This is such a hard principle to teach people because we have been programmed to think of success and satisfaction completely backwards.
I hope you enjoy it. Remember to chase your dreams!
This is such a hard principle to teach people because we have been programmed to think of success and satisfaction completely backwards.
I hope you enjoy it. Remember to chase your dreams!
This is a post I found at www.apartmenttherapy.com and I thought it was pretty insightful. Enjoy!
Our homes are an extension of who we are: what we do within the walls of our abodes shapes our mood, affects our productivity, and influences our outlook on life. Scientific studies have shown that we can have an impact on our happiness by adjusting the tiny little habits and routines that constitute our daily lives — we are, in fact, in control of our outlook on life.
It’s amazing how a few tweaks to our daily habits can become a catalyst for meaningful, positive change. Here are a few simple things you can do every day to feel happier at home.
1. Make your bed. In a popular post last month, I explained the many benefits of daily bed-making. Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project, explains that this three minute task is one of the simplest habits you can adopt to positively impact your happiness.
2. Bring every room back to “ready.” I learned this trick from Marilyn Paul’s clever book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When You Can’t Find Your Keys. It’s a known fact: Clutter causes stress; order creates a haven from it. This mood-boosting routine is simple: Take about three minutes to bring each room back to “ready” before you depart it. (Unless you have a toddler, or a partner who likes to simulate earthquakes, three minutes should be sufficient.)
3. Display sentimental items around your home. One reason that experiences (and memories of those experiences) make us happier than material things is due to the entire cycle of enjoyment that experiences provide: planning the experience, looking forward to the experience, enjoying the experience, and then remembering the experience. Make your home a gallery of positive memories.
4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, “What was the best part of today?”) Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude. (An added bonus: Later, when your memory is defunct, you will already have all of your meaningful adventures recorded!) If you have trouble getting started with journaling, consider buying a book to guide you. Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, is a great one.
5. If you can’t get out of it, get into it. This tip comes from The Happiness Project. I love the message: The dishes are not going to clean themselves, so you will do it, and you will like it! (Unless, of course, you can outsource this job, in which case I say: Nice work!) Otherwise, get into doing the dishes. Feel the soothing warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Crank your favorite album at an unusually loud volume, do a couple fist-pumps while shouting “Can I get a hell yeah for the dishes? Hell! Yeah!” and pretend you love it.
6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day. In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama says “”Every day, think as you wake up: today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it.” Wow. What a wise man. I tend to wake up with a strong visceral reaction that says, “Attention human beings: Be afraid of me before coffee. Be very afraid!” Setting a daily intent makes a huge difference. Your daily intent could be something like “be productive” or “enjoy today’s delicious moments” or it could be something more specific like “say thank you to my loved ones today.” But it should not be another “to do” item on your list.
7. Do small favors for your housemates, expecting nothing in return (not even a thank you!). (That’s right, I said it: nothing!) Mow the lawn for your husband, but don’t expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don’t try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost. (No! It’s YOUR turn to clean up the dog poop!) It’s a well-known fact: When you do good, you feel good.
8. Call at least one friend or family member a day. You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don’t feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better.
9. Spend money on things that cultivate experiences at home. Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain. Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don’t forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)
10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself. Whatever your spiritual beliefs — or non-beliefs — may be, studies show that connecting to a high power is correlated with happiness. Just stepping back to realize that we are part of an enormous universe can put some perspective on your annoyance with the those-are-definitely-not-mine-and-they-are-abso-fricking-lutely-repulsive socks under the coffee table. Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)
When I was young, I loved to play baseball. My friends and I played every day. When Little League started, I wanted to be a pitcher. My dad was an all-star pitcher when he was a young boy and I wanted to be just like him. So he and I practiced in the backyard almost every night.
Finally, the day came for me to pitch in my first game.
I was nervous but so excited as I walked up to the pitcher’s mound. I still remember the anxious jitters I had as I put my foot on the rubber strip. I looked to the catcher for the sign, wound up and pitched.
Ball 1. No problem.
I wound up again and pitched…ball 2.
Soon ball 3 and ball 4 followed and I had officially walked the first batter I ever faced.
The second batter brought a chance to start over. I checked the runner at first, like I’d seen on T.V., wound up from the stretch, and pitched…
Within 2 minutes I had walked my second batter on 4 straight balls.
Then a third batter.
Then a fourth.
The score was 1-0 without the other team ever swinging their bat. I had not even thrown a strike.
“Just play catch with the catcher!”, said my coach.
“Just let them hit it!” said my team.
“Throw it underhand!” said some smart alec from the other team.
I soon walked 3 more batters in succession. With each batter, the strike zone and catcher’s mitt seemed to be getting smaller and smaller. As I continued to pitch, I started trying to force the ball into the strike zone. I would let go of the ball and then try to guide it into the catcher’s mitt as if by some magical force.
In the end, I walked 12 straight batters before the coach had mercy on me and brought in a new pitcher. I was devastated. My professional pitching career was over long before it ever started.
As my dad and I walked back to the car he said to me, “Just let it go.”
“I can’t!” I snapped. “How can I ever pitch again? I was horrible!”
“I mean when you pitch.” he said calmly. “Go through your wind up and delivery but when the ball leaves your hand, just let it go. Don’t try to force it into the mitt.”
“I don’t know what you mean. Obviously when I throw it I have to let it go.” I said snidely.
“True, but how much control do you have over the ball after it leaves your fingertips?”
“So all you can control are the things that happen before that point when the ball leaves your hand. After that, you have to let it go where it’s supposed to go.”
“So you’re saying that if my wind up and delivery are good, the pitch will be good?”
“Exactly. But if you focus so hard on forcing the ball into the glove, you will forget to perform a perfect delivery. Focus on the things you can control, and then just let it go. You can’t control everything. Great results will always follow great actions.”
My pitching career didn’t last more than a couple of seasons of little league. I moved on to other interests. Later in my life, however, I was able to revisit the wisdom of my father’s words. Often times in my adult life, I have tried to control the results around me. I want everything to work out perfectly so I try to force the results. And when I do, I often end up frustrated.
At these times, the words of my father come into my head, “Let it go.”
“Focus on the things you can control. Do your best. Then let it go. If you can perfect the things in your control, you will see great results.”
“Once you let it go, forget about it. Have faith that great things will come from your efforts.”
So when life seems to get crazy and out of control, remember to slow down for a minute. Look for ways to work on yourself and those aspects of your life that you can control….and then just let it go. “Great results always stem from great actions.”
May you throw many strikes in the pursuit of happiness!
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This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to address those with clinical depression or other mental illnesses.
There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. I have spent plenty of time amongst both groups to have seen it first hand. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
The question is: how do they do that?
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …
1. Don’t hold grudges.
Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.
2. Treat everyone with kindness.
Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.
3. See problems as challenges.
The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.
4. Express gratitude for what they already have.
There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.
5. Dream big.
People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.
6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.
7. Speak well of others.
Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.
8. Never make excuses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.
9. Get absorbed into the present.
Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.
10. Wake up at the same time every morning.
Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.
11. Avoid social comparison.
Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.
12. Choose friends wisely.
Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.
13. Never seek approval from others.
Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.
14. Take the time to listen.
Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.
15. Nurture social relationships.
A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.
Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.
17. Eat well.
Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.
Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.
19. Live minimally.
Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.
20. Tell the truth.
Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.
21. Establish personal control.
Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.
22. Accept what cannot be changed.
Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.
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Here’s the link to the blog where I found this information: 22 Things Happy People Do Differently.
Not to worry. The rest of your day need not be a disaster. It can in fact become one of your best, providing you take these simple steps:
1. Remember that the past does not equal the future.
There is no such thing as a “run of bad luck.” The reason people believe such nonsense is that the human brain creates patterns out of random events and remembers the events that fit the pattern.
2. Refuse to make self-fulfilling prophesies.
If you believe the rest of your day will be as challenging as what’s already happened, then rest assured: You’ll end up doing something (or saying) something that will make sure that your prediction comes true.
3. Get a sense of proportion.
Think about the big picture: Unless something life-changing has happened (like the death of a loved one), chances are that in two weeks, you’ll have forgotten completely about whatever it was that has your shorts in a twist today.
4. Change your threshold for “good” and “bad.”
Decide that a good day is any day that you’re above ground. Similarly, decide that a bad day is when somebody steals your car and drives it into the ocean. Those types of definitions make it easy to be happy–and difficult to be sad.
6. Focus on what’s going well.
The primary reason you’re convinced it’s a bad day is that you’re focusing on whatever went wrong. However, for everything going badly, there are probably dozens of things going well. Make list, and post it where it’s visible.
7. Expect something wondrous.
Just as an attitude of doom and gloom makes you see more problems, facing the future with a sense of wonder makes you alive to all sorts of wonderful things that are going on, right now, everywhere around you.
Now go out and have a great day!
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