Tag Archives: Goals

Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that we possess…

I have been thinking about happiness a lot recently, especially this past week.  Everywhere I have looked there have been articles and posters about how gratitude is the successful attitude, about how happiness is essential for stress free living, all sorts of things like that.  And today, on my Flipboard App on my phone, there was an amazing article about the 5 skills you need to increase your happiness.  Okay, thought I, I am giving in to the signals I am being sent.  Here is a blog post all about happiness and getting more of it.

happiness 2

So, according to this article that I read this morning, the first skill you need in order to increase your grin quotient is the ability to savour things.  If you savour a meal, you take your time over it, you enjoy the flavours, the textures, the time and energy which it has taken to prepare and cook the food.   You linger, you prolong the experience and you intensify your enjoyment of the moment, making it last for as long as possible.   You should do the same in your everyday life.  You can savour the past, by reminiscing.  You can savour the future with positive anticipation of what might happen.  You can also savour the present moment – by using that often trotted out modern phrase, mindfulness.  Apparently, savouring life boosts optimism, reduces stress and gets rid of a whole lot of negative emotions, making you happier, more optimistic and more satisfied with life.   And the more you recognise the good stuff, the more good stuff you see.

thank you

The second skill which is required to increase happiness is to say thank you.  This is the attitude of gratitude writ large. If you can identify and appreciate the things people do for you, and the things themselves, and then say thank you… well, the result is sheer magic.  Not only does it increase your optimism and self confidence, but it has also been shown to dampen your desire for more “stuff” all the time (well, why do you need the newest and latest gadget when you are really thankful for the one you have in front of you?  Makes sense to me!).  Of course being sincerely thankful for the people in your life as well means that you can have a deeper relationship with them.  That is always worth it.  According to research, it can also give you longer and better quality sleep.  I am soooo up for some of that!!

goal quote

The third skill we need is to aspire.  This is a bit trickier – but basically it boils down to having a reason for being, a sense of purpose and to be hopeful.  It enable you to be optimistic about the future.  People who have created meaning in their lives are generally happier and more satisfied.  If you have ever experienced genuine (and not forced and false) optimism, you will know that you are drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  It is a magnet almost.  When you have that sense of purpose and a goal to aim towards, it makes goals seem attainable and challenges are easier to overcome.  You will feel more successful, and you will be more successful!  Also, if you use the skills you have in every day life, all the time, you will increase your self esteem, curb stress and increase your vitality.  So, if you have a skill, show it off!  And smile about it!

giving

The fourth thing to do to increase you happiness, and arguably, it is the one which ought to come first in this list, is giving.  Of course the person you are giving to will reap a reward, but did you know that the giver gets one too?  This is one of the reasons that every major faith has an aspect of charity to it.  Habitual givers have less stress, less isolation and less anger.  When you see what your gift can do for someone else, that makes you happier, more connected to the world and more open to new experiences.

compassion

Finally, happiness can be increased with the use of empathy.  Empathy is the ability to care about others.  If you can imagine and understand the thoughts, behaviours or ideas of other people, then congratulations, you are empathetic.  It is easier for some people than it is for others, but the good news is that compassion can be taught.  Empathy means that you will feel less judgemental, less frustrated, less angry and less disappointed about people.  Apparently it helps you to develop patience (Umm… I am very empathetic… I am just extremely impatient as well!).  Empathy also helps to solidify bonds between human beings, which is essential to the building and maintaining happy and healthy relationships.  This compassion needn’t just be for others though.  You need to be compassionate to yourself as well – the old “cut yourself some slack” argument.

I am definitely going to take up these five practices to increase the happiness in my life.  I could do with the extra boost, and especially if there is an upswing in the amount of patience that I might have.  To finish, I want to leave you with a quote from Terry Prince which I found on my Facebook timeline this morning…

“Your life is your Garden,

Your thoughts are the seeds,

If your life isn’t awesome,

You’ve been watering the weeds”

Here’s to happiness folks!

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The benefits of journalling…

I will bet most of the people who are reading this post either had or have a journal or diary.  Depending on how you use it, all sorts of things might be written down in it.  In my diary, I mostly keep my appointments and important things I need to do.  But my journal?  Oh well, I keep all sorts of things there.

packed journals

In the past few weeks, my journalling has tailed off.  I can really feel the difference.  I mean, I have been really busy and it is understandable that stuff falls under the radar now and again.  But I have noticed a change in my mood, and not for the better.  I had a lot of stress and resentment simmering under the surface and where I would usually resolve it by writing it all out in my journal, I had instead been rolling it over and over in my mind and getting more and more stressed about it.  How interesting!

Anyway, I was at a big stationer’s shop this morning with my Mum who was buying a new typing chair.  I took the opportunity to take a good look around and found some excellent journals and diaries at bargain prices, along with some really cool coloured pens (a particular weakness of mine) and somehow they all leapt into a basket and were checked out by me.  I love the feeling of new pens and pencils.  I think it might be the accountant in me, still trying to get out.

So when I came home, lo and behold, in the front of one of my little journals it has some information about why journalling is good for you.  I thought it would be a good subject to blog about, and share this information with you.

journal

Journalling is a great way to organise your thoughts.  It is used quite often in self help and life coaching methodologies, and I find it personally a great way of getting some strong emotions out, safely.  It also reduces your mental clutter.  This is great for those times when you are struggling to sleep.  If it is because your brain is going three thousand miles and hour, journalling might be a way to get those pesky thoughts out of the brain so you can sleep.  In addition, sometimes, you can get great insights into who you are and how you operate.  I always find it interesting to see how things looked in the past when I re-read my journals, when I can face doing so.

Studies have shows that it can also improve your mental and physical health, counteract stress and boost immunity.  Considering I have been feeling less than well for the last few days, and I have somehow found the energy to clean my house, do the laundry and get some niggling little jobs done since I journalled again late this morning, I am minded to pay attention to that a little more in future.  of course, the fact that writing helps your cognitive function generally also helps.

love paper

In addition, there are benefits to writing in a paper journal (as opposed to on a screen) also helps keep your inner critic at bay.  Word processors make it all too easy to constantly edit as you type.  Writing without that critic is apparently quite liberating, but I am not entirely sure I am ever going to achieve that.  But it is worth practising.

So what can you use journalling for?  You can use it to set goals, explore ideas, reflect on books or films you find interesting, clarify an unresolved situation, work out emotionally challenging experiences, write about your travel experiences, or even just keep track of your diet and exercise.

What ever you use journalling for, know that it is doing you the power of good to do it.  I am planning on making it a morning thing for me to do some, and do bits throughout the day so I can keep on top of the stressful occurrences which seem to be part and parcel of life at the moment.

Hello 2015….!

January is a good time to stop with the looking backwards and start looking forward.  Did you know that the month is named after Janus, the two faced Roman God?  One of his faces looks back and the other looks forward… so here is my personal run down of 2014 just past and 2015 to come.

2015

2014 was quite a ride, wasn’t it?  I know for several of my friends it was a year they would be happy to forget, and I understand that too.  The latter bit of the year was not much fun for me either (waaay too many funerals had to be attended) but when I looked back on the year just past, I had to say… overall, 2014 was very,very good to my husband and I.

We were approved as adoptive parents.  We moved home, which was something I never thought we would do… in fact, I had quite got my head in the place to accept that we would be in our former house for the rest of our days and then… BANG.  Let’s move house….!  Ummm…. okay…!  We sold our previous home and moved into my In Law’s former home.  My Mum moved up to be closer to us. I learned that I am pretty good at painting walls and renovating stools, and I can now make curtains. I kept up this blog, despite time being of the essence a lot of the time. Overall, Some really big changes happened this year.

attitude of gratitude 2

Having expressed enormous gratitude for everything that has happened and the lessons I have learned, I am now thinking about the New Year stretching ahead of us, full of possibility and potential. It is the given wisdom that now, we set resolutions and get on with changing our lives and being better people.  I have to confess, I am a serial resolution setter.  I am also a serial resolution breaker.  I can’t seem to stick to them, no matter how I phrase them, no matter how I think about them.  So this year, I am doing something a little different.

This year… I am setting goals.  Not just any goals either.  These are the “Oh my goodness I have butterflies in my stomach because this is going to be AWESOME” goals.  How did I do it?  I followed the guidance of a very well known personal development speaker.  One Mr Jack Black.  No, not that one.  If you have heard of Mindstore, then you know the person I am talking about.

So… for my first blog of 2015, here is my gift to you.  The links to the four fascinating and rather fabulous goal setting tutorials.  Give yourself 4 days to do them… and then you will have 350 other days in which to reach them.

Happy New Year to everyone who reads this blog, and have fun setting your goals… and more importantly, attaining them!

I think I was tempting fate…

I did say I liked December… and I still do.  Sort of.  Unfortunately, the heating system at home has decided that it is not that happy.  So we are going to have a few days of shivering in a cold house.  It is not too bad though – it is definitely a first world problem.  Luckily we have contacted a heating engineer who is coming out on Monday at noon – so not too much longer to wait.  In the meantime there are hot water bottles, thick blankets and hot drinks on the cards.  Oh, and I am in layers.  Lots of layers!!

cold inside

In my many years of dieting, I have often heard that being cold is a good way of losing weight.  I know that when you do lose weight you feel the cold more, which is to be expected really, with a lack of erm… insulation.  I can tell you, I am feeling the cold more this year than I have previously and I am sincerely grateful.  I went to my slimming class this week and was thrilled to discover that I have lost my first stone (14 pounds).  I have a good few more to come, but getting over the first stone barrier is a psychological thrill and the fact that all my clothes fit me better is just bonus.

It is slightly odd to realise that I am now the same weight as I was when I was 18.  The year I went to University.  Goodness.  So, the rest of my “journey” to being a better weight is going to be a magical mystery tour, as I really don’t have any frame of reference for how I will look or feel.  But that can be my motivation – lets see just how awesome I can feel/look.  Anyway, I had promised myself that I would treat myself to some new makeup when I reached the first stone.  So, I did.  And let me tell you, it felt GREAT.

make up

I also streamlined the contents of my makeup bag at the same time.  I still have enough, but I do not have too much, and what I do have, I like and will wear when I want to put a face on.  Plus, losing the weight means my clothes fit better, so the general look of me is better than it was.  Not that there was anything wrong with me before, but I am enjoying the change of losing weight.

There are some bad things – tights keep falling down (very annoying indeed), the fact that my fat cells are reducing means there is a lot of oestrogen being released into my system.  I generally have a headache when this happens – but I am happy with that – especially as it means that I am losing inches.

knitting 1

So, my treat when I get to my next stone target is to get a knitting pattern and the wool to knit it up.  In the smaller size I will be when I get there.  I am keeping that in mind when temptation presents itself.

Overcoming obstacles… part 2

For you to achieve success in anything you set your mind to, you need to challenge yourself, and your assumptions, trying new things and new ways of looking at things constantly.  Only with this mind set will you ever be able to get over the obstacles which may have appeared in your path time and time again.

goal quote

Sometimes, you will get deflated and feel like you are never going to reach your goal.  That is only natural.  But you have to keep the goal in your mind, think about the feeling you are going to have when you achieve it.  It will feel wonderful when you can look around you and realise that you have reached the point you have longed to be.  Keep thinking of that point and hopefully, if you have chosen well, you will be rewarded with a rush of excitement to re-energise you and get you going again.

 

Heading to your goal is what reality TV shows love to call “A Journey”.  Sometimes it is really tempting to just glance over at someone else and think “Wow, they have really had it easy” or “I am nowhere in comparison to them”.   Don’t.  Just don’t.  Everyone is on a different road and will find different things will trip them up at different times.  Don’t compare where you are with where they are.  Just keep looking at your road and where you want to go.   Most of all, celebrate how far you have come, and not look at how far you have to go and feel down and negative.

happyworry

Each and every day, you need to work out whether you are happy.  The entire point of being alive is to be happy, and if you aren’t happy with where you are, or where you are heading, then you are perfectly within your rights to change it.  I would advise that you don’t do this purely on a whim, but rather, you do this in a considered manner.  If you have had 3 months of waking up every day feeling like you are heading to the executioner, then chances are, you are on the wrong track.  If however, you have bounded out of bed feeling a million dollars and excited to see what the day holds for you (or, more realistically, something in between) then perfect.  You are probably on the right track.  Stick at it.

 

And finally… when approaching any obstacle thrown at you, Smile.  Even if you don’t feel like smiling.  Fake it till you make it.  Keep smiling.  It will automatically shift your focus to the positive, it will get you in a good morrd and it will keep your mind open to interesting possibilities.  So, smile dammit, SMILE!

smile