VISITING HAPPINESS…(AND 5 TIPS FOR HOW TO STAY THERE :)

    •    Me posing with one of the many GORGEOUS WATERFALLS of Costa Rica
    •    I was recently in Costa Rica for the type of vacation that is the perfect mix of relaxing (spa treatments and sitting by gorgeous beaches) and active in mind (I took an inspirational writing workshop), active in body (adrenaline-rushing zip lining, jungle trekking, waterfall rapelling, white water rafting), and active in spirit (daily meditation and yoga). The trip was so rejuvenating and I am back in NYC ready to run Shaffali Skincare with all the energy one collects by LIVING OUT LOUD.
    •    Costa Rica is the current #1 Happiest Country in the World by The Happy Planet Index. The Happy Planet Index assesses each country on items such as global data on life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint.
    •    This got me thinking about what factors we use for being Happy Human Beings as well as tips I may provide from my humble experiences as a woman who owns a business she founded based on her passion (as well as my innate interests in psychology, meditation, self improvement, philosophy and my magnetism towards beauty, balance…and happiness).
    •    Happiness is certainly something I have put concentrated efforts towards in my life. Many of my favorite reads are spiritual by nature and I love taking courses that help to increase self-awareness, such as with Landmark Education. My own journal is over 4,000 pages and many times it is through my writing that I reach a far more contented state (ie: happiness).
    •    Thus, the practices I suggest, as a cumulative result from the aforementioned interests, courses, reading and life practice itself are:
    •    Meditation: Detach and Observe
    •    Compassion: Pour out Love
    •    Body Wellness: Move your Body
    •    Mind Balance: Engage your Mind
    •    Abundance: Nourish your Bank Account AND SOUL
    •    Below, I elaborate on how to incorporate each practice into your own life. I also attempted to match pics from the trip with each point.
    •    1. Meditation: Detach and Observe
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    •    Even when traveling I maintain my morning meditation practice…helping to reinforce peace ALL the time
    •    Begin each day in quiet in order to connect to the part of yourself that can “observe” you – if you can detach yourself from your stress in a healthy way, the perspective and peace gained can allow you to find the soul’s wisdom (your intuition) to have the answers. I have found it is when I meditate that I am most at peace with myself and others – my whole world changes when I connect to the peace of my inner world. This is EXACTLY why the instructions for how to use Shaffali Skincare are partly meditations!
    •    2. Compassion: Pour out Love
    •    http://www.shaffali.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/IMG_3057.jpg
    •    You can pour out love to anything that has LIFE in it! Including this adorable lizard that has some pretty cool camouflage – I was proud of how close I was able to get without disturbing it…maybe it felt my compassion…
    •    The way we think, act and feel become such ingrained habits in us that we often do not realize our own internal chatter as either “positive” or “negative” – check in with yourself and see if you can have loving internal chatter towards yourself and others – and then let those internal thoughts become your external expression of love to all. This means no judging, criticizing, complaining – and being kind to all. I have found when I can practice compassion to the most unpleasant people is when I feel the most love because my heart goes out to those who don’t act compassionate themselves, since it stems from their own pain at some level. Thus increase compassion and reduce your own pain and suffering…and INCREASE your love and happiness.
    •    3. Body Wellness: Move your Body
    •    http://www.shaffali.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Costa-Rica-adventure-2.jpg
    •    L: White Whater Rafting on one of the top ten rivers (according to National Geographic) in the world to do it! – The Pacuare River
    •    R: About to zip line through the beautiful rainforest
    •    Both of these examples are fun and adventurous ways to get your BODY MOVING!
    •    We all want to look fabulous. The trick is it does require effort, especially as we get older. Never mind people with lucky genes. Thus, find what sort of exercise in body really resonates with you (cardio in the form of running, cycling or spin…strength training with weights…mellow or intense stretching and introspection in yoga, tai chi or martial arts….expression in the form of dance…a combo in the form of circuit training..)… and DO IT! If none resonate, then think of it as a routine or regimen you are making efforts in so that you get this amazing reward of a beautiful body (and skin!). I try to run 1 mile 3xweek (a lot for a girl who does not like to run – but the benefits are amazing) I also practice yoga 3 times per week at a minimum and LOVE getting cardio from expressive dance. 
    •    http://www.shaffali.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Costa-Rica-Adventure-3.jpg
    •    L: Waterfall Rapelling for the first time! Its like Rock Climbing but you are going down and “walking with the waterfall”!
    •    R: More ziplining!
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    •    4. Mind Balance: Use your Mind
    •    http://www.shaffali.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/four-seasons-costa-rica.jpg
    •    Me the day I was beginning a writing workshop in Costa Rica, at the Four Seasons…it was so inspiring!
    •    Our minds are capable of so many thoughts and to continue to keep it active (learning, observing, working) is very healthy so as not to overthink – believe me, when I first began my business from a home office working alone, my mind began to go down paths that were not so nice that I never realized existed! I have learned, the hard way, that an active mind is a healthy mind!
    •    5. Abundance: Nourish your Bank Account AND SOULhttp://www.shaffali.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Abundance-in-Costa-Rica.jpg
    •    In these moments above, I was certainly feeling abundant AND GRATEFUL…
    •    Abundance, in this case, is the feeling of being full. We often associate abundance with financial wealth and that is valid. But don’t underestimate the value in having abundance in your MIND and SOUL; meaning feel full and nourished so you attract that and are not in a constant state of “lack”. Think about the difference between someone with lots of money who doesn’t feel like they have enough versus someone with less that is always happy and grateful – who is abundant and who feels abundant?
    •    Money matters in this world and you can be a person “who works to live” as I imagine they do in Costa Rica or, more aptly as our country (the US) is described “live to work”. Work can be fulfilling and healthy or it can just be a paycheck. Remain grateful for either of those things. And get in the mental mindset that all that you have is enough. If you want more, then you must take action in line with that. Create goals associated with a date and a measurable way to judge if you achieved the goal.
    •    Work hard and practice all of the above for some happiness! 
    •    So, now go forth and put my humble advice into action and see what unfolds for you! I know the visuals in this blog make it seem like of course life is a fairytale, but its not always and I work at it through daily rituals, including when not on vacation. In the morning, I begin with spiritual music, drinking hot water with lemon and turmeric (one of our KEY ingredients in Shaffali Skincare) and then comes my meditation as well as my run (or a yoga client depending on what day it is). I make fresh chai, grinding my own spices, nourished and ready to go to the office or meetings. I take yoga for lunch. I incorporate compassion due to my meditation into my life. My body balance actually helps my mind balance. And finances allow me freedom (to go to Costa Rica) as well as for me to support myself and those that I love.
    •    Oh, right, and I forgot to mention, one of my happiest Rituals is my weekly Shaffali Skincare Facial! – I have been doing it weekly for 18 years and counting! Pick one ritual to incorporate into your life now that makes you happy and keep at it!
    •    http://www.shaffali.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/IMG_3173.jpg
    •    Sunset from the last night in Costa Rica….
    •    Wishing each of you much, much HAPPINESS!
    •    Much love and light,
    •    Shaffali M.
    •    Founder, Shaffali Skincare