Thursday, December 30, 2010

Week 50

It is finally ending...The Happiness Experiment. It actually seems to have gone really quick. Here are the final two secrets of happy people:

Secret #99
Money does not buy happiness.

"We spend so much time chasing dollars, worrying about dollars, and counting dollars. It may surprise you to learn that satisfaction with life is no more likely among the rich."

Something that I learned from this secret: more people buy lottery tickets than vote. Very interesting. Everyone wants to be rich. We all think that if we can just afford that one thing we will be happy. But it never ends at just that one thing. Once you start thinking that things can make you happy you are already on your way to unhappiness. "Remember, if money could buy happiness, there would be high-priced happiness stores on every block."

"A study of life satisfaction looked at twenty different factors that might contribute to happiness. Nineteen of those factors did matter, and one did not. The one factor that did not matter was financial status."

Secret #100
What does it all mean? You decide.

"Your future--how you feel about it, yourself, and everything else--follows from the decisions you make, the priorities you develop, and the perspective you see things through."

You are in charge of your own life. You get to decide what you are going to do with the life that you have been blessed with. You are both the driver and navigator on this road trip called life. You get to choose for yourself where you go.

"In a study that followed the exploits of over 100 adults for a period of two years, it was found that the effect of "good" and "bad" events quickly faded. That is, subjects' happiness was not dependent on the sum of events but on what they made of those events."

And now for a quick review of secrets 51-100:
51. Make your work a calling.
52. Never trade your morals for your goals.
53. Don't pretend to ignore things your loved ones do that bother you.
54. Get a good night's sleep.
55. Buy what you like.
56. Accomplish something every day.
57. Be flexible.
58. Events are temporary.
59. Be your own fan.
60. Join a group.
61. Be positive.
62. There will be an end, but you can be prepared.
63. How we see the world is more important than how the world is.
64. Keep a pen and paper handy.
65. Help the next person who needs some minor assistance.
66. Take care not to harshly criticize family and friends.
67. Some people like the big picture, and others like the details.
68. Do things you are good at.
69. Go visit your neighbor.
70. Smile.
71. Don't accept television's picture of the world.
72. You always have a choice.
73. Be agreeable.
74. Don't ignore one part of your life.
75. Listen to music.
76. Let your goals guide you.
77. Use your job positively.
78. Don't forget to have fun.
79. Believe in ultimate justice.
80. Reminisce.
81. Be conscientious.
82. Don't dwell on unwinnable conflicts.
83. Enjoy the ordinary.
84. Focus not on the world's tragedies, but on the world's hope.
85. Get a hobby.
86. Envying other people's relationships is pointless.
87. Give yourself time to adapt to change.
88. Focus on what really matters to you.
89. Realize that complete satisfaction does not exist.
90. Surround yourself with pleasant aromas.
91. Don't let others set your goals.
92. You are a person, not a stereotype.
93. Know what makes you happy and sad.
94. Keep reading.
95. We must feel needed.
96. Say "so what".
97. Have a purpose.
98. You have not finished the best part of your life.
99. Money does not buy happiness.
100. What does it all mean? You decide.

I think that I will look back on these reviews often to keep all these secrets fresh in my mind. I really think that if we follow these simple secrets that we can all be happier. Wouldn't that be nice to only come in contact with happy people. It would also be nice for other people to come in contact with a happier us.

In the end, just like secret 100 says, we decide if we are going to be happy or not. We choose for ourselves if we are going to go through the world happy or grumpy. All the secrets in the world for happiness all come down to that one, Decide.

Thank you to those of you who have attempted to follow me on this experiment. I think even if not a single other person read any of these posts, it still was worth it for myself. I can truly say that I came out of this a happier person. Just knowing that each day begins with a choice to be happy or not is the key.

Let me know if any of this helped you on your journey to happiness. Which secrets were the most helpful? Are you happier?

You decide!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Clara Jane Zinser

She's here!!!

Clara Jane Zinser was born December 10, 2010 at 3:07pm. She weighed in at 7 pounds 11 ounces and was 20.5 inches long. So far she has been a dream baby. Eats great, sleeps great, and loves to cuddle. Her sister and brother are adjusting well to having her home. They love to hold her and give her kisses. I just got the pictures loaded on the computer so I will post some soon. Life with three kids hasn't been too bad so far. We'll see how it goes as she gets older and does more than eat and sleep!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Father Christmas

Christmas this year has been so much fun! Iris and Donevan are both getting old enough to understand a little more about Santa Claus and all that fun stuff. Iris a little more than Donevan, but they are both getting so excited.

A friend of ours in Carson City has Father Christmas in her tux shop (Tux Town; for those in the area you should go!) during December so we decided to drive down and take the kids to see him. Iris was sooo excited. She couldn't stop talking about it!

The whole time she was on his lap she talked his ear off and couldn't stop smiling. It was so cute. She would have sat there all day talking to him if she could. She told him all about the decorations we've put up and the cookies we made. And of course she told him what she wanted: 
A horse for her Jessie doll (Bullseye)
A computer (she's only 3!!!)
And a phone (again only 3, I'm in big trouble!)

There were some really cute ones of the two of them together. So different than the first ones we got of them together on Santa's lap. Donevan was only about a month old then. They are growing so fast!

 Donevan was fine until Iris got down. He didn't really want to be up there by himself. Not as impressed by him as Iris was. Made for some funny pics though!

When the baby comes (which is in 4 days!!!) we might make another trip down to get some of her first Christmas with Santa photos.

Week 49

Secret #97
Have a purpose.

"Without a purpose nothing matters. You can work forty hours a week, come home to cook, clean, and then take up seventy-two new good habits, but if there isn't a reason you are doing it, none of these activities will mean anything to you."

I like how the book uses taking a test in school as an example. Why should you study for that test? Because you want to pass the class. And you want to pass the class so you can get a degree and you want to get a degree so you can get a job. But if you don't think about the purpose of all this then there is no point to study for that test. And that job is probably a long ways off, but it's the purpose that you need to keep focused on.

"In research on college students, a comparison was made between students who enjoyed their lives and studies and students who were least comfortable with their environment. A major difference between the two groups was a sense of underlying purpose in life, which almost twice as many of the former group had."

Secret #98
You have not finished the best part of your life.

"We hear that youth is wasted on the young. People who say this are accepting the myth that only the young can enjoy life to the fullest. The truth is that older people do not consider their young days to be their best days; most enjoy their senior years more than any other part of their life."

I think that each part of our lives has so much to offer us. So many lessons to learn and things to enjoy. I enjoyed my childhood and look back on it with many wonderful memories. I am completely enjoying starting a family of my own and watching my own children grow and enjoy their childhood. I look forward to the time when they are grown and are starting their families. You are only as old as you feel. There are days that I do feel really old, but I try not to let it bring me down.

"Researchers conducted a long-term study of northern Californians, interviewing subjects multiple times over three decades. When asked when they had been the happiest in their lives, each time eight out of ten answered 'right now'."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Week 48

Secret #95
We must feel needed.

"Think of those who rely on your friendship, caring, guidance, help. You probably don't realize how important you are to the people in your life."

I admit that sometimes, okay most of the time, I feel like nobody relies on my friendship or guidance. Like my kids are the only ones that need anything from me, and even that doesn't really make me feel needed. So I guess I need to stop trying to feel needed and just realize that I am needed even if I don't know it. And then try and give as much help and friendship as I can.

"In an experimental research program, a relationship was found between happiness and helping behavior. By helping others, we create positive bonds with people and enhance our self image. Those who had more opportunities to offer help felt 11 percent better about themselves."

Secret #96
Say "so what."

"A classmate at your high school reunion is richer, prettier, smarter than everybody else. Does it matter? No. Your life is shaped more by your everyday relationships than by the lives of acquaintances you see only rarely."

I think that as long as you are doing what you enjoy and you have a family and friends that you love and that love you, that's all that matters. Why compare yourself to others?

"Satisfaction with life was found to be related to experiences with family and friends-those with regular participation in one's life-and to be unrelated to those with whom contact is brief or irregular."

Only 2 more weeks left in this experiment. This year has really flown by. I'm going to take this last two weeks and really focus on all the secrets and think about if doing them has improved my happiness or not. I think it will be a good chance for me to really think about what I am doing in my life and how it is affecting me and those around me.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Week 47

I managed to get myself behind again. So this is yet another catch-up week.

Secret #85
Get a hobby.

"Hobbies are a steady source of interest, providing two essential ingredients in life: consistency and fun."

I have a lot of different hobbies. Maybe too many in fact. I sometimes feel that I don't have enough time to do all of them and so I end up not doing any of them. I think if I was better about scheduling when I should do certain things I would be able to spend time on all the things I love to do.

"In surveys of thousands of adults, those who had a hobby were found to be 6 percent more likely to rate their lives favorably."

Secret #86
Envying other people's relationships is pointless.

"People with many friends sometimes yearn for a closer family, and people with a close family sometimes yearn for more friends. The key to continued satisfaction with life is not in replicating what someone else has. Instead, build a support system that you draw from and give to, regardless of whether it is made up primarily of friends or family."

"In research on over 8,000 adults, researchers considered over 100 factors that contribute to happiness Among the factors that had a major negative effect was the use of comparisons that implied personal failures in relationships, which reduced happiness by 26 percent."

Secret #87
Give yourself time to adapt to change.

"Don't expect to be immediately comfortable after a move or in a new situation. Give yourself time to adjust. If you learn how to ease yourself into new circumstances, changes you make in the future will be easier for you."

"In a study of newly married couples, those couples who acknowledged the difficulties of their new situation were 1.5 times more comfortable with each other, and with marriage, than those who tried to conceal the difficulty of dealing with change."

Secret #88
Focus on what really matters to you.

"There is no point in competing in a game that you do not really care to win. Don't allow your life and expectations to become anything but deeply personal reflections of what matters the most to you."

"Goals are crucial to one's orientation to the world and to life satisfaction. If one's goals conform to one's self-concept, it increases by 43 percent the likelihood that goals will contribute in a positive fashion to life satisfaction."

Secret #89
Realize that complete satisfaction does not exist.

"Set your sights on being generally satisfied and generally happy, not on expecting every aspect of life to be perfect. Complete satisfaction does not exist because everything can be improved upon. Those who accept this can appreciate what they have. Those who do not accept this can never appreciate what they have even as their circumstances improve. Strive to improve. Don't try to be perfect."

"Those who believe they will fail to achieve their goals are unhappy, but so too are those who believe they will exactly meet their goals. Those who are happiest believe they will meet some of their goals and will receive satisfaction from multiple aspects of their lives."

Secret #90
Surround yourself with pleasant aromas.

"Here's a simple way to make yourself feel better. Air out your house, and add some fragrant flowers. Make your home smell nice, and you will feel the effects."

I will agree that pleasant smells do make you feel better. And I love the fact that smells can trigger so many memories.

"Our senses operate all the time, offering us important signals about our environment. Pleasant smells evoke surprise and happiness for more than eight out of  ten individuals, while unpleasant odors trigger disgust and unhappy reactions."

Secret #91
Don't let others set you goals.

"Too many people choose goals based on what others think. Instead, think about what you really care about, and set meaningful goals to accomplish what matters to you."

"People do not have to succeed in absolutely everything everything they do to feel happy. But, people do have to believe they have maintained control over their own life. In fact, those who feel that they were responsible for their own position and decisions express one-third more life satisfaction than those who do not."

Secret #92
You are a person, not a stereotype.

"People are happiest when they allow their individual personality to come out, not when they conform to popular images. Men who believe they must act tough and women who believe they must act soft are boxed in to a set of expectations that have nothing to do with who they are."

"Satisfaction with life was not found to be connected to how well men and women fit into gender stereotypes of femininity and masculinity."

Secret #93
Know what makes you happy and sad.

"People feel worse if they are unhappy but have no idea why. Think about your feelings and emotions. Then, even when you are unhappy, you will take comfort in knowing the cause and how it can be changed."

"Those who are least likely to quickly overcome a temporary sense of dissatisfaction with life are those who cannot define the sources of their feelings."

Secret #94
Keep reading.

"Those who read books benefit from what they learn and the entertainment they receive. But in addition, they get to exercise their brain, and when we do that, we feel satisfied that we are spending our time wisely."

"Reading engages the mind. Reading materials, by exercising our memory and imagination, can contribute to happiness in ways similar to active positive thinking. Regular readers are about 8 percent more likely to express daily satisfaction."

I am now caught up. I hope that it's not too much at once.  I am almost through with this experiment and not sure whether or not it has improved my happiness or not. I think that when I actually remembered to do it each week and focused on the secrets, I was happier. Just reading through them over and over is good for me to remind myself of what it is I need to be doing to be happier. And really it's the simple things. It always is.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Birthday Bash!

November 6th marked the 2nd birthday of my little man, Donevan. Those 2 years went by incredibly fast. So fast, in fact, that I never did post pictures of his 1st birthday. Oops! So now I am going to remember this past year with photos from both birthdays. It's crazy how much he has changed!

Year One

A bulldozer cake with rocks and dirt. And cupcakes with the same.

One cute little 1 year old diggin' in and gettin' messy.

 Not my favorite haircut, I guess we've all changed.

Year Two
A Lightning McQueen cake and cupcakes with tires and lightning bolts. I am really starting to like using marshmallow fondant.

My sister Meghan had her baby (a boy, Cory Steven) that morning, so Donevan had his cousins there to celebrate and will now get to celebrate every year with Cory.

He really loved the Cars cake. 

Even though I'm due for another haircut, I do like this better than last year.

Evan got him a huge collection of Hot Wheels and other cars. He hasn't stopped playing with them since. The boy loves cars. And trains. And airplanes.

Things Donevan loves at two:

Crashing the above mentioned items into each other.
Playing in the sandbox
The color Orange (he won't eat if the food is not on an orange plate or bowl and he will only use his orange fork or spoon.)
His dad
Chasing the chickens
Playing with Iris
Pestering Tina (the cat)

Some of my favorite Donevan sayings:
"Yep, that's right."
When playing with his cars-"Ooo a pretty one!" He spends a lot of time with Iris.
"Special rock!" They're all special.
"Love you Mom"
"Hurt, Mom. Kiss better."

Donevan is such a joy to have around. He is always making us laugh. He loves to make Iris laugh especially. He is a sweet boy and very tender-hearted. He is good at saying Please and Thank You.
I love my little man and am so blessed to have him in our family.

Happy Birthday, Donevan!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Newest Venture

Evan and I are really excited about our latest venture with the business. We are opening up a one-stop-shop for anything to do with weddings. We are also opening a studio at the same place. It's a big house in downtown Reno and contains a wide variety of vendors that are amazing. We are going to have an official Open House the beginning of December so if you are interested in stopping by and seeing it, keep checking back for the date. Until then, we have a Facebook page and a blog so become a follower or "Like" it. Here are the links:

Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Week 42

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Secret #83
Enjoy the ordinary.

"You do countless things in the average day that can be labeled as chores or can relabeled as enjoyable. Walking the dog is something that has to be done, yes, but while you walk the dog you get some pleasant exercise, some time to think, and a chance to see the neighbors and the neighborhood. Enjoy what you do every day."

If we make everyday a special day it will make it a lot easier to get out of bed in the morning. Instead of just thinking, "Today is going to be just another regular day."

"In a study of over thirteen-thousand people, 96 percent of subjects rated their satisfaction with life typically no higher than "fairly positive." The satisfied life was not one of extremes but of steady, generally positive feelings."

Secret #84
Focus not on the world's tragedies, but on the world's hope.

"Many sad things happen in our world, but rather than focusing on them, have hope for the future. Think of the world's potential. Perhaps the future holds the curing of diseases, the end of violence, the amelioration of poverty and hunger."

I'm noticing more and more as I go through this book, that positive thinking is a HUGE part of being happy. Ignoring all the negative feelings out there and focusing on the good. Keeping yourself positive will lead to happiness.

"Over nine in ten Americans are uncomfortable or worried about aspects of the world and of society. The difference between more and less happy people is what they do with that discomfort. Less happy people wallow in the problems they see, while happier people focus on potential improvements in the future."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Week 41

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Secret #81
Be conscientious.

"Finish what you start. Care about what you are doing, and do it right. Although being conscientious is not as easy as slacking off, we feel better about ourselves when we do a good job."

This is so true. I do feel better when I finish a task and when I do a good job. I admit I am kind of a slacker and will whole-heartedly agree that slacking off is WAY easier than focusing on the task at hand and getting it done. So this will be a good challenge for me this week.

"Research on adults reveals that a tendency to be disciplined, deliberate, and dutiful has an 18 percent positive effect on happiness."

Secret #82
Don't dwell on unwinnable conflicts.

"Move on. The problems you spend your time and energy on should be both important and improvable. Otherwise, you are better off moving on to things you can change."

The book puts it best saying that we are all like Sisyphus, always pushing a boulder up a hill just to have it roll back down before we get to the top. It's pointless. "The beauty of real life, though, is that our boulders are of our own creation and will disappear if we just stop pushing."

"Many people experience conflict in balancing their time between work and home. Studies find that people who want to spend more time in both settings wind up feeling decreased satisfaction at home and at work. Those who recognize that their limited time is a conflict without a readily available solution are one-fourth more likely to feel comfortable with themselves than those who do not."

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Growing Up

After going through my "to post to blog" photos, I thought I would post these and start posting more after that. So now for your viewing kids. I have very mixed emotions about how fast they are growing up.

Iris loved her fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar that we found while we were at Grandpa and Grandma's.

These are all photos from a little photo session we did with the kids. Sometimes they cooperate for photos and sometimes they don't.

This is how Iris has started smiling when we tell her to smile for the camera. Where do kids get that?

I hardly ever comb his hair. Actually it's almost never this long, but he does look handsome with it all slicked down.

Donevan has a slight obsession with his belly and belly button.

Another obsession.

 Rare photos of them both looking in the same direction. So hard to get them to look at the same time.

Even harder to get them to look and smile at the same time!


My world!

Now that I have posted these, I need to go through the rest of the photos and get more on here. 

Just to fill you in on what is going on here with us:
I only have 10 more weeks until #3 comes. I am constantly questioning whether I am ready for 3 or not. I don't think I'll ever be ready, but she's gonna come whether I'm ready or not.

Business has exploded this year. That's one of the biggest reasons for lack of posts. I am really busy with editing photos, making albums, and of course being a mom. But I have made me promise to myself to post more and let everyone know what we are up to.

My garden did great this year. I wasn't too sure if I was going to get anything because it stayed cold for so long and I got everything in so late, but I was able to get a ton of wonderful produce this year and I am already getting excited for next year. I did take pictures so hopefully I will get those on here soon.

Iris started ballet once a week. She loves getting dressed up in her leotard and tights and spinning around and being beautiful. We are also doing preschool once a week with other moms and both kids like it a lot. It is our turn to host next week and we are focusing on the letter "c". Should be fun.

I know there is a lot I am leaving out, but I don't want this post to be too long. So I will try and keep more up to date as I post more pictures.

Week 40

I can't believe it is already October! This whole year has gone by so fast!

Secret #77
Use your job positively.

"At its best, work gives us a sense of purpose and enhances our appreciation of our life outside of the workplace. Appreciate all that your job gives you, and it will help you appreciate what really matters."

I guess if nothing else your job and having to go to work can help us remember how good it is to go home and be with our families.

I found this next statistic very interesting.

"Research on over 1,500 mothers found that working outside the home increased life satisfaction 5 percent and contributed to a feeling of equality in the family"

Secret #78
Don't forget to have fun.

"Every day leave yourself some time to enjoy, to be silly, to laugh."

I think it's a little sad that we have to schedule in silly time. But it's even more sad how true it is. Sometimes we get so caught up with life that we forget to live. Why can't we be like the kids we used to be? We didn't have to think about having fun. We just did it.

"Regularly having fun is one of the five central factors in leading a satisfied life. Individuals who spend time just having fun are 20 percent more likely to feel happy on a daily basis and 36 percent more likely to feel comfortable with their age and stage in life."

Secret #79
Believe in ultimate justice.

"That there are many problems in the world is obvious to anyone, but take comfort in the notion that eventually good prevails. Whether your focus is on the criminal justice system or a spiritual system, realize that those who have wronged the world will eventually pay some price."

"Regardless of the experiences subjects personally dealt with, whether they had personally been the victim of a crime or known someone close who had, those who believed the world is ultimately just retained a 13 percent higher level of life satisfaction."

Secret #80

"Think of the happy times you, your family, and friends have had together. Recalling happiness of the past has the powerful ability to bring us happiness in the present."

I love love love remembering the past and all the wonderful times I've had with family and friends. It is so much fun recalling all the silly times and all the fun happy moments. I've heard a quote before that goes something like this: "A happy memory is the ability to gather roses in winter." So true. I happy memory can brighten any gloomy mood.

"When people consciously choose to think back on their past, over 80 percent tend to focus on very positive memories."

I've been working on the folder of pictures that I have to post on this blog, so hopefully I will somehow get the motivation to get them on here. Can anyone ship me some motivation? I'll pay for postage.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 38

Secret #75
Listen to music.

"Music communicates to us on many different levels, and our favorite music tends to transport our mind to its favorite place."

I love music. Any type of music. I like listening to music while I am doing anything. Especially working on pictures or cooking. I love that my kids love music too. They like to rock out and dance or just listen to the amazing classical composers. Music can change your mood. It can be so calming. But there are types of "music" (if you can call it that) that can be very disturbing and can almost put you in an angry mood just listening to it. So I guess technically I don't like ANY type of music. But is good for you. They say that Mozart is not only good for babies brains, but it also helps stimulate brains at any age. I need to start listening to more Mozart.

"A positive effect on mood was found for 92 percent of individuals when they listened to the music of their choice. Excitement and happiness were typical reactions to the music."

Secret #76
Let your goals guide you.

"When you have chosen reasonable, meaningful, and aligned goals, pursue them with all your heart."

I really like the example that they use in the book saying that if you want to cook something tremendous, you don't take everything out of your cabinets and fridge and pour it all in a big bowl and mix and cook it. Even if you took a lot of time on it you would still end up with garbage. Instead you follow a recipe and only add what you need and put in just the right amounts and you end up with exactly what you wanted.

Life is the same. "It doesn't take everything you have, and everything you can get your hands on, to wind up where you want to be." You just need a plan and then you need to have the patience to follow it.

"In ongoing interviews with a group of attorneys, a distinct transition was noted as career became less important and family more important. Those who recognized the change and reorganized their priorities accordingly expressed 29 percent more life satisfaction than those who did not."

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week 37

*For explanation of The Happiness Experiment" go HERE .*

Secret #67
Some people like the big picture, and others like the details.

"When you look at a restaurant bill, you can eye the total due or you can focus on each item listed. Life is the same way. You can think in terms of the totality of what you have accomplished, or you can think in terms of the momentary episodes of your life. Adopt the focus that makes you feel more satisfied. If yo think things turned out all right even though there were bumps in the road, think big picture. If you're not sure how it will turn out but you know that your life has been marked with moments of great happiness and pleasure, then focus on the details."

" Researchers find that it is not more typical to experience happiness as following from events or to experience our perspective on events as flowing from happiness; both patterns are prevalent."

Secret #68
Do things that you are good at.

"We need to feel competent. Take on responsibilities in areas in which you excel, whether it's cooking, gardening, or accounting, and ask for help when you are struggling."

"Who is happier, stay-at-home parents or parents who work outside the home? In studies comparing members of those two groups, researchers found happiness in both situations if the person felt competent at what they were doing."

Secret #69
Go visit your neighbor.

"We no longer live in a time when people know all their neighbors and consider them to be friends. A shocking number of people have never had a conversation with their neighbors, and some couldn't pick them out of a lineup. Introduce yourself, or invite your neighbor over for coffee. Neighbors are not only a great potential source of friendship, they make us feel more comfortable in our homes, which is where most of us spend much of our time."

"Greater community interactions can increase happiness by almost 30 percent."

Secret #70

"Your smile makes other people happy, which in turn makes you happy."

" In a study of adults of various ages, a tendency was found for subjects to mimic the expressions of those around them. In other words, sad faces evoked more sad faces, and smiling faces evoked smiles and happiness."

Secret #71
Don't accept television's picture of the world.

"Watch television for any length of time, whether it's the news or a prime-time show, and you will inevitably come to the conclusion that virtually everyone is either very rich or about to die a horrible, bloody death. These pictures affect us more than we know. We fear that the awful events on television will happen to us, and we are frustrated that the nearly universal wealth we see on television hasn't reached us yet. Separate what you see from what you know to be real. Base your expectations on reality, not on television."

"Television changes our view of the world, and can encourage us to develop highly unrealistic and often damaging conclusions that serve to reduce our life satisfaction by up to 50 percent."

Secret #72
You always have a choice.

"Remember, you don't have to do anything. You can choose to do whatever you think is important enough to warrant your efforts. Don't lament your responsibilities as burdensome and unavoidable. Think of the positive effects of your actions- the reasons you go to work, the reasons you keep the household running."

"Interviews on life satisfaction levels found that those who expressed a sense of autonomy, of making decisions for themselves, were three times more likely to feel satisfied than those who did not."

Secret #73
Be agreeable.

"Make it easy for people to deal with you. Don't be angry or disruptive merely because you can."

"Researchers found that having a positive attitude about those around us is among the most important predictors of life satisfaction and that without such attitudes, we are less than half as likely to feel happy."

Secret #74
Don't ignore one part of your life.

"We are happier when all the pieces of our life are generally in good shape than when one area we care about is perfect and everything else is falling apart."

"In research on a large group of college students, those who were less likely to link the attainment of a specific goal to their overall mood were 19 percent more likely to be satisfied."

I think this week I am going to not accept televisions picture of the world and go smile at my neighbors.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Week 33

I am going to continue with the summary of secrets that I have missed and try and get caught up to where I should be.

Secret #59
Be your own fan.

"We need self-reinforcement, a belief in ourselves that is strong and unwavering. Be ready to pick yourself up when you are feeling down."

"The tendency to reinforce one's own self-confidence improves life satisfaction by about 20 percent for both men and women."

Secret #60
Join a group.

"Take in inventory of your interests. Chances are there is a group in your area dedicated to your special interest. People in groups develop positive personal relationships that tend to make them feel more comfortable around others, less lonely, and more in control of events."

"Group membership tends to make people feel more connected to each other and increases personal confidence and satisfaction by 7 percent."

Secret #61
Be positive.

"Whether you are at home, in the workplace, or among friends, be the person who exudes optimism, and you will find it reflected right back at you."

"Scientists have a very hard time predicting a person's happiness based on the events he or she has experienced. Instead, a far better predictor of happiness than the number of good or bad events a person has endured are the beliefs and attitudes he or she maintains."

Secret #62
There will be an end, but you can be prepared.

"One of the great sources of anxiety as we age is that we will never get a chance to do that thing we always wanted to do, or to finish that project we were working on years ago, or to mend the fences that may have fallen into disrepair as our relationships evolved. Don't wait until the end of your life to figure out what you wished you had done. Think of those things now and do them."

"Research on senior citizens finds that those who are most comfortable with their own mortality do not ignore the matter, but prepare themselves for it."

Secret #63
How we see the world is more important than how the world is.

"What is the shape of world, what condition is it in? Scientists, philosophers, and kings could offer a never-ending debate on the question. But there is no real grade for the world apart from the one you assign it."

"People who have experienced similar life events can wind up with nearly opposite perceptions of life satisfaction. Researchers have compared, for example, people who have received a job promotion, and they found that while some of the people treasure the opportunity others lament the added responsibility. The implications of life events are a matter of perspective."

Secret #64
Keep a pen and paper handy.

"People often feel frustrated that they can't remember a good idea they had last week or an interesting dream they had last night. Those who keep a notebook feel like they are more in control and are missing less."

"While purposeful activity contributes to happiness, feelings of lost thoughts and opportunities contribute to an unhealthy frustration. People who feel like their best ideas escape them are 37 percent less likely to feel content than people who do not."

Secret #65
Help the next person who needs some minor assistance.

"Giving help is a win-win situation, so take the time to pay attention to your surroundings and offer the help that you can. It could be as simple as making a habit of holding the door open for the person coming in behind you. It's a gesture of friendliness that makes another person feel better and makes you feel good about yourself."

"Life satisfaction was found to improve 24 percent with the level of altruistic activity."

Secret #66
Take care not to harshly criticize family and friends.

"We rely on those closest to us for support. We can accept critical words from those who are not close to us because we can believe they reflect a lack of knowledge about us rather than an actual flaw in us. From our friends and family, however, critical words cut deeply. Try to avoid fixing your friends and family. Love them for who they are. If you must say something negative, always be constructive. Make your criticism reflect your love and respect, not your disappointment."

"Aggression and fixations on disagreements reduces satisfaction in relationships by nearly 70 percent."

I know that I am not really hitting on these too much but even just reading the secret itself is helpful to me. The book really wants us to be positive. Whether with ourselves, the world, or with our criticism. I really think being positive with become a habit and you won't be able to do anything but be happy.

I am planning on posting a lot of pictures soon. So don't give up on me.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Week 32 I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I just needed to not spend so much time on the computer. I needed a break from all the blogging madness. But now I am waaaayyyy behind on my Happiness Experiment. So what I am going to do is go through all the secrets that I missed just briefly. Not give my commentary, just the quotes from the book. There are a lot so I apologize now. And I promise that I am going to start putting picures on here again. I have let my blog folder of photos get way too big. So here goes...

Secret #53
Don't pretend to ignore things your loved ones do that bother you.

"In the name of being agreeable, some people try to avoid areas that might cause dissension. But with our loved ones, this strategy sometimes make us uncomfortable. We can feel unappreciated because we have made a sacrifice but nobody thanks us for it. Sometimes we feel angry because this problem doesn't go away. Raise the subject of your disagreement, but do so lovingly and constructively, not with anger or aggression."

"In relationships, those who feel they can freely communicate their concerns and needs to their partner are 40 percent more likely to feel satisfied than those who do not."

Secret #54
Get a good night's sleep.

"Don't skimp on sleep. A full night's rest is fuel for the following day. Rested people feel they work better and are more comfortable when the day is over."

"Quality and quantity of sleep contribute to health, well-being, and a positive outlook. For those who sleep less that eight hours, every hour of sleep sacrificed results in an 8 percent less positive feeling about their day."

Secret #55
Buy what you like.

"Don't accumulate possessions for the sake of having a lot of stuff. On the other hand, don't deny yourself something that you really want or need. If you buy things that are important to you, you can appreciate them every day and won't feel the need to fill your home with every item at the mall."

"Anticipating and accumulating consumer goods can contribute to a sense of personal well-being; however; placing too much emphasis on material goods has a diminishing effect on happiness."

Secret #56
Accomplish something every day.

"Sometimes days fly by without anything standing out in your mind, without any tangible improvement. Every day make sure, no matter how small the effort, that you do something to make your dreams come true."

"In research on hundreds of college students, individuals were found to be happiest when they felt they were moving closer to achieving their goals. Students who could not see progress were three times less likely to feel satisfied than students who could."

Secret #57
Be flexible.

"When we want to be with friends and family, often we want it to be on our terms. If everybody approaches relationships this way, no one will be happy. Instead of thinking only about what you want think about what the others want too, and consider why it is important to spend time together. Accept that there are always differences between people and that if you are flexible you will enjoy your time with them more and feel closer to them."

"Nearly all individuals report significant changes in their lives and in their values over the course of time. Those who viewed these changes as inevitable and remained open to the possibilities that changes would be positive were 35 percent more likely to be satisfied with their lives than those who did not."

Secret #58
Events are temporary.

Bad things happen, but usually we do not feel their effects on us forever. It's really true that time heals wounds. Your disappointments are important and serious, but your distress will pass and your life will take you in new directions. Give yourself some time."

"Studies of thousands of Americans show that happy people are not immune to negative events. Instead, they are characterized by the ability to think about other things in the aftermath of negative events."

I think that I am only going to post half of the "catch-up" secrets this time and post the other half later this week. I don't want to overwhelm or bore you. These are all great things to think about. Especially the one about accomplishing something every day. Some days I think to myself, "What did you do today?" So if I can focus on getting at least one thing done every day I will feel better about myself. I also believe in getting enough sleep. It is so important. I don't know how I managed when I was getting up at 3 am to go bake bagels at 4 am then going from there to my other job until 5 or 6 pm and then staying up with friends having fun until sometimes midnight. What was I thinking?? I love my sleep now. I am trying to get in all I can before this new baby comes.

So look for the other half of secrets that are late and also for a whole lotta photos. I just need to bite the bullet and get it done.