Tag Archives: happiness

Be Happy!

Looking for the perfect gift for the type-A personality in your life? We’re talking about the ones who have pro/con lists scattered throughout their notebooks, whose weekly planners are more organized than your entire life… you know, the Rory Gilmore identifiers. Well, luckily there’s journal made with exactly them in mind. 52 Lists for Happiness, by Moorea Seal, is a “year-long journey to your own personal joy, one list at a time.”
The book contains four sections: reflect, acknowledge, invest, and transform. It contains 13 listing prompts with extra space to create your own lists. This is enough to last the reader a whole year. The journal also includes challenges for the reader to seek their own happiness and to take action in their life. Some examples of these prompts are as follows:
“List what makes you happy right now.”
“List the simple ways you enjoy being kind to others.”
“List one achievement, big or small, every day this week.”
Personally, we can’t wait to get started making our lists. But, you don’t have to take our word for it! There is a science to this recommendation. Gratitude journaling has been found to make individuals feel happier and more optimistic. It even helps with health and fatigue. If one is suffering from depression or anxiety, a study published in Behavior Modification, states that journaling can decrease symptoms significantly. It can also help improve professional performance and self-awareness in those suffering from burn out, according to Harvard professor Teresa Amabile.
Whether you just love lists and want this book for yourself, or you know someone who is a journaling junky, or you know someone struggling with finding their happiness, this book is a golden opportunity for the perfect, well-thought, holiday gift and it’ll last them entirety of 2017!

 

Written by Nicole Brobston

Bella Loves: The Happiness Planner

Mindfulness and positivity–we are all about them in 2016! There are thousands of products out there that promote both, but one of our favorites is The Happiness Planner.

moMo Seetubtim, founder of BrandMentalist and The Happiness Planner, began making planners with the goal of helping people who were struggling to learn to be positive and happy.

“I want to inspire people to adopt the growth mindset because everything around us was made, created, and invented by someone–and you, too, have the power to change the future,” she says.

plannerThe Happiness Planners are definitely inspirational. The 2016 version begins with a “happiness roadmap” complete with exercises that will help you reflect on yourself. That way, you can plan ahead and integrate happiness habits into your daily routine.
It allows you to ask yourself what makes you happy and then schedule more time to do those things. In addition you can record your meals, appointments, to-do list, daily goals, and more!

Go to www.thehappinessplanner.com to learn more about their planners. Visit our Facebook page for a chance to win one of your own (currently sold out at the time of this post)!

Back to the Basics

At various points during the day, I check Facebook and my email like many of you— my feed flooded with products and programs promising happiness and fulfillment, for a price. The thing is— whether your happiness is temporarily increased by clothes, electronics, or fast food— the high is soon over. It is followed by the heavy burden of guilt over purchasing something you didn’t actually need or the feeling of pure exhaustion after a grease-covered meal.

If you want to take control over subtle influences in your daily routine (and live life just a little lighter) consider the following options:

  1. Live below your means.

    Coupon queens everywhere are about to really hate me, but understand that I do mean well. Stocking up on items you will definitely use with coupons is a fantastic idea— as long as you really do use them. Otherwise you end up with a large amount of food you have to throw out because it expired, and the money you thought you saved becomes money you could have put towards existing debt or a vacation.

    Do some research on minimalism and see what parts of it you can apply to your own life. Minimalism gives less power to the objects that surround us— but it doesn’t take away the meaning of the important things in our lives. Instead, it allows us to consciously choose what is important and why without being bogged down by meaningless objects that hurt our health, relationships, and hold us back from reaching our full potential. Visit www.theminimalists.com to see if you can benefit from any of their suggestions and tailor them to fit your needs!

    Donate items that you don’t use to people who really need them. The obvious choice is Goodwill, but you can also post free items on websites like www.freecycle.org. They have a specific section for Roanoke already, so it is as easy as going on their site, creating an account, and posting what you have to give away.

2. Take charge of your diet.

Organize your kitchen to encourage your family to spend more time cooking, cleaning, and eating healthy. Place items in drawers where they will be convenient to reach when you need them and get rid of extra dishes, cups, and utensils that no longer serve a purpose. When you have more space, your kitchen looks clean and welcoming after a long day of work or running errands. You may even look forward to getting there and spending time with your family rather than waiting in line at McDonalds to pick up dinner.

While we are talking about fast food, it is also important that you try to spend your food budget wisely. Make a list of things you need before you go grocery shopping and stick to that list. We have fallen into a habit in which we place very high value on convenience. Therefore, if it is on an end cap and on sale, we are far more likely to add $3 here and $5 there to our basket without thinking twice about it. Unfortunately, many of those products are not healthy and can include chemicals and preservatives that leave you hungry, tired, and even sick. Commit to the list— accounting for every meal during the week. You’ll save money AND feel better at the end of the day.

61VWkE9iEPL._SX419_BO1,204,203,200_Consider growing your own fruits and vegetables— it’s possible, even in the city! Look into making some of the staples in your pantry by yourself. With a little practice, you can make your own cheese for 1/3 of the store price and bake your own bread for about fifty cents per loaf. No matter how committed you are to the idea of sustainable living, Woman-Powered Farm by Audrey Levatino is a great book to add to your library. From teaching you the basics on raised garden beds and farm animals to operating farm machinery, it is perfect for the woman who wants to become more self-sufficient.

3. Reorganize your schedule

Completely banning electronics from your house is unreasonable, but cutting down on your TV time and opening a book is better for your brain. Get out of the house with your family, or on your own, and hike one of our area’s beautiful trails. See the world around you without a camera phone lens. Choose activities that will inspire you to be a healthier, happier version of yourself. Very often, happiness is just outside of your comfort zone.

Make time for energy-saving activities like hanging clothes on a line or chopping wood for a wood stove this winter. Not only will you stay active, but you will save money on your electric bills. If these ideas are too extreme for you, ease yourself into it. Bike to work or carpool if you can, keep those lights turned off, and set the temperature in your house to a comfortable but reasonable number. Little changes now can make a huge difference over time.

Choose any of these suggestions and tweak them to apply to your circumstances. At the very least, you may find that it is easier to identify the subtle influences that challenge your happiness and follow your own path instead.

Revitalize Your Passion for Life

We’ve been fortunate enough to survive the “me” generation to learn that life is much more inclusive than it used to be. Thanks to social media, “me” exploded into “we,” and a socially conscious generation was born. What was once considered personal fulfillment has changed for the better.

Let’s have a little fun, shall we? Even if you were born circa 1990 or later, we’re pretty sure you’ll enjoy this quick reprise of a few of you or your parents’ greatest hits. You might even laugh out loud to discover how seriously you took life back then.

A few decades ago, you may remember that life got really big. Big hair, big shoulders, big houses and big mini-vans. Music videos and Madonna’s material world allowed us to dream bigger than we ever had before. We thought we’d finally made it, and that there was no turning back as to what we could personally achieve.

Not only were our prospects for a better quality of life opening up wide, women began to have more choices than just motherhood, teaching, nursing or secretarial positions. Race relations were improving, the Berlin wall fell, Gorbachev was in office, and Space Shuttles were orbiting the Earth.

It was the Me generation. Individual expression was “bustier”-ing out all over in shocking new ways. We fretted over our children’s self-esteem, the number of orgasm’s we were having, and making sure we kept up with the latest fads and trends.

Reminiscing, you may be recalling your own personal triumphs. More importantly, how are you feeling about life right now?

Undoubtedly, your hopes and dreams are different than they once were. Change is occurring at such speeds, you might not be sure of what to wish for except for a global group hug and a well-earned paycheck in everyone’s hands.

What has become glaringly obvious is that our society is set up to push us toward an imbalanced lifestyle.
A new science is emerging linking happiness to our well-being. According to the World Happiness Report 2015 published by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the United States ranks 15th in the world.

What is the common thread of personal well-being, or even ever-elusive personal fulfillment?
The difference between maintaining your zeal for life and heart-breaking disillusionment ultimately begins with you and where you are placing your focus.

Here are 7 proactive life responses for the most common reasons why you might feel your passion for life slipping away:

1. You feel you have failed at something.
Feeling cynical or defeated, or that your hard work is not paying off? When there is disappointment in life, seeing everything as an opportunity will keep you invigorated and challenged in a good way. The ability to adapt and learn are vital to living the good life. Consider changing course or starting something new. Age is not important. Follow your bliss.

2. You play the comparison game.
Making a living becomes complicated when you wish to live like someone else. Materialism and title are fake substitutes for real affluence—the ability to inspire people. Make a list of what you admire and begin to make changes in your life to reflect your values.

3. You’ve mortgaged your life.
Economy provides us with sustenance of life, but when it becomes the goal, you work like a machine, losing your passion for living. Investigate new markets that allow you greater life flexibility through stewardship rather than ownership.

4. You self-medicate to fill the void.
Innovation and automation have provided us with more free time than we’ve ever had. Instead of self-medicating your off-hours with TV, smart phones, information, and shopping, regain a sense of wonder by looking at every day as a fresh beginning filled with possibility. Rediscover your inner child.

5. You are daunted by all the strife in the world.
Living the good life is being peaceful even when those around you are stirring the pot. When others engage in negativity, don’t get sucked in. Consider ending support of violent media content. Become response-able for you and your corner of the world. Seek common ground with those you come into contact with to build upon, supporting change as needed.

6. You’ve allowed technology to supplant human contact and nature.
Do you ever walk your neighborhood and ask where all the people are? When was the last time you roamed a nature trail? Technology is nice, but it’s not nicer than a sense of community and all the wisdom and health benefits hidden in nature’s vastness. If you’ve forgotten this, stop what you’re doing right now. Come back in 30 minutes and report your findings.

7. Too much “me” time.
Self-love and self-care are certainly important, but keeping a healthy balance between ego and selflessness is the striking point of cultivating personal fulfillment. In a synergetic world, personal fulfillment and social responsibility are intimately connected. Try volunteering just two hours a month to discover what you would grumble about at minimum wage. It is a gift—the most exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling gift you could ever give—the gift of you!

Finding balance between economic, social, and environmental objectives (or mind, body, and spirit) is key to personal and community well-being and happiness.
Even if you aren’t ready to embrace a life of We, life is the joy in being alive. If you think there is something more important than this, you are bound to experience disillusionment. 

unnamed-1Your life becomes beautiful as soon as you put your heart into it. Your passion for life can never be taken away from you—unless you take away your focus.
Don’t worry, nobody’s perfect. We all have our rough patches. Focus is the key to mastery in life. Which do you wish to master? Gratitude for being alive or being alive and feeling like you’re dead?
Once you let go of what is illusory, you embrace life’s mystery and finally begin to live!

unnamed-22014 Dayton Literary Peace Prize nominated author, philosopher and humanitarian, Christine Horner, is dedicated to the advancement of human consciousness. She is the co-founder of the What Would Love Do Foundation and author of Awakening Leadership: Embracing Mindfulness, Your Life’s Purpose, and the Leader You Were Born to Be. Learn more at www.ChristineHorner.com.

Ten Steps for Holiday Happiness

Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday season is in full swing! Don’t panic! Dr. Jude Miller Burke has some words of wisdom for the busiest time of the year. The following tips are from over 100 business owners, executives and mothers to help you reduce stress and increase well-being during the holiday season:

  1. Decide with your partner/spouse what your family values are for holiday celebrations. Create a detailed, but flexible, schedule including who is driving children to their different events — and don’t let others’ expectations determine what you do. 
  2. Be aware of others’ expectations for you at work, home, or in the community. Make an active decision to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and have a ‘stop doing’ list. It is not your job alone to ensure the employees are recognized or the family has the best holiday ever. 
  3. Self-made businesswomen organize and delegate. Gift shopping, wrapping, cooking, entertaining all require extra time. Consider buying one item in different colors for employees or the same top in various sizes for sisters. Buy the most difficult presents now and start early to avoid the holiday rush. Check items off a master list and have one of your children help wrap gifts.
  4. Revisit the schedule with the whole family to ensure everyone knows what the expectations are. Often forgotten tasks include haircuts, party clothing, holiday cards, flowers, hostess gifts, school concerts, and meal planning. Creatively use help from kids, neighbors, and others to accomplish all of your holiday tasks.
  5. Find small ways to do what YOU enjoy every day. Successful women are assertive, and in spite of guilt, set limits to preserve their energy. If you have three small children at home, it may not be the best year to plan the holiday work gathering. It may be better for you to keep going to your dance class to keep your energy level high. 
  6. Practice mindfulness – be 100 percent wherever you are, work or home, with no interruptions. The holiday season will come and nothing is going to stop it. Worrying about holiday home tasks while at work or vice versa only increases your stress. Breathe deeply and be present wherever you are and this will decrease your stress. And, remember sometimes an “I’m sorry, Johnny is ill and we can’t make it” is all you can do. Take control of what you choose to be stressed about.
  7. Keep small problems from becoming bigger ones. Problems will inevitably arise and complicate things even further. Communicate well at work with your supervisor and your employees. Irritability and conflict seem to be inherent during these busy months, so try to accept this and using humor to diffuse tension. At home give each child time alone before bedtime to check in on their emotions; this will ward off problems later.
  8. Reduce stress by creating a holiday budget to live by. Spending money on items you can’t afford significantly increases your stress. You may not be able to save money during the holidays, but you can live beneath your means.
  9. bellaweb1Have your own holiday support system. Agree with a couple of friends to meet for coffee and discuss how you want to handle holiday expectations. And, then meet to discuss your progress.
  10. Highly successful women are kind and generous with themselves. Of course, the holidays are never perfect, but give yourself credit for accomplishing a great deal. If possible, schedule a quiet evening in or out with your spouse or the whole family to catch up with one another when this season ends. And have takeout for dinner!

Pick up our December issue of Bella Magazine for more Holiday Survival Tips!