Friday, June 25, 2010

Week 16 (almost)

For those of you who have actually been following my Happiness Experiment, this has nothing to do with that.

No, this has to do with something completely different.

To some of you this is no surprise. You've known for a while, but I thought it was probably time to spill the beans and tell the world.

We are having baby #3!!!

Due in the middle of December. We are pretty excited. I've been feeling good so far. Only a handful of sick days. For the most part I have been doing great. Iris is pretty excited too. She is convinced it is a boy because every time we ask her if she wants a brother or sister she says, "A bruver." She also likes to tell me that when my stomach grumbles that the baby is talking.

We find out what it is in July so if you want to take a guess there is poll on the right. We'll see who's right. I don't have any feelings one way or the other. I have no idea. But we're prepared either way.

So anyway, that's the latest news here. I'll keep you updated on anything else that happens.

Week 25

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

Last week's secrets:
Be socially supportive.
Don't blame yourself.

Secret #49
Be a peacemaker.

"If your friends or family members are upset with one another, you will feel their unhappiness. Try to be the voice of reason and reconciliation."

Often when family members or friends are disagreeing with each other, it is helpful to listen to each of them and let them know that you feel their frustration, but maybe they need to try and see things from the other person's point of view. That doesn't always work and sometimes they can become angry with you, but you have to at least try and help them solve whatever it is that is bothering them. Sometimes seeing an outsiders view can make them realize how silly the argument really is.

"The passive avoidance of problems between loved ones reduces contentment by 15 percent. To keep in contact and maintain happiness, difficulties must be faced rather than avoided."

Secret #50
Cherish animals.

"Animals have so much to teach us about love. The closer we get to animals, the more joy they give us."

I have always loved animals. I know that they bring joy to lives. We have a lot of animals. Dogs, cat, ducks, chickens, roosters, and goats. They are amazing. They make me happy, they make the kids happy, and I think we make them happy by caring for them. Having to take care of animals makes you step out of your world for a minute or two and focus on caring for someone else. Animals love unconditionally. And it is so easy to feel that love. 

"Interaction with animals supplies us with both immediate joy and long-term positive feelings, and contributes strongly to our happiness. Those with a loved pet are 22 percent more likely to feel satisfied than those without."

So I am now halfway through the book and experiment. I have been letting myself slip and am not posting at the beginning of the week like I originally wanted to. I need to get myself back on track. Since this is the midpoint, I figured I would do a review of all the secrets so far. Just to refresh our memories of all the things we need to be working on.

Your life has purpose and meaning.
Use a strategy for happiness.
You don't have to win every time.
Your goals should be aligned with one another.
Choose your comparisons wisely.
Cultivate friendships.
Turn off the TV.
Accept yourself-unconditionally.
Remember where you came from.
Limit yourself to thinking about one subject as you lie down to sleep.
Friendship beats money.
Have realistic expectations. 
Be open to new ideas.
Share with others how important they are to you.
If you're not sure, guess positively.
Believe in yourself.
Don't believe in yourself too much.
Don't face your problems alone.
Age is not to be feared.
Develop a household routine.
Don't be overprotective.
Pay attention. You may have what you want.
Don't let your religious beliefs fade.
Do what you say you are going to do.
Don't be aggressive with your friends and family.
Root for the home team.
Don't confuse stuff with success.
Every relationship is different.
Don't think "what if".
If you can't reach your goals, your goals will hurt you.
Little things have big meanings.
It's not what happened, it's how you think about what happened.
Develop some common interests with loved ones.
Don't let your entire life hinge on one element.
Share of yourself.
Busy is better than bored.
Satisfaction is relative.
Learn to use a computer.
Try to think less about the people and things that bother you.
Keep your family close.
Eat some fruit every day.
Enjoy what you have.
Think in concrete terms.
Be socially supportive.
Don't blame yourself.
Be a peacemaker. 
Cherish animals.

That was a good review for me just typing them out. I noticed a few things that I have not been working like I should. I'm going to have to keep looking at this list to remind myself of the simple things I should be doing to be more happy.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Week 24

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

Last week's secrets:
Enjoy what you have.
Think in concrete terms.

Secret #47
Be socially supportive.

" Take the time to help, comfort, or just be with those you care about when they are in need. You will feel good about your efforts, and it will bring you en even closer relationship."

Sometimes the best gift you can give to someone is the gift of your time. When you sacrifice your time in order to spend it with someone you care about, they see that and realize how much you love them. Supporting them through their hard times can be encouraging for them and uplifting for you.

"The need for support or the number of problems individuals face is a less strong predictor of their happiness than the amount of support available to them"

Secret #48
Don't blame yourself.

"When things go poorly, we sometimes start a list of ways we failed, ways we caused the problem. This kind of thinking not only can upset us, it also can keep us from being able to function. The truth is that any situation is the result of some things that are in your control and some things that are out of your control. Don't delude yourself into thinking a bad situation is completely of your making. Remember, it makes more sense to deal with outcomes than with fault."

Blaming yourself for every bad thing that happens does not change the fact that the bad thing happened. If we realized how little control we have over things we wouldn't blame ourselves so much. And think about all the time we waste blaming ourselves and thinking about the problems. Time that could be spent on thinking of ways to solve the problem or other positive things.

"Happiness does not depend on how many bad things happen to an individual. What is more important is whether an individual tends to make negative conclusions about him- or herself when negative events occur. Individuals who think of themselves as the cause of negative events are 43 percent less likely to be satisfied than individuals who do not."

Be socially supportive.
Don't blame yourself.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Week 23

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

Last week's secrets:
Keep your family close.
Eat some fruit every day.

Secret #45
Enjoy what you have.

"People who are satisfied appreciate what they have in life and don't worry about how it compares to what others have. Valuing what you have over what you do not or cannot have leads to greater happiness."

I can see how just being grateful for what you have can make you happier. I think in the long run, when you are happy with what you have, everything you get after that can only make you happier. Have "An Attitude of Gratitude".

"People who have the most are only as likely to be happy as those who have the least. People who like what they have, however, are twice as likely to be happy as those who actually have the most."

Secret #46
Think in concrete terms.

"We need to be able to measure our progress, to know that things are improving. You can't accomplish an abstract goal, because you'll never be sure if you're finished or not."

Is anyone else noticing a trend in this book? Setting goals with a purpose and sticking to them seem to be very important to your happiness. Goals like "Run more" or "Be a better parent" aren't goals that can actually be accomplished. But goals like "Run 2 times a week" or "Play a board game with the kids every Sunday" are goals that have direction and lead you the way you want to go. And when you accomplish a goal your confidence and happiness improve.

"Perceptions that life is meaningful, and therefore worthwhile, increase 16 percent with concrete thinking."

Enjoy what you have.
Think in concrete terms.