Note to Self – 12 Things Happy People Do Differently

Source: marcandangel.com 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.

 

Coffee Reads of the Week – never say a word

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

science: Mind Wandering May Lead to a Bad Mood by Jeremy Hsu
For the sake of your own happiness, don’t let your mind wander while reading this article. Setting the mind adrift from the here and now may lead to a worse mood regardless of whether the daydreams or thoughts are pleasant ones, researchers say.

relationships: 10 Things No One Tells You About Marriage by Diane Oatis
Five, 10, 15 years ago, it was all white lace and promises. You were young, dewy—and a little bit dumb. Who knew about all the things you would find out later? Since I’ve been married for 20 years, I’ve been elected to dig up some of the truths about married life. I had some ideas of my own, but I also polled a bunch of my long-married friends. They told me that over the years, their eyes had been opened—and it has not always been pleasant.

dating & relationships: What one’s favorite color signifies by Barrie Dolnick
Most of us have a favorite color. Maybe you’re drawn to sky blue because it makes your eyes stand out or you find forest green particularly comforting. Whatever the case, your preferred hue can reveal a lot about what makes you tick. And the same holds true for the people you date — you’d probably have a different impression of a date if he or she said, “My favorite color is yellow” versus “My favorite color is black.” That’s because color speaks a powerful, silent language. And I can help you understand it. I’m a success coach and best-selling author of Simple Spells for Love and other books, and I’ve studied color theory. So, look up your favorite color below — then, your date’s best-loved shade — and get some colorful insights that will benefit your romantic life.

career: What Not to Say at Work by Jenna Goudreau
A registered nurse at a county-run clinic in Long Island, N.Y., still carries a grudge against management. Last year, she was unable to get June 30 — her wedding anniversary — off to celebrate with her husband of 35 years. This year, she put in the request six months early, pointing out to her boss the 36th anniversary milestone. Overloaded with requests for the July 4 weekend, her supervisor did not agree to the time off, and instead asked: “Can’t you celebrate your anniversary another day?”

health & wellness8 Things Your Hair Says About Your Health by Melanie Haiken
When it comes to our hair, most of us worry most about what to do with it: how short to cut it, how to style it, whether to color it once it begins to go gray. But experts say that our hair says a lot more about us than how closely we follow the latest styles. In fact, the health of our hair and scalp can be a major tip-off to a wide variety of health conditions.

career: 10 Things Your Boss Isn’t Telling You by Alison Green
Part of being a boss is having difficult conversations. But managers are human, and while they should be tackling difficult or awkward topics head-on, in reality plenty of them shy away from it. Here are 10 things that your boss might be too uncomfortable to say to you.

relationships: 5 bad relationship habits to dump by Bob Strauss
OK, so you used to be married and now you’re not. You may be out there happily dating, but are the habits from your wedded days dogging you? Consider the fact that when you’re married, you have the luxury of a long, indefinite “’til death do us part” future in which to settle into a comfortable routine or slowly work through issues with your spouse. On a date, though, everything happens in accelerated time, with equally accelerated consequences. An indelicate remark on your first rendezvous may forever put the kibosh on a second. In fact, there are five key behaviors left over from your married days that can wreak havoc on your current romantic forays. We asked Marty Friedman, author of Straight Talk for Men About Marriage, to discuss how to recognize — and get rid of — these bad habits so your love life can prosper.

food: What you didn’t know about tequila by Felisa Rogers
The best tequila I ever drank came to me in a plastic jug. I was young, 20 maybe, with a decidedly unrefined palate. I certainly didn’t think twice about drinking from the unmarked plastic jug that our friend Danny proffered to me. Hey, it was alcohol, right? But even with my unrefined tastes, the second that tequila touched my lips I understood it was something special. It was so smooth, limes would have been an insult.

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Coffee Reads of the Week – smiley or not

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

lifestyle: Generation Y Giving Cars A Pass by Jim Ostroff
Selling cars to young adults under 30 is proving to be a real challenge for automakers. Unlike their elders, Generation Yers own fewer cars and don’t drive much. They’re likely to see autos as a source of pollution, not as a sex or status symbol. Motorists aged 21 to 30 now account for 14% of miles driven, down from 21% in 1995.

personal: Mastering the Art of Persuasion by Brynn Mannino
Everyone has little tactics for getting what he or she wants. Some use seduction, others beg, while there are those who use plain-old intimidation. But you don’t have to resort to unseemly methods to get your way. According to Michael Lee, author of How to Be an Expert Persuader in 20 Days or Less, “The power of persuasion rests on getting people to do what you want willingly, resulting in a win-win scenario for everyone involved.” Can’t get your employees to meet deadlines or your husband to walk the dog? Then these 10 secrets are for you.

health & wellness: 12 Beauty Secrets from Around the World by Liz Brody
Global Travel Advisory: Take your envy meds. Maybe it’s the sleepless hours at cruising altitude. Maybe it’s the fight-or-flight response that kicks in when you have to brave Customs. But, at least in my book, certain countries are hazardous to the self-esteem. You step off the plane and the women look way too good. How on earth do they do it? Save your miles. You can try these international trade secrets without leaving the house.

health & wellness: 9 Signs you’re happier than you think
Your emotional well-being isn’t just about your genes or the kind of home you were raised in. It turns out that some pretty interesting factors—backed by science—play a role in how joyful you feel.

love & relationships: The science behind love at first sight by Helen Fisher, PhD
From the moment she set eyes on him, she adored him. Wanting only to be near him, to lavish her affection on him, she followed everywhere he went. The sound of his voice made her bark.

health & wellness: What’s your body trying to tell you? by Stacey Colino
Every pop, ping, ache, and pain has a meaning. Here’s when to take action.

home: How long can you freeze food? by Lori Bongiorno
When it comes to preparing healthy meals at home, don’t underestimate the value of your freezer. A well-stocked freezer can save you a trip to the store when you’re pressed for time, which could mean the difference between making dinner and ordering in. It also lets you save meals that you prepare in big batches ahead of time, take advantage of discounts at the grocery store, and keep food that might otherwise go to waste.

health & wellness:  6 surprising signs of depression by Liz Brody
Here’s a “what-if” scenario: Your husband starts working late every night, you forget the last time you were physically intimate, and he seems to have lost interest in you. Shall we cut to the chase? The guy’s having an affair. Slam dunk, change your Facebook status.

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Coffee Reads of the Week – less is more

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

health & fitness: five natural ways to beat the winter blues by Michelle Schoffo Cook
Get outside. Change your bulbs. Take off the sunglasses. Exercise regularly. Eat your vitamins.

finance: downsize your personal stuff, spending habits by Lilia Borlongan-Alvarez
If there’s any “downsizing” or “rightsizing” needed in these hard times, it is not in the workplace, but in people’s lifestyles, and their consumption habits. Consider, for example, how some people have managed to stuff their homes with things they can do without and have bought unnecessary things with money they don’t have, that is, via credit card. Much of a country’s economy is fueled by consumer spending, but American-style consumerism has deluded people into believing that acquisition of material goods brings happiness.

personal: 30 smart time management tips and tricks by Karen Burns
Yes, yes, yes, you are very busy. That’s why you meet deadlines at the last minute. Or after. That’s why you cruise into meetings 15 minutes late. It’s why you forget details or schedule two tasks for the same time or have 500 unanswered emails in your inbox. It’s why you can never take a vacation, or even a full weekend off. Or is it? Maybe poor time management is simply a bad habit. Maybe you can learn to organize and control your time better. Because let’s face it, time management is really self management.

finance: but will it make you happy? by Stephanie Rosenbloom
Current research suggests that, unlike consumption of material goods, spending on leisure and services typically strengthens social bonds, which in turn helps amplify happiness.

health & fitness: how to burn fat with the foods you eat by Andrew Bennett
Eating the right foods at the right time to match your exercise habits and weight-management goals is the most effective way to burn fat. Some foods have potent, natural fat-burning effects on the body, whereas others decrease fat burning and promote body-fat storage. Learning how to time your nutrition with fat-burning foods can help you get lean fast and maintain a healthy percentage of body fat.

health & fitness: how to stop drinking coffee and lose weight by Rachel Nelson
You rely on your morning coffee drink in order to feel alert and ready to face the day. However, some coffees–such as a vanilla bean frappucino with whipped cream–can contain 500 calories, according to Natural News. These coffee drinks come with an unintended consequence–extra pounds gained. Trying to quit drinking coffee cold turkey may be difficult because caffeine can be addictive. In order to reduce your caffeine addiction and lose weight at the same time, take steps to reduce your caffeine consumption until you have given up caffeine entirely.

health & fitness: 5 simple tricks to looking younger by Liz Brody
Age can be so annoying. If birthdays were recyclable, we’d all be environmentalists. But is it worth going under the knife to fake away a few years? (The recent uptick in celebs on plastic-surgery benders is a little unnerving.) Don’t worry: These six switches will make you look younger without a lot of drama.

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Coffee Reads of the Week – forget me not

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

careers: 5 things your boss won’t tell you
Playing it safe can backfire. Failure is success. Give up control. Sometimes you have to boss your boss. Be a little naughty.

finance: why the rich don’t feel rich by Laura Rowley
I am fascinated by the Todd Henderson controversy. As you may have read by now, Henderson is the University of Chicago law professor who blogged that he is not rich, even though he earns more than $250,000 a years with his physician wife. That puts their household in roughly the top 3 percent of earners in the U.S. and is four times the median income.

shopping: beauty expert pick – save or splurge? by Sara Hennessey
Splurge on facial moisturizer. Save on shampoo and conditioner. Splurge on good brushes. Save on products with SPF. Splurge on foundation. Save on eye makeup remover. Splurge on tweezer and eyelash curlers. Save on mascara. Splurge on hair dryers and flat irons. Save on toners. Splurge on an anti-aging night cream. Splurge on a good hairbrush.

personal: 24 things you might be saying wrong
The Reader’s Digest version of all confusing words and seemingly random rules you missed in English class.

health & fitness: easiest way to detox by Andrea Cespedes
Detox programs aim to improve your health and well-being by cleansing your body from the toxins of processed food, car exhaust, pestides, environmental pollution and cleaning chemicals. You do not have to embark on a complicated meal plan with expensive supplements to detoxify your system.

health & fitness: 5 fitness myths you need to forget
Walking is not as effective as running. Exercise increases hunger. It doesn’t matter where your calories from. Diet alone is enough for sustained weight loss. There is no best time for exercise.

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