GREAT STORY

6eb60d5fcde77af6bd352606ef09bb3eI have been reading Pam Grout’s newest book, “Thank & Grow Rich” which has been a great read. THANK YOU, Pam!! She has some great stories and I wanted to share one that truly shares how money cannot buy happiness.

I think it is easy for all of us to think if we had more money, a bigger house, a better car…we would be finally HAPPY. Even though we have heard time and time again by the richest of rich that money doesn’t buy happiness, we still wonder. Reading stories like the following reminds us of the reality of what is truly important. Enjoy!

Here is the story from Pam’s book…

The only thing the one-percenters have over the average Joes is this: They already know that accumulating money doesn’t bring lasting happiness. They’ve already figured out that having a gazillion dollars in the bank doesn’t produce the profound contentment after which the rest of us lust.

Take Ken Behring, for example. Growing up in Depression-era Wisconsin in a house without central heat or hot water, Behring fell for the lie that he’d be happy if only he were rich. As a young boy, he mowed lawns, caddied at golf courses, delivered newspapers.

He had spunk and drive and eventually became an uber-successful real estate developer. By the time he was 27, he was a millionaire. And he got all the stuff he thought he wanted: a big house, a boat, fancy cars.

When that didn’t bring any real happiness, he tried “better stuff”: bigger houses, a bigger yacht, fancier cars.

Eventually, that began to reek like the other stuff. Maybe he was going for the “wrong stuff”; maybe he should try “different stuff.” Maybe buying the Seattle Seahawks would make him happy.

Nope, foiled again. He eventually sold his professional football team and started hunting in Africa, flying over in his private jet. When he could, he’d take supplies, books and medicine for the local guides and their families.

LDS philanthropies (the charitable branch of the Church of Latter-day Saints) heard about his trips and asked if he’d be willing to make a detour, to drop off supplies to Kosovo war refugees. After loading up 15 tons of canned meat, they noticed extra room and added six wheelchairs.

While in Romania, Behring, who passed out the wheelchairs himself, was grabbed by one of the young refugees, who had stepped on a land mine and lost his legs. “Don’t leave just yet,” said the grateful young boy, who refused to let go of Behring’s leg. “I want to memorize your face so when we meet again in heaven, I can thank you one more time.”

“It was the first time I ever felt real joy,” says Behring, who has since given away nearly a million bright red wheelchairs. “It changed my life. This [charitable work] is the greatest thing I have ever achieved in my life.”

The good news is that because our financial system us an antiquated cultural story, it can be changed.

It starts with a new definition of wealth: the ease and freedom to be generous. The ease and freedom to pursue your dreams. The ease and freedom to live for the upliftment of all creation.

Choosing the joy and gratitude frequency generates a different kind of capital, one that feeds the soul, one that serves your real desires–to be of service, to be a channel for love, to create insanely beautiful things.

 

I LOVE THAT STORY. I hope anyone who reads this (or her book) will walk away feeling that life is about a higher purpose and that we are the instruments to channel the good things of this world. I hope we can all begin to see the larger scale of humanity and the direct connections we all have and begin to use our gifts and talents to touch the lives of others.

Peace and Love to you today.  -H

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

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.

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

Something to Think About

Photo-from-ABM._V359247896_Let go of the CONTROL to hold on to the HAPPINESS.

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“Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the fault-finding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealously, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.” 
Og Mandino

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“The control center of your life is your attitude.”  -unknown

You must always be intoxicated!

ImageYou must always be intoxicated!

Honestly growing up in Utah I would have heard this statement & immediately thought about beer parties, lots of drinking …BUT, I was just reading through some beloved quotes and came across this thought…

“You must always be intoxicated. That sums it all up: it’s the only question. In order not to feel the horrible burden of Time which breaks your back and bends you down to earth, you must be unremittingly intoxicated.  But on what? Wine, poetry, virtue, as you please. But never be sober. And if it should chance that sometimes, on the steps of a palace, on the green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your room, you wake up and you intoxication has already diminished or disappeared, ask the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, ask everything that flees, everything that groans, everything that rolls, everything that sings, everything that speaks, ask them what time it is and the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, will reply: It’s time to be intoxicated!!   If you do not wish to be one of the tortured slaves of Time, never be sober: never ever be sober! Use wine, poetry, or virtue, as you please.”  -Charles-Pierre Baudelaire

 

What fills you with intoxication? What fills you with a sense of being lit up? What stirs your soul and makes you full of wonder? There are so many things in this life that make you stop and think. There are so many things that we are given to make our day a little better, a little brighter. Are you filled with moments of pure happiness, a true sense of deep intoxication for the life you are living?  What makes your heart sing?? What are you doing & what are you not doing to give you that thrill of existence.

There was another quote that made me stop, it made my heart ache for the many moments I take for granted…A full moon, noticing the way water flows, enjoying the mystery of the ocean, hugging my daughter more, being healthy & strong, being able to see, reminiscing, laughing, loving…there are so many things we pass by, so many things that will help increase the deep intoxication for life that we miss. The following quote made me strive to notice things a little more.

“…because we don’t know [when we will die], we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.”  -Paul Bowles

 

So, today, I make a wish that we will all strive for intoxication!! Something that makes you smile, something that will make your eyes well up in gratitude, something that will move you to see things a little differently. Notice the big and little things held within your life, the moments of grace, the moments of joy, the moments that lead to the well of intoxication, with a knowing that this well will not always be there, so it must be cherished, enjoyed slowly and savored with every moment.

Cheers to life!!  Best wishes to you.  -Heather

Outer order brings inner calm

ImageI was just listening to a podcast with Gretchin Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project.” It is a great read if you haven’t read it. She was talking about getting rid of the clutter & the negative energy it brings to your home. She made this statement “Outer order brings inner calm.”  I LOVE that!! It makes so much sense & it was perfectly timed because I am getting rid of junk for a garage sale this weekend & trying to restore a little more order. Yeah!!!

Here is a link to Gretchin Rubins archived tips on organizationhttp://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/tag/organization/

So, I thought today I would add some good ideas to help get rid of clutter and bring a little more peace and calm to your home & mine!!

Here is a great article that I have held on to for some time, so I thought I would share its ideas with you… 

9 Seemingly Logical Excuses for Clinging to Clutter  by Christine Kane

“Perfection is not when there is no more to add, but no more to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Guilt is the stickiest reason why we keep things we don’t want. It’s the heavy gooey energy that convinces us we’re bad people if we let go of heirlooms, sentimental items, knick-knacks, unwanted clothing, unwanted gifts, and grandfather clocks that no longer work. These items clutter up our lives and keep us in a comfortable – but draining – place where we never have to decide what we do want in our environment.

Beyond guilt, the reasons we hang on to stuff are less sticky. But no less convincing. Below are nine seemingly logical reasons we cling to clutter.

clutter excuse #1 – “i spent so much on it!”

This is a different kind of guilt. It’s self-flagellation guilt. You unconsciously punish yourself for having made a bad choice by keeping the item around. You convince yourself that you’re going to get your money’s worth – even if it drains the hell out of you.

You won’t. And it will.

We’ve all done stupid things. And we’ve all had to let them go. Now it’s your turn.

clutter excuse #2 – “i might need this someday.”

I often wonder how many idle telephone cords exist in the world. Perhaps tossed in the back of a desk drawer. Or stuffed on closet shelves. They can’t be gotten rid of. Why?

Because we might need them some day.

Evidently, some day, in spite of all the cellular wireless cordless progress out there, you’re going to need that particular grey phone cord that came with a phone you bought in 1989 that doesn’t even exist anymore. That cord is going to make it to the grave with you.

Throw it out. Now.

Same thing goes for: Rusty screws, the extra wine opener, the extra fax machine, light-switch plates from your last house, the three extra flashlights, any and all of those multi-cabled red and yellow stereo cords, extra book cases, IKEA clocks you no longer use, all the glass flower vases that came with flower deliveries, bowls and plates people left behind at dinner parties never to be claimed again, and any machinery or equipment that doesn’t work.

clutter excuse #3 – “i might do this someday.”

I know. I know. You’re certain that someday you’ll take those broken pieces of china and pottery you’ve collected, and you’ll create a beautiful mosaic birdbath. And you’ll go through those stacks of magazines and make that collage for your sister’s 30th birthday party three years ago. And don’t forget the quilting project! You’re bound to get to those fabric scraps lying everywhere!

Now – I don’t mean to deny you the right to plan and dream and create. However, if these items are constantly in your environment – and if you notice them often – then I urge you to consider experiencing the vast amount of relief and liberation that appears when you let them go. No one ever expected you to finish these things. Except, perhaps, you.

Call your sister and tell her the collage isn’t gonna happen. Go out and purchase a mosaic birdbath from an artist who makes her living from creating such treasures.

And then, get rid of all the clutter of “someday projects.”

Make space for what you want to do. Don’t fill your space with what you should do.

clutter excuse #4 – “it looks good if people see that i have this.”

One woman at a recent retreat admitted to keeping things around because she wanted to appear intelligent when she had parties. Books, CD’s, and media are typically the things that add to our perceived intelligence.

I had a hard time letting books go because I didn’t want guests to think I didn’t read. Then I realized that I only invite people into my home who love me and who I love. Anyone I love knows that I — A] can read, B] have diverse tastes in music, and C] am not stupid. I keep only the books that are relevant to my teaching or writing or songwriting. Everything else gets given away.

Remember this: we are motivated by two things: Fear or Love. Which of these keeps you clinging to items because of appearances?

clutter excuse #5 – “i don’t know where it goes.”

When items don’t have a home, it’s harder to determine whether or not they are clutter. Some things may seem like clutter – like the cute card that your daughter made that floats around from drawer to drawer – but they’re not clutter. They’re just homeless.

When things have a defined place to go, then it’s easier to see what is clutter. Look at your house in terms of zones. What’s a logical and easy place to keep cards made by your kids? Where’s the best place to store stationery or projects to be done? (Even some of the projects in #3 can be managed if they are in a well-defined space or box.) One extra phone cord might belong in a box labeled “Extension Cords and Extra Cables.” Once you start defining spaces for items, then it’s easier to see when something doesn’t fit anywhere and should just get tossed.

clutter excuse #6 – “things have energy?”

This is more about unawareness than about making excuses. Some of us never knew that things have energy and meaning. Even if it’s just the meaning you assign to something – old divorce papers, sweaters you feel guilty about not wearing, or projects you’ll never have time to complete – every item in your home has energy. It’s either fueling you, or draining you. Some things might be neutral, of course. But if there’s anything that triggers you or that you just don’t like, then that is your barometer. Let it go. And trust that the right thing will come in to fill that void. Or not. Maybe you need the space right now!

clutter excuse #7 – “but i never wore it!”

See Clutter Excuse #1. Holding onto something to punish yourself for never wearing it because A] you didn’t like it after all, or B] you never lost that extra weight, only serves to drain you. You are allowed to forgive yourself and move on.

clutter excuse #8 – “there’s too much stuff!”

Overwhelm can stop us in our tracks. If you are a pack rat, or if this blog makes you aware that there are lots of items in your life that you don’t like, then go slow. Read this post about baby steps. Take action slowly. Divide your house into segments, and assign small chunks of time each day. You don’t have to do this all at once.

clutter excuse #9 – “i don’t know what i love or want!”

When you begin to realize what you don’t want, then you may realize that you don’t know what you do want. That’s okay. You simply had never allowed yourself to consider this option.

At my last retreat, I designed a new writing exercise to help each woman get clear about what she wanted in different areas of her life. Some of the women – even the ones who had come to my retreats several times – looked at me with stunned expressions on their faces. For a moment I thought I had designed a really bad exercise. But then I realized that these women had never allowed themselves to ask what they wanted. They never knew this was an option.

 

If you don’t know what you do want or love, try creating a vision board. That’s a great place to start. Lots of time, when you allow yourself to clear out what you don’t want, you will slowly learn what you do want just by getting comfortable with the space that’s there. If you typically rush to fill space with anything, then it may be wise to live for a time empty. This is a process, not a destination.

** I do have detailed directions for creating a vision board. here is the link  https://yourhappyplaceblog.com/2013/01/02/tap-into-the-vision-for-your-life/

Here are some additional links on getting organized:

Here is a good site that has some great tips for a variety of areas—including free garage sale signs!!  http://organizedhome.com/

Here is a link to a day by day–step by step process to be organized in 30 days.  http://www.homemadesimple.com/en-US/HomeOrganization/Pages/get-organized-in-30-days.aspx

Love Real Simple, so here are some good tips from them…http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/get-organized-everyday-items-10000001106576/index.html

 
Well, that is all for today!! Happy organizing…it will bring you happiness when you feel the beautiful order you have created within your life. Just remember to take it one little step at a time.