Category Archives: Happiness

Intent of the Day: Expect Good

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Does mindset matter? Or are some of us just luckier than others? When you’re experiencing a string of bad news, what is there to be done? Sometimes it’s easy to forget that while we can have no control over our circumstances, we have entire control over our outlook. We want to focus on the good not only when things are easy, but more importantly when things are tough. That is when the focus really matters and helps. That’s when it can change the tide from drowning to swimming. It’s our desire to spend more days swimming than sinking. Our intent is to expect good from today.

You too? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Mind Our Manners

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It’s very easy to let our feelings (specifically our frustrations or anger) get the best of us. Before you know it, the words out of our mouths and the attitude we present is nonstop negativity, and who wants that? We instead hope to be known for our patience, our understanding and our problem solving instead of our complaining when things get tough. Rather than sitting in the upset, we want to do something productive. We intend to mind our manners. What does this mean? This means not stewing on the failures of others. This means not being absorbed by what is being done to annoy us. This means doing something instead of just talking about it.

You too? Here are 3 things to help you do the same: Continue reading

The Magic of Surprise!

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Do you like surprises? I do, however in my chaotic whirlwind of a life, it seems harder and harder to achieve. I’ve got things to do, I don’t have time to waste being in awe and joy… I mean I want to, but kids need stuff, pets need stuff, work needs stuff…there is a lot of stuff needed and someone’s got to get it and that’s usually me.

After getting divorced and being thrust into being a single mom and not only the same stuff, but more stuff piling onto my already huge pile of stuff I realized if I didn’t find a way to bring back the joy of surprise, the magic of the mystical and the peace of mind that comes from simply stopping for one moment to breathe, I wasn’t going to make it. Continue reading

7 Types of Loneliness (and Why It Matters)

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One major challenge within happiness is loneliness.  The more I’ve learned about happiness, the more I’ve come to believe that loneliness is a common and important obstacle to consider.

To be happy, we need intimate bonds; we need to be able to confide, we need to feel like we belong, we need to be able to get and give support. In fact, strong relationships are key — perhaps the key — to a happy life.

Of course, being alone and being lonely aren’t the same. Loneliness feels draining, distracting, and upsetting; desired solitude feels peaceful, creative, restorative.

It seems to me that there are several types of loneliness. Of course, not everyone experiences loneliness in the situations described — for instance, not everyone wants a romantic partner. But for some people, the lack of certain kinds of relationships brings loneliness.

Once we’ve pinpointed the particular kind of loneliness we’re experiencing, it may be easier to spot ways to address it.

Here are some types I’ve identified — what have I overlooked?

7 Types of Loneliness

1. New-situation loneliness

You’ve moved to a new city where you don’t know anyone, or you’ve started a new job, or you’ve started at a school full of unfamiliar faces. You’re lonely.

2. I’m-different loneliness

You’re in a place that’s not unfamiliar, but you feel different from other people in an important way that makes you feel isolated. Maybe your faith is really important to you, and the people around you don’t share that — or vice versa. Maybe everyone loves doing outdoor activities, but you don’t — or vice versa. It feels hard to connect with others about the things you find important. Or maybe you’re just hit with the loneliness that hits all of us sometimes — the loneliness that’s part of the human condition.

3. No-sweetheart loneliness

Even if you have lots of family and friends, you feel lonely because you don’t have the intimate attachment of a romantic partner. Or maybe you have a partner, but you don’t feel a deep connection to that person.

4. No-animal loneliness

Many people have a deep need to connect with animals. If this describes you, you’re sustained by these relationships in a way that human relationships don’t replace. While I love my dog Barnaby, I don’t feel this myself — but many people feel like something important is missing if they don’t have a dog or cat (or less conveniently, a horse) in their lives.

5. No-time-for-me loneliness

Sometimes you’re surrounded by people who seem friendly enough, but they don’t want to make the jump from friendly to friends. Maybe they’re too busy with their own lives, or they have lots of friends already, so while you’d like a deeper connection, they don’t seem interested. Or maybe your existing friends have entered a new phase that means they no longer have time for the things you all used to do — everyone has started working very long hours, or has started  family, so that your social scene has changed.

6. Untrustworthy-friends loneliness

Sometimes, you get in a situation where you begin to doubt whether your friends are truly well-intentioned, kind, and helpful. You’re “friends” with people but don’t quite trust them. An important element of friendship is the ability to confide and trust, so if that’s missing, you may feel lonely, even if you have fun with your friends.

7. Quiet-presence loneliness

Sometimes, you may feel lonely because you miss having someone else’s quiet presence. You may have an active social circle at work, or have plenty of friends and family, but you miss having someone to hang out with at home — whether that would mean living with a roommate, a family member, or a sweetheart. Just someone who’s fixing a cup of coffee in the next room, or reading on the sofa.

If you read this list, and you’re thinking, “Yes, I do feel lonely — so what the heck do I do about it?” you might find this post useful: Lonely? 5 Habits to Consider to Combat Loneliness. Or this: Feeling Lonely? Consider Trying These 7 Strategies. (These posts are different from each other, even though the titles sound similar.)

It’s important to realize why we feel lonely, because only then can we see how we might address it. If you’re no-time-for-me lonely, for instance, maybe a solution would be to work with people on a project, where you’d be doing an endeavor together, on something you’ve all made time for. My mother once noted — and I think it’s very true — it’s easier to make friends when you’re working on a project together.

Loneliness is a major factor in unhappiness, so it’s an important area to tackle, if you’re working on making yourself happier.

Want to learn more? When I researched loneliness, I was very surprised by what I found, which I wrote about here: Some counter-intuitive facts about loneliness.

If you want to read more deeply on the subject of loneliness, I highly recommend two books: John Cacioppo and William Patrick, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, and Emily White, Lonely, a memoir about the author’s own experiences and research into loneliness. Also, in my books The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, I write a lot about how to build and strengthen relationships.

One of the keys — maybe the key — to happiness is strong connections to other people. The lack of these bonds, even temporarily, is a major happiness stumbling block.

Have you found any good ways to understand and deal with loneliness?

 

Also …

happinessprojectcoverfullviewAs I mentioned above, I talk a lot about strengthening relationships in my book The Happiness Project. Can’t help mentioning–it was on the New York Times bestseller list for two years, and has been translated into more than 35 languages. You can read sample chapters; watch the one-minute book video; request the one-page discussion guide or spiritual discussion guide; listen to a sample of the audiobook (that’s me, reading from the Introduction). Also, email me if you want to see my happiness-project chart and get a blank template to use yourself.

 

Other posts you might be interested in . . .

Intent of the Day: Get Outside!

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Spring is around the corner and that means it’s time to start adventuring. Climb out of that winter hibernation. Dust off your boots, dig out your backpack and get going. If you’re not quite ready to trek too far from home, we still have a couple of sneaky ways to start incorporating the outdoors into your day-to-day routine. Our intent? It’s to go outside!

You too? Here are 3 ways you can squeeze it in: Continue reading

An Effective Way to Move from Negativity to a Positive Future in 5 Steps

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And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. ~Matthew 21:22

There is a lot more negativity today than ever before. Is there truth in that statement? Your answer is really the narrative or perspective you choose to view life. It’s in your way of thinking, your state of mind.

A negative view can add unnecessary stress and hold you back from reaching your intended goals or ignore what’s really important. You can learn to turn negative thinking into positive thinking. The process is simple, but it does take time and practice because you’re actually creating a new habit after all.

Don’t expect to become an optimist overnight if you tend to have a negative outlook. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You will also become less critical of your environment and the world around you.

When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.

The following points are an effective way to help you focus on what’s important, and move from negative thoughts to more positivity in 5 simple steps: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Unique Abilities

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“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

-Dr. Seuss

For one minute, we want to put up the blinders. For just a minute we want to pause on the comparison and the false humility to really notice the person in the mirror. Check in with yourself. Notice your feet on the ground. Notice the tips of your fingertips. How do you feel? When we ask how you feel about you does it conjure feelings of anxiety, frustration over not being seen, hopeful about your potential? Any number of emotions might arise and today we want to focus in on the parts of ourselves that are unique and powerful, even if they don’t appear that way at first glance.

Our intent is to see our unique abilities. You want to find those things? Here are 3 things that might help:  Continue reading

Intent of the Day: A Different Perspective

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Do you call soft drinks soda? Pop? Coke? All different names to mean the same things but if you didn’t have a can right in front of you, you might not realize that you all had a commonality. Often times we focus on the differences in our words that even consider what we share and while that is a small example, we are finding more and more need to look for common ground, to listen and to hear than to shut down and divide.

Today our intent is to explore a different perspective. We want to stop seeing others and their differing opinions as wrong first, and instead consider how their actions are motivated. We want to be open and teachable. We want to be bridge builders instead of wall builders. We invite you to be the same. Here are 3 things to help you with your intent: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Sharing the Warmth

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What exactly makes you feel at home? And what does home feel like? As tough as it can be going out your door, there’s something special about having a place or being a person that radiates kindness and warmth. Sharing that warmth means interacting with people who don’t have to be afraid or ashamed and we are committed to creating that environment. Our intent today is to share a little warmth.

Need help warming it up? We’ve got 3 things to help: Continue reading

The 4 Letter Word We Need to Stop Treating as Taboo

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That’s right, I’m talking about HELP When my first child was born we had issues breastfeeding. It took two weeks of misery, tears, frustration, including a trip to the hospital for jaundice, pumping to get my supply back up because he wasn’t actually nursing and constant breakdowns before I finally hired a lactation consultant.

She checked everything and let me know he was too small to latch, gave me a plan to get him bigger, a hospital pump to rent, and my piece of mind back. Best whatever money it was that I ever spent.

I asked myself over and over, why did I wait so long? I could have made that so much easier so much sooner and would have been more present for those first two weeks. Instead I reached the point of frustration where I understood why someone would shake their baby (I never did! But I saw how it could happen.) Continue reading

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