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Posted by on Dec 22, 2015 in Blog, Experience Life, Gratitude, Happiness, Meditation, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Choose to be happy…Sounds so easy!

Choose happiness … it is something I hear a lot.  And I really wish it were that easy – just make a choice to be happy and you will be.  Believe me I have tried!  And it didn’t work.

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Although not as simple as wishing it to be true, I do believe that I am in control of my own happiness. Unfortunately,  I haven’t found a magic formula to flip the switch on.  What I have found is that I can control my experience of happiness, deliberately doing the things that I know contribute to my happiness.

  • Feeling and expressing gratitude.
  • Being kind.
  • Taking time to unplug everyday.
  • Rebooting my mind by meditating daily.
  • Finding the good things and celebrating them – all of them – big or small!

Practicing these habits of happiness don’t happen automatically – that’s why they are called habits.  And I have learned a couple of things about habits: 1) developing a habit just “takes as long as it takes” to really stick (don’t give up) and 2) habits are formed easier in my life when I am connected to people that are working to form the same habits (find a community of support)!

So let’s start this New Year together; deliberately choosing to practice the habits of happiness; let’s encourage each other, and be kind to ourselves along the journey!  Join our Meet up group and Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/happymatters/) to be a part of the Happiness Revolution!

 

 

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Posted by on Nov 24, 2015 in Blog, Experience Life, Grit, Resilience | 0 comments

Let’s Talk Courage!

When I was 9 years old I decided to play little league baseball.  Being raised in a west side football family, I knew absolutely nothing about baseball but that I liked the cool uniform and glove.  My very first time at bat, I faced the fastest 12 year old pitcher in the league. I was terrified, and with good reason!  The first pitch was hurled at lightning speed and I could think of nothing except saving myself, so I did a duck and cover!  That baseball hit me right in the middle of the back!  I cried and limped my way to first base and then realized I was actually on base!  I made it to first base on my very first time at bat!!

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That experience taught me a few things:

  • Life throws things our way that require courage … and sometimes a little pain.  Life really is about the journey and experiencing the moment we are in. Too often we dwell on the one before or the one to come. By being present we will get the most out of the moment we are in!  I don’t remember if I even scored that at bat (or any other time at bat), but I do remember I had the courage to do it!
  • I don’t know if we won a game that year, but I know that summer taught me one thing–resilience is the ability to bounce back even when you have been smacked in the back!
  • I want more courage and resilience in my life.  And I know that I don’t want fear to stop me.

So I am committing to courage…
the courage to be kind no matter what I get in return.
the courage to get back up no matter how many times I fall down.
the courage to face my fear and never let it be an excuse!
the courage to connect with the people in my life and express my gratitude for them.

We are on this journey together!  Let’s be courageous together.  I would love to hear how you are going to show courage!

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Posted by on Nov 10, 2015 in Blog, Experience Life, Gratitude, Happiness | 2 comments

Life on the Wheel

Sometimes I feel just like a hamster on a wheel … running as fast as I can but going no where.  What am I trying to reach anyway?  Where am I going?  How will I know if I even get there?  And this time of year, I feel as if the wheel is spinning faster!

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In my reflection of my life on the wheel, I have discovered a few things:

  • I may live in a fast-paced, technology filled, consumer driven culture, but I don’t have to chase those things.
  • I am learning that my definition of happiness was very limited.  I have come to understand that happiness is something I have control over.  Pursuing one pleasurable experience after another is like running tirelessly on the hamster wheel because these experiences only make us happy for a few moments.
  • Consumerism sucks me in … especially this time of year!  The shiny catalogs in the mail, the flashy commercials, the families having a perfect holiday meal together!  There seems to be a lot of pressure to keep up and make it all perfect.

I have realized that my experience of happiness is not dependent whether I have the latest and greatest gadget, or buy the perfect gift for everyone on my list, or make the perfect turkey dinner!  All that is great but it makes up such a small part of happiness – only about 15%!  Chasing that is like staying on the hamster wheel and continuing to increase the speed!

My favorite definition of happiness is Aristotle’s: “human flourishing”!  The thought of flourishing is really enticing to me!  But how?  How do I move from the hamster wheel of seeking pleasurable experiences to true contentment? There are a couple ways we can get more bang for our buck, or happiness for our time!
Research about the brain has shown what we can do to actually increase our experience of happiness – to tap into that deeper experience of happiness.

Two weeks ago I talked about the powerful punch of gratitude!  Expressing gratitude really changes things – for you and the person you thank.  It makes such a huge difference in our brain and light up the happiness areas.

Just as important to me on this journey to experience more happiness is mindfulness.  After years of resistance to it (because of a lack of understanding and the notion it was some new-age trend people were falling for) I finally gave into the exploring it. What I discovered about mindfulness helps me stay off that hamster wheel.  It really is about paying attention on purpose!

Seems rather obvious – I mean we all pay attention to what we’re doing, right?  Well, let’s see. Have you ever asked yourself while at a stop light “how did I get here?” Or “did I close the garage door”?  Yep, me too!

Training my brain to really pay attention, to the little things as well as the big things, has gotten me off the wheel and really experiencing people, life, the good things and the hard things!

This is a great time of year to get yourself off the hamster wheel!  Pay attention: to your spouse, your kids, your friends, your co-workers.  It is amazing how much we learn when we really pay attention and how much more happiness we experience … the happiness that enables us to flourish and truly enjoy the holidays!!!

 

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Posted by on Oct 21, 2015 in Blog, Experience Life, Happiness | 0 comments

Are you Sleepwalking through Life?

Do you remember a time when you woke up after a great night’s sleep and you had this feeling it was going to be a good day!  You had  so much to look forward to – a well deserved vacation, a whole day with a special friend or your spouse, or it was your birthday! Maybe you haven’t had one of these mornings in a long time, maybe even since you were a kid…

Wouldn’t it be great if that’s how we approached every day!  So often our life circumstances can numb us and we don’t even know it. Maybe it is a job we dread, the staleness of a fruitless marriage, a painful divorce, the death of someone we cherish, or just our normal day-to-day routines!  Regardless, we can feel like we are just sleep-walking through life. Our goal is to just get through the day, but then we turn around and have to do it all again tomorrow.

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I am realizing that life is full of amazing wonder and surprise; we just have to wake up and look for it – expect it.  I have decided I don’t want to waste another minute!  No more sleep-walking or just getting through…I want to experience it all – the happy, the sad, the exciting, and yes, even the scary moments.  They remind me that I AM ALIVE.  It takes all the experiences in my life to grow me, stretch me and help me appreciate all that is good in my life.

I am waking up from my sleep, and I encourage you to do the same!  Experience where you are; let it show you all the good that is around you.  Don’t waste another day just getting by.  Take it all in!

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