Go with the flow

About four months ago my husband gave his notice to his current job situation. I was supportive, but extremely nervous of where this current decision would take us. We are still trying to find the right current to float.

7d7dd33344f9189540e3ca8f5f3b724cLife is like that, one minute you are in a secure job (going with an easy flow), the next minute you are not (you are high centered on a log in the river of life).

lao-tzu-quote-life-is-a-seriesI have been in this same situation a few times over the past few years and it doesn’t seem to get any easier. I keep looking to the sky and saying, “What are we suppose to learn from this?” “Okay. I am Forwarding All Issues To Heaven (FAITH).” This time we have gone a step farther and have packed up our entire house incase we have to move because the money is running out! I have looked to the sky and said, “Okay, this is serious. We are REALLY packing up our house!” Living in this energy can get pretty stressful…the wondering, the constant job leads, the interviews, the numerous, “you were in the top 3 out of 200…It is between you and an internal candidate…” BUT telling our one daughter that we may have to move was the hardest point of it all. To make her teeter on her feelings of security, to wonder if she is going to have to leave the school she loves, to move away from her precious cousins…the tears did not stop & she is not one to cry. That was the greatest pain of all. It is in a moment like that you really wonder why you are going through this struggle and what you are suppose to learn from it.

 

shutterstock_123143329Then, you have one of those moments. One of those quiet moments. I was out walking & noticed a bird flying so high up in the sky. It was a speck in the grand, blue sky. I watched as it whirled and darted through the air. Then there were two, three, five…they all circled and floated with the currents of the wind. I just watched in amazement & had an aha moment. I thought to myself, “those birds could be taken and thrown down by the current & crushed onto the ground in one gust, but they live fearlessly, knowing that they were meant to fly. They know that there is something greater at work and they have the faith that as they go with the flow of life, they will fly higher and higher. They live in the flow, the current and have no fear of falling. They fly with that higher knowing.

I walked home comforted in knowing that there is a greater purpose to our current situation. I have to have faith in that. I have to hold a space for what is suppose to happen, what will be best for our life. I have to have faith in the flow of this beautiful life. All is well.

 

I can only hope that if any of you read this post & are struggling with a personal problem of any kind, you will have faith in something larger in your life. Have faith that things will work out how they are suppose to–no matter what! Things may get hard, but if you try to follow the flow of what is meant for you, your life will be the right current you need to float. We all go through the ups and downs of life. It is how you experience the ride that will make all the difference.

Peace to you today.  -H

Happier at Home

Gretchen Rubin has written a few books on happiness, but I figured everyone could use a few of her tips on being “Happier at Home.”

Here are some of Gretchen’s quotes from her book “Happier at Home”

They say that research is “me-search.”  -Gretchen Rubin     I like this thought because it truly resonates with the idea of taking time to figure out your own personal needs. I don’t think we take the time to do this, to truly understand ourselves and our needs on different levels.  We have needs on a personal level, home level, work level, relationship level, etc. Those areas become better when we take the time to figure out what we need from the various situations of life.

“In particular, I’d realized that although I possessed all the elements of a happy life, too often I took my circumstances for granted and allowed myself to become overly vexed by petty annoyances or fleeting worries. I’d wanted to appreciate my life more, and to live up to it better.” -GR     I think this quote is true for each and every one of us. There are times when we allow things to push us to surrender. We become vexed by the petty and allow things to shadow the beauty in our lives.  When we are able to see the happy things, to have a heart of gratitude for the little things that make life better, we begin to come from a place that is good for everyone.

“Certainly I had paradoxical wishes for my home…What would be true for me? My home should calm me and energize me. It should be a comforting, quiet refuge and a place of excitement and possibility. It should call to my mind the past, the present and the future. It should be a snuggery of privacy and reflection, but also a gathering place that strengthened my engagement with other people. By making me feel safe, it should embolden me to take risks. I wanted a feeling of home so strong that no matter where I went, I would take that feeling with me; at the same time, I wanted to find adventure without leaving my apartment. My home should suit me, and also suit {my family]. But as I considered this list, I saw that these weren’t, in fact, contradictory desires. My home could be both wading pool and diving board.” -GR          What would be TRUE for you? What desires do you have for your home and the feelings within it?     “To ‘feel right,’ I’d look for ways to make my home more closely reflect my values, to make sure that the life I’m living is the life I ought to be living. My ordinary routine should reflect the things most important to me.”

 

306ea9dbda414961dd286db61c563312“We need to project ourselves into the things around us. My self is not confined to my body. It extends into all things I have made and all the things around me. Without these things, I would not be myself.” -Carl Jung     

“Some research suggests that spending money on an experience brings more happiness than buying a possession” -GR     Think back on the experiences with your family–the trips, the plays, the spontaneous adventures. They are priceless. I think everyone would agree that you will always remember the walk on the beach with your Dad over the writing pen he gave you. You will remember the quality time over any possession. One idea to tie things together for memory sake–Maybe you purchase something that reminds you of your amazing trip to the Canadian Rockies. “I read a fascinating study about people’s relationships to their possessions, and in particular, what made a thing ‘special.’ What the researchers found was that usually it wasn’t the object itself that was so special, but the important memories or associations invoked by the thing.”-GR

“There is no one right way to happiness, but only the way that’s right for a particular person–which is why mindfulness matters so much to happiness. To be happier, I have to notice what I’m doing, and why, and how it makes me feel. Research suggests that mindful people tend to be happier, are more likely to feel self-confident and grateful and less likely to feel anxious or depressed, and have heightened self-knowledge.” -GR

 

43.-CLUTTER-QUOTE-4It only makes sense to surround yourself with beautiful things that inspire creativity and growth, love and harmony. Look around you. How do you feel?

“I knew that people who travel to new places and try new things are happier than those who stick only to the familiar.” -GR     I am sure everyone can relate and understand this quote. When you travel to any new place you have a sense of awakening. It is as if a new door has been opened and their is a spring of newness to enjoy.

“Research shows that people who remind themselves of the excellence and beauty in their lives have a greater sense of meaning and happiness.” -GR     A grateful heart has no bounds.

“Benjamin Franklin observed of his own happiness project, “On the whole, tho’ I never arrived at the Perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet as I was by the Endeavor a better and a happier Man than I otherwise should have been, if I had not attempted it.” -GR     As we are always striving to become better we will find opportunities to grow. Wisdom comes in all we strive to learn from.

 

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“My home was a reflection of me:It would be serene, festive, loving and welcoming only if I brought that spirit to it. To feel more at home at home, I must carry my home, my treasure, within me. A happy home wasn’t a place that I could furnish, but an attitude of mind I must develop.”  -GR       Hold forever in your heart that happy place.

“Now is now. Here is my treasure.”-GR     This moment and every moment is a gift. enjoy.

Thank you Gretchen Rubin for your thoughts and inspired work.

Peace to all of you today. May it be a blessed day.  -H

 

Addiction. Damn it!

Addiction is a tricky idea & a dangerous one to those who are trying to find the deeper, better part of themselves.

How does anyone move on from actions, thoughts, abuses, emotional ties, things that seem to bind to the core? It is hard to see people struggle with inner demons and unable to see the chain that is dragging them farther from their higher self.

Addiction. Damn it!!

So, with that happy thought. smile. smile. I am going to find some images and quotes that may shed some light and take any of you out there that struggle with addiction to a better place for THIS moment. This one is for my brother. May you find hope. LOVE YOU.

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I LOVE YOU BRO. May each day find you a little better. xoxo

Be BRAVE

bebraveI think we are all learning lessons in bravery throughout our lives. We begin with first steps as children and then first days of school to first friendships and on and on. Life is a constant lesson in being brave.

IMG_7378I have a sweet dog we adopted in December and he is currently training “to be brave.” He came to us afraid of strangers, scared to death to go on a walk and face things he has no experience with (bikes speeding by, strangers too close, different environments, etc). He grew up in a home where the owner would go to work ten hours a day and he would just sleep in his crate, so now he is constantly being introduced to new things. I think there are things he loves like exploring our backyard and finding sticks and birds and learning to “be brave” when facing new things everywhere he goes. We cheer and give him happy hugs when he is  brave enough to let a stranger get close. It is one little step at a time.

Life is like that, full of things we face each day that we may rather not have to handle or even run from, but its the little steps we take to find our bravery. We practice bravery in trying new things, experiencing different jobs, when we reach out to others with a smile, moments when we step out of our comfort zones and stretch a little farther.

coelho-be-braveHere are some small steps to help you become a little braver each day:

  1. Practice being brave by saying YES! to experiences, to dreams, to invitations, to learning something new, to trying something you’ve never done before.
  2. Speak your bravery. No one can read your mind or know what you need, so you need to self-evaluate what you may need at this moment in your life. You may need more communication, more support, a raise, etc. If you do not speak, the silence will take your power.
  3. Face your fears. Everyone has things they are afraid of, but it is the little steps you can take to face the fears that will lead you into a situation of bravery. What are you afraid of? Let’s say you are a writer & your fear is of rejection. [no different than anyone else, right?] The writer that faces that fear & puts out the 99 articles is going to be published vs the writer that stays afraid. Face it and go for it!!
  4. Be YOU. Don’t follow the crowd or say what others want to hear. You have had your own struggles and triumphs, your own experiences, learned life lessons that are all your own, etc. You have gifts to share, stories to tell, lessons others can learn from you. Be you and don’t be afraid to be yourself. There is no one else like you!!
  5. GROW. Learn something new each day, whether you listen to inspiring podcasts, take a class, volunteer to help others, attend a group to improve yourself. Do something, anything that will help you grow. Become a little better each day. 

And when you begin to have little successes and feel yourself growing, learning, doing and finding the freedom in this new found bravery—CHEER! Yell. Be proud of YOU. Bravery can be hard, but it pushes you to new limits and helps you become a better version of yourself. Go YOU!

Have a great day! -H

 

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O Happy Day!

happinessOH Yeah!! I thought the world needs a little more HAPPY, so I thought I would share with you some great things to bring you and your world a little more HAPPY.

I am dedicating this to my brother, who needs a little more HAPPY today. Love you Bro.

I LOVE SOULPANCAKE & I LOVE this!! Enjoy. You can’t help but smile. Go out and give some high fives, hugs and happiness.

de531944023f8a42ffbe178bb7995ee8What are the good things in your life?? I know there are some…blue sky days, rainy days, being able to watch your son play soccer, warm showers, having a job, being able to walk, being able to talk, to smile, family, freedom, your parents, pets (even though sometimes you don’t love them), having a home, to breathe, jokes, sunshine, clean water, nature, indoor plumbing, today, music, your mind that can think & learn, electricity, a car, being able to hear the birds in the morning, thrift stores. smile. smile. Now, you think of some.

24I know life may feel heavy right now, but I know your son is ‘happy because you exist.’ I am too. There are more people than you know.

images What can YOU do to be HAPPY today?

Keep a ‘Happy Diary’ Harvard University happiness expert Shawn Achor has noted that simply writing down a few things you’re grateful for each day is one of the simplest and most powerful boosters of well being. It apparently worked for Angeline Lee: “Going through a fairly rough patch, I was really down and just couldn’t see any silver lining. One of my friends suggested keeping a happy diary, so writing down the single best thing about the day every day…I was at the point where I would have tried anything, so I started off writing on Post-it sized notes and putting them in a box.”  -inc.com

Actively Express Thankfulness: According to one study, couples that expressed gratitude in their interactions with each other resulted in increases in relationship connection and satisfaction the next day–both for the person expressing thankfulness and (no big surprise) for the person receiving it. (In fact, the authors of the study said gratitude was like a “booster shot” for relationships.)

Of course the same is true at work. Express gratitude for employee’s hard work and you both feel better about yourselves.

Another easy method is to write down a few things you are grateful for every night. One study showed people who wrote down 5 things they were thankful for once a week were 25 percent happier after ten weeks; in effect they dramatically increased their happiness set-point.

Happy people focus on what they have, not on what they don’t have. It’s motivating to want more in your career, relationships, bank account, etc. but thinking about what youalready have, and expressing gratitude for it, will make you a lot happier.

And will remind you that even if you still have huge dreams you have already accomplished a lot–and should feel genuinely proud. -aabacosmallbusiness.com

Listen to music: “You should listen to music that you like listening to. That has a substantial effect on your mood. Your brain literally lights up. There is no other stimulation like music to arouse the brain. -Prof Dolan

Get out in nature: Being in nature decreases stress, makes you happier and less brooding, it relieves attention fatigue and increases creativity, helps you to be kind and generous, makes you feel more alive-see the full article with scientific studies to prove the positives http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_nature_makes_you_kinder_happier_more_creative

Get good sleep: People with insomnia produce higher rates of stress hormones than others, according to new research. This puts their bodies in a hyper-aroused state that can make it difficult for them to wind down. The inability to sleep causes more stress, which can have a devastating impact. People who don’t get enough sleep can become depressed, and that causes insomnia. Inversely, more and better-quality sleep can make you feel happier. -besthealthmag.ca

Sit outside for 5 minutes. The SUN is so good for you! Sunlight increases serotonin levels which in turn may make you happier.

Exercise: Exercise has such a profound effect on our happiness and well-being that it’s actually been proven to be an effective strategy for overcoming depression. In a study cited in Shawn Achor’s book, The Happiness Advantage 1, three groups of patients treated their depression with either medication, exercise, or a combination of the two. The results of this study really surprised me. Although all three groups experienced similar improvements in their happiness levels to begin with, the follow up assessments proved to be radically different:

The groups were then tested six months later to assess their relapse rate. Of those who had taken the medication alone, 38 percent had slipped back into depression. Those in the combination group were doing only slightly better, with a 31 percent relapse rate. The biggest shock, though, came from the exercise group: Their relapse rate was only 9 percent!

You don’t have to be depressed to gain benefit from exercise, though. It can help you to relax, increase your brain power and even improve your body image, even if you don’t lose any weight. -blog.bufferapp.com& huffingtonpost

Compliment someone or just SMILE. People will be happy to see you coming. A smile is a simple way to connect with those around you–even strangers.

Avoid the news & watch less TV: Unhappy people spend more time watching TV, according to a study in the Social Indicators Research journal. -popsugar

Try something new: pick out a fruit or veggie you don’t know at the grocery store and try it. Watch a Ted talk on Youtube. Put a different, fun screensaver on your phone. Take your phone out at lunch and take pics. Sign up for a free online course in something you are interested in.  “And having a new experience is really important. The great thing about new experiences is they actually slow time down. It’s why life feels so slow for children because they are experiencing new things all the time. So if you want to slow down time then have as many new experiences as you can.” -Prof Dolan

The walk-in-the-door rule “When I was in a dark period, I instituted a simple rule that changed my life,” explains social marketer Brad Einarsen. What was it? “When I arrive home from work, he says, “the very first thing I tell my wife is the best thing that happened that day.”-inc  

Help someone: Whether you do a random act of kindness, volunteer, give high-fives, make a dinner, spread some love…it all goes around…everyone is happier [the giver and the reciever]

Pursue a goal: Pursuing goals, though, does make you happy. According to David Niven, author of 100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life, “People who could identify a goal they were pursuing(my italics) were 19% more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26 percent more likely to feel positive about themselves.”  -aabacosmallbusiness.com

 

Great article on 10 scientifically proven ways to make yourself happier–check it out. interesting https://blog.bufferapp.com/10-scientifically-proven-ways-to-make-yourself-happier

 

Another article that lists 300 reasons to be happy. Things to love about your life. http://www.yourlifeyourway.net/2011/09/19/300-reasons-to-be-happy-things-to-love-about-your-life-now/

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I hope you have a happier day today.  Be Happy. Choose Happy. xoxo  -H

SPRING is a rebirth for the Mind, Body & Soul

 

199360-Colorful-Hello-Spring-Quote“SPRING is a time to find out where you are, who you are, and move toward where you are going.  ”  -Penelope Trunk

SPRING seems to breathe new life into everything. You walk around a store and see color everywhere, you walk out into your yard and see the first yellow daffodil’s that seem to sing SPRING.

Spring seems to wake up the soul and fill in the empty spaces with plans and projects, with new beginnings, with spring cleaning, with hope like a bud blooming on the trees outside the window. Everything whispers, grow.

Here are some tips, tricks and ideas to wake up the soul, stretch beyond, open spaces, and make room for the new ideas, dreams and soul seeking things you need right now!

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YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH. YOU ARE BEAUTY. INTELLIGENCE. LOVE. LIGHT. YOU ARE DIVINE. 

Some great tips for your MIND. BODY. SOUL. HOME…balance is better

IDEAS TO NOURISH YOUR SOUL: Take time to be alone, to be quiet. Read–something that will enrich your mind and heart. (a few personal favorites: The Heart of Goodness, The Seekers Guide, Zest for Life, Wayne Dyer, The Untethered Soul) Write–journal things you are grateful for, begin a personal blog to express where you are in life & get feelings out, or write letters to yourself. Write to find your true voice, to set your feelings free and be able to understand yourself a little better on a personal level. Get Creative–what artistic avenue may help you tap into a deeper part of you. Do you have a hobby or passion that lights you up? Find some way to express yourself creatively [photography, painting, wood, collage, etc].  Get out in nature–take a walk through a park, look at flower petals up close, sit under a tree, touch the smooth lines of a pebble, listen to water, watch the clouds. Nature has a calming, soothing affect on us. Get in tune–listen to music that soothes and comforts through the rhythm and flow of the melody of music. It has a power and influence that you cannot over look. Music takes us to memories, it records moments within our lives. You can feel what feels right for you at a specific moment. Listen to what your heart needs. Breathe deeply–take at least five deep breaths and let go. LOL–share jokes, watch a comedy, be silly because laughter really is a great medicine for stress and releases hormones that help us feel better.

IDEAS TO NOURISH YOUR BODY: Sleep–make sure you are getting 7 to 9 hours . Stretch–to avoid soreness, aches and pains. Exerciseaccording to Dr. Mercola eighty percent of Americans fail to meet the recommended amount of exercise, which is 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity activity or 1.25 hours of vigorous-intensity activity each week…along with twice weekly strength-training workouts.  Drink more water–You are suppose to have eight 8-ounce glasses, which equals a half a gallon a day. Make one small change–switch out a soda for flavored water, eat an apple or try a fruit or veggie you have never had. Sun Me–Get out in the sun for a little vitamin D (at least 15 minutes) Try Walnuts–I keep hearing how walnuts are so good for you because they stimulate the brain and nervous system. Don’t eat so fast–This is a big one for my family. We ‘inhale’ our food. Chew, take your time and savor your food. Tap into your scents–lavender calms, Cinnamon reduces nervousness, Orange & Vanilla are an antidepressant, etc. Spray, light a candle, use infusers or oil, but use the power of the aromas.

IDEAS TO NOURISH YOUR MIND: according to HuffingtonPost here are 10 things that benefit our brains–Tired is better?–Your brain does creative work better when you’re tired. That is probably why many ideas often happen in the shower. Stress–can actually change the size of the brain (and make it smaller). Stress is very bad for the brain, so do all you can to avoid it! [ie: get enough sleep, eat healthy, limit alcohol and don’t smoke, exercise, try to have a good work/life balance] Multitasking— is literally impossible for your brain. When we think we’re multitasking, we’re actually context switching. That is, we’re quickly switching back and forth between different tasks rather than doing them at the same time. Research shows your error rate goes up 50 percent and it takes you twice as long to do things.  Take a nap–short bursts of sleep are actually really useful to improve memory, solidify memories, better learning, and more. Vision trumps–Hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10 percent of it. Add a picture and you’ll remember 65 percent. Pictures beat text as well, in part because reading is so inefficient for us. Our brain sees words as lots of tiny pictures, and we have to identify certain features in the letters to be able to read them. Meditation can rewire the brain for the better–causes less anxiety, more creativity, better memory, increased compassion, decreases stress, improves memory skills… Exercise is good for your brain–there is a link between exercise and mental alertness, in a similar way that happiness and exercise are related.          Best foods to boost brainpower according to bbcgoodfood.com–Wholegrains, Oily fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, Blueberries (improves short term memory loss), Tomatoes, B vitamins, Blackcurrant (vitamin c), Pumpkin seeds, Broccoli, Sage, Nuts (vitamin E)

IDEAS TO FIND MORE PEACE WITHIN YOUR HOME: Your home should be a safe haven, a sanctuary for the soul, a place where you are lifted and renewed. Here are some ideas to create more peace at home. According to health.com  you need: Cut the clutter–“Remove anything that causes you stressful thoughts,” says Janice Sugita, author of The Feng Shui Equation. Add watercolors–“Certain hues bring on calm: Blue attracts creativity & prosperity, and green creates a feeling of new life in a room,” Sugita says.  Embrace space–an overstuffed room can make you feel tense, so leave about 2.5 feet of walking space around the furniture. Invite nature indoors–Open blinds to let in natural light, and place plants around the room, “Plants bring new life, growth and oxygen to a space, ” Sugita says.         Have specific times each year to de-clutter— Clutter can add feelings of tension & when you have space and clear out excess you have a more peaceful mind and body.    Energy drain--Make a list of things that drain you around the house & then begin one by one to take care of them.

I hope this post has helped you find ways to nourish your mind, body, soul and home.

It’s Spring, a beautiful time to renew

Peace to you.  -H

Is Happiness a Game?

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The word happiness is derived from the thirteenth-century Old Norse word hap, which means “a chance or luck occurrence.” Thus, our question—or perhaps, our QUEST—can be framed as “If happiness is a game of chance, then how might I increase my odds of winning?” -Dr Craig Rodgers

According to a Harris Poll in 2013 of 2, 345 U.S. adults, just ONE in THREE say they’re very happy.  According to another source, 70 percent of Americans hate their jobs.

According to Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology,  says 60 percent of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40 percent is up to us. In his 2004 Ted Talk, Seligman describes three different kinds of happy lives: The pleasant life, in which you fill your life with as many pleasures as you can, the life of engagement, where you find a life in your work, parenting, love and leisure and the meaningful life, which “consists of knowing what your highest strengths are, and using them to belong to and in the service of something larger than you are.” [huffington post]

The pursuit of happiness is not uniquely American either—in a study of more than 10,000 participants from 48 countries, psychologists Ed Diener of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Shigehiro Oishi of the University of Virginia discovered that people from every corner of the globe rated happiness as being more important than other highly desirable personal outcomes, such as having meaning in life, becoming rich, and getting into heaven.[Psychology Today]

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Here are some tips to TIP HAPPINESS in YOUR direction:

I took & combined ideas from huffingtonpost, Inc, Psychology Today

HAPPY PEOPLE…

Express thankfulness.  Whether it is your personal relationships, those at work or on a personal level, actively expressing gratitude increases good feelings. One study showed people who wrote down five things they were thankful for once a week were 25 percent happier after 10 weeks; in effect they dramatically increased their happiness set-point.

They enjoy being outdoors. Want to feel alive? Just a 20-minute dose of fresh air promotes a sense of vitality, according to several studies published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. “Nature is fuel for the soul, ” says Richard Ryan, Ph.D, the lead author of the studies.      I know for me personally, getting outdoors is definitely fuel for my soul. I feel like something is missing from my day if I don’t get outside.

They exercise. Exercise lowers symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. I can personally tell you from experience–my husband has had some depression and exercise has been a huge key in being able to bring him out of such a dark space. Exercise give you a natural ability to feel happy through the endorphins that are created through exercise. It is like a natural, happy pill.

Surround themselves with other happy people. Joy is contagious. Researchers of the Framingham Heart Study who investigated the spread of happiness over 20 years found that those who are surrounded by happy people “are more likely to become happy in the future.”

They have to allow a certain bit of curiosity and adventure into their lives.  Truly happy people seem to have an intuitive grasp of the fact that sustained happiness is not just about doing things that you like. It also requires growth and adventuring beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Happy people, are, simply put, curious. In a 2007 study, Todd Kashdan and Colorado State psychologist Michael Steger found that when participants monitored their own daily activities, as well as how they felt, over the course of 21 days, those who frequently felt curious on a given day also experienced the most satisfaction with their life—and engaged in the highest number of happiness-inducing activities, such as expressing gratitude to a colleague or volunteering to help others. Curiosity, it seems, is largely about exploration—often at the price of momentary happiness. Curious people generally accept the notion that while being uncomfortable and vulnerable is not an easy path, it is the most direct route to becoming stronger and wiser. In fact, a closer look at the study by Kashdan and Steger suggests that curious people invest in activities that cause them discomfort as a springboard to higher psychological peaks.

They actively pursue goals.  Pursuing goals, though, does make you happy. According to David Niven, author of100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life, “People who could identify a goal they were pursuing [my italics] were 19 percent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26 percent more likely to feel positive about themselves.”     If you want to envision a happy person’s stance, imagine one foot rooted in the present with mindful appreciation of what one has—and the other foot reaching toward the future for yet-to-be-uncovered sources of meaning. Indeed, research by neuroscientist Richard Davidson of the University of Wisconsin at Madison has revealed that making advances toward achievement of our goals not only causes us to feel more engaged, it actually helps us tolerate any negative feelings that arise during the journey.

They Bounce back up after they fall. Happy, flourishing people don’t hide from negative emotions. They acknowledge that life is full of disappointments and confront them head on, often using feelings of anger effectively to stick up for themselves or those of guilt as motivation to change their own behavior. This nimble mental shifting between pleasure and pain, the ability to modify behavior to match a situation’s demands, is known as psychological flexibility.

Do what you excel at as often as you can. the more you enjoy what you do and the more fulfilled you feel by what you do, the happier you will be.  In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Anchor says that when volunteers picked “one of their signature strengths and used it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed.”

They get plenty of sleep. Anyone knows if you don’t get enough sleep you are more irritable, cranky and not enjoyable to be around. When you get the right amount of sleep–all is well.     Dr. Raymonde Jean, director of sleep medicine and associate director of critical care at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center told Health.com. “You get more emotional stability with good sleep.”

They laugh. Laughter releases the same ‘happy’ chemicals as exercise, so laughter truly is one of the better medicines.  I can personally attest for laughing to fight of sadness and depression. When my husband was out of work, we would put in comedies to take away our worry and pain. It definitely helped.

They TRY to be happy. You have often heard the phrase–“fake it to make it” Well, I LOVE the word TRY. You truly can’t “TRY” anything. It is like “trying” to push a pencil. You either have to or not. there is no middle, so if we are “trying” to be happy—we are doing it.

They enjoy the simple things. When you begin to notice the small things that make your life beautiful happiness will fill up the empty spaces. It’s just being grateful for the small pleasures…the evening walk & the way the light plays on the forest floor, the yummy taste of a waffle cone, the warm shower

They understand that money does NOT buy happiness.  Money is important. Money does a lot of things. (One of the most important is to create choices.)  But after a certain point, money doesn’t make people happier. After about $75,000 a year, money doesn’t buy more (or less) happiness. “Beyond $75,000… higher income is neither the road to experience happiness nor the road to relief of unhappiness or stress,” say the authors of that study.   “Perhaps $75,000 is the threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals’ ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure.”  

I have also head another statistic—there was a study done on 22 people major lottery winners & 22 people who had become crippled. A year later—the lottery winners were not any happier than the paraplegics.  Doesn’t that make you think!

They “give” They enjoy spending money on other people, they enjoy the “high” of doing something that makes a difference for another. They take the time to write a thank you note, to make cookies for others on the weekends, to help build conscious awareness about a cause, they volunteer for a local organization, they do little things that make a difference—big or little, it is about the giving feeling.

They look on the brighter side. Optimism creates less stress & better health. When you look at the world with rose colored glasses you are choosing a better life.

They power walk. Ever notice your joyful friends have a certain spring in the step? It’s all about the stride, according to research conducted by Sara Snodgrass, a psychologist from Florida Atlantic University.     In the experiment, Snodgrass asked participants to take a three-minute walk. Half of the walkers were told to take long strides while swinging their arms and holding their heads high. These walkers reported feeling happier after the stroll than the other group, who took short, shuffled steps as they watched their feet.     Try it! See if you feel happier. I think even holding your posture straighter makes you feel better too.  I always tell my daughter to sit tall & when you walk to pretend there are strings pulling you up from the tip of your head that run all the way down your back. It helps to visualize. I know I definitely feel better when I have better posture and walk the walk!

The sound of music. Music is powerful. So powerful, in fact, that it could match up to the anxiety-reducing effects of massage therapy. Over a three month period, researchers from the Group Health Research Institute found that patients who simply listened to music had the same decreased anxiety symptoms as those who got 10 hour-long massages.

They unplug. Whether you do big, belly breaths, meditate, go on a walk, or just deliberately unplug from our world of technology, you will have happiness advantages. Talking on your cell could increase your blood pressure and raise your stress levels, while uninterrupted screen time has been linked to depression and fatigue.

They get spiritual. When you create sacred space, a place that allows for stillness, gratitude, compassion, you are opening a door that will allow calm moments, time for reflection, a deeper space.

Be HAPPY.

A good dose of a happy life

happiness-quote-life-inspiration-motivation-picture-photo-artI recently heard a great analogy about what you put into your life…if you were allergic to something, what do you do? you avoid that opportunity to set yourself up for irritation or pain. If you are allergic to cats, do you find yourself going out of your way to be around them?? No. If you are allergic to melon, do you buy them, even during the summer months? No.

So, why then, do we set ourselves up to surround ourselves with people who are toxic, jobs that make us irritable, have friends that drain our energy, sign up for things we don’t enjoy? WHY, I ask you?? All I can say is, we need to STOP IT!!! and if you have never seen the below video (most likely you have, but in the tiny possibility you haven’t, I am putting it here) and if you have seen it–Enjoy another good laugh!! 

Now here is a little trick for you: Make a mental note or even a physical note of all the things, people, situations, addictions, thoughts, memories, relationships, etc. that drain your energy, suck up your happy life source, bring you down—things, people, places, situations you should avoid to make your life a little better. Make a list!! Now watch this video…

If you were allergic to something, you would avoid it!! You would want to avoid the discomfort. You would do all you could to steer clear of those things that brought you misery. So, I ask you again, WHY do you still find yourself filling your life with people, places, situations, addictions that bring the same misery to your life. You wouldn’t keep doing things that you are allergic to or that could be harmful, so evaluate the people in your life, the activities you participate in, the job you have, and fill your life with good things, not the toxic things. Think about it! Does it make sense? You don’t need serious doses of Benadryl, you need good doses of a healthy, happy life. Make it happen. You control what you allow into your life.

Cheers to a good, healthy dose of a happy life.  -Heather

Tips to Wake Up HAPPY

I wanted to share some great tips I came across in Oprah’s newsletter: 31 Days to Waking Up Happy for Life. There are some great tips here, so take a minute & take it in!! Great tips are always a good thing to share. Enjoy!

I just picked out 15 of my favorites—there are 31, so check out the rest at  http://www.oprah.com/spirit/How-to-Wake-Up-Happy-Happiness-Research

 

 

woman-sleeping-skin-625km1120131. Catch Some Zzz;s–the Right Way. Turkish researchers found that people who tend to sleep on their right side have mellower dreams, with themes of relief, joy, peace and love. They also report feeling better rested and less dysfunctional during waking hours.

 

 

young-woman-walking-on-path-in-city-park2. Soak Up Antidepressant Rays. Step outside for a half hour, or so, if you can. The morning light—especially from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.—may be more effective in curing the winter blues than late-afternoon or evening light.

 

 

7-Starry-645x4843. …Just Don’t Forget One Thing. On the sunniest days, we squint; and squinting can make us angry, explains Daniele Marzoli, PhD, a psychologist at Italy’s University of Chieti-Pescara. Since mood and facial muscles are linked, your face signals to your brain that you’re irritated (even if you weren’t…initially). To make matters worse, the tetchiness flares up almost instantly, explains Dr. Marzoli. Luckily, this one has a simple, fast-acting and potentially elegant remedy: sunglasses.

 

 

hello-17744. Remember to Just Say Hello. It’s a simple greeting, but science reveals that social interaction can help us live healthier, happier and longer lives. Join the campaign that demonstrates how a small gesture can make a big difference.

 

 

c7315ee402ac996e_0601-w660-h441-b0-p0--eclectic-bedroom5. Get your heart racing…and his, too. Schedule an a.m. tryst, and you’ll not only feel more vital and alive but also more bonded to your partner for the rest of the day. Testosterone levels are highest in the morning. Having sex then also boosts your levels of the love hormone, oxytocin.

 

 

good-posture6. Don’t Stoop Around. Depression is a slump—literally and figuratively. Erik Peper, PhD, a professor at San Francisco State University, found that bad posture may only strengthen a vicious cycle of sadness and depression. It’s another artifact of the brain-body link:We act how we feel…and we feel how we act.

 

 

walk-feet7. I am going to call this—THE HAPPY WALK. Put One Foot in Front of the Other—in a brand new way. Researchers found that people who strode down the street (long steps, arms bouncing) for three minutes felt “significantly happier” than those who shuffled (small steps, slumped shoulders, looking down).

 

 

NO-DIET-SODA8. YIKES. Don’t take your Drink Lite. Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, may kill “friendly” gut flora associated with better moods. It also blocks the mood-moderating chemical serotonin (although effects were not noticed in people who had not had a history of a mood disorder). Together, these findings might help explain the results of a National Institutes of Health study: People who drank four or more cups daily of diet soda/diet iced tea had a 30 percent increased risk of depression compared to nondrinkers (more aspartame, higher risk).

 

 

exercising-best-and-worst-states-ftr9. Get Down and give me 20. You’ll likely find that your fitter self is more resilient to slights, pressures and disappointments. Aerobic exercise increases the “fight-or-flight threshold,” says John Ratey, MD, in his exercise science book, Spark—by relaxing muscles, boosting mood-moderating neurotransmitters (like serotonin and dopamine) and reducing the body’s stress response to the hormone cortisol.

 

 

pepmnt110. During Rush Hour–Pop one of these. What helps a frustrated, worn-out driver (besides vanishing traffic, of course)? Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that pumping peppermint-scented air into the cars of ticked-off commuters helped decrease anxiety and fatigue. Stash a bag of peppermint candies in your glove compartment to help you keep your cool during a hectic commute.

 

 

21dmc11. Give your Mind a Short Leash. “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” wrote Harvard University psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert in their study on mental presence. They found that people arehappiest when their minds are in the present moment (yet another reason to meditate)—but that our minds are only in that state about half of each day. The three times we’re most likely to be “here” and happy: when exercising, in conversation and (especially) when having sex.

 

 

gift-giving12. Busy something for someone else. Researchers at the Harvard Business School, the University of British Columbia and the University of Liège found that purchasing anything for someone else—as long as it’s within the very affordable price range of $5 to $20—makes you happier than buying the same item for yourself.

 

 

Screen-Shot-2014-07-06-at-8.24.17-PM13. Find your Flow. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, reminds us of the reason to keep knitting scarves or writing short stories. His research has shown that immersing yourself in an activity (especially one you find pleasurable) can trigger a state calledflow. “The more flow you bring into your life,” Csikszentmihalyi says, “the happier you’ll be.”

 

 

14273115414. Open one of these before bed. What do happy people do? Read! But really, really happy people read these books that open their minds—and lives.

 

 

a-goal-without-a-plan-is-just-a-wish15. Dangle a Week-Carrot. Look, the world of happy moments doesn’t have to end just because the workweek must be spent wearing real clothes. Happiness doyenne Gretchen Rubin, creator of the Happiness Project and author of bestsellers Happier at Home and The Happiness Project, says, “Give yourself a reason to anticipate the coming week: Plan lunch with a friend, or a movie outing, or a trip to an office-supply store—or am I the only one who loves to go to office-supply stores?—and when the Sunday blues hit, remind yourself of everything fun that will happen.”

 

Hope these tips send you on your way to a little more HAPPINESS. Make sure you check out the other suggestions. They are all great. Peace to you.  -H

How to be HAPPY. HAPPY. HAPPY.

I just watched a great documentary on HAPPINESS, called HAPPY. Here is the trailer. Go out and watch it!! You will definitely be better for it. You will learn so much. I am going to give you a few thoughts and ideas that I took away from this great show, but I am not going to tell you everything because you need to see the show. FYI-On Amazon in has over 430 4.5 star ratings.  Enjoy!

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“The constitution only guarantees the American People the right to pursue Happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”                   -Benjamin Franklin

What do you want?? Most people say…to be HAPPY. Happy has undergone a revolution. It seems everyone is in search of HAPPINESS. Look at Coke’s marketing “Open Happiness” the numerous books on the subject (Happiness Project, The Happiness Advantage, Stumbling on Happiness to name a few) and Harvard’s biggest class that has thousands of students each week attend, a class on Happiness (Positive Psychology).  Here is the link for professor Tal Ben-Shahar who is teaching this course (the largest course at Harvard). Make sure you check out his quick  Five Steps for Being Happier Today. There are some great links and videos on this site. http://bigthink.com/users/talbenshahar

Happiness helps you achieve your other goals in life. What is interesting is you are born with a 50% genetic set point OR range of happiness, BUT what is astounding is that your CIRCUMSTANCES account for only 10% of our happiness. WOW!! that is so small. That leaves us with 40% of things that we can do on a regular basis that are intentional activities that will bring us happiness. That is HUGE!! This 40% leaves us with options to add variety, add changes, seek out experiences that increase happiness triggers like dopamine (our bodies natural happiness chemical in the brain). A big activity that increases dopamine—EXERCISE. Also, activities that get you into a natural FLOW, like playing music, something you enjoy doing that has a specific rhythm that makes you happy. It gives you a sense of control over what you are doing.

The WRONG Assumptions of outcome. People believe if something good happens (they get married, win a championship…) they will feel SO HAPPY & they do for a short time. The same is when something bad happens (car wreck, divorce…) some sort of devastation & for a short time they are devastated. THe fact is…People actually do really well even when things go bad.  Scientific research does not support adversity as a bad thing. You have to have pain to have pleasure.

Can MONEY buy Happiness? They literally looked at 50 years of income vs happiness and even though the income level went up. People were no more happier living in their bigger houses, more cars, etc. then they were 50 years ago. The happiness levels were stagnet despite the increase in income.  The ONLY time money brings happiness is when you are homeless or are not having your basic needs (water, food, shelter) met, after that it doesn’t make you any happier. Between the income of $5,000 and $50,000 there is a difference in happiness levels, but between $50,000 and $500,000 there is no difference.

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic motivations: Let’s look at Extrinsic (external) motivations–getting stuff, getting money, concerned about your image, your status VS Intrinisic (internal) motivations—personal growth, friends and family, helping your community, something bigger. People who were more extrinsically motivated were less satisfied with their life, had less energy, were depressed and more anxious. The people who were intrinsically motivated were happier, had less depression, had a sense of meaning in their life.

This movie then took a look at different countries who were the happiest (Denmark) and least happiest (Japan) and looked at the circumstances and stories of why. It was a great show that has so much more and I would highly recommend. Go out and buy it, rent it and enjoy it. It is definitely worth the time.

Here are a few personal tips to take away: Exercise, write down 5 things you are grateful for each night or at the very least once a week, invest in relationships, learn to meditate on compassion, get out into nature, smile, share love, do things you enjoy, be grateful for where you are at…and happiness will follow.

Peace and Happiness to you. -Heather