partner, parent, family member, friend or coworker – in fact, it just might make it easier.

And rest assured – the fact that you are worried about being selfish probably means that you aren’t.

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