Category Archives: Happiness

Intent of the Day: We are the Peace-Makers

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To keep up with the news these days is to be heartbroken. Families grieve the loss of fathers that should’ve come home that day. Politicians speak words of hate about ethnicities who live and thrive in this country and will vote in November. Women suffer assault and the perpetrators of those crimes will have their athletic accolades included in backstory of their act. It can make you wonder if anyone is fighting for peace, kindness, gentleness.

Today our intent is to be those people.  You can be one of those people.
You can make your intent to be a person who furthers love and patience instead anger and hatred. You can choose to grow and change into a human who accepts and pursues good instead of a person who is self-seeking and narrow-minded.

How? There are lots of ways to dig in. Here are a few things that might help with today’s climate:

  1. This video from ACLU deputy legal director Jeff Robinson calling for policing reform.
    In the wake of two more police shootings, we revisit this video shared after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Robinson calls us to find a better way.

  2. This Easy Guide to Contacting Your Elected Representatives About Gun Control.
    Shared originally on Huffington Post, this guide helps you identify your senators and representatives, shares form letters and has information for effectively calling and tweeting at elected officials. As easy as it easy to do, you have no reason not to take a minute to share your support or opposition when it comes to causes that matter most to you.
  3. These wise words from Deepak Chopra.
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    In choosing to be a peace-maker, it also means dealing with the resentment and anger in your heart. There is much to be upset about. There is much change that awaits us. This does not mean a root of bitterness should be fostered in the process. Choose to pursue change because you desire a better future, not because you wish to remain trapped in the past. Forgiveness does not mean you have to forget where you’ve come from. It can mean accepting the freedom to take a different path.

How are you pursuing peace?

Delighting Your Heart: How to Easily Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness (and Six Reasons You Want to)

A photo by Aidan Meyer. unsplash.com/photos/MApzyeDS-gM

My need for external reassurance as a woman came home to me many birthdays ago. I decided to test everyone (especially Honey) by making no reference to my personal holiday during the entire month of January. The results were devastating. Not a single soul—parent, child, sister, friend, husband (gasp)—remembered. The red-letter day came and went without a whimper. Now, before you scream “Revolution!” (which I came close to doing at the time) let me add this: Honey was under huge pressure at work, serving tirelessly at church, and acutely worried over finances. He comforted, cuddled, and counseled with tenderness. It’s just that his calendar was off.

When I realized that accusation would never produce a bottle of perfume, the truth hit me like a whiff of cheap cologne: I had been thinking for too long that it was my guy’s primary job in life to make me feel good, to heal all my wounds, to spend every possible minute with me, to be emotionally available and responsive 24/7, to always want what I want. I had set myself up for disillusionment.

Thankfully, I wised up and made a course correction that stuck. My birthday is now advertised far and wide and way in advance. I am responsible to ask for and inspire special attention on January 27. Healthy, balanced doses of giving and receiving from family, friends, God, and myself, keeps my tank full. His three little words (“I love you”) then top me off and overflow into a puddle at our feet.

And that’s the secret. Fill your own tank by taking responsibility for your own happiness.

There is a simple way to get started, or continue, in the habit of filling your own tank so that you can give from abundance while receiving with confidence. I don’t mean to make it sound easy—we are talking about the greatest challenge of a woman’s life, the seesaw between nurturing herself and nurturing others—but I know you can do it.

Here’s how: Continue reading

Ten Tips on Feeling Beautiful from The Inside Out

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When you meet someone who is truly beautiful it’s not just the way they look that makes you take notice. Beautiful people glow and radiate self-confidence and inner peace that is hard not to notice. Here are ten tips to creating the most authentic and beautiful version of yourself. Continue reading

Why Making Time for Vacation is Important

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Family vacations were a high point for me growing up. It was a time to explore and learn about the world. We didn’t have a lot of money and that required a bit of creativity. I consider myself lucky that my parents took the time for breaks in their schedule to spend time with us.

A simple definition of ‘vacation’ is a time when someone is away from home, school or work, in order to relax or travel. I like to think of it as an intermission from your normal, daily life.

Many of us have a tendency to push ourselves too much and ignore the chronic stress that comes with that constant drive to achieve something.  In the U.S. we tend to take “time off” for granted and treat it as a type of luxury. It’s not. We all need a break.

Expedia did a study called Vacation Deprivation and found that a vacation for most can just be “a remote office away from the office.” People are still engaging with work, taking calls, and checking email regularly (guilty!).  And a lot of paid vacation goes unused for various reasons.

We’ve all had a conversation about work-life balance and its relevance. But are you actually doing something to create that needed healthy balance?

After our recent family vacation before school started, it was a great reminder that taking a break – a vacation – is healthy and a key part of stress reduction. Here are 7 reasons why it’s important to schedule vacation on a regular basis: Continue reading

Is There One “Best” Type of Temperament? Or Tendency?

thomasmerton“Temperament does not predestine one man to sanctity and another to reprobation. All temperaments can serve as the material for ruin or for salvation…It does not matter how poor or how difficult a temperament we may be endowed with. If we make good use of what we have, if we make it serve our good desires, we can do better than another who merely serves his temperament instead of making it serve him.”

–Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

This passage from Merton caught my attention, because of my Four Tendencies framework for personality.

In that framework, I divide all of humanity into four types: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel. (Want to find out what you are? The Quiz is here. Almost 500,000 people have taken it.) Continue reading

The Wanderlust Gene: Why Some People Are Born to Travel

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If you look at history and the human tendency to travel to far-flung areas of the planet, you may begin to suspect there’s something in the human genome that causes this compulsive wandering behavior. You may become even more convinced of this genetic tendency if you have ever traveled to what you thought was a distant corner of the earth and met up with someone from your very own town or neighborhood. It appears that some humans are driven to explore and seek out new environments, a human habit which has caused some scientists to consider whether there is a “travel gene” that contributes to the behavior. Continue reading

Want to Write Better? 21 Reminders about the Elements of Good Style.

Writing tipsWhether you write all the time, or only occasionally, you’ve probably thought about how to write better.

One of the best books about writing is The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., and E. B. White. It has been in print for forty years.

I don’t know anything about Strunk, but I’m a huge fan of the writing of E. B. White.  I love his children’s books of course — masterpieces like Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan — and I also love his brilliant essays, like Here Is New York, and the Letters of E. B. White.

So I pay close attention to whatever he says about style.

The reminders from The Elements of Style include:

Continue reading

News Flash: Watching TV with Your Sweetheart May Boost Your Happiness.

497294952_c06a81d93b_bI’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all,  after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.

So I was interested to see that new research suggests that for  couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.

It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected. Continue reading

4 Secrets to Banishing Homesickness When Traveling Abroad

A photo by Steven Lewis. unsplash.com/photos/r4He4Btlsro
While traveling abroad offers a host of opportunities and new experiences, it can also get a bit lonely at times. And that longing for the connection and belonging that you feel back home can not only ruin a trip, but it could prevent you from taking another one. Banish the homesick blues with these tips so you can focus on exploring and enjoying your new environment.

Share your new culture with loved ones

While phone calls and social media make staying in touch easy, take it a step further by sending home local delights. Find your favorite sweets, baked goods, spices, candles or health and beauty products and mail small care packages to your nearest and dearest to give them a taste of your new local culture. The mere act of finding these items, packaging them and navigating the local postal system can also help you get more acclimated to your new surroundings abroad.

Make your accommodations feel like home

Whether you are staying in a hotel, a house or apartment rental or a dorm, there’s no reason that your new accommodations can’t feel like home. It’s worth the extra effort to add a few of your favorite decor flourishes, as it can make even the more generic quarters feel cozy and familiar. Here are a few ideas: Continue reading

Being Supportive

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When we are choosing the people in our lives, we like to pick ones that comfort us and support us in our times of need. Part of our relationships with these people means supporting them as well. Some of us don’t really know what it means to be supportive, and we do the best we can.

So, what does it mean to be supportive? What can we do to connect with our loved ones better, and help lift them up without any burden to ourselves? Luckily, the answer is quite simple.

Many of us are fixers – we like to solve other people’s problems, lend a hand, and make sure everyone else’s lives are running smoothly. As a fixer myself, I know that more than enough time is spent on these tasks. Living as an adult child of an alcoholic means that I am well versed in the art of fixing, whether it is cleaning up after someone, fixing their mistakes, or bailing them out of trouble when that might not be the best thing for them. Being a fixer is not a bad thing; many of us are caregivers by nature, and we genuinely do love to help out. Being a fixer just means we spend a little too much time focused on fixing others.

Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes go astray. We know that we are coming from a loving place or wanting to help and connect with the other person. Constantly telling them how to fix their problems, however, is not what someone wants out of a supportive friend, and we often get pushed away. Continue reading

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