Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns. I am thankful that thorns have roses.
I have a couple of opportunities to share with you before we get started today. I hope you don’t mind but every once in awhile a reader will ask if there is someway they can help with something I have going on; well today there is.
First, if you live in Central Indiana and would like to join me on Saturday May 9th, I think you’ll be glad you did. For on that day many of my friends and I will be at the Special Olympics games handling the awards ceremony and we sure could use your help. If you think you might be interested drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org
and I’ll tell you more about it.
Second you can help my Kiwanis Club support our participation in the annual Cystic Fibrosis walk by making a sponsorship donation at http://www.cff.org/great_strides/NorthwestKiwanisIndianapolis
. Even a modest donation will be appreciated.
This is the first time I have ever included an opportunity for us to do some good together in the Daily, I hope you don’t mind.
I was with a friend the other day talking about happiness and we ended up thinking that too often we seem to feel we must be gloriously happy for if we are not then something must be missing. In reality we get to chose to place value on even modest happiness by appreciating even the little things and we don't really need it all to find enjoyment. The ever smart Gretchen Rubin shared some of her happiness tips with her readers recently and I liked what she said enough to think it is worth sharing with you. Here is what she wrote:
These aren't necessarily the most essential tips for being happy -- I tried to include strategies that might not otherwise occur to people. So, for example, "helping other people" isn't listed, even though it's one of the best ways of boosting your happiness.
1. Don’t start with profundities.
When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.
2. Do let the sun go down on anger.
I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.
3. Fake it till you feel it.
Feelings follow actions. If I’m feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I’m feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.
4. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly.
Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things — learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places — are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to “Enjoy the fun of failure” and tackle some daunting goal.
5. Don’t treat the blues with a “treat.” Often the things I choose as “treats” aren’t good for me. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day. While it’s easy to think, I’ll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans, it’s worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.
6. Buy some happiness.
Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do and having a sense of control. Money doesn’t automatically fill these requirements, but it sure can help. I’ve learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes; and to have enlarging experiences. For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness bang for the buck.
7. Don’t insist on the best.
There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.
8. Exercise to boost energy.
I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, “I’m just too tired to go to the gym”? Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook
9. Stop nagging.
I knew my nagging wasn’t working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging. I hadn’t realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking like that. I replaced nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying “Milk!” instead of talking on and on); not insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments? I found it hard to give up nagging—in fact, I came up with 19 strategies to try to cure myself of the nagging habit.
10. Take action.
Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You’re born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that’s that. Although it’s true that genetics play a big role, about 40 percent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work.
“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us daily. ”
She said: When my daughter was about 10-years-old, I became pregnant. Of course, she wanted to know how it happened, so I gave her what I considered an appropriate explanation of the process.
She asked, "Did you do that to get me?"
I said yes and she responded, "And you did it a second time?"
Indecision is the key to flexibility.
As a young minister, I was asked by a funeral director to hold a grave-side service for a homeless man, with no family or friends. The funeral was to be held at a cemetery way back in the country, and this man would be the first to be laid to rest there. As I was not familiar with the backwoods area, I became lost; and being a typical man did not stop for directions.
I finally arrived an hour late. I saw the backhoe and the crew, who was eating lunch, but the hearse was no where in sight. I apologized to the workers for my tardiness, and stepped to the side of the open grave, where I saw the vault lid already in place. I assured the workers I would not hold them up for long, but this was the proper thing to do.
The workers gathered around, still eating their lunch. I poured out my heart and soul. As I preached the workers began to say "Amen," "Praise the Lord," and "Glory"! I preached, and I preached, like I'd never preached before from Genesis all the way to Revelations. I closed the lengthy service with a prayer and walked to my car.
As I was opening the door and taking off my coat, I overheard one of the workers saying to another, "I ain't never seen anything like that before And I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years."
Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.
He said: When my wife had to rush to the hospital unexpectedly, she asked me to bring her a few items from home. One item on her list was "comfortable underwear."
Worried I'd make the wrong choice, I asked, "How will I know which ones to pick?"
"Hold them up and imagine them on me," she answered. "If you smile, put them back."
“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life,
that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
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The editor is somewhat senile.
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