Monthly Archives: September 2014

How to Live Happy

9 29 14 HappinessLast week I woke up happy every day at 9:30 AM Eastern time!

Actually at that time I participated in a series of 30-minute web conversations with New York Times best-selling authors and experts in the fields of happiness, business and positive psychology. Hosted by Live Happy CEO Kym Yancey, the guest speakers shared tips on how to tap into the power of happiness. Participants were able to interact and post questions.

Research proves that happiness is a major force behind your success in business, relationships and much more.

Make a decision to “live happy” and check out the resources provided by the Live Happy organization.

Here are some nuggets from the past week just for you! Make it a Happy Week!

September 22, 2014:
Sean Achor – New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Advantage and Before Happiness

“In the Greek, happiness is defined as: the joy you feel growing towards your potential.”

“90% of your happiness perception is internal, or how your brain is looking at things. 10% is the reality. Change the way you look at the problem.”

“Happiness is a choice.”

September 23, 2014:
Hyram W. Smith – Creator of the Franklin Day Planner

“Pain is inevitable. Misery is optional.”

“What drives you? Why do you do things?
There are three motivators:

  1. Fear – I have to.
  2. Duty – I ought to.
  3. Love – I want to.”

“Do one thing: find out what matters most to you, write it down, make it a personal Constitution.”

“When there is a gap between ‘value’ and ‘doing’ there is pain.”

“Forgiveness requires remembering, and in remembering, deciding it doesn’t matter anymore.”

September 24, 2014:
Gretchen Rubin – Creator of popular blog and best-selling book The Happiness Project

“To be happy we need strong intimate bonds with people. Foster quality relationships and create your own group of people with whom to interact if your present circle is too small.”

“You can’t change someone else. You can only change yourself.”

“Happiness is contagious.”

September 25, 2014:
Michelle Gielan – Former CBS Morning News anchor and founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research

“When we broadcast a happier and positive mindset to others, it unlocks the brain for higher potential.”

“Cultivating an optimistic mindset fuels our happiness and success, but too often we stop there. Expressing that positive outlook with others multiplies the benefits for all.”

“Connecting through positivity with our colleagues, friends, spouses and children strengthens the breadth and depth of our relationships – the greatest predictor of happiness we have – and it unlocks everyone’s potential for success by creating an environment where there is a belief that positive change is possible.”

“Perform three actions for 21 days and create a habit.

  1. Send a positive email to someone you love about what they mean to you.
  2. Post a Tweet or Facebook about something positive.
  3. When someone asks how are you, respond briefly with a positive answer.”

September 26, 2014:
Jeff Olson – Founder of Live Happy and author of the best-selling book The Slight Edge

“Focus on your personal philosophy and attitude and surround yourself with like-minded people. If things aren’t working, take a step back and look at your philosophy. You can’t be positive when you hang out with non-positive people.

  1. It’s all about the moment! We all have big dreams, but the only thing you have is the moment. Live in the moment, but don’t judge in the moment. Are you making the most out of this moment?
  1. Do the little things consistently and persistently, the little things that matter in the moment everyday.
  1. Stop worrying, just do it. Most people spend their time worrying about something instead of doing something. Do something about it, close the gap!
  1. Happiness is the precursor to being successful.
  1. When you truly become happy, you help other people become happier, and the happiness compounds itself. When you start giving and sharing, you become a better version of yourself!”

“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do everyday matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over until the compound effect kicks in.”

The Power of Choice

9 22 14 I ChooseI had a breakthrough yesterday.

You’d think that since I have spent a great deal of time this past year sitting under the teaching of some great inspirational teachers that it would have happened a long time ago, but maybe, like a seed in the earth, there finally comes a time when the bud breaks through the earth.

I got sick last week and it was taking me longer to recover than I expected. Coincidentally it happened when my car was in the repair shop, so I wasn’t going anywhere anyway! My car and I were sick together!

I got the car back on Friday, but it still wasn’t running right when I drove it Saturday. Ugh! Now what? I didn’t want to be tied down without a car again!

I checked my mail on Saturday and had a bit of bad news.

I was feeling a little moody about some personal things, and I was very tired.

It was a recipe for one great big depressing emotional FUNK!

Except…

I was stopped in my emotional tracks by a voice in my head that said… “I have the power to choose how I feel right now.”

I have the power to choose.

I have the power to choose.

I choose to not feel down, but to feel calm.

It was as if somehow somewhere in the universe a puzzle piece had just clicked into place.

It was like one of those movies where Indiana Jones just figured out the last bit of the puzzle that revealed the hidden treasure.

I have the power to choose how I feel.

I choose to feel calm. I choose to feel peaceful. I choose to feel positive.

That’s it.

It may sound very simplistic, and you may say, “Well, I’ve read that before and I know that!” But have you ever really experienced that lightbulb moment in a singular moment for yourself? I hope so.

Remember, the next time you come to an emotional crossroad – YOU have the power of choice.

Choose harmony. Choose peace. Choose love.

Where is your Peace?

9 15 14 Inner peaceWhat do you need to give you peace?

I pondered this after reading the recent blog of Dr. Lissa Rankin. She had traveled to a small village in the Peruvian Andes to research material for her upcoming book. What she learned was something unexpected. The moment she arrived she sensed the feeling of peace that filled the village. Incidents that occurred during her stay led her to discover that they did not quite understand the concepts of depression, anxiety or suicide.

Tonight I turned on the television to see the Miss America pageant being broadcast. They were showcasing different facts about the contestants in little boxes on the side of the screen. One contestant reportedly owns 130 pairs of shoes! I thought this a sharp contrast to the people around the world who may not even own a pair of shoes, and yet can still find joy. In the Andean village, Dr. Rankin observed children happily playing all day with kites they had constructed out of sticks and bags. They were full of joy and laughter – and they did not need an Xbox to be happy.

Perhaps it is the cultural difference. Or maybe it’s the media influence on us. Soon it will be holiday shopping season and the focus will be on, “I want that! I need that!”

But do we really need “that?” A recent survey revealed that what people really craved was more time. Even with all the time-saving technological devices we have, we still don’t seem to have enough time. We can’t buy time! Well, we can hire people to do some of those chores we don’t like. Will having more time give us more peace?

What drives us? Is it the next cool phone? The thinnest laptop? Laptops are getting smaller and phones bigger. I think it amusing that cellphones began large, strove to get smaller and now are getting bigger!

Do the people in this village care that they don’t have the latest cellphone? Or do they savor the simplicity and satisfaction of face-to-face conversation? Someone told me recently that they prefer texting versus talking! OMG! I’d love to drop him on top of that mountain!

We don’t need to move elsewhere to enjoy feelings of peace, connection and joy. We don’t have to give away all our possessions. We can cultivate a sense of peace no matter what our circumstances. Find more joy in spending quality time with a loved one, celebrating the simple pleasures of a sunrise and a cup of coffee, and a little less dependence on our possessions. Find the joy in discovering your purpose during a quiet moment.

What do you need to give you peace? Maybe you don’t need anything more. Maybe it is already inside you and all you have to do is to get quiet, accept the “now” and you will feel that peace.

Have a peace filled week!

Words Have Power

9 8 14 words can hurt“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”

“Words will never hurt me” is a concept that is wishful thinking. Words in fact have great power.

There are countless examples of the power of the spoken word, from the great oratories of political leaders like Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler who with their words inspired or incited their countrymen, to scripture about Jesus who “spoke the word and they were healed.” What have life coaches been telling us about the power of positive affirmation? What kind of self-talk to we give ourselves?

I think we can all agree that words have power.

People tend to think of domestic violence as actively hitting or beating another person, when in fact there is a class of verbal abuse that is painful as well. True, it does not bruise, break bones or cause one to bleed, but the psyche can indeed be bruised. Violent diatribes for long periods of time cause stress and a wounding of the spirit. Verbal abuse can lead to physical abuse.

This is also called bullying. It can occur at school at work or at home and in varying degrees. Whether it’s just a short phrase: “You’re stupid!” or a longer rant, it is still verbal abuse.

On the other hand, the effect of the words “I love you” or “I’m sorry” are calming to the spirit, and healing.

Reports show that in the U.S. in 1997 the emotional abuse rate was at 15 percent out of 817,665 cases stretching across 43 states (Barriere, 2008). In 1995, a study of 1,000 women, 15 years of age and up, reported that 36 percent of women were emotionally abused while growing up; they also found that 39 percent of women were emotionally abused in a relationship within the past 5 years (Barriere, 2008). Emotional abuse occurs while children are growing up, and during adulthood in various types of relationships. It affects men, women, and children, old and young.

No matter who you are, there are resources to help. If you are in need of emergency help in a domestic violence situation, dial 911. If you feel that you fall into a group of victims that have no advocate, check out SAFE: Stop Abuse for Everyone, A Human Rights Agency. Avert damage by learning techniques to deflect harsh words.

Consider your words. And the words of others.

Words CAN hurt. What impact will your words have today?

Like the saying goes, “Keep your words sweet, you never know when you may have to eat them.”

The Greatest Gift

9 1 14 OneBlood Logo WEBI remember my first time.
I was disappointed.
But the next time, I was elated.

I’m talking about donating blood.

The first time, my blood was not flowing fast enough and they could not collect it. They gave me the free T-shirt anyway! The second attempt was successful and I felt a very satisfied and rewarding feeling.

Could you spare an hour of your time?
Could you spare an hour to give someone a chance to live?
Could you spare an hour to donate blood?

What do people need to live?

Air, water, food, shelter…blood.
Air can be bottled, water can be purified, food can be grown, shelter can be built.
Blood cannot be manufactured.

Every 2 seconds an American needs a unit of blood.
A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.
Red blood cells have a shelf life of only 42 days, so the supply needs to be continually replenished.

If everyone who was eligible donated, when the time came for you or one of your loved ones to need blood, it would be there.

Has there been a time when someone you knew needed blood?
I’m sure you have. Cancer patients and sickle-cell patients, infants in NICU and other patients are always in need of blood.

By donating blood you will help countless others, and yourself.

How can donating blood help you?

When you donate – your screening provides you with a “mini-physical” – checking your blood pressure, temperature, cholesterol, iron level, and more. Sometimes even a mini-physical can detect conditions important to your health.

Donating is actually GOOD for your body! After donating blood, the count of blood cells decreases in our body, which stimulates the bone marrow to produce new red blood cells in order to replenish the loss. So, it stimulates the production of new blood cells and refreshes the system.

I call it getting my oil changed!

The whole process of blood donation – from the time you arrive until the time you leave – ordinarily lasts no more than one hour. The donation itself takes only about fifteen minutes. Your single donation can help as many as three people, and can be at a hospital in as little as 48 hours, ready for a critically ill patient. Just think – you can help a trauma patient, a cancer patient, and a premature baby with one donation!

Around holiday times, when there are more traffic accidents, or in times of natural disasters – the need for blood grows. You can be responsible for saving a life. Many people go on vacation during the summer, which makes blood donations more challenging. And here we are in the middle of Labor Day weekend, when there is likely to be an increased need for blood with more drivers on the road.

Do you know what the rarest blood type is?
The rarest blood type is the one that is not there when you need it.
Today’s donor may be tomorrow’s recipient.

I am in one of the special groups. Only 8% of the population has B+ blood. My type is especially helpful for leukemia patients.

All donations to charity make a difference, whether they consist of money, clothing, or simply a couple of hours spent volunteering. While every contribution is equally important, nothing is comparable to the donation of human blood.

But what are the actual statistics on blood donors?

Only about 38% of the population is eligible to give blood, and of that less than 10% actually do. If all eligible donors gave 4 – 6 times a year, there would be no blood shortages. Most people do not give simply because they do not have the facts.

They think it will hurt. They think they will faint.
They think they can catch a disease.
They think it will take too long. They think it is inconvenient.
In all cases, no.

You can go on a Saturday afternoon to your local Blood Center – spend an hour relaxing in a chair while you give blood and then drink juice and eat snacks afterwards.

Besides helping to save a life and keep ones own blood fresh and renewed, some blood centers also rewards its donors with gift certificates from vendors including grocery stores, retail chains, restaurants and gas stations. I’m sure if you knew you’d be getting a gas card you’d be running out the door now!

While these rewards are all well and good, the greatest reward is that warm feeling that you get, knowing that you have just given the greatest gift you can give – the gift of life.

So what’s stopping you?

Go to Google and look up your local blood center and make an appointment now.

Me – I’m getting another T-shirt this Labor Day.