Note to Self – 12 Things Happy People Do Differently

Source: by Jacob Sokol of Sensophy

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed.  I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
-Dan Millman

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

I want to honor and discuss each of these 12 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.

  1. Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
  2. Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
  3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of superiority.  Our ego inflates – KABOOM – our inner Kanye West comes out!  If we’re ‘worse’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, we usually discredit the hard work that we’ve done and dismiss all the progress that we’ve made.  What I’ve found is that the majority of the time this type of social comparison doesn’t stem from a healthy place.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an older version of yourself.
  4. Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain.  (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.)  Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.  What’s even cooler about this kindness kick is that not only will you feel better, but so will people watching the act of kindness.  How extraordinary is that?  Bystanders will be blessed with a release of serotonin just by watching what’s going on.  A side note is that the job of most anti-depressants is to release more serotonin.  Move over Pfizer, kindness is kicking ass and taking names.
  5. Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships.  Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?  WHOA!  There’s a warm fuzzy feeling that comes from having an active circle of good friends who you can share your experiences with.  We feel connected and a part of something more meaningful than our lonesome existence.
  6. Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to the ‘craptastic’ moments is what shapes your character.  Sometimes crap happens – it’s inevitable.  Forrest Gump knows the deal.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan.  It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
  7. Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.  You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion.  When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.  You put yourself in a state of suckerism (technical term) and it stays with you throughout your day.
  8. Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still.  It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task.  Action and awareness are merged.  You’re not hungry, sleepy, or emotional.  You’re just completely engaged in the activity that you’re doing.  Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.
  9. Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy.  It’s easy in a world of wild stimuli and omnipresent movement to forget to embrace life’s enjoyable experiences.  When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic.  It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.
  10. Commit to your goals. – Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully-equipped with an ineffable force.  Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.  When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.  Counter-intuitively, having no option – where you can’t change your mind – subconsciously makes humans happier because they know part of their purpose.
  11. Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us.  We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever.  It enables us to connect to the source of all creation and embrace a connectedness with everything that exists.  Some of the most accomplished people I know feel that they’re here doing work they’re “called to do.”
  12. Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be.  If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.  Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?  Not only that, but here’s the double whammy… Six months later, the people who participated in exercise were less likely to relapse because they had a higher sense of self-accomplishment and self-worth.


Note to Self – Overwhelmed by Your To-Do List? How to Decide What to Do Now


“It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward.” ~Proverb

I’ve been mentoring writers for years, and one problem many of them run into is that they have so many ideas and projects that they don’t know where to start. They may want to write for big-name magazines, draft a novel, sell a nonfiction book, start a blog, and write an e-book.

Each of these projects has dozens of to-do items associated with it. Where to start? They’re so confused that they do nothing at all.

I sometimes have the same problem myself: I’ve been a freelance health writer since 1997, but recently I’ve been studying to add certified personal trainer and wellness coach to my repertoire. So my task list is long and varied, from stocking my personal training studio to pitching article ideas to creating motivational handouts for my new clients.

When I think about all I have to do—and everything seems to have equal priority—I can’t decide which task to get started on, so I do nothing.

When you’re confronted with an arm-length to-do list, ask yourself these questions:

How much time do I have?

Figure out how much time you have to spend right now, and slot in the item you think you can get done in that time—even if you’re working on the project “out of order.”

If you have 10 minutes, use that time to read a chapter in a personal development book, meditate, or read a few blog posts in your industry to keep up with the news. If you have an hour, you can get your exercise in, do prep work for tonight’s dinner, write a blog post, or call that friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with.

How much energy do I have?

If you’re having a low energy day, don’t set yourself up for failure by committing to do interval training for an hour, write 2,000 words, and clean out the biggest, messiest closet in your house. Pick one of the tasks from your list that you can do with little get-up-and-go, like shopping for a birthday present online, researching new clients, or cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen.

Feeling pumped today? Knock the big items off your internal to-do list: work on a big part of that new project, clean that closet, go out for a run, or redecorate that room.

Energy ebbs and flows, and if you just go with it instead of trying to force yourself to do projects you don’t have the energy for, you’ll find that your to-do list naturally shrinks.

Can I create a small win?

Say you want to lose weight, and you decide to start doing interval cardio workouts, lifting weights, practicing yoga, and eating better. So here you are on Monday morning and all of these possibilities are bouncing around in your head, screaming for your attention. You don’t know where to start, and every possibility seems big and scary.

Here’s what you can do: Pick any tiny task that you can easily accomplish to set yourself up for a small win that will boost your motivation and energy and make you want to do even more.

For example, commit to walking outside for five minutes. Chances are, once you finish your five minutes you’ll feel so proud that you managed to get yourself out the door—and pumped from the exercise—that you’ll want to go further. And if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, because you met your goal for the day.

Or you could buy a yoga video online (success!), toss all the processed food out of your house (success!), or do 10 push-ups (success!). Every small step counts and these little wins will snowball into some big wins.

What if I just pick up one random task?

I told a friend about my problem with deciding what to do next, and she gave me this advice: Do anything. Just pick one thing—anything—and get started on it.

Now, if you have a deadline or some other urgent project, of course you would do that. But if you’re in a position where everything seems equally important, it really doesn’t matter what you pick. Just starting on any one task will get you one step closer to your goal. It will also build momentum so that you want to knock more and more tasks off your list.

For example, if you’re like a lot of people out there, you have an idea for a book, but writing the proposal seems like too big a task. Should you write the sample chapters, the competitive analysis, your bio? It doesn’t matter. Just pick anything from your long list and get moving.

Commit to spending half an hour researching competing titles on Amazon. If you still have energy when you’re done, work on your author’s bio. Tomorrow you can pick some other random portion of the project.

Of course, these same ideas apply to other projects, if you’re not a writer. What matters is that you keep moving forward. Instead of worrying that you’re not doing the one perfect task at any moment in time, rest assured that if you’re doing anything at all towards your goals, you’re ahead of the game.

Note to Self – How you know you’re at the right track


I came across this post and I suddenly felt this is the sign I was looking for.

“If you are never scared, embarrassed, or hurt, it means you never take chances.” -Julia Soul

If you think you may have made mistakes, you are probably on the right track. That means you’re doing things even though you’re not perfect at them, which is the only way to learn and grow.

If you think you may have looked stupid, you are probably on the right track. That means you’re letting yourself be vulnerable, which is the only way to fully experience something new.

If you think you may have said the wrong thing, you are probably on the right track. That means you’re talking to people you don’t feel completely comfortable around, which opens you up to new relationships and possibilities.

If you think you may have failed, you are probably on the right track. That means you put yourself out there, instead of waiting for the perfect time, which doesn’t actually exist.

If you think you may have blown your one opportunity, you are probably wrong.

This is what keeps us from taking risks: the fear that we may somehow suffer for trying and doing poorly. Not just that we’ll experience uncomfortable feelings, but that we’ll ruin our only chance.

We’ll have countless chances in our lives, if we’re willing to take them. We’ll have limitless possibilities to seize, if we remember all those uncomfortable feelings are worth the possible rewards.

Today if you find you feel scared, embarrassed, hurt, or vulnerable, remember: feelings eventually fade, but what you create in spite of them can change your life forever.

My past life diagnosis

Just got curious…if you also are, follow the link.

I don’t know how you feel about it, but you were female in your last earthly incarnation.You were born somewhere in the territory of modern Southern England around the year 1400. Your profession was that of a handicraftsman or mechanic.

Oh, I was born female in the 15th century doing some manly handiwork. This could have explained why then. Hmmm. And I was born Brit.
Your brief psychological profile in your past life:
Seeker of truth and wisdom. You could have seen your future lives. Others perceived you as an idealist illuminating path to future.

The lesson that your last past life brought to your present incarnation:
Your lesson is to develop a kind attitude towards people, and to acquire the gift of understanding and compassion.


The Death of Common Sense

An orbituary printed in the London Times. Interesting and sadly true.

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, ‘Common Sense’, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was,since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
Knowing when to come in out of the rain; why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t always fair; and maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend
more than you can earn)and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouth wash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust. His wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility, his son, Reason.

He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights; I Want It Now;
Someone Else Is To Blame; I’m A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realised he was gone.
If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.