Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Week 17

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

Last week's secrets:
If you can't reach your goals, your goals will hurt you.

Secret #33
Little things have big meanings.

"Tiny things-the tone of your voice, the exact words you use as you go through otherwise ordinary events- communicate volumes."

I have really come to realize this fact. Facial expressions and the tone of your voice can say so much more than the words you are actually saying. And even if that is not what you really mean, people can misread your expressions and tone and take it to mean something completely different. So you have to be careful. So before you jump to a conclusion about something that was said make sure you understand completely what was meant. And make yourself clear as well. Don't send mixed signals.

"Married couples who display sensitivity in communication--who recognize the power of subtle changes in demeanor--rate their satisfaction 17 percent higher than couples who do not."

Secret # 34
It's not what happened, it's how you think about what happened.

"There is no objective way to tell you if you have had a good life, a good day, or a good hour. Your life is a success based only upon your judgement."

I like this one. I hear a lot, "I'm having a bad day" or "That was the worst day ever." But really it's all in how you view it. Some else might have the exact same experiences you did that day and view it as a great day. It's all in your perspective. As long as you have a positive perspective (aka the glass is half full and the rest of that juice is gonna taste great) I think that any day can be great.

"Knowing whether someone has recently suffered a personal setback or personal triumph is not as good a predictor of how satisfied they are with their lives as is knowing how they perceive the causes and consequences of those events."

Little things have big meanings
It's not what happened, it's how you think about what happened.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It's About Time...

I figured it was about time to post some pictures on here. Here are some cute ones of the kids in their Easter outfits that I made for them. We didn't get too many of Donevan, 'cause he was getting cranky. But we do have some more pics of them wearing them on Easter Sunday hunting for eggs, so I'll have to get those on here too. Iris was being difficult to photograph at first too. Little stinker.

I made her dress out of some old curtains that we couldn't use. It turned out really cute. She loves it. It's her "Princess Iris" dress.

I decided to make a vest and bow tie for Donevan. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. He looks so handsome in a bow tie.

It is incredibly hard to get a picture of the two of them together. They never look at the camera. You would think they would be used to it. Maybe that's why they don't look.

I had to get in on the action too. I just want to kiss that face all day long.

The rest are of Iris' crazy faces and poses. What a character! She cracks me up.

I am going to get some more pictures on here soon. Don't give up on me. I'll also be updating my craft blog so keep checking that too.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week 16

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

Secrets from last week:
Don't think "what if".

Secret #31
If you can't reach your goals, your goals will hurt you.

"People who cannot attain their goals become consumed with disappointment. You must let your goals evolve with your life circumstances. Update our goals over time as you consider your changing priorities and resources."

The book gives a great example of a kid who marries at age 18. He promises his wife that he will buy a house before he turned 24. He worked a lot of jobs that didn't pay very well. He saved what he could and got a down-payment from his parents and barely got mortgage approval. They were excited, but the payments were too much. He took on two and three jobs and started to hate the house and the wife he promised it to. 

Look at your goals. If it is something that is not realistic for your life and circumstances, it's not going to make you happy. Set goals that are challenging, but that are attainable.

"If a person's goals are incongruent with his or her abilities, then the goals will contribute to disappointment and disagreeableness, and will quadruple the likelihood of being dissatisfied."

Secret # 32

"People who exercise, whether that involves an intense workout or just a regular long walk, feel healthier, feel better about themselves, and enjoy life more."

I set a goal at the start of this year to go on at least one walk a week. I knew that I could at least do that. When I go on walks with the kids, I push the stroller at least a mile, usually more. It makes me feel good. Evan bought me the Wii Fit. I love it. It's so easy to use and I lost 3 pounds in a week. That makes me feel good. Exercising always makes me feel so much better about myself. It gives me energy and makes me happier. I just don't know why I have to remind myself of that sometimes.

"Research on physical activity finds that exercise increases self-confidence, which in turn strengthens self-evaluations. Regular exercise, including brisk walks, directly increases happiness 12 percent, and can indirectly make a dramatic contribution to improving self-image."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Smart One She Is

This afternoon a horse very similar to this one:
(an Appaloosa), was ridden by our house. Iris saw it and said, "Mom! Mom! A Dalmation horse! A Dalmation horse!" She was very excited. Makes sense to me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 15

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

Last week's secrets:
Don't confuse stuff with success.
Every relationship is different.

Secret #29
Don't think "what if."

"Spending your time imagining what would have been if you could have changed some little thing, some little decision in your life, is counterproductive and leaves you unhappy. Think about how you can improve for the future, but don't waste your present thinking about how you could have changed the past."

Thinking about all the things that you have done in your life to get you where you are isn't going to change the fact that you did them. The only thing that you can do now is think about where you are and how you are going to get where you want to be. 

"Research on athletes who came close but lost in Olympic finals finds that those who spend the least time on counterfactual thought-thinking about how things might have ended differently-are the most satisfied with their experience."

Secret #30

"Every community has countless opportunities for giving of yourself. Be a reading tutor. Give your time to help the local charity thrift store. Anything you can do will not only help the world, it will also help you. Volunteers feel good about themselves. They have a sense of purpose, feel appreciated, and are less likely to be bored in their lives. Volunteers experience rewards that cannot be attained in any other way. Even if you don't have a lot of time or skills, find an hour a month and give yourself to a good cause."

I'll be the first to admit that volunteering doesn't always come easily. Even though it always makes you feel good. One memorable volunteering experience was one Christmas before any of my siblings were married. We decided to go down and help deliver the Meals on Wheels Christmas dinners. We were to only family there with some of the senior volunteers. While the food was being cooked we played card games like War and just had a good time. Then we helped get the meals together and drove around and delivered these meals to families that otherwise would not have had a Christmas dinner. What an amazing feeling!  Volunteering does take some effort, but once you do it, it won't seem like any effort was required at all. 

"An analysis of volumes of previous research on the subject shows a strong consensus that volunteering contributes to happiness by decreasing boredom and creating an increased sense of purpose in life. Volunteers, on average, are twice as likely to feel happy with themselves as non-volunteers."

Don't think "what if".

These are fairly small secrets but they can both bring pretty big changes. I've always been pretty good about not thinking "what if", but volunteering is an area I could use some improvement.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week 14

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

Last week's secrets:
Don't be aggressive with your friends and family.
Root for the home team.

Secret #27
Don't confuse stuff with success.

"You are neither a better nor worse person for the kind of car you drive, the size of your home, or the performance of your mutual funds. Remember what really matters in your life."

If you were to make a list of all the things you feel you have accomplished in your life, everything that you are proud of, what makes you happy, would your car or big screen TV be on the list? Probably not. The things that are really important aren't really things at all. Relationships, big events and the part you play in others lives are the things that should make you happy and proud. Spending all your time at work in order to get that mansion isn't going to make your family love you any more or make you any more successful. In my opinion, a successful family is one that spends time together making memories and has a knowledge of their love for each other.

"In a study using surveys and daily observation, the availability of material resources was nine times less important to happiness than the availability of "personal" resources such as friends and family."

Secret #28
Every relationship is different.

"If you've been disappointed by strained relations with a friend or loved one, you must realize that each relationship is unique. Don't let tension with one person convince you that you lack the ability to be a good friend or a loving family member."

You can't get along with everyone. There are people that you are just not going to get along with. And that is ok. People are different. So if you have that one person that you just can't seem to please, accept that you are unique and that that person is unique and your personalities just don't mesh. Stop trying to please. You are never going to make everyone happy. If you try, you'll just end up being unhappy yourself.

"More satisfied people do not have happy relationships with everyone. They appreciate their happy relationships and accept their imperfect relationships."

"Researchers found there were no differences in overall happiness between those who mainly relied upon friends for companionship and those who mainly relied upon family. People have the capacity to create happiness from the relationships available to them and do not need all their relationships to fit an ideal image."

Don't confuse stuff with success.
Every relationship is different.