Life is good with a capital G

Published: September 19, 2010

Angelina Jolie, one of the most successful and confident women in the world

At times life seems to lose its mojo and everything appears so dull. Once so high, things become monotonous and lose their charm. Maybe today is one of those ‘blue days’ when your mood is running low and you are ready to snap at and pick fights with everyone who crosses your path. Relax; you are not alone. We all go through hard time once in a while.

I have compiled a list of few of the things and lessons that I learnt that make my life easier and lift my low spirits.

Lesson #1

Boycott the wagging tongues

To enjoy a healthy and successful life, be content with your ideals and goals. Stay at least 20 miles away from goony stalkers. It’s the unnecessary interference by some people (usually relatives in our part of the world, who you sre related to you whether you like it or not). They are the cause of many mood swings.

You may be happily dating someone but an aunty will often barge in and start to describe the merits of an ‘acha larka’ whom she has in been saving just for you – even though she has four daughters of her own!

My advice: Grin and bear it.

Lesson #2

Family is a blessing (most of the time!)

Families are people who are always there for you when you need someone to hug.  Family life is good, you get free cooked food, clean bed sheets, fresh and crisp towels, shopping allowance, unlimited supply of Mars bars, CK bags, Marshall shoes and a galore of  Calgon colognes.

It’s good to share, fight, shed tears and then have makeup dinners with your family. They are a bunch of people you know you can always rely on, rant and share your happy hours with.

Lesson #3

Work: Be independent

Work gives you an energy and helps you discover the ‘new you’ that may even surprise you. The feeling of making your own living is empowering as you don’t have to look at others with a puppy face to buy that new outfit at Ego. With too much time being consumed in solving logistics and marketing issues, one is hardly left with enough time to get depressed. My worst days are when I am free on week days and have nothing to do.

Lesson #4


I like indulged – McDonald’s, OPTP, Gelatto Affairs, chocolate, shopping, coffee and DVDs. These are the antidepressants that lift my spirit in mere seconds and make me feel like I am on top of the world. The very excitement of tasting a new bar of Lindtt, opening up a warm McDonald’s deliver bag and nibbling on fries slowly while watching a movie – these experiences make me feel light-headed, delighted and spirited . Try aroma therapy  or a chocolate bath for pure indulgences (but then you need to be a big shot to avail these luxuries!)

Lesson #5

Make a difference

We live for ourselves, whatever we do is usually focused to make our lives more comfortable. I know it’s very difficult to take some time out from a hectic schedule and do something completely generous and unselfish but believe me once done; the amount of happiness felt is immeasurable. It’s always good to bring a smile on a sad face and to do something unexpected for a disappointed soul. Who knows – a small act of kindness may change someone else’s life  ?

Lesson #6

Love with all your heart

Don’t just marry for the sake of marriage. There is no need to buy in to the myth that you will fall in love with your partner eventually! Take all the time in the world to find the right person. Don’t judge him or her on the basis of material things like looks or money, rather he or she should be the one who makes you feel that gravity doesn’t exist. Once you find that person stick by them through thick or thin. Make your partner feel important, treat yourselves, celebrate being in love, appreciate each other and express love for each other openly through small gestures, don’t be stingy when it comes to giving and don’t be overzealous about taking. Yes, you two as a couple have a right to be the first copy of Brangelina!

Lesson #7

Increase the size of your friend list

Spend some time, at least one Saturday a month with people who know how silly you are but are still willing to put up with you in public. Scribble on walls, post their funny snaps and videos, make their worst nightmares come true by tagging them in the horrible pics of bad-hair year, update your status telling them how important they are to you, chat with them on MSN occasionally and talk over the phone often. Also try to meet new people from diverse backgrounds on Facebook like journalists, political analysts and tech savvy bloggers. This helps you increase your horizon and opens your eyes towards the more dire circumstances faced by the nation.

Lesson #8

Drive to the old neighborhood

Ever since I have learnt how to drive, I often take a trip down memory lane by visiting my old neighborhood and stealing a glance or two at the old house where I grew up. It brings back so many good memories that I am unable to do anything but grin. There are a few streets of Karachi that look amazingly beautiful during the wee hours of morning.

I roam them aimlessly, absorbing the beauty of the green gardens, the elegant houses and the peaceful silence that looms over these areas during the broad daylight. The green and yellowish hues of the autumn trees that make a canopy on the side with a straight clear road leading to an unknown destination, assures me that life, despite all its atrocities, is still beautiful!

Lesson# 9

Spend time with yourself

Begin with spring cleaning, try fancy recipes by Chef Zakir, make up the much needed closet and rearranging the contents of your handbag. You can also organize your DVD bin and book collection which will eventually help you later. Also cleanse and polish your face with exotic herbs and lotions, indulge in a spa treatment and French manicure your nails while Mandy Moore or  Phil Collins plays in the background.

If you are married take a break from kids with runny noses, fastidious  in laws and a boring husband. You need to spend time with yourself alone (probably best to limit this to 2 hours a day) more than anyone else, because you are the super woman who multi-tasks with perfection!


Reconnect with the divine:

We’ve been through the eating and loving part, now let’s concentrate on praying. For Muslims this is an integral one. Observe your prayers enthusiastically five times a day, ask Allah sincerely to answer all your prayers and read the Holy Quran too (no matter how small a portion you get to read).

Do lots of Zikar and ask Allah for forgiveness every minute. Remember this world and all its sorrows are temporary, it’s the life after death that is permanent, so why not struggle to make that life worth living and successfully complete our tenure in this world?

Above all, fall in love with the most important person in your life that is no one else, but you!

I don’t mean to imply that you become over confident or a narcissist, but learn to value yourself, make your strengths stronger and start to nip your weaknesses in the bud. Eat healthy, refrain from drinking and drugs, work out regularly, enjoy small things in life and be grateful. So let’s flush Xanax, Lexotonil, Lubrex, Prozac and Lamictal down the toilet because from now onwards life for us will be good with a capital G!


QuratulAin Rizvi

An assistant brand manager at a multi-national and sub editor of in-house magazine

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Ayesha Hoda

    While this list is good for lifting one’s spirits temporarily and cutting down on stress, I believe you need to go more in depth esp. for those people who take Xanax, Lexotonil, Lubrex, Prozac and Lamictal on a regular basis or often. Happy activities will not really make them happy. Recommend

  • Zeesan Ahmad

    Exquisite ,,, Very Rational Philosophy to spend life without complaints because its easier to cover your feet with sleepers rather than carpeting the whole earth.Recommend

  • Ghausia

    You failed to mention that Lesson 4 is mainly applicable for thin people, us fatties will have to stick to shopping and DVDs. :DRecommend

  • Hikmatyar Wali

    It is just so amazing to see life with glasses that are pink with a capital P, all hung up and drunk up on a syrup that is sweet with a capital S, and is riddled with a convenient obliviousness with a capital O. Such a delectable intoxicating mix, ain’t it – who needs a sundae from McDonald’s or a Johnny Walker for that matter, when you can sit here and read the ways of life as told by dear Qurat-ul-Ain. Recommend

  • Imran Ali

    Well, what should i be saying except that you should have taken care of people like Gausia…:P
    @ Ayesha, complicated things demand grave insight no doubt but if i say that theme of this blog was concerned with ordinarily confused folks, i won’t be wrong..!
    Well, quite rational, understandable and intelligent piece of writing…:)Recommend

  • maheen

    i hate it….com e out of the bubble n see the worldRecommend

  • Ghausia

    @Imran oh I still have my shopping and DVDs, they’re better than chocolate lol. I fail to see why this post is attracting negativity. No, I don’t think the writer started her article with “I am a qualified doctor with experience in psychiatry and a swanky degree from so and so fancy university.” Its just a general blog post because we’re Pakistanis and feeling crappy is par for the course. I liked it, it made me smile, I don’t often smile reading things on news sites. Quratul Ain, I really enjoyed this, thank you for lifting my spirits on a blue day. :)Recommend

  • Syed Sohail Nasir

    A very interesting list of do’s & dont’s. Well I believe that lesson number 9 is not for my gender.Recommend

  • javeria khanum

    Above all, fall in love with the most important person in your life that is no one else, but you! just fell in love with this sentence.. mostly ppl love u for a reason but its only U who can give love to urself unconditionally :)
    still remember ur phrase ain : “value urself” everyone’s here for a reason to make a difference.Recommend

  • Sajjad Ahmed

    Excellent first writeup Q-Ain !!
    Good way to start on a ‘positive’ note. For me Lesson#9 and Lesson#10 were exemplary indeed.
    Still, one shouldnt shy away from troubles at all. Its always an iron fist thats required to grapple with problems effectively.Recommend

  • QuratulAin

    Dear Readers: Thankyou all for taking out time and leaving comments. For thos who didnt like my blog: I have noted down your suggestions and will try my best to improve my future blogs. Guys you can always inbox me and tell me where I am going wrong
    For those who liked it: Your words mean alot to me and they did break my hesitation to write for a national paper.
    For Express Tribune: Many thanks for publishing my blog. You made my day :)Recommend

  • Waqas Ahmed

    Impressive indeed. I look forward to reading more.Recommend

  • Khadija Masood

    What a wonderful read! :)Recommend

  • Maryam

    i totally luvd it
    it made me smile , lifted my spirits….and made me happy….
    today is my first day back to office after annual leaves , plus my maid is on leave…
    so i was quite tensed as hw to manage all the pending work at work and then go home and do all the chores…

    but now i feel good and relaxed….
    n i m looking at the brighter picture…
    thanks !Recommend

  • Asma

    Where all the other points help relaxing body and mind, no. 9 and 10 can rejuvenate the soul and they sure do work, tried and tested! :)Recommend

  • Uzair Javed

    What a nice read coupled with nice ideas… Its actually not the ideas that one expresses but the way the are expresses; everyone has ideas only a few can express those effectively. I am your fan for that.

    Well, to all this, i’d like to add a lesson no. 11: Read some healthy stuff. As Edward Morgan puts it, “A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man’s mind can get both provocation and privacy.”

    And one thing which deserves all the due praise, spending sometime alone everyday is very important and, to me at-least, the most relaxing activity. As i read this quote somewhere “The best hours of my life are those that i spent alone; i could share the deepest secrets of my life with the most trusted person i know – myself” A TIP: Next time you are ‘down’, have a drive alone, go to a calm place and sip a warm coffee in complete solitude. That surely works, believe me!Recommend

  • Muneeza

    i totally agree.. very simplistic and relatable!! =)Recommend

  • Mango Juice

    Ain, excellent advice! As always, you’ve written a wonderful piece beaming with positivity and sincerity. I just have one problem with the last line: “So let’s flush Xanax, Lexotonil, Lubrex, Prozac and Lamictal down the toilet because from now onwards life for us will be good with a capital G!”

    Please allow me to state a disclaimer on your behalf: Depression is at times a clinical condition and even an indication of complex mental issues like Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. Positivity goes a long way, but these are disorders that have deep-rooted physiological causes. Some of them CANNOT be cured, they can only be treated. Abandoning medication can result in further worsening of symptoms, even suicide. Just like a diabetic cannot produce a certain hormone in his body just by WILLING it, similarly, Bipolars cannot just ‘intend’ or ‘will’ their way out of chemical imbalance in their brains. While self-medication should definitely be discouraged for those who have not been prescribed these drugs, there are patients who actually have been prescribed them by a healthcare provider and they just need an excuse to get off their prescription drugs. It gives them a high and they feel free when they skip meds. Such platitudes that well-meaning authors like you, loved ones and friends keep dishing out encourage this behavior. I have been on and off my prescription drugs all my life, and every time I give them up after a ‘helpful’ friend has given me similar motivational talk, I’ve had to go back to my psychiatrist with more aggravated problems which then require higher doses and more time to recover. In such conditions, there is almost always a relapse, which is worse then the manic episode before. All I’m trying to say is, for people who have bipolar disorder or other diagnosed mental disorders, IT”S PERFECTLY OK to take drugs which have been prescribed to them. They need not be ashamed of it. We as a society, should not attach these negative connotations with medication and treatment, as sometimes, it may even cost someone their lives to skip medication. But yes self-medication should be discouraged, which is probably the context in which you were writing, but I just felt like giving out this extended disclaimer as I don’t want someone on their prescription drugs to get all psyched and abandon treatment because for these people the freedom from abandoning medication means only two things: Death or Insanity. Their prescription drugs give them a third choice i.e. LIFE and a chance at normalcy! And that is really the only choice they have, coupled with healthy management of the disorder and counseling. So, now that my concern has been sounded, once again, good writing! Keep it up. Best regards! Recommend

  • Waqas

    This is an excellent article which contains incredible advice that will improve the quality of one’s life. Especially during current times, life can get very difficult and the daily routine becomes hectic and we forget about what life is really about! I believe that following these 10 pieces of advice will help me live a healthy and happy life!!Recommend

  • Omair Iqbal

    These are the exact things that our lives need (assuming substitution of manicures and spa treatments with car wash and some thoka peeti in the walls for guys!!!)…. SIMPLICITY!!!!

    Actually i do agree with your point that work does take your mind of any depressing thoughts and we do need to WORK!!! :) …..

    It was a pleasant reading and I appreciate that you have pointed out a very uncomplicated way to unwind our stressful and grey lives!!! Well done!!!Recommend

  • Uzma

    truly an amazing article!
    i just loved it…n the very moment i started reading it….i couldn’t stop myslef till it ended up with a big grin on my face…
    Thank you so much indeed Qurat ul Ain , for sharing most of the things around us, that were being ignored by us for so long….and can change our lives by putting just a little effort…
    thanks for making me feel, “I am”
    God Bless u Always!Recommend

  • Sarwat Akhoond

    Excellent stuff Ain.. Thank you so much for sharing.. loved it!!Recommend

  • Farooq Aziz

    One can find counsel in the write-up and for sure a diverse approach is the need of the hour… an atypical blog intended for the typical… Bravo !! Recommend

  • Maheen Rahman

    Nice :)Recommend

  • Naeem Baloch

    Days full of stress here, the media seldom strives to minimize , thanks Qurat for such materials.Recommend

  • Ateeq Sabro Palleri

    Such tips for tolerence are actual needs of the day in pakistan.Media must focuses on such sorts of things. Recommend

  • Sana Saleem

    “G” for Good Stuff. We really need take time for our selves in the busy life. Taking pills to lessen the depression making you habitual for the them and you start to fail without these. Going for walk in some good surrounding helps alot in reducing the tensions and let you think for the solutions and even positively !Recommend

  • Umair Hassan

    Nice article Ain :)
    keep up the good work !Recommend

  • Latafat Aziz


  • Muneeb Khan

    I liked it :) Keep on writing Recommend

  • Mukee

    VERY NICE AIN !!! God Bless you my dear :))Recommend

  • Sabr

    Well this was a very intriguing and simple yet thought provoking article. I am surely going to implement most of you what you proposed in my daily life. Sometimes life can be so overwhelming that we forget these simple measures we can adopt to make the journey a little less bumpier. Instead of instinctively resorting to expensive and cumbersome methods such as frequenting therapists or ingesting prescription drugs, we can employ these simple everyday measures to ease some of the burdens of life. I am sure before the advent of the modern psychotherapy drugs, people learned to cope with life by utilizing similar simple measures. Recommend

  • Sadia

    A good one to read.. I like the title..Recommend

  • Hina Faruqi

    Great work Ain :) I really enjoyed & liked every word of it…keep writing Darling !!! Recommend

  • Saad Khalid

    A very nice article but some people do relax themsleves by playing sports, but this article was missing the sports ingredient. Anyways it was refreshingly Good with capital GRecommend

  • Aleena

    I just luved dis one, so simple and inspiring.Recommend

  • Basima Bilgrami

    Awesome work :)Recommend

  • Madija

    This is an irresponsible article, and an insult to those of us with a diagnosis of a mental health disorder. By suggesting that we all throw away our medication because an arbitrary list of suggestions can help us make feel better, is, as stated earlier, irresponsible. There is a very high social stigma attached to depression and other disorders, and we need to have an honest and open discussion about the options available through therapy and medication. Otherwise, the repercussions and consequences can and have been, deadly. Recommend

  • Uzma

    Dear Madija,
    with due respect, i would like to add, that this is just an article comprising of some positive approaches, which should be adopted in time to prevent such medical therapy u r going through these days…
    so, sorry to say but….u have no right to declare it an irresponsible article…if it doesn’t work for u..
    take it easy…n my dear, u r not forced to act upon any of the advices given till u feel good and satisfied about ’em…
    wish u a speedy recovery!Recommend

  • Atika Naeem