Egypt: 10 Ways to Live a Happier Life

7janHappy New Year!  In this season of resolutions, many of us are looking for ways to live a happier life.  As a mother, I believe increasing one’s happiness is a wonderful thing to do for oneself and for one’s family–an angry, bitter and unhappy woman can never make her family happy.  But how do we find our way to a happier life?

Happiness is all about us, about our mindset, what we believe and how we feel. Our circumstances, our possessions, our job and our bank account are just temporary sources of happiness. Real happiness shines from the inside out, reflecting how we feel about ourselves and how satisfied we are with who we are and how we live.  As a life coach, here are 10 practices I’ve found that enhance my daily happiness.

1- Improve your self image: For me, the first and most important source of happiness is how I feel about the image I see in the mirror.  How proud do I feel about myself? What kind of relationship do I have with myself?  Do I offer myself love, respect, acceptance and appreciation? Or is it guilt, shame, anger, and low self esteem? Being happy with who I am is my main source of happiness.

2- Don’t seek approval of others: Many women live in a way they don’t want just to please their partner, their family, or their friends.  Though this may result in short-term approval and acceptance, living according to others’ expectations will not create lasting happiness.

3- Keep your word to yourself:  Learn to say NO to what is not a priority in your life.  If you set a ME time for yourself ,do not give it up easily.  Keeping your word to yourself will greatly enhance your feeling of self worth and  self respect.

4- Eat healthy food and exercise: Healthy food will positively impact your mood and give you more energy. Working out regularly has a great effect on physical and mental health. According to a psychiatrist friend of mine, walking one hour in open air equates the effect of an antidepressant pill. So when you feel down, try going for a walk outside.

5- Let go:  Let’s face it.  There are some aspects of our lives we cannot control.  We certainly can’t control, or change, the past.  Accepting the reality that we can do nothing brings a great relief and freedom.

6- Find your passion: Working on something you love brings real satisfaction. If you haven’t yet found your passion, play around with different hobbies like making or listening to music, drawing, or writing.  Expressing your thoughts and feelings in any way will help you get clear about what your passion is.

7- Keep only fulfilling relationships: Continuing with unhealthy and non-fulfilling relationships is an energy drain.  See no. 3.

8- Keep a gratitude journal: Make it a habit to jot down 5 things in your life for which you are grateful.  If  have something you complain about all the time, follow your complaint with any positive you can find in it.  Eventually, you may find a blessing in what you were complaining about.

9- LOLFind a reason every day to laugh, and spend time with your beloved ones having fun and laughing out loud.

10- Spend some time away from media and technology: Take a brief holiday from the TV, radio, internet, even your iPhone.  Spend the time working out, meeting friends, reading books, playing with your kids and pets, or taking a walk.  Observe how you feel.  Just few days (or even an afternoon) without media and technology will make great difference in your life and your satisfaction.

These are my tips on how to live a happier life.  What are some things you do to add happiness to your life?  What is your definition of happiness and do you find it easy to live according to this definition? What challenges do you face to live a happier life?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at  Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image courtesy of  “Pretty Girl In A Hat At Sunset” by Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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EGYPT: The Schooling Challenges of an Egyptian Mother

EGYPT: The Schooling Challenges of an Egyptian Mother

walking into the futureSchooling years are a big challenge for parents. Often, we even regard those years as a period of crisis. For Egyptian mothers the most challenging schooling years that we experience are the final two years of high school. Those two years are called “Thanaweya Ama”.

The scores of the last year of high school determines the future of our children. Students are admitted to specific faculties in college in accordance to their scores during the last year of school. To be able to join the college they want, students need to satisfy the minimum the college has indicated for applying. Only students with very high scores can choose the path they truly desire. The rest must follow the path their scores allow. In our community the top three sought after colleges are Medicine, Engineering and Pharmacy. Most of us believe that the students who join these colleges are the smartest ones. It’s frustrating for parents when because of their scores, their child cannot realize their dream of joining one of these colleges. Actually, it’s usually the parent’s dream.

I remember what a tough year that year was for me as a student. I challenged myself to get more than 90% although the faculty of Engineering, which I wanted to join, accepted students with only an 80% score. I remember how I had to study for long long hours and the thousands of math problems I had to solve. I became addicted to it. At that time, solving math problems in different branches of mathematics became my only pleasure. I was really nervous and upset.

Sadly, the beliefs the students and the parents held, made that period of time a nightmare. It became common during the final exams to see photos of crying and screaming students in the newspapers. A household with a student in Thanaweya Ama is living an emergency crisis year.

I will live through this experience with my eldest son next year. He is in his pre-final year or let’s just call it eleventh grade. For the most part, over the years, he hasn’t been willing to work hard although sometimes he did focus on the subjects he was interested in. Usually he received good scores in the subjects that interested him but average scores in the rest of the subjects. His resulting overall score was average.

Last year, he started becoming more aware that he needs to work harder, He has begun to realize that his future will be determined by the coming years. That was really surprising and pleasing for me. He has finally begun spending longer hours working on his homework and studying, although still working on the subjects he likes. His scores at the end of last year were still average.

From my point of view, my main objective is not to ensure he gets the highest scores but that he discover his capabilities and find out how smart he is. I believe in him and in his strengths but I find that he isn’t willing to challenge himself enough.

Many mothers with children in final year recently advised me not to press him too much this year as the next year will be so long. It lasts almost 11 months as it starts in July and ends the following June. They believe that he will be under great pressure next year. I believe that he needs “to build his muscles” this years. I believe he needs to get used to exerting more effort in order to be prepared enough for the real competition.

Since the fourth grade I have let him manage on his own. I didn’t care a lot about pressuring him to get the highest scores, all I wanted is for him to learn to manage on his own. I wanted him to realize that he’s responsible and he can study on his own. The question now is what is my role in helping him find out his real potential during this period of his life? How can I motivate him without stressing him out? I’m sure that excessive stress is the biggest enemy during this year. I’ve always told him “Don’t worry about the scores. All I want you to do is to relax, believe in yourself and do your best.”.

When I think about the challenge I’m facing with him during these two years of Thanaweya Ama, I try to get a clear image of what is my main role. It’s not as easy as following up with him to see if he has finished his homework or not. Eventually I came up with the idea that helping him manage his time, taking care of his nutrition and his sleep, supporting him emotionally and motivating him are what he needs more and it’s the best I can offer him during this vital period of his life.

As a mother, do you think that’s enough? What challenges do you face with your children’s education in your country? How do you support them? How can you help other mothers overcome similar challenges?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at  Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image courtesy of  Figure Stepping Up To His Goal” by Master isolated images,  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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EGYPT: Every Woman Needs To Make Herself Her #1 Priority

EGYPT: Every Woman Needs To Make Herself Her #1 Priority

depressed woman

My swim coach is in her mid to late twenties and she’s engaged to be married. On several occasions, I’ve noticed from the way she talks, that she does not seem to be happy in her relationship. Today, I didn’t see her engagement ring on her finger so I asked her about it. She said she had taken it off because she was afraid of losing it in the swimming pool.

I mentioned that I thought she had broken up and she confided that she had been on the verge of doing so the day before. She looked so sad and I understand how she feels. She is desperate and disappointed, she loved her fiancé but as he doesn’t show his love she said that she doesn’t feel anything for him anymore and she believes that sooner or later the relationship will be over.

I found myself telling her to think only about her happiness and about making herself the first priority in her life, that she must stop being the only one to give and that she has the right to receive. I expressed concern that by being the only one giving in a relationship, she may find herself, after a few years, frustrated, disappointed and unable to give anymore.

While talking to her, I found myself thinking about how women in my community, as well as in many other communities, grow up with the belief that a woman is created to only give. Everybody around her expects to receive yet no one thinks about what she needs or that she even has needs that must be met. A woman’s role is to make everybody happy even if she is not. Her husband, her children and even her parents expect a lot from her but no one cares about what she expects.

For many long years, I lived with the people surrounding me expecting too much from me. I was giving so much but at a certain point I could not go any farther. I could not accept the idea of burning myself for others while nobody thought about me. My reaction was a little bit aggressive. I could not bear anymore the idea of being a good girl, good wife and good mother.

Being good to my parents meant being obedient to my mother even if she was intruding on my personal life and imposing her beliefs as to what I need to do and what I should not do. Being good to my husband meant I had to take responsibility for everything, take care of his needs, be kind to him, work, and take care of the house all the while never having my needs met. Being a good mother meant taking care of the kids’ needs, studies, training and entertainment.

You may ask why my husband didn’t do his share in all of this? The answer is that we have different values and backgrounds so he always said that none of those things are his priorities, so if I wanted them I had to do it myself.  For years I did, but after nine years I exploded and that was a turning point in my life. I got divorced and I lived, as a single mom, with my kids, for five years. Those years were the transformation years.

I finally realized what my mistake was. I was not making myself a priority. I was allowing everybody to make decisions for me. I was not happy yet I was expected to make others happy. I never thought about my needs, I was only focusing on the needs of my family. I reached a point where I couldn’t give love anymore. How could I do that with my emotional tank empty? To give love to others you need to get your emotional tank refilled. Only then will you be able to give love to everybody around you.

It took me years and I’m still working on it, learning to constantly refill my emotional tank from different resources in order to be able to give . That’s exactly what I told my lovely and kind swimming coach in my conversation with her today. Get your emotional tank refilled, do your best to find your own satisfaction and fulfillment. Do whatever you can to make yourself happy.  Only then will you be able to give love to others . You will feel happy even if you don’t receive love from others because you already have your tank refilled.

I really sympathize with women in my community because they are taught lies about what it means to be a good wife and good mother and they believe it. They live internally unhappy but do not dare to object or ask for what they need. They feel that they must accept what they’re given. They are looking for approval from others and they are afraid to reject the beliefs they were bought up on.

What beliefs in your community hurt women’s well being yet they don’t dare to reject them?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at  Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Image courtesy of  “Young Woman Under Depression” by David Castillo Dominici  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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EGYPT: Zeina’s Story Could Be Any Child’s

EGYPT: Zeina’s Story Could Be Any Child’s

Prevent child abuseZeina was a 5-year-old girl living with her family in Port Said, a city on the Suez Canal in Egypt. She was the youngest of three children.

One fateful day, Zeina was playing in front of the door of her apartment. The porter was going to the roof of the building and by chance, the lift stopped at the floor where Zeina was playing. He found her playing alone with no one watching her, so he took the girl with him to the roof. On the roof was another guy, a friend of the porter, waiting for him. There was something on their minds that Zeina didn’t and couldn’t possibly know.

Their intention was to violate the innocence of that beautiful and chubby child. They wanted to rape her, but they couldn’t as she started to scream. They then quickly realized that her mother had found out that she was missing and all the buildings’ inhabitants had started looking for her in the street. To hide what they had done, the two guys decided to get rid of Zeina, so they threw her from the seventh floor to the back of the building.

The cold-hearted criminals then came downstairs pretending not to know anything about her and went to look for Zeina with the family. The family eventually found the little girl bleeding in the back area of the building and took her to the hospital but she died. The police investigated, found Zeina’s killers and arrested them. They were accused of killing her.

The family—as did everyone following Zeina’s story—expected the criminals to be condemned to death but instead they were condemned to only 15 years in jail. It was shocking for all of us but the problem is that the two accused guys were a few months under age 18 and there is a law that prevents condemning any young man below 18 to death no matter what his crime is.

The criminals were laughing, smiling and showing the victory sign inside their cell, while Zeina’s poor mother was screaming and crying very hard. The judge apologized to Zeina’s family as he could do nothing about it, it’s the law. Even the father of one of the killers said “My son deserves to be condemned to death 5 times for his crime”.

The story of Zeina summarizes the story of hundreds, thousands or maybe millions of children who are sexually abused every day all over the world.

And sadly, Zeina’s story is not the only one. A few months later another little girl named Hoda was raped mercilessly, choked to death and beaten with a stone to her head. Hoda was just 4.5 years-old playing in front of her house in her village in Meniah, a city in Upper Egypt. Hoda was raped and killed by her neighbor. Her dead body was found totally naked and bleeding in a house under construction.

A few days before Hoda was raped and killed, Eman a 13 years old girl was killed as well. The criminal choked her to death after failing to rape her and to be sure she died he stabbed her with a knife several times and then threw her body in the canal. Her family found her the following day, floating on the surface of the water. The guy accused of her murder is her father’s cousin, a member of the family. Hoda and Eman’s murderers may be condemned to death as they are over 18 years old.

Every few weeks we wake up with another story of a new Zeina in the newspapers, a young child or a teenage girl who is raped and killed mercilessly by a teenager or an adult. Not only has the child been put through horrors no one should know, but the whole family continues to suffer the pain of loss and the guilt of not being able to protect their child.

Zeina’s mother on TV,  apologized to her young daughter for not being there to protect her and save her when she was screaming and calling for help. I couldn’t control my tears when I watched that. Sometimes there is also shame on the family’s part that their daughter has been raped. This is especially true in rural areas. Eman’s family was relieved when they realized  that the criminal failed to rape her. It was obvious in their words when they announced that on the TV with great pride and honor.

Sexual abuse against children is something that any family could fall victim to because we seem unable to protect children from it`. There seems to be no end in sight for the heartbreak that families have to cope with when their innocent child is violated or hurt.

ًFor me, what is shocking about these crimes is that when the criminal is under 18 years old he is considered a child and the Egyptian child law (according to The Convention on the Rights of the Child, CRC) can’t condemn any of them to more than 15 years in jail no matter what their crime is.

This law protects the criminal child but what about the victim child? Aren’t we aggrieving them? Don’t they and their families deserve more justice and more sympathy? How can a law protect the rights of the criminal and ignore the rights of the victim?

Have there been any similar crimes in your country? What were your feelings about how the victim’s family viewed the situation? 

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Nihad from Alexandria, Egypt. Nihad blogs at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

Photo credit: Bruce Tuten

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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EGYPT: What Can I Do with My Life?

EGYPT: What Can I Do with My Life?

ID-10086141Writing this post was the most challenging of all the posts I’ve ever written.  You may not find it that valuable, but I will still go with writing and publishing it. Actually I wanted and needed to write, but I didn’t know what exactly I wanted to share it.  My thoughts and my mind are a real mess.

Since the beginning of the 2013, life was really hard for me. First, I lost my father, and although I was accepting this fact and apparently I was calm, I was unaware that I was plunging into depression. It took me five months to realize it and accept the idea that I needed therapy.  When I started to feel better, the situation in Egypt deteriorated, and we were under curfew for months. I was imprisoned at home and rarely went out. I lost interest in everything except the political talk shows, but later on I realized that was the main cause of my feeling down and fearful most of the time.  I totally lost motivation to do anything and lost interest in anything.  All I wanted was to stay still and silent for hours. (more…)

Nihad

Nihad is an Egyptian woman, who was born and has lived her whole life in Alexandria, Egypt. She says, “People who visited this city know how charming and beautiful this city is. Although I love every city in Egypt, Alexandria is the one I love the most.” She is a software engineer and has worked in the field for more than twenty years. But recently she quit her job, got a coaching certificate and she is now a self employed life and career coach. She says, “I believe that women in this era face big challenges and they are taking huge responsibilities. That's why I have chosen my niche -- women looking for happiness and satisfaction. I help and support them in making whatever change (career change, life change, behavior change, belief change…) they want to bring more satisfaction and happiness in their lives.” Nihad is a mother of two lovely boys, 15 and 9 years old. She states, “They are the most precious gifts I have ever had. I madly love them, and I consider them the main source of happiness in my life.” Our inspiring mother in Egypt can also be found at Aurora Beams Life Coaching.

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