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!