Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!

Archive for August, 2013

Happiness…

 

There is a lot of buzz these days about happiness. Lots of people looking for it, and therefore lots of “how to” books and programs and advice. Why are we so focused on finding happiness? Are we really that unhappy?

There are two things to know about happiness. First, it’s just a feeling; feelings come and go, and they are usually based on external circumstances (both past and present) and our inner dialogue related to those circumstances. Thus, one of the reasons we have challenges staying happy is because it is a temporary experience – it is not meant to be permanent. Joy, on the other hand, is a state of being based on one’s sense of self. This has permanence – once you develop a strong sense of self, you can be joyful even when you are experiencing difficult and painful situations. No one and nothing can take that away from you.

Second, because it is based on external things, feeling good (happiness) is related to receiving. Meaning, we must be open to taking in the good things that are happening, and we must have good things happening. One reason for unhappiness is that we set ourselves up for disappointment without even knowing it. Another is forgetting to or blocking ourselves from receiving the good. If you can’t receive what’s great about your life, it is all going to seem bad. Then, … unhappiness.

Joy is different. It is more about expressing than receiving. Joy comes from knowing who we really are and expressing that out in the world from a place of selflessness. One way to do that is through expressing our gifts. When we are giving of ourselves, our unique gifts, we lay the groundwork for a joy-filled life.

Part of growing to higher awareness and acquiring inner peace and power requires that we stop looking for things outside ourselves to make us feel better and go inward instead, to discover – and become responsible for – the unique gifts we embody, the intrinsic abilities that we were born with. These gifts are to be shared freely, given simply for the sake of giving, and used for the purpose of serving those around us.

What do I mean by gifts? Those talents, strengths, skills, and qualities that are natural to you. They are the innate traits and abilities you have that make up who you are as a person. Strengths such as leadership, initiative, maximizing, organizing, and diplomacy. Skills such as communication, listening, problem solving, process improvement, and visionary thinking. Qualities such as courage, discipline, determination, and heart.

This isn’t about “do what you love and the money will follow.” This is “be who you are just because.” Then life will follow. To expect money because you’re giving your gifts is an egoic need that only sets the stage for unhappiness. Joy is about giving freely whenever your gifts are called for. Certainly at work, but also in other areas of your life.

Therefore, we must separate using our gifts from making a living with them. Some people can use them to make a living, however, most do not. To be free, we will have to let go of the attachment to the belief that we must “do what we love” and learn instead to “be who we are.”

Bobby Drinnon, in his book Petitioning Reality with Faith, says, “One of the biggest misconceptions concerning our gifts is that they really don’t amount to much unless we can use them to earn a living. …. So long as you are doing something constructive with your gifts, using them to the very best of your ability, it really doesn’t matter how you earn your daily bread.”

The good news is, then, that we can express our gifts just about everywhere we go. We must use the gifts we are aware of in order to discover and develop those that are hidden. The awareness  and claiming of gifts evolves over time. We cannot give what we don’t have, and we cannot get more unless we’re willing to give what we do have.

If you are interested in discovering your gifts, here are some places to start:

  1. Strengthsfinder: https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/Purchase
  2. Enneagram: https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/Tests_Battery.asp#RHETI

In-Joy!

Patty Farinola

http://theawarenessstudio.com

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

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enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

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Want to Know What Really Makes You Happy? Try Tracking It!

Throughout our careers and lives, the big decisions we have to make usually lead back to a single, overriding concern: What really makes me happy? Too often we try to answer these questions without knowing or understanding the real data from our lives. Our self-analysis devolves into speculation or wishful thinking.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been collaborating with Harvard Business Review to develop a quick self-test to determine individual readiness for understanding your own data through the world of auto-analytics. Auto-analytics is a method of using new self-tracking tools to help answer key professional (and personal) questions: How do I boost my productivity? Am I in the right career? How can I improve my work routines by altering my health habits, like sleep and exercise?

To get a sense of how auto-analytics can be used enrich our decision making, I recommend three distinct approaches:

1. Quantifying reflection is the practice of spending a few moments each evening to rate (or rank) that day on a numerical scale, and also to provide qualitative information on daily activities. This method not only begins to habituate reflection but also creates a repository of personal data to inform decisions on which sorts of behaviors to embrace or avoid.

Author Ashish Mukharji’s use of this method shows that we don’t have to be a professional philosophers or positive psychologists to think systematically about happiness. For the past three years he’s been rating his days on a scale of 1-10, also jotting down some associated thoughts, “a restaurant, movie … whatever made that day special.”

Through this exercise he has learned that his average happiness is a seven and he has uncovered some unexpected sources of happiness. For example, in the experience of accomplishment, “actually getting to a goal” is less apt to make him happy than the process of working toward that goal.

With his personal data in hand, he now resolves his existential puzzles with small, practical interventions — idiosyncratic methods to lift his daily happiness. For instance, no matter how much fun he might be having at night, he retires early to avoid  missing sleep, since feeling tired invariably makes him unhappy, according to the data.

2. Theory testing uses auto-analytics tools as a way to quantify happiness in terms of an established model. Take the well-known study on happiness by academic Carol Ryff, which includes a theory of psychological well-being. Ryff posited that well-being could be measured on a model with six factors: self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose, mastery, autonomy, and positive relations with others. Researcher and statistician Konstanin Augemberg decided to test Ryff’s theory in this short case study. Using the programmable rTracker app on his mobile phone, Augemberg sampled himself three times a day on sliding scale with a simple question: How happy do you feel right now? He also rated himself at that moment on the six factors in Ryff’s model.

After a month, he ran the analysis of his data. “Out of 6 [variables] only 4 turned out to be predictive of happiness; the most influential of those were mastery and autonomy — being in control of the situation and being independent,” he found.

A good model like Ryff’s may have broad appeal, but as Augemberg’s experiment demonstrates, all of its six factors may not be relevant to each  individual — an overly complicated model may be likened to a  universal remote control with superfluous buttons.  Through this experiment, Augemberg was able to remove the extra two components, allowing him to better focus on those factors that, according to his data, directly influenced his happiness. He observes, “n=me, so the model may work differently for others.”

3. Experience sampling gently nudges users at random intervals throughout the day to log how they’re feeling. Over time, the method creates a detailed happiness dashboard so participants can make fact-based decisions or change their habits based on their numbers.

Auto-analytics tools in this area, like trackyourhappiness, represent a new type of research approach, one that advances both scientific learning and individual progress toward happiness.

An interesting dimension of trackyourhappiness is its measurement of mind-wandering. The tool helps people work out tough questions like this one: As I’m performing a task I consider unpleasant, say collating monthly business travel expenses, is it better to focus on the task at hand or to imagine something more pleasant while mindlessly grinding through it?

To resolve this type of conundrum, users are asked three questions at various points throughout the day: (1) How do you feel now? which they answer on a sliding scale from “very bad” to “very good”; (2) What are you doing?; and (3) Are you thinking about something other than what you’re currently doing?, to which they can answer “no,” “yes — something unpleasant,” “yes — something neutral” or “yes — something pleasant.”

After using the tool for a while, most begin to discover through data that they are much more happy when they are focused on the present than when not. As lead researcher Matt Killingsworth’s analysis of more than 15,000 users shows, people are measurably less happy when they are mind-wandering, no matter what they are doing. “For example, people don’t really like commuting to work very much, it’s one of their least enjoyable activities. And yet they are substantially happier when they are only focused on their commute than when their mind is going off to something else,” he says in his research presentation.

A possible cause for the negative effects of mind-wandering may be that our minds most often wander to worrisome topics like job stability or declining sales this month. Yet on the flip side, the data also show that even when we are imagining something neutral or pleasant, we are slightly less happy  when our mind is diverted from its main task than we are when it is attentive.

Killingsworth sums up: “If mind-wandering were a slot machine it would be like having a chance to lose $50, $20, or $1. You’d never want to play.”

Each of the three approaches is really about adding a dose of science, gathering, and acting on data to inform personal change. Whether you’re interested in addressing your happiness, your work productivity, or something else important, you can begin this data-gathering process by taking this short assessment.

By H. James Wilson

H. James Wilson

H. James Wilson is senior researcher at Babson Executive Education. He is co-author of The New Entrepreneurial Leader: Developing Leaders Who Shape Social and Economic Opportunity (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2011).

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

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10 Steps to a Happier Life

10 Steps to a Happier Life

 

Our modern lives are littered with stress. By retuning your approach to it,  you can create a pure, lasting inner peace in place of modern worries. Here are  some suggestions to help guide you towards lifelong happiness.

Live every moment. Be totally invested in life right now — not in the past or future. Many people are so busy worrying about last week and  detailing tomorrow, that they forget to live today. Put more effort in “the now” and stop worrying — it just makes you older. That being said…

Don’t get old. Getting old means abandoning your creative  instincts. It means stressing more. It means being serious all the time. But,  there are many ninety-year-olds with who certainly don’t act “old.” Being young and creative is a  state of mind, regardless of age. And creativity is the fuel of happiness. So,  go lie in the grass and pick out shapes in the clouds. Roll around if you want  to. It is perfectly alright, regardless of what society has lead you to  believe.

Have experiences. Good or bad. Open yourself up. Be a vessel  for new ideas, cultures, foods. Don’t pass judgement on people, things, or  places that you haven’t yet experienced. Forge deep, human connections.  That’s what life is all about.

Banish negative thinking from your life. It serves no  purpose for anyone, and only makes life more toilsome. Stop it.

Tread lightly upon the Earth. Living lightly feels more  purposeful and brings you closer to the planet. As hikers practice “Leave  No Trace”, do so with your own life. When you are gone, how much of your  imprint will be left here on the planet? Will you have left thousands of pounds  of trash? How many non-renewable resources did you yourself consume? If you  desperately need to be remembered when you’re gone, maybe you should commission  a statue or portrait of yourself (supporting the arts at the same time!). Don’t  leave future generations with piles of your waste to clean up.   

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let  your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a  million count half a dozen…” (Thoreau). Stop stressing about everything and  frantically multitasking. Do a few things, and do them well. “Our life  is frittered away by detail…” Stop wasting your precious seconds  halfheartedly doing twelve things at once. Do one thing at a time — wholeheartedly and passionately. Simplify your life, possessions, thoughts, and  you’ll find yourself much more at peace.

Get out of your comfort zone. Try everything once, even if  you are weary. You’ll be glad you did. See “Have experiences.

Use your mind. Don’t squander it. Stop relying on technology  to do your thinking for you. Your brain is unique and brilliant in its own way.  Use it more and you’ll be amazed at your increase in creativity and overall  satisfaction.  

Treat your body with respect. Practice yoga, play tennis, go  swimming. Eat natural foods. Have some chocolate, drink a beer. To put it  simply: get exercise, eat well, indulge in moderation. Love your body and  it will continue to serve you. As soon as you start disrespecting your body, it  will start wasting away.

Reconnect with nature. There is no separation between  humankind and nature; we are simply an extension of it. Be outside. Breathe in  fresh air. Let the sun warm your soul. From a scientific standpoint, being  outdoors boasts numerous benefits. From a human standpoint, it just feels right.  Isn’t that all that matters? Go enjoy it.

By Jordyn Cormier

Jordyn is a choreographer, freelance writer, and an avid outdoors woman.  Having received her B.F.A. in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory,  she is passionate about maintaining a healthy body, mind, and soul through food  and fitness. A lover of adventure, Jordyn can often be found hiking, canoeing,  mountain biking, and making herself at home in the backcountry! Check out what  else Jordyn has been up to at jordyncormier.com.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

Memory Tips From an Inspiring Memory Champion!

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In a little more than a minute, Nelson Dellis can memorize the exact order of a shuffled deck of playing cards and recite it back to you, flawlessly.

Give him five minutes, and he’ll memorize a string of over 300 digits, again, being able to repeat them without making a mistake.

Dellis isn’t a magician or a member of Mensa—he’s one of the millions of people whose lives have been forever altered by bearing witness to the agonizing decline of a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Nobody really takes Alzheimer’s that seriously, unless they’ve witnessed it first-hand,” says Dellis, whose grandmother, Josephine, passed away from the disease in 2009. “Near the end it was extremely difficult, especially when she couldn’t remember who I was.”

Climbing mountains, both mental and physical

The profound experience of dealing with a beloved grandmother who could no longer remember his name inspired Dellis to pursue two goals: to safeguard his brain against the ravages of Alzheimer’s, and to establish “Climb for Memory,” a charity that coordinates climbing expeditions across the globe to raise money and awareness to combat the memory-robbing disease.

Dellis’ efforts have led him to lofty heights.

This March, he will attempt to win his third consecutive USA National Memory Championship: a yearly competition that pits the country’s best mental athletes against one another to see who can best perform monstrous feats of memorization, including a list of 500 words, an unpublished poem, and over 100 names and faces.

Dellis has also climbed some of the highest peaks in the world, including Mt. Ranier, Mt. McKinley, Mont Blanc and Alpamayo.

“I’ve always loved the mountains. There’s just something so humbling about them,” says Dellis, who came within 280 vertical feet of summiting the fabled Mt. Everest in 2011. “When you’re at the base of a mountain looking up, it just makes you feel so small and insignificant. It puts everything into perspective.” He will be making his second attempt to tackle the behemoth in the spring of 2013.

Dellis admits that his initial failure to reach the peak really hammered home the importance of preserving life’s little memories. “It’s good to remember that life is all about those little surrounding moments that build up to those major things, not the major things themselves,” he says.

Exercise of all forms helps preserve mental health

There’s no sure-fire way to stave off Alzheimer’s disease, but that doesn’t mean that one should adopt a defeatist attitude when it comes to aging and preventing memory loss. Just because you’re getting older and may forget where you put your car keys now and again is no cause for alarm.

According to board-certified neurologist, David Perlmutter, M.D., consistently challenging the brain with a combination of healthy social interactions, aerobic exercise and mental drills can be extremely advantageous for preserving long-term mental acuity. “Unlike other body systems, the brain retains a remarkable ability to regenerate itself, lifelong,” he says.

Dellis is the embodiment of this advice—engaging in a regular routine that involves brain exercises, CrossFit workouts and training for his climbs. Choosing to lead by example, his ultimate aim is to spread the word about brain health and educate people on how to improve their lives.

“If I can make people excited about memorization, staying fit, and having a healthy brain, then I feel like I’m doing my job,” he says. “It won’t cure Alzheimer’s, but it gets people thinking about it, and that can be contagious.”

Training tips from a memory champ

Your day-to-day life may not require you to memorize long strings of numbers, or the precise order of a deck of 52 cards.

But, here’s an easy way to incorporate one of Dellis’ go-to memory training techniques—called the “loci method”—into your everyday routine:

  1. First, think about your grocery list for the coming week. It may help to write it down and try to make each item as simple as possible (i.e. mozzarella cheese as opposed to Sargento brand, 2% milk mozzarella cheese). Let’s say your list has ten different things on it: grapes, bread, mint frozen yogurt, laundry detergent, dog food, bananas, milk, toilet paper, ground turkey and a gossip magazine.
  2. Once you have your list finalized, sit down and close your eyes.
  3. In your mind picture a place you’re very familiar with. Dellis suggests using your house.
  4. Picture yourself going about your regular routine—getting out of bed in the morning, brushing your teeth, checking on your loved one, going downstairs to make breakfast, etc.
  5. Next, begin adding in the items on your grocery list into your mental montage. The key part of this step is to add the items in a crazy, emotionally-charged (in other words, memorable) way.
  6. For example, imagine that when you get out of bed in the morning, your floor is covered in grapes. Whenever you step on them, the grapes squeal in protest. With your feet covered in sticky grape jam (what an annoying way to start the day), you stalk to the bathroom and furiously wipe them on your bath mat, which, as it turns out, is made entirely of bread. You grab your toothbrush and scoop some mint-flavored frozen yogurt onto it and begin to brush your teeth. After polishing your pearly whites, you walk into the hallway, where the dirty clothes in the hamper start pestering you about switching laundry detergents. The last few washes have been very unpleasant for them. And so on.
  7. By populating a familiar setting (your house) with outlandish, emotion-driven objects and occurrences, you’ll be able to more easily remember everything you need at the store, no list required.
To learn more about Climb for Memory, and stay up to date on Dellis’ progress as he attempts to summit Everest and snag a third consecutive USA Memory Championship, visit the Climb for Memory website.
By  Anne Marie Botek
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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

What’s on your Pet’s Bucket List?

What’s On Your Pet’s Bucket List?

 

My Labrador, Sanchez, is 10 years old and I’m frequently reminded that he is in his  golden years and they won’t last forever. I am very aware that every day of life  for Sanchez is a gift, and little things remind me not to take it for granted.  Just as I have my own bucket list for myself, I started contemplating what would  be on his bucket list if her were to make his own. This is what I think he would  say:

  • A day of eating everything I want (preferably more than one day, but Lisa  would never allow it)
  • Take my time sniffing everything I desire during a long, leisurely walk
  • Hump a Golden Retriever (just can’t resist them)
  • A full day alone with Lisa when she’s not working (missing my days being an  only dog)
  • Daily morning naps under the piano while Lisa plays it
  • Work as a therapy dog (note to Lisa: You’ve been saying you’d get me  certified ever since I passed my Canine Good Citizen test earlier this  year.)

Even though Gina is only four year old, it’s never too soon to start a  bucket list. Here’s what I think hers would look like:

  • Hike Squaw Valley
  • Attend another agility camp
  • Swim in a river, lake, and the ocean all in the same day (hint: time to go  back to Florence, Oregon)
  • Sleep in Lisa’s bed with her
  • Earn an agility MACH title (This would make Lisa SO happy!)

What is on your pet’s bucket list? Thanks for sharing in  a comment below.

Delivering Calm, four paws at a time…

Receive a FREE DOWNLOAD from the Calm your Canine Companion music series   when you sign up for the Through a Dog’s Ear newsletter and/or Lisa’s Blog. Simply click here, enter your email address and a link to the free  download will be  delivered to your inbox for you and your canine  household to enjoy!

(Leesa’s creme chow, Ava, received the entire CD set for Christmas 2012!  She enjoys them in the car and at home! On Ava’s bucket list would be a big back yard with a pool just for her! )

By Lisa Spector

Lisa Spector is a  concert pianist, Juilliard graduate, and canine music  expert. She is Co-founder of Through  a Dog’s Ear,    the first music clinically demonstrated to calm the  canine nervous system. Their new Canine  Noise Phobia series is  a breakthrough treatment and prevention program for  canine noise  sensitivities. Lisa shares her home and her heart with her two  “career  change” Labrador Retrievers from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Sanchez and   Gina. Follow Lisa’s  blog here.

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

 

How to be happy: Tips for cultivating contentment!

Are you tired of waiting around for happiness to find you? Stop waiting and start getting happy with these tips.

Do you know how to be happy? Or are you waiting for happiness to find you?

Despite what the fairy tales depict, happiness doesn’t appear by magic. It’s not even something that happens to you. It’s something you can cultivate.

So, what are you waiting for? Start discovering how to be happy.

How to be happy: What science tells us

Only 10 percent or so of the variation in people’s reports of happiness can be explained by differences in their circumstances. It appears that the bulk of what determines happiness is due to personality and — more importantly — thoughts and behaviors that can be changed.

So, yes, you can learn how to be happy — or at least happier.

Although you may have thought, as many people do, that happiness comes from being born rich or beautiful or living a stress-free life, the reality is that people who have wealth, beauty or less stress are not happier on average than those of who don’t enjoy those blessings.

People who are happy seem to intuitively know that their happiness is the sum of their life choices, and their lives are built on the following pillars:

  • Devoting time to family and friends
  • Appreciating what they have
  • Maintaining an optimistic outlook
  • Feeling a sense of purpose
  • Living in the moment

How to be happy: Practice, practice, practice

If you have been looking for happiness, the good news is that your choices, thoughts and actions can influence your level of happiness. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch, but you can turn up your happiness level. Here’s how to get started on the path to creating a happier you.

Invest in relationships

Surround yourself with happy people. Being around people who are content buoys your own mood. And by being happy yourself, you give something back to those around you.

Friends and family help you celebrate life’s successes and support you in difficult times. Although it’s easy to take friends and family for granted, these relationships need nurturing.

Build up your emotional account with kind words and actions. Be careful and gracious with critique. Let people know that you appreciate what they do for you or even just that you’re glad they’re part of your life.

Express gratitude

Gratitude is more than saying thank you. It’s a sense of wonder, appreciation and, yes, thankfulness for life. It’s easy to go through life without recognizing your good fortune. Often, it takes a serious illness or other tragic event to jolt people into appreciating the good things in their lives. Don’t wait for something like that to happen to you.

Make a commitment to practice gratitude. Each day identify at least one thing that enriches your life. When you find yourself thinking an ungrateful thought, try substituting a grateful one. For example, replace “my sister forgot my birthday” with “my sister has always been there for me in tough times.”

Let gratitude be the last thought before you go to sleep. Let gratitude also be your first thought when you wake up in the morning.

Cultivate optimism

Develop the habit of seeing the positive side of things. You needn’t become a Pollyanna — after all, bad things do happen. It would be silly to pretend otherwise. But you don’t have to let the negatives color your whole outlook on life. Remember that what is right about you almost always trumps what is wrong.

If you’re not an optimistic person by nature, it may take time for you to change your pessimistic thinking. Start by recognizing negative thoughts as you have them. Then take a step back and ask yourself these key questions:

  • Is the situation really as bad as I think?
  • Is there another way to look at the situation?
  • What can I learn from this experience that I can use in the future?

Find your purpose

People who strive to meet a goal or fulfill a mission — whether it’s growing a garden, caring for children or finding one’s spirituality — are happier than those who don’t have such aspirations.

Having a goal provides a sense of purpose, bolsters self-esteem and brings people together. What your goal is doesn’t matter as much as whether the process of working toward it is meaningful to you.

Try to align your daily activities with the long-term meaning and purpose of your life. Research studies suggest that relationships provide the strongest meaning and purpose to your life. So cultivate meaningful relationships.

Are you engaged in something you love? If not, ask yourself these questions to discover how you can find your purpose:

  • What excites and energizes me?
  • What are my proudest achievements?
  • How do I want others to remember me?

Live in the moment

Don’t postpone joy waiting for a day when your life is less busy or less stressful. That day may never come.

Instead, look for opportunities to savor the small pleasures of everyday life. Focus on the positives in the present moment, instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.

By Mayo Clinic staff

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Excellent Health is found along your journey and not just at your destination. Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your Health Issues or Problems and how HealthyHighway can help YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life? Please complete the information on our Contact Us page to schedule your consultation today!   I look forward to helping YOU Live YOUR Optimum Life!

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author

 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

write ~ info@healthyhighway.org

visit ~ www.HealthyHighway.org

consult ~  www.healthyhighway.org/contact.html

chews ~ www.Chews4Health.com/Leesa

enjoy ~ www.Chewcolat.com

follow ~ www.twitter.com/HealthyHighway

learn ~ www.healthyhighway.wordpress.com

like ~ www.tinyurl.com/Facebook-HealthyHighway

join ~  www.tinyurl.com/googleplusHealthyHighway

link ~ www.linkedin.com/in/leesawheeler

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