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 – born this way

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: People May Be Born Good (or Bad) at Math by Tara Thean
If you struggled through high school algebra, you probably thought you simply weren’t born good at math. You might have been right, at least according to a new study by Johns Hopkins University psychologists that suggests that math ability is linked to your inborn “number sense

health & wellness: 9 Habits That Can Do More Harm Than Good by Amanda Greene
The basics of staying healthy seem pretty easy to follow: Eat well, exercise, get enough sleep and you should be on the right track, right? Surprisingly, it can be more complicated than that. Oftentimes the very choices we make to benefit our health can be the same ones that hurt us in the long run. Read on to learn which unexpected habits—like brushing your teeth after every meal or slipping into a pair of comfortable sandals—might be causing you harm.

general interest: American girl in Italy, 60 years later by Mike Krumboltz
A stunning young woman walks down a street in Florence, her head held high. All around, men playfully gawk at her grace and beauty. Just then the camera shutter snaps. “American Girl in Italy” is among the most popular snapshots of all time, and it’s turning 60 years old this month.

health & wellness: Do you really need to build your core strength? by Jessica Ashley
Take a look at any fitness magazine or peek at any celebrity’s “how I whipped my body into shape” secrets and you will probably find information about why it’s time to add core strength training to your workout. Before you hit the mat for a few grueling sets of planks, bridges, and maybe even crunches, you may want to consider new research that questions whether the time, energy, and effort put into building your core is really worth it.

literature: The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books
There’s never a shortage of new books about how to be more effective in business. Most of them are forgettable, but here are 25 that changed the way we think about management — from the iconic “How to Win Friends and Influence People” to groundbreaking tomes like “Guerilla Marketing” and quick reads like the “The One Minute Manager”.

health & wellness: 9 Ways to flatten your belly in one week
Another reason to hate Mondays? Tight post-weekend waistbands. Unless you spent the past 2 days living like a monk, the cocktails, movie snacks, and dinners out can all add up to one thing: belly bloat.

relationships: A New – Surprising – Relationship Predictor by Zoe Ruderman
Ever wonder what type of couple you and your boyfriend or husband will be in 10 or 30 or 50 years? Will you be like that sweet twosome in their eighties walking down the street holding hands and calling each other honey? Or will you end up more like those parents of three standing in line at the airport yelling passive-aggressively at each other and using pet names like non-bag-carrying idiot and insensitive balding jerk (true story, we heard it)? Well, you don’t need a crystal ball because the results of a new huge-scale survey might have the answer. All you have to do is look at your current level of conflict. Chances are that you’ll fight about the same amount and with the same tenacity next year or in 60 years.

general interest: Web older than incoming college freshmen by Dinesh Ramde
Mention Amazon to the incoming class of college freshmen and they are more likely to think of shopping than the South American river. PC doesn’t stand for political correctness and breaking up is a lot easier thanks to Facebook and text messaging.

career: Eight Ways to Communicate Your Strategy More Effectively by Georgia Everse
A frustrated CEO recently shared with me that her employees had lost their edge. They were internally focused, their speed-to-market was down, and they couldn’t find a good balance between serving customers well while making healthy margins. The result was slow progress against the company strategy and an inability to profitably deliver on the value proposition. She had attempted to motivate employees and be clear about the strategy, but she was falling short and was looking for answers on what to do next. The solution in many cases is to overhaul internal communications strategies in order to convince employees of the authenticity, importance, and relevance of their company’s purpose and strategic goals. Here are just a few communications approaches that will help you effectively reach your employees and encourage behaviors that advance your strategy and improve your results.

follow more of my reads via google reader

Coffee Reads of the Week – the supernaturals

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!

photography: The language of photography (and how it can help you take better pictures) by Mark Broadhead
Photography and technical jargon go together like a DSLR and a hot shoe mounted flash. If you’re new to photography there’s a lot of lingo to know, particularly around the camera and its equipment. There’s ISO, White Balance, RAW, etc. It can be intimidating to try and navigate the world of photography but it’s worth learning the language — both for practical reasons (most equipment jargon is useful to know before you make a purchase) and also for its beauty. Some photographic terms are wonderfully esoteric and yet instructive in the art of capturing a destination. Here is a selection of some of the more beautiful photographic lingo.

science6 Dream Mysteries – Solved by Hallie Levine Sklar
We’re all fascinated by our dreams, but most of us don’t have a clue what they mean. And the rest of us can’t even remember what we dreamt about. Well, consider this: Experts say that keeping a closer eye on your dreams can actually help you improve your life. “Every night when you dream, you subconsciously assess what’s going on in your life,” says Gayle Delaney, PhD, author of In Your Dreams. “And if you pay attention, you can use it as a way to solve problems.” Here’s how to decipher your dreams, use them to your advantage, and understand why you have them in the first place.

dating: 8 signs He’s Totally Into You by Rich Santos
Unfortunately, after a first date, it’s rarely as simple as: “I like you, I had fun, let’s get together again.” I’m coy after a first date because: I don’t want to look too eager/desperate. I won’t ignore my attraction, but I’ll at least try to temper it. I want to look like I have a life. Even though I don’t have a life, I might try to look a little aloof. I’m not sure if you like me. It’s scary to take the dive and show I’m interested when I’m not sure if the girl is interested. Despite attempts to look calm, cool, and collected, there are a number a things I’ll do around an initial date that clue you in that I’m interested. Here are a few.

relationships: 8 Things You Should Never Say to Your Husband by Denise Schipani
One of the best parts about marriage is being so comfortable with your hubby that you can say just about anything to him. But if you don’t watch your mouth, sometimes the ugly truth comes out in hurtful—not helpful––ways. Though you may have legitimate concerns to express or issues to bring up, doing so in a harsh manner can be damaging in the long term, to both your husband’s feelings and your relationship. According to Judy Ford, psychotherapist and author of Every Day Love, “Speaking kindly is a skill that couples have to learn. Everyone feels battered by life and the outside world. You shouldn’t feel that way at home.” Here, nine statements that you should never utter to your significant other––and the words that you should try instead.

health & wellness: 25 Ways to Cut 500 Calories A Day by Shaun Chavis
The most basic way to lose weight is to slash calories. That’s Diet 101. But how many do you really have to cut or burn to see results? It’s simple: You can drop a pound a week by trimming 500 calories each day. (Calories burned are based on a 150-pound woman.) In fact, do a couple of swaps a day and you can drop 10 pounds in 5 weeks! So try these 25 easy tweaks—and get the slim body you want in no time.

shopping: How to Read Beauty Product Labels by Karla Bowsher
If you’ve ever bought a personal care product because you thought it was natural, hypoallergenic, or wouldn’t cause your toddler to cry in the bath, you’ve probably wasted your money.

health & beauty: The 10 Biggest Skin Mistakes You Can Make by Leslie Baumann, M.D.
Using tanning beds. Not using SPF daily. Getting to much sun. Using the wrong cleanser. Not using a retinoid. Over-exfoliating. Using daytime moisturizer if you have oily skin. Paying too much for skincare. Not knowing your skin type. Not getting a full-body skin exam every year.

health & wellness: Easy Exercises to Keep Your Brain in Shape by Dr Maoshing Ni
Living to an old age isn’t much fun if you can’t remember anything. No matter what your age, you can protect your memory and keep your mind sharp with one habit: practice a mental exercise every day. Practice consistently, and by the end of the month, you will have a new brain-boosting habit that will pave the way for a long and memorable life!

follow more of my reads via google reader

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.

follow more of my reads via google reader

Coffee, Sex and Other Weird Ways to Not Get Sick

Drink coffee!

Source: care2.com

You know about antioxidants and you’ve been religious about your daily dose of Vitamin C, but what else can you do to keep that tickle from creeping up the back of your throat or waking up in sweat-wet sheets and a chill shivering along your spine? Here are some of the weirder, but still efficient ways to keep those sick bugs at bay:

1. Kissing (and while you’rea t it, have Sex)!

Yes, kissing can help you fight off colds and flu! By exchanging bacteria back and forth, you are actually enhancing your body’s natural defenses and boosting your immune system. But that’s not to say you should go out and give a big smooch to any sicky around you…

Up the ante and have sex! Performed once a week, sex has been shown to increase immunoglobulin A (IgA) production, an immune-boosting protein that helps keep pathogens at bay.

Continue sipping…