Make Happy a Habit!
Because “things turn out best for the people who make the best of how things turn out”, I have decided to repost one of my previous blogs. In today’s uncertain and scary times, when many of us:
I share with you this simple exercise. If done every day for 30 days, it
can help change your outlook. I resend this blog with my wishes that
you stay safe and healthy.
I'll give you the steps so you become empowered to look at the world differently and feel the joy and contentment you deserve!
My challenge to you is based on the work of psychologist and happiness researcher, Shawn Achor. Surprising as it sounds, he says that it is possible to re-wire your brain to be happier.
You don’t have to wear a smiley-face hat or tell funny jokes. Simply doing the following five activities daily can rewire your brain towards happiness. (I include my order to just give you some idea of fitting it into your day. You can organize it however it is convenient for you).
1. THINK OF THREE THINGS YOU’RE GRATEFUL FOR
I like to do this – out loud – in the morning when I get up. I encourage those around me to join in. It’s a good family tradition.
2. WRITE ABOUT A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE FROM THE PAST 24 HOURS
I do this in the evening. I keep a notebook on my nightstand. This simple activity has the amazing power of changing your entire mindset. You will comb through the day, tossing aside the negative and focusing on the positive. Guaranteed to make you smile.
3. EXERCISE (AT LEAST 20 MIN)
I am a morning person, so I make time before breakfast to get in my exercise. Whether it is a brisk walk, time at the gym or climbing stairs, give yourself 20 minutes and increase your activity. I’m including four short videos of easy five-minute exercises on my website. Do all four in a day and you’ll have your 20 minutes!
4. MEDITATE (5-7 MIN)
I find that meditating mid-afternoon works for me. No need to think mantras or posing cross-legged on the carpet. The simplest meditation can be sitting quietly listening to soothing music (no words) – and focusing on either the music, your breathing or a body scan from head-to-toe. If you want some guidance, I like the free app HEADSPACE, which you can use with your earphones while sitting at your desk. Meditation calms and centers, helping you focus and better handle whatever comes your way.
5. PERFORM ONE RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS
All day every day is a good time for a random act of kindness. Performing a selfless act that helps, compliments or encourages someone has an amazing effect on all involved. You’ll enjoy every minute. To help get you started, I’ll post a list of suggestions on my website.
Encourage everyone around you to get involved
Please leave a note on one of the platforms below or comment on this blog post to let me know how you are doing.
Post some pictures of what you are grateful for and what makes you happy. I want to know how your random acts of kindness and writing about your positive experiences made you feel. Tell me about your time in meditation. And be sure to tell me when you start feeling like HAPPY is becoming a habit.
Good luck! And get your camera ready – you’ll be finding yourself smiling a lot more.
SHARE YOUR PROGRESS BY:
Don’t forget to include #makehappyahabit in your posts
KEEP USING ZOOM AND FACE TIME!
“People Who Need People
Are the Luckiest People in the World”
Can we talk? I think it’s time we discussed the proliferation of video conferencing tools – read that as Zoom and FaceTime. I’ve been using FaceTime for quite a while to catch up with friends and call my grandkids in other states.
But, I have to admit something. Lately, I’ve become a little more self-conscious. One time after dialing in on FaceTime and waiting for an answer, my husband caught me studying the screen, trying to rearrange my wrinkles and tilt my head so my neck looked smoother.
"I THINK FACETIME WAS INVENTED BY PLASTIC SURGEONS!"
“Whoa! Why are you making faces at the screen?” he asked. I shrugged innocently and stared back at the phone, hoping someone would answer before he would figure it out.
“You know,” he laughed, “I think FaceTime was invented by plastic surgeons! ‘Let’s see... we could tighten here and tuck there… Should work fine!’” He shook his head and walked away smiling. Of course. I couldn’t help it. It’s just that until someone answers the phone, all I see is a closeup of… ME!
And now... in the midst of the social-distancing edict with the Coronavirus, I suddenly find myself Zooming and Face-Timing more than ever! (I’ve even made them into verbs). We have to connect – whether for work or family and friends, and so I often find myself saying, “Who is that person in the picture with the dark roots and the sagging jowls?”
(Actually, I’m beginning to favor that multi-participant Zoom meeting when the picture is so small you can hardly recognize who it is, much less notice the roots and count the wrinkles.)
BREAKING NEWS! BREAKING NEWS!
Oh, wait! I’ve just found the command on Zoom that if you click on the down arrow next to the little video camera icon, there is a box called ‘touch up my appearance’
Needless to say, I just tried it. Huh? Was there a difference? I’m waiting to see Angelina Jolie, and to me I look exactly like I did before I pressed the button! Hold on… I know, I’ll ‘unclick’ and go back and try it again (You know these quirky computers).
Nope – me, again. Oh well, I’ve decided to like me.
After all, at least once my grandkids answer, I’m reminded that they don’t see wrinkles; they just see their loving Grammie, and I get to see a window into their lives in that moment. It often looks something like this:
My two-year-old granddaughter grabs the phone and
immediately hangs up.
My five-year-old granddaughter explains the solar system
and asks me if I know when Pluto was declared a non-planet.
My eight-year-old grandson shows me how he uses the Anamoji App
to change the image of himself on the phone. So instead of his face, I am talking to
a lion, a teddy bear, smoke-breathing dragon or a skeleton.
Or sometimes all of those - every 5 seconds!
My twelve-year-old granddaughter talks to me
while finessing her Tik-Tok video for You Tube,
which often involves a running cartwheel.
My fourteen-year-old grandson holds the phone up to his nose
and asks if I can see any boogers.
My seventeen-year-old granddaughter says,
“Hi, Grammie. I’ve got to go study.”
And I love every word they say and every action they offer, even the booger hunting.
You are an Important Part of Your Grandchild's Life
So, whether you are calling friends or whether you are Grammy, Nana, PopPop, Bubbie, MeMaw, or BobaLou, get used to using video conferencing.
You are an important part of your grandchild’s life, and they are certainly an important part of yours. And whether you read stories, share a laugh, or just want to be part of a Tuesday evening, a FaceTime or Zoom call brings excitement, connection, and shows your thoughtfulness and love.
[…and it also shows a huge close up. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe next time I’ll try the Panda Bear on the Animoji app - or maybe I can invite more tiny-picture people to share in a Zoom call!]
Loretta Saff, M.A., CPC, CPRC