Happiness Commandment #2—All You Need is Love.

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So much of my happiness comes from love…loving myself, Joe, my girls, family, friends, people, animals, the earth.  Love is one thing that help me conquer my fears.  No matter what else, there is always love.

But, it isn’t enough to just feel love, it has to be shown.  I know I feel happier when I’m kind and loving, but sometimes it is SO HARD!  Especially, when my heart has been broken or I feel betrayed.  Not loving someone, though, makes it harder for me to feel loved, and then I’m definitely unhappy.

So I’m going to love…bigger, better, more freely, more fully.  Happiness will come with the love because it always does.


Happiness Commandment#1—Live With Faith

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I live a lot of my life in fear…mostly fear of the unknown or the “what ifs.”  It doesn’t necessarily keep me from living life, or even trying new things because I’m pretty adventurous, but it does cause me a lot of anxiety and too much energy.  I believe my greatest fear is the fear of failure and sometimes that fear keeps me from getting started or completing something.  I’m afraid to not be perfect…and guess what, I never am.  I’ve had to accept that fact.  And it is a relief.

So, I’m moving forward with faith…

*Faith in God’s Plan of Happiness for me, because he loves me.
*Faith that I will make lots of mistakes, and be stronger because of it.
*Faith that each day is a clean slate.
*Faith that I am loved, imperfections and all.
*Faith in my abilities, my strength, my choices, my progress, my life.

The Happiness Commandments

The month is over, and it is time to wrap up February’s Change, Be Happy.  One of my main goals for this change was to discover what really makes me happy, and then to live my life accordingly.  In the process, I’ve realized that I have been living in a constant battle between what really makes me happy and what I think should make me happy.  My heart has been telling me all along what happiness means to me, but a dark voice in my head keeps trying to steer me in another direction.  NO MORE!

I’ve decided to embrace what makes me happy, without fear or loathing.  It hasn’t been an easy process because it has involved a lot of self-evaluation and acceptance, but I feel more at peace now than I have for a long time…maybe ever.

The most important tool in my happiness project has been establishing My Personal Commandments for Happiness.  I was worried about the amount of time this project might take, but because I’ve been thinking about it all month, pinning things here, and really been on a happiness quest for most of my life, I was able to manage it in a couple of hours.  It will take me a few more hours to write about it, but I consider this some of the best time I’ve ever spent.  I feel lighter, more free, and somehow more loved.

I’ll be posting my own happiness commandments throughout the day.  I hope they give you some ideas, but remember one of the best things about happiness commandments is they are your own, so make them that way. No matter what you are doing today, take some time to think about being happy.  Really listen to where your heart is leading you…and don’t be afraid to follow.

Happy Thoughts


All images at From Up North

February is almost over…are you feeling any happier?  I think the most important thing I’ve learned about happiness this month is that it is a conscious pursuit. It is something that I need to think about and work on every day.

How often do you really think about happiness…not what you think would make you happy, but what in your life makes you happy right now?  I was surprised at how difficult this was for me at first, until I discovered that the key for me is words and images.  Of course, I’ve been filling a Pinterest board with happy images and that has helped me discover what truly makes me happy…in a deeper and more meaningful way than ever before.

In my search for happy images, I discovered a new website, From Up North.  My favorite thing…inspirational quotes + beautiful typography.  Here are a few of my favorite quotes on happiness.  Read them, and really think about them.  Then accept or reject them as you wish.  One of the greatest things about happiness is how personal it is for each of us.

Laugh

An important key to happiness…laughter.  Sometimes a good laugh is all I need to feel lighter, looser, and just plain happy.  If you haven’t had a good laugh yet today, watch this video.  I read this morning that this song won an Oscar last night…it has been a favorite of ours since we saw the movie last fall.

Muppet of a Man

Be Happy Every Day!


Image at Sugar and Dots

Some days are easier than others to feel happy.  Vacation days, sunny days, relaxing days, no-problems days usually include a big dose of happiness.  But most of us live in the real world that includes  days of sleepiness, sickness, gray skies, and disappointment.  In fact, most of our days are less than perfect.  The key is being happy despite the circumstances surrounding us. 

There are lots of great quotes, self-help books, and happiness mantras that advise us that if we change our attitude we will be happy…no matter what.  I appreciate the reminder, but sometimes it feels like another thing to beat myself over the head with.  Especially if the blue devils have got me in a chokehold.

Instead, I like to plan little moments throughout the day that I look forward to and that pull me out of the monotony and discouragement of everyday life.

*In the Morning:  quiet time alone to read, ponder, pray, and plan…with a nice cup of peppermint tea.

*In the Afternoon:  a lunch break to eat something good and read or watch something good…about 30 mins. of down time to get recharged.

*In the Evening:  Pandora in the kitchen with a candle and something cold to drink while I fix dinner.

*Anytime I can fit it in:  a creative project.

If I’m consistent about little things like this, I’m much happier.  Also, I always have something to look forward to no matter how bad things seem at the moment.

What about you…are there any little tricks you use to be happy on an ordinary day?

 

Hello Sunshine!


Image by Camilla Engman

I’m so excited to be heading south this weekend for a few days in sunny St. George to visit Joe’s parents.  We have lots of outdoor activities planned…swimming, golfing, hiking.  We usually spend the weekend of President’s Day there because the girls get some time off school, it is right around my mother-in-law’s birthday, and we desperately need to soak up some sun!

Several years ago I was really struggling with the winter blues and I called my mother-in-law to cry for awhile.  She suggested I just get in the car and come down for a few days, without Joe, without my girls…all alone.  I had never done anything like that before, especially so spur of the moment, but I was in the car and on my way within an hour.  It was a wonderful few days of sleeping, reading, watching tv, talking, and lots and lots of sunshine.  I felt so much better when I came back.

Sunshine and time outdoors is definitely at the top of my list of what makes me happy!

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February–Be Happy

The Happiness Project

 

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Are you familiar with Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project?  I wasn’t until just recently, but I have become a real fan.  I’ve signed up for the newsletter, started my own toolbox, and am dedicating some time each day to working on my own Happiness Project.  A couple of weeks ago I was soaking up the atmosphere in Anthropologie and I picked up a copy of the book to browse through.  Now, it is at the top of my list of books to buy.

The Happiness Project is all about changing your life…this is what Gretchen says about that:

A “happiness project” is an approach to changing your life. First is the preparation stage, when you identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement, and also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse. Second is the making of resolutions, when you identify the concrete actions that will boost your happiness. Then comes the interesting part: keeping your resolutions.

I think many of us don’t take the time to ask, “What really makes me happy?”  Ask yourself right now, and see how long it takes you to come up with an answer.  If it takes longer than you think it should, than the Happiness Project is for you, too.  Take some time to learn about her website and see if it is something that will work for you…something that will help you to be happy.

I think we could all do with a big dose of happiness this month.  As I’ve reviewed most of my posts on 2012 changes for February, I’ve realized that instead of focusing on healthy changes, I’ve really been writing about happy changes.  It has evolved so naturally, that it feels right to make a change.  So this month’s focus is changing from “get healthy” to “be happy.”  I hope you’ll forgive me, and enjoy some time making happy changes for the rest of this month.

Healthy Mind Platter, Part 2

Yesterday, when I wrote about the Healthy Mind Platter, my sister left this comment (thank goodness for sisters who read my blog):

LeAnne
Feb 9, 2012 09:55 AM

I do not have enough time for half of those, but we already knew I didn’t have a healthy mind, right?

Thanks for the comment, LeAnne, and I’ve thought about it a lot since.  Not about her lack of a “healthy mind,” because I happen to think that she is brilliant, but more about her lack of time.  She is a very busy lady right now…full-time work, part-time school, husband, 3 kids, church service.  So how does LeAnne, or any of get mentally healthy when we run in circles all day long just trying to hold our lives together?

I know that time is a huge factor for all of us in any aspect of getting healthy, but I do think it is possible to find a bit of time every day to devote to being happy.  As with all healthy changes, it has to become a part of how we live our lives every day.  Easier said than done for me…and maybe you, too.  So, with time as a key factor, here are a few ideas for incorporating the 7 daily mental activities into your schedule…

Focus Time:  jobs and daily tasks; part of your time in this area should be devoted to challenging yourself. 

Play Time:  play with your kids, sing in the car or shower, add a new spice to your meal, take a new route home from work, light some candles, read something funny; just do something different than normal.

Connecting Time:  sit down and really listen to someone, make a phone call, pillow talk before bed, take a walk, open your windows, dig in the dirt, pick a flower.

Physical Time:  housework, shopping, gardening, exercise…something you enjoy.

Time In:  pray, meditate, ponder, yoga, shower, bath, breathe.

Down Time:  take a real lunch break, read, tv, Solitaire, lay in the sun, swing, stare out the window.

Sleep Time:  create a nighttime routine and a bed time, take a nap, get up at the same time.

What else?  Any suggestions you have or anything you do that keeps you mentally healthy and happy?  Any areas you are working on?

Healthy Mind Platter

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February–Be Happy


Image at Psychology Today

Yesterday’s post on Depression was a bit heavy, so I’m adding a large dose of hope to the blog today.  First up, The Healthy Mind Platter.  This is such a simple and great reminder of what we need to do every day to be happy.  I know from lots and lots and lots of experience that when I pay attention to these 7 areas, my depression is minimal and life is good.  When I don’t, the depression sets in and my physical health heads downhill.

Another thing I’ve noticed, balancing these different areas is also important…and sometimes a bit tricky.  When I spend too much time in one area, than I start to feel off.  I can usually tell which area I’ve been neglecting because I start to have mental cravings.  Sometimes, I crave a creative project, a mental challenge, or some serious down time when my mind is on overload.  When I start to feel my anxiety levels building or I’m getting grumpy, I know I need some more “physical time.”  When I’m feeling depressed, I usually need more “connecting time” or just some extra sleep.

Take some time this month to assess your mental health and happiness, using the mind platter.  It just might lead to some of the best changes you can make.