Tag: Happy

Joy Is A Decision

This is the day which the Lord has brought about; we will rejoice and be glad in it. 
—Psalm 118:24

Enjoying the abundant life Jesus died to give you is based on a decision you make, not on your circumstances. Thankfully, you can decide to be happy right where you are and to enjoy the life you have right now on the way to where you are going. You can make a firm decision to enjoy your journey.

You can begin by saying out loud, “I am going to enjoy my life.” Until you get that thought established in your mind, every morning when you wake up, before you even get out of bed, I encourage you to declare out loud, “I am going to enjoy this day! I am seizing the day! I am taking authority over the devil—the joy thief—even before he tries to come against me. I have made up my mind that I am going to keep my joy today!” Having a right mindset always helps in every situation.

Prayer of Thanks I thank You today, Father, that I can choose to live in the abundant life Jesus died to give me. I don’t have to live a miserable, unhappy life. I can choose to celebrate Your goodness and enjoy the life You have given me.

joy

Advertisements

Good Habits for Good People

In our day-to-day lives it is easy to miss the forest for the trees and look over some of the smaller, simpler things that can disproportionally affect our happiness levels. Luckily, we can go off more than just our intuition; there are lots of studies that aim for finding the right behavior that leads to a happier life. Below, we take a look at some of the more actionable advice.

1. Be Busy, But Not Rushed

Research shows that being “rushed” puts you on the fast track to being miserable. On the other hand, many studies suggest that having nothing to do can also take its toll, bad news for those who subscribe to the Office Space dream of doing nothing.

The porridge is just right when you’re living a productive life at a comfortable pace. Meaning: you should be expanding your comfort zone often, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. Easier said than done, but certainly an ideal to strive towards.

Feeling like you’re doing busywork is often the result of saying “Yes” to things you are not absolutely excited about. Be sure to say “No” to things that don’t make you say, “Hell yeah!” We all have obligations, but a comfortable pace can only be found by a person willing to say no to most things, and who’s able to say “Yes” to the right things.

You should be expanding your comfort zone often, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed.

2. Have 5 Close Relationships

Having a few close relationships keeps people happier when they’re young, and has even been shown to help us live longer, with a higher quality of life. True friends really are worth their weight in gold. But why five relationships? This seemed to be an acceptable average from a variety of studies. Take this excerpt from the book Finding Flow:

National surveys find that when someone claims to have 5 or more friends with whom they can discuss important problems, they are 60 percent more likely to say that they are ‘very happy’.

The number isn’t the important aspect here, it is the effort you put into your relationships that matters. Studies show that even the best relationships dissolve over time; a closeness with someone is something you need to continually earn, never treat it as a given. Every time you connect with those close to you, you further strengthen those bonds and give yourself a little boost of happiness at the same time. The data show that checking in around every two weeks is the sweet spot for very close friends.

3. Don’t Tie Your Happiness to External Events

Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. —C.S. Lewis

Self-esteem is a tricky beast. It’s certainly good for confidence, but a variety of research suggests that self-esteem that is bound to external success can be quite fickle. For example, certain students who tied their self-esteem to their grades experienced small boosts when they received a grad school acceptance letter, but harsh drops in self-esteem when they were rejected.

Tying your happiness to external events can also lead to behavior which avoids failure as a defensive measure. Think of all the times you tell yourself, “It doesn’t matter that I failed, because I wasn’t even trying.”  The key may be, as C.S. Lewis suggests, to instead think of yourself less, thus avoiding the trap of tying your self-worth to external signals.

4. Exercise

Yup, no verbose headline here, because there is no getting around it: no matter how much you hate exercise, it will make you feel better if you stick with it. Body image improves when you exercise (even if results don’t right away). And eventually, you should start seeing that “exercise high” once you’re able to pass the initial hump: The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time.

So make it one of your regular habits. It does not matter which activity you choose, there’s bound to be at least one physical activity you can stomach.

5. Embrace Discomfort for Mastery

Happy people generally have something known as a “signature strength” — At least one thing they’ve become proficient at, even if the learning process made them uncomfortable.

Research has suggested that mastering a skill may be just as stressful as you might think. Researchers found that although the process of becoming proficient at something took its toll on people in the form of stress, participants reported that these same activities made them feel happy and satisfied when they looked back on their day as a whole.

As the cartoon Adventure Time famously said, “Suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something,” and it’s true, struggle is the evidence of progress. The rewards of becoming great at something far outweigh the short-term discomfort that is caused earning your stripes.

Struggle is the evidence of progress.

6. Spend More Money on Experiences

Truly happy people are very mindful of spending money on physical items, opting instead to spend much of their money on experiences.  “Experiential purchases” tend to make us happier, at least according to the research. In fact, a variety of research shows that most people are far happier when buying experiences vs. buying material goods.

Here are some reasons why this might be, according to the literature:

  1. Experiences improve over time. Aging like a fine wine, great experiences trump physical items, which often wear off quickly (“Ugh, my phone is so old!”). Experiences can be relived for years.
  2. People revisit experiences more often. Research shows that experiences are recalled more often than material purchases. You are more likely to remember your first hiking trip over your first pair of hiking boots (although you do need to make that purchase, or you’ll have some sore feet!).
  3. Experiences are more unique. Most people try to deny, but we humans are constantly comparing ourselves to one another. Comparisons can often make us unhappy, but experiences are often immune to this as they are unique to us. Nobody in the world will have the exact experience you had with your wife on that trip to Italy.
  4. We adapt slowly to experiences. Consumer research shows that experiences take longer to “get used to.” Have you ever felt really energized, refreshed, or just different after coming back from a great show/dinner/vacation? It is harder to replicate that feeling with material purchases.
  5. Experiences are social. Human beings are social animals. Did you know that true solitary confinement is often classified as “cruel and unusual” punishment due to the detrimental effects it can have on the mind? Experiences get us out of our comfort zone, out of our house, and perhaps involved in those close relationships we need to be happy.

7. Don’t Ignore Your Itches

This one is more anecdotal than scientific, but perhaps most important.

When the Guardian asked a hospice nurse for the Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, one of the most common answers was that people regretted not being true to their dreams:

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

As they say, there are seven days in the week, and “someday” isn’t one of them.

happy

How about you?

What specific mindsets or habits keep you happy?

 

*This article was originally published on 99u.com

12 Things Incredibly Happy People Often Do

Do you have a friend who always seems so happy?

Have you ever thought, “how do they do it?”

How do they stay positive even when life seems impossible?

People who are generally happy have a set of habits that they do daily that puts them in their happy place.

These habits are not unusual or complex. In fact, they are simple and easy to do.

The thing about happy people is that they do these things on a consistent basis.

All it takes for other people to be more like happy people is to start mimicking their habits.

Happy 1

1. Choose to be happy.

The most important thing happy people do is choose to be happy. They do this by choosing positive thoughts and following through with positive action. Happy people know it is through control of their thoughts, emotions, and actions that will help keep them more happily situated.

2. Live in gratitude.

Happy people tend to be grateful for the life they have. They see most things as blessings and opportunities rather than a string of obstacles or disappointments. When confronted with a dilemma, a happy person will choose to see the silver lining and react in a way that brings about a more beneficial solution.

3. Say thank you.

Happy people say thank you a lot. They say thank you to their barista, the cab driver who dropped them off, and to the person who let them through on that busy intersection. For them, life offers many occasions to show their gratitude.

4. Give back.

Happy people live in a gracious state of being and pay it forward often. They do nice things for people naturally. There is no pretense or calculation, happy people just want to make other people happy. Happiness is infectious in their eyes.

5. Smile more.

Happy people tend to show off their pearly whites. They know that a person greeted with a smile often gets them a smile right back.

6. Give hugs.

Happy people are quick to hug and be affectionate with people. When they see their friends and loved ones, it’s normal for them to be free with their feelings. They are not shy in showing their affection when they have a surprise run-in with a good friend in the grocery store.

7. Get your groove on.

Happy people dance more often and at times more wildly than others. Happy people dance in their cars, tap their feet to the beat, and love a good happy-inducing playlist. Happy people have been known to shout out, “That’s my song!”

8. Be expressive.

Happy people use their arms and hands a lot. They pump their fists, give bear hugs, and in general are animated when they talk. Their happiness is felt deeply and containing that energy is not always so easy.

9. Be confident.

Happy people do what’s called “power poses.” These poses help their body relax, feel more confident, and of course make them even happier. Psychologist Amy Cuddy has studied these power poses and confirms that they have the ability to change hormone levels in the body to produce a more positive state of being.

Learn more about power posing here.

10. Get physical.

Happy people move more often whether it’s hitting the dance floor or the gym floor. They like to get their endorphins flowing and enjoy an energized body.

11. Eat healthy foods.

Happy people tend to be more health conscious because they know that since you derive energy from food, its best to make good choices to get that quality rush. From moving more to eating better, happy people are generally healthier people.

12. Live your best life.

Finally, happy people want to live the best life they can. They know inherently that it’s a multifaceted approach. In order stay happy they need to think good thoughts, live in gratitude, move often, eat well, and make a conscious choice to be happy most of the time.

happy

 

*Article originally published on Life Hack.

A Child Is Only As Good As Their Father

Father’s Day is here so I thought this would be the perfect time to acknowledge all of the dads around the country. Unfortunately, society is so hard on men. There are so many fathers who may be unemployed, incarcerated, abusive or just plain deadbeats but what about the men who are good fathers to their children? What about the men who do the right thing because they know it’s what they’re supposed to do?

As a woman I get tired of having to defend fathers, particularly the ones who want to be good fathers but the mothers of their children won’t let them (which will be a whole other post). I believe that having a father is critical to successfully raising a young boy or girl. Without them, the person that suffers the most is not the mother or the father, it’s the child. Study after study has revealed that children continue to fare better when their father is in their life especially if they live in the same home. Children are less likely to be incarcerated, drop out of school, exhibit behavioral problems and fare much better academically. It’s no secret that 2 is always better than 1, especially when it comes to raising (and paying) for children. Am I saying it’s the only way to raise a child? No, but having a father in the picture is certainly vital to raising a good kid. Children NEED their fathers.

Now a “father” may look different for different families. He may be in the form of a stepfather, a grandfather or even an uncle or male mentor. I’m certainly not saying that a good father figure has to be the child’s biological father. But the fabric of who we are is made up of where we come from. That includes our background, our personal experiences and most importantly our mother & father.

I take issue when people don’t hold their father in the same high esteem as their mother. The explanation is usually that their dad didn’t do anything for them & wasn’t around to help raise them. But that’s no excuse as to why you can’t honor the person whose very blood you carry in your veins. If your father was an absentee dad then that is a good example for you on what not to do for your children. That can drive you to be the very best father for your own children so that you don’t repeat his mistakes. Not to mention, your mother saw something in him to begin with otherwise how do you think you got here?!

So whether your dad was present in your life or not, you are who you are because of who he was.

Father and Son_grown 2

See How Hilarious It Is To Be A Father!

Remember Dave Engledow, the self-proclaimed “World’s Best Father”?

2. He’s back with a new book and a handful of incredible new pictures of him and his 3-year-old, Alice Bee.

3. And his portraits of family life are just as amazing as ever.

4. The 43-year-old married dad has been capturing life with Alice since she was about 6 weeks old, starting with this photo.

“When I first started, the idea was that I just kind of wanted to make fun of myself because I was feeling incredibly exhausted and sleep-deprived,” Engledow told BuzzFeed, “so I wanted to capture just how clueless and sleepy I felt.”

5. This was another early favorite, inspired by Engledow’s “deathly” fear that he would leave Alice’s car seat on top of the car.

“I think early on in the series a lot of the photos were me kind of playing out things that I was afraid of as a father,” he said.

6. Engledow said he often shoots his and Alice’s parts separately, then edits the pictures together. Shooting the photos can take an hour or two, but editing takes anywhere from five to 20 hours.

“Sometimes she’s into it, sometimes we have to offer some serious bribes to get her to participate,” he said. “It’s kind of a thing that she and I do together and sometimes it’s fun for her, and sometimes she would rather be doing anything else but that.”

7. Alice’s bribes include things like fruit snacks and Popsicles, or, if they need to “break out the big guns,” chocolate.

8. Though he started off just posting the pictures to entertain his family and friends on Facebook, Engledow ramped up his photography when some friends said they’d buy a calendar full of photos of him and Alice.

9. A year later, after creating a Kickstarter for his second calendar, the campaign — and his photos — took off when it was chosen as one of the site’s staff picks.

Engledow now has 105,000 Facebook fans.

10. Though Engledow doesn’t work as a photographer full-time — he’s deputy director at the nonprofit Working America — he received a photojournalism degree from the University of Texas.

“Having a full-time job allows me to shoot whatever I want. I have the freedom to just photograph the things I’m interested in. And right now, obviously, that’s taking pictures of our family and Alice.”

11. He also has the support of his wife, Jen, who helps behind the scenes and keeps Alice “happy and well-fed” during the photo shoots, even sometimes appearing in them herself.

“Now that Alice is a little bit older, she keeps asking to have mommy in the pictures as well,” Engledow said, “so we’ve trying to get Jen to get in front of the camera a bit more in recent months.”

12. The Takoma Park, Md., resident said he finds lots of inspiration from pop culture, like with this Breaking Bad-themed photo of them making rock candy, and from Alice’s life milestones, or just things that excite her (like throwing things in the toilet).

They’ve also done Walking Dead and “Gangnam Style” photos.

13. As for how long they’ll keep doing it, Engledow said his little girl will be the deciding factor.

14. “I don’t want to be one of those parents that pushes their kids to do what I want them to do. If at any point she says, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore, Daddy,’ I think we’d respect that.”

15. Eventually, Engledow said he’d like for his daughter to help him come up with ideas for the series.

“My hope is that as she gets a little bit older, she and I will start coming up with ideas together, and that we’ll kind of be partners in the project,” he said.

16. Though it’s been three years, Engledow said Alice still gets excited to see the photos, but is still too young to realize their internet fame is out of the ordinary.

“She was really excited when we got our copy of the book in the mail, but I don’t think she realizes yet that this is an unusual thing,” he said. “I think she thinks that that’s just something that happens.”
*Originally published on Buzzfeed.
%d bloggers like this: