Wednesday, November 26, 2014

#30 Days of Lists - Number 24 - 30 (Final catch up)

Number 24 - My favorite authors

Sheila Roberts
Diana Gabaldon
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Robyn Carr
Louisa May Alcott
L.M. Montgomery
Laura Childs
Philippa Gregory

Number 25 - What balance means to me

Being happy
Being healthy
Having a sweet and salty snack
Milk and cookies

Number 26 - Rules for traveling with me

Don't complain
Bring snacks
Bring something to keep you busy
No loud music
Be nice
No yelling/fighting

Number 27 - I am thankful for 

My husband
My kids
My family
My eyes
My books
My job
My hobbies/collections
Cell phones

Number 28 - This time next year

I will be self employed
I will have a book written
I will be debt free
I will be more positive
I will be happier
I will be successful

Number 29 - Accomplishments I am most proud of

My paralegal degree
My collection of books
My kids
My husband
My crafting

Number 30 - On my mind today

My husband
My kids
My job
My life
My family
My goals 
My future

#30 Days of Lists 19-23 (More catch up)

Number 19 - I feel coziest when

I am reading my books
Curled up in blanket
Snuggling with my nieces and nephews
Snuggling with a puppy/kitten
Watching a good movie

Number 20 - Guilty pleasures

Nice paper
Bath soaps
Bath salts
Bubble bath
Wax cubes for melting pots

Number 21 - Podcasts I love

The Art of Simple
Dave Ramsey
Simple Life Habits

Number 22 - Meal planning for this week

Hot wings

Number 23 - Don't tell anybody but, 

I hate dressing up
I hate wearing a bra
Love my alone time
I do personal things at work
Don't like loud kids in restaurants
Can be jealous

Happiness Project - December

The Happiness Project - December - Boot Camp Perfect - Happiness

For the month of December you can use this month as a recap to make sure you are on track with your own happiness project and to reflect on the year. No one is going to be perfect but you must keep trying and work at it. Remember we are all a work in progress.

The Happiness Project Manifesto

To be happy you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad and feeling right, in a atmosphere of growth

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; one of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself

The days are long  but the years are short

You're not happy unless you think you're happy

Your body matters

Happiness is other people

Think about yourself so you can forget yourself

"It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light" - G.K. Chesterton

What's fun for other people may not be fun for you, and vice versa

Best is good: better is best

Outer order contributes to inner calm

Happiness come not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have

You can choose what you do, but you can't choose what you like to do

"There is not duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy" Robert Luis Stevenson

You manage what you measure

Loving actions inspire loving feelings

The opposite of a great truth is also truth

Happiness Project - November

Happiness Project - November - Keep a Contented Heart - Attitude

One of the first things that Gretchen talks about for this month is that we need to laugh out loud. As she states in her book: laughter is more that just a pleasurable activity. It can boost immunity and lower blood pressures and cortisol levels. It increases your tolerance for pain, is a source of social bonding and helps to reduce conflicts and cushion social stress. These all sound like great reasons to get laughing. Look for things that don't just make you smile but make you laugh out loud. I am not a person who laughs a lot so this will take me some getting used to. How about you - are you someone who loves to laugh? 

Next thing to start doing this month is to use good manners. Now we all know this is something we should have been using our whole lives and all the time but sometimes we forget and just need a little reminding. Tolstoy wrote "Nothing, can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness". We can practice kindness each and every day by just remembering to practice good manners. Gretchen says she found it easier to feel happier and use good manners when she made the effort to say physically comfortable. For example dress warmly when it is cold outside, turn off the lights when you feel sleepy, take pain medicine as soon as the headache starts because it is much easier to behave pleasantly when you are not cold, tired or in pain. 

The third thing she tells us to do is to give positive reviews. This for me I think will be a little easier than some things that we have learned this year. I read a lot of books and I very seldom give bad reviews. I just don't feel right doing so. Now there are other ways I could apply this to my life. I think by telling employees at retail stores or restaurants thank you or to have a nice day could fall into giving positive reviews. I think everyone should practice this more often. Remember the movie Pollyanna she liked to play the glad game - no matter what happened she found a reason to be glad for it. I think we can all take her advice with this one. 

The last thing for this month that Gretchen suggests is to find an area of refuge. You can use this as your happy place. When you are feeling angry or sad think of a place that makes you happy. The place can be real or in your head. Just go where you are happy and feel calm. 

That is it for this month. We have one more month of learning then you can get started on own happiness project. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

#30 Days of Lists - 15 - 18 (More catch up time)

Number 15 - Favorite Cliches

Never judge a book by its cover
An apple a day keeps the doctor away
Been there done that
A picture is worth a thousand words
Every cloud has a silver lining
There's no place like home
What goes around comes around
I'm so done
Dumber than a box of rocks
Great minds think alike
You never get more than you can handle
Everything happens for a reason
Actions speak louder than words
Living the dream

Number 16 - Posters on my wall when I was growing up

Ralph Macchio
Scott Baio
Shawn Cassidy
C. Thomas Howell
Rob Lowe
Tom Cruise
Duran Duran
David Cassidy 
Leif Garret
John Stamos

Number 17 - Reasons to ____

Reasons to finish the book
Reasons to stay off Facebook
Reasons to say I am sorry
Reasons to change
Reasons to eat healthier
Reasons to exercise
Reasons to change
Reasons to be happy
Reasons to journal
Reasons to help others

Number 18 - Things I wish made me money

Watching TV
Talking on the phone
Surfing the internet
Eating healthier

Happiness Project - October

Happiness Project - October - Pay Attention/Mindfulness

Mindfulness gives us many benefits to us as scientists point out - it calms the mind, elevates brain function, gives clarity and vividness to present experience, help break unhealthy habits, soothe troubles spirits, lifts people's moods, reduces stress and chronic pain, makes you  happier, less defensive and more engaged with others. This seems like a lot of benefits from just doing one thing. So I want to look into and refresh what Gretchen tells us about being mindful. I know I could benefit from these benefits. 

One of the most effective ways to practice mindfulness is through meditation. This is something that I will have to learn how to do better. Gretchen herself was not big on meditation so she uses other ways to be mindful. One of the things she does is uses her resolutions chart, a practice that has let her to act more mindfully through the review of her actions and thoughts. To me this sounds like a good idea and an easy way to remember to be mindful. 

Another way that Gretchen uses to be mindful is to meditate on koans. What does this mean you say, well I wondered the same thing so I will tell you what Gretchen says. A koan is a question or a statement that can't be understood logically. The most famous koan is "Two hands clap and there is a sound, What is the sound of one hand?" A koan can't be grasped by reason or explained in words: meditating on koans promotes mindful thinking because it's not possible to comprehend their meanng with familiar, conventional logic. I am still a little confused on this one so it will take some thinking on my part to figure this out.

Next we are told to examine true rules - True rules are rules you use to keep yourself from falling into mechanical thoughts and actions. You can make your own rules and use them for decision making. Here are a few rules that Gretchen uses:  my children are my most important priority, I know as much as most people, and whenever possible choose vegetables. One of her mother's true rules that I absolutely love and have to agree with is "The things that go wrong often make the best memories".Other examples of true rules are: always say hello, change is good, choose the bigger life, use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without and things have a way of turning out for the best. What are some true rules you would use? This is another I am going to have to think on.

Now Gretchen tells us to stimulate the mind in new ways - this one to me sounds like it could be fun. She says to use your brain in unfamiliar ways to enhance your experience of the present moment and awareness of yourself. One thing she did was to post sticky notes around her apartment to remind herself of the frame of mind she wanted to cultivated. This is a great idea, in fact I do have things on my desk and a few here at home that I read to remind me of how I want to be. Another thing that she did was to take up drawing, now for me I am not an artist but I do want to start to zentangle so I need to get started.

Lastly Gretchen suggested to start a food diary - Now this does not sound so hard to do, yes it make take a few minutes but it would be worth it to track how you are eating. I have to agree with her that when you track what you are eating your are more conscience about what goes in your mouth and will end up eating healthier. I had to do this for a couple of days for health reasons and I found myself really watching what I was eating. Now I just need to go back to that and maybe I will eat healthier.

I would love some thoughts on this months suggestions Gretchen gave us. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

#30 Days of Lists - Number 11-14 (Catch up time)

Number 11 - Things I have finished so far this year
Small vacation
Watching my daughter graduate high school
Organized important documents
Cleaned out spare room
Went to doctor about acid reflux
Made some goals

Number 12 - Must haves for a night in
Good book
Comfy clothes
Fuzzy blanket
Favorite snacks
Quiet time
Favorite movies/tv shows

Number 13 - The best things about this week
No knee surgery needed for my husband
Four day weekend
Girls day with mom, grandma and daughter
A full day of reading
Talking to littlest nephew on the phone

Number 14 - Best places to find inspiration
Country drive

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happiness Project = September

Happiness Project - September - Pursue a Passion

Gretchen's passion that she chose to pursue was books. If you know anything about me books would also be my passion as I live and breath them. Let's see what Gretchen says to do to help you pursue your passion.

First off she says to write a novel - this works for me. Yes it is going to be hard but I want to do this. It is kind of funny that this was the first thing on her list. Recently I talked to my husband and one of my dreams that I have had for a very long time and it was to write a book. Not just any book but a book about Laura Ingalls Wilder. Then the more I thought about writing a book the more ideas I was coming up. My family as told me to go for it that I could do. So now I need to jump in and just do it. Gretchen talks about a friend of hers who says she can write a novel in a month, now I know this sounds unreal buy I have been finding many books that can help you to do this. I have purchased a couple of them, so we shall see if they can help me. 

To write a novel in a month you start without any preparation, you don't edit yourself and then you write 1,667 words a day and fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days. Sounds easy doesn't it. So what is stopping you. 

Next thing on Gretchen's list for this month is to make time - you have to be sure to make time for whatever your passion is and makes you happy. I make time each day for reading books as that is the thing that I am most passionate about. What is something that you like to make time for?

Third on her list is to forget about the results - since you are pursuing your passion you do not have to have any results you can just dive in with gusto. No need to worry about why you are doing it just do it. 

Lastly, Gretchen says to master a new technology - The new technology that she took on was to make books. In fact one of the books she made was she took her daughter's drawings and had them made into a book to preserve the memories. This one I am going to think on, I am not sure yet what new technology I want to master. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

30 Days of Lists - #7 -10 (Catch up time)

Day 7 - Chores I Enjoy

Making a to do list
Cleaning out emails
Completing all my chores

Day 8 - Books Everyone Should Read

The Outlander Series
Gone with the Wind
The Prayer Box
Pillars of the Earth
Anne of Green Gables
Little House on the Prairie Series
Little Women Series
Virgin River Series
Icicle Falls Series
A Woman of Substance
The Help

Day 9 - Ain't Nobody Got Time For That

Stupid people
Bad Drivers
Loud Music
Political Ads/Lies

Day 10 - Subjects I can talk about all day

Green Bay Packers
Downton Abbey

Happiness Project - August

The Happiness Project - August - Contemplate the Heavens

First of all I want to apologize for my absence in writing. I guess I started to think of it as a chore and that is not what I wanted it to be. So I after taking a break I am going to start back into my writing with a new attitude. 

In the month of August Gretchen tells us that she chose to do three things to help her contemplate the Heavens. 

First read memoirs of catastrophe - she stated that by doing this she learned to live fully and thankfully in the present. This prompted her to start a one-sentence journal. Her journal was a place to record moments that make life sweet but that you forget easily. Many people keep journals like this and use them for different reasons. One person who traveled a lot used his to write about his family, another person used their's to record one thing of happiness from each day, and yet another kept a work journal to record things he learned as he started his business. 

Next Gretchen started a gratitude notebook - I love this idea and really need to embrace it more than I do. Gratitude is important to happiness. This has been proven through studies. Now this is not for all people but I say give it a try and see if it works for you. I think if we focus on the good things rather than the bad only good can come from it. 

Lastly this month she suggests to imitate a spiritual master - For me this seems a little bit harder to do, maybe I just need to be a little more open minded. Her Gretchen's book she says "One of the most universal spiritual practices is the imitation of a spiritual master as a way to gain understanding and discipline." Some people consider many different people to be spiritual leaders not just religious people. A few examples of master that people have imitated and studied are Winston Churchill, Abraham, Lincoln and Warren Buffet.

So as you reflect on this month's installment what would you like to start doing? Personally I would like to start a gratitude/one sentence journal and read more master's biographies.