Category Archives: Happiness
What if you could discover ways to relieve stress, negativity and overwhelm, especially when life throws you a curve ball.
What if you could start creating a life filled with more joy, happiness, vitality, fun and even play?
Well you can, and it’s completely FREE!
Register now for the Joyful You Summit!
I have joined with Catherine Walters, host of an upcoming video series called Joyful You, in a discussion of the numerous ways life can be challenging and stressful, and the tools and techniques to create a life and lifestyle filled with JOY.
My comfort zone is writing, but I pushed myself out of my zone to chat with Catherine. We talked about the journey from depression to a joy-filled life.
Your life filled with more joy, happiness, vitality and fun is possible.
Join The Joyful You Summit to make your life the life of joy you deserve and be a Joyful You!
The Joy begins April 4th!
Posted on March 17, 2016 in Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: If you love your job, it’s easier to smile as you trot off to work each day. On the flip side, if you describe your job with words like despise, you may want to look for more enjoyable work—something closer to your purpose or passion. No matter where you rank on the work-happiness scale, there are things you can do to be happier at work.
1. Wake up earlier. You are thinking, “Are you kidding me?” Nope. Getting up earlier will allow you some you-time before you herd the kiddos, pack lunches and fight commuter traffic. Take time when the house is quiet. It may require practice to get up earlier, but you will give your mind some breathing space to enjoy the sun coming up, an early walk, a cup of coffee, a good book, or a conversation with your spouse before the day gets going.
2. Do what you dread most, first. Get the dread off your plate by conquering it first. Just knowing there’s a project or task you don’t want to do can bring you down. Go after it first thing, so you no longer have to think about it. Plus, it can fuel your momentum for the day.
3. Don’t dwell on the negative. According to happiness expert, Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want, unhappy people are more likely than happy people to dwell on negative events. Dwelling or rumination can drain your mental resources and reinforce unhappiness. Avoid negative people, gossip and drama. Don’t replay negative experiences. Dwell on aspects of work you like.
Strengthen self-control.We don’t have to exhaust our willpower or decision-making quota for the day when we make healthy habits automatic. Make one or more of these fundamental habits a regular part of your daily life in order to help you set and keep other healthy habits: 1. Get seven hours of sleep; 2. Go for a 20-minute walk; 3. Don’t let yourself get too hungry; 4. Take time to unclutter; 5. Give yourself a healthy treat.
Get some sleep. According to sleep expert Michael Breus, Ph.D., sleeping less than seven hours each night can negatively impact your outlook, make you crave unhealthy foods and even kill your productivity. For those with serious trouble sleeping, he suggests you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, take the TV out of the bedroom and get out of bed if you can’t fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes.
Build up your emotional toolkit. If you struggle with depression or bouts of anxiety, build up your emotional toolkit. Use the tool of self-compassion to treat yourself with the same loving kindness you would extend to a friend. Silence that inner critic and give yourself a soft place to land when things don’t go right or you are working through a challenging experience. Fill up your mind with kind thoughts about yourself.
Happiness is the gateway to success, but like most good things in life, it also takes some work. Roll up your sleeves and put some effort into becoming a happier you. Here are 11 things you can do to enhance your happiness today. (For all of you happiness over-achievers, click on the headings below for more information on each tip!)
1. Take a look back
If you aren’t sure of your passion as an adult, revisit your youth for clues. Perhaps when you were a child, teenager or even a young adult, there was something that you were passionate about. Maybe there was something you loved to collect, a place you loved going, or an activity that you loved doing. Bring those old experiences back into your current life.
2. Go in search of awe
A sense of awe may help you fight depression and inflammation. Find awe by visiting a natural wonder. Listen to your favorite music. Lose yourself in an art museum. Go in search of what inspires you deeply.
3. Connect with people
Our relationships can have an almost magical effect on our happiness. Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb feels fulfilled when she’s collaborating and connecting with others. You can find inspiration in others, too.
4. Value experiences over things
Things are nice, but the joy we get from experiences lasts longer, causes less waste and probably has a smaller negative environmental impact. Walk to a destination with your family to enjoy the outdoors and connect through conversation. Take a hike in nearby hills. Plan an exciting trip together. All of these things will give enjoyment that you can anticipate, experience and then savor afterward.
Read the rest of my article on Live Happy.
Posted on January 18, 2016 in Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski
These titles will make you reflect, say yes and choose joy in the year ahead.
Posted on December 21, 2015 in Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski
Use this list to kickstart your happiness, starting now.
Hope isn’t the same thing as optimism. Hope is believing the future will be better than the present, and working to make it so. Pick a goal you are excited about, and write down two things you can do to make it happen.
Connect with your children on a deep emotional level by looking for their essence. What are your kids’ positive qualities? What is your child really interested and invested in? Make a list.
The great outdoors and exercise have something in common—both improve your mood and reduce stress. Now you can reap all the benefits to your mental and physical well-being by working out in nature.
Overwhelmed by your To-Do list? Break down bigger projects into steps that feel the opposite of overwhelming. Don’t stop until your list turns into a “gladly do” list.
Read the rest of this article on Live Happy.
Posted on December 14, 2015 in Fulfillment, Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski
If you had the choice to spend the day with someone who exudes happiness or someone who has a martyr thing going, it wouldn’t be a tough decision, right? How about your super upbeat friend vs. your chronic complainer friend? Not a challenging choice there either. Spend time with someone who exudes positivity, and you are more likely to feel positive. Hang with someone who acts like life’s number one victim, and guaranteed, Debbie downer is going to rub off on you. It’s called emotional contagion, and it means the emotions of others can influence us. So if happy people make other people happy, why is it that happy people are sometimes thought to be selfish?
“The belief that unhappiness is selfless and happiness is selfish is misguided,” says Gretchen Rubin, happiness expert and author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. “It’s more selfless to act happy. It takes energy, generosity, and discipline to be unfailingly lighthearted, yet everyone takes the happy person for granted.” Put another way …
Happiness takes work.
Happy people are taken for granted because they are thought of as naturally happy people or born happy, yet upbeat people have to work at being resilient, bouncing back, rising above, and staying positive. The outside world only sees the happy person and not the effort behind the scenes, so positive people don’t receive credit for creating their sunshine-like dispositions. “Happiness is a work ethic. You have to train your brain to be positive, just like you work out your body,” writes Shawn Achor is his book, The Happiness Advantage.
While we all might desire the kind of holiday perfection we see in a TV movie or all over Pinterest, we will inevitably fall short. We live in the real world, after all, not in the movies or someone’s whitewashed home-crafting highlight reel.
It can be even harder to make holiday magic when you know you have a truly dysfunctional family. We turned to a few of our experts to find out how you can enjoy your holidays without letting the humbugs ruin your plans.
Ask the experts
“Holidays are tough,” says Connie Podesta, author of Life Would Be Easy If It Weren’t For Other People. “You’ve got high expectations, childhood memories we either want to duplicate or totally forget. And we have family members that literally drive us crazy, all smashed together at a table eating lots of carbs and sugar. It’s a recipe for disaster.”
And Pat Pearson, clinical psychotherapist and author of Stop Self-Sabotage, says it’s important to remember that, come holiday time, no one has changed. People on the whole stay who they are. So, what do you do?
1. Don’t expect to heal old wounds
Don’t use holidays as a time or place to repair old childhood wounds, Connie suggests. With difficult family, keep conversation simple. Don’t start a debate or get drawn into their drama. If you can’t answer without wanting to lash out, then just excuse yourself from the conversation and don’t come back. Don’t apologize, defend yourself or make excuses. Just hang near the people you like and that like you. Also, don’t forget to breathe.
If you love Thanksgiving but your traditions are getting a little tired, we’ve got you covered. With a little creative planning, you can make this year’s Thanksgiving the most festive and fun-filled yet.
1. Plan ahead for the day you want
It sounds simple, but your ideal holiday won’t materialize unless you make it happen. Maybe you envision a formal Thanksgiving dinner complete with centerpieces, nameplates and an elegant menu. If that’s your plan, spell it out ahead of time. If you want potluck, paper plates, jeans and football, plan that and let people know. Share your desires openly with family, i.e. “I hope you will stay all day so we can have lots of time together”—to create the day you want.
Related: 8 Easy Practices To Enhance Gratitude
2. Think about timing
It may sound like a no-brainer, but the timing of your dinner can impact the entire day. If you call your mealtime too early, you might get stressed with the-time crunch of meal prep (unless you’ve done most of it in the days before). Some like to eat later in order to enjoy appetizers and the anticipation of the holiday meal all day. Or maybe you have guests who are going to be glued to a particular football game during the day. Consider all of these variables and plan accordingly.
3. Relax your expectations
Without dwelling on it, acknowledge something will likely go wrong with your day, but that’s OK. A quirky uncle might say something, well, quirky. Someone might not show up who said they would. If you want to have the best possible holiday, roll with the punches. (Rest assured: No one’s Thanksgiving is perfect.)
Read the rest of this article on Live Happy:
Posted on October 18, 2015 in Gratitude, Happiness by Sandra Bienkowski
Poor Mondays. The black sheep day of the week, they always get a bad rap. Here are six tips to help you love, instead of dread, Mondays.
1. Don’t buy into the Monday hype
If you believe Mondays are terrible, you might look for little things to prove your case. You stub your toe in the morning and automatically think, “Yep, here we go, this whole day is going to be a disaster.” How can you enjoy your Monday if you think Mondays are doomed? Don’t program your brain to scan for the bad stuff. Change your outlook to view Monday as the start of your spectacular week.
2. Make Mondays easier
What can you do on Sunday to make your Monday go more smoothly? Put outfits out for the kids ahead of time? Make a dish in the slow cooker to heat up Monday evening? Make sure your fridge it stocked up? Review your calendar for the week on Sunday night and make your to-do list for the week. Then get a good night’s sleep so you can start the week refreshed.