Friday, June 8, 2012

Increase Your Happiness

7 Ways to Increase Your Happiness August 13, 2010 By Eric J. Leech We all want happiness in life, but if it were easy, we’d be happy 100 percent of the time. However, it turns out from research that sadness actually makes moments of happiness that much sweeter, rather than us living absolutely perfect lives. Yet even with a mixture of happiness and sadness, some people still come out on top, reporting more happiness than others. What’s their secret? 1. In Pursuit of the Wrong Happiness Many people are unhappy simply because they’re chasing after the wrong things. Let’s set the record straight once and for all. There’s living above poverty level, and then there’s add-ons: money, food, sex, televisions and fancy cars cannot, will not, and never have been able to produce happiness. True happiness comes from finding your purpose, which can be as simple as engaging in something you enjoy every day. 2. Can’t Buy Happiness, But You Can Buy Happy Memories While money certainly won’t buy you happiness, research suggests that the best way to use your money to help promote happiness is to spend it on experiences. Visiting Yellowstone, learning to fly a plane or donating to charities all create the type of memories that will be looked back upon with happy thoughts. 3. Manufacture Your Own Happiness We are in charge of our own happiness because we are in charge how we choose to interpret life. Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, tells us that our advanced brains have the capacity to build happiness out of any outcome, especially when we have no other choice. Studies show that people will actually develop positive feelings towards choices they’ve made, even if the alternatives may have been more desirable (i.e., “I’m glad I quit law school to become a struggling artist”). In other words, we have the innate gift to manufacture happiness, when our only other option is disappointment and sadness. 4. Think Happy Thoughts This may sound obvious, but research suggests that we can control up to 42 percent of our happiness by choosing to focus on the good things in life. Instead of being envious of what others have over you, the happy thinker is grateful for what they have, which may include anything from health to family and friends. 5. Correction… Make That Fast, Creative, and Happy Thoughts A new study from Princeton and Harvard suggests that thinking fast, creative thoughts, such as when writing a journal or working on a crossword puzzle, helps to create positive, energetic moods. The worst kinds of thoughts appear to be slow and repetitive, which would explain why some jobs create more unhappiness than others. 6. Surround Yourself With Friends and Family Research suggests that one of the most positive influences in our lives from childhood to adulthood is the friends and family we choose to surround ourselves with. Close relationships bring feelings of love, which encourages us to reciprocate those feelings to others, which in turn brings even more love into our lives. Those who choose to alienate themselves from others, also alienate themselves from the possibility of finding happiness. 7. The Turnip Truck is Almost Always Half Overflowing Optimistic people are happier, healthier, and live longer than their pessimistic cohorts. While some people believe optimism is a born trait, it is actually a learned choice. We can teach ourselves to know that we will be successful, taking into account that things won’t always turn out exactly as planned. We can also teach ourselves to see failure as a learning experience, rather than an invitation to disappointment. What are your favorite methods to stay in a positive frame of mind?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

8 Secrets to Happiness

8 Secrets to Happiness By Theresa Danna June 7, 2012 A Short List to Lasting Happiness During the first decade of the 21st century, the number of books published on the subject of happiness increased from 50 a year to more than 4,000 a year. The pursuit of happiness is a hot topic, but that doesn’t mean it’s difficult to achieve. From the research conducted so far, we’ve learned that being happy can boil down to a simple formula: increase your levels of serotonin, the “happiness hormone,” and decrease your levels of cortisol, the “stress hormone.” There are some surprisingly easy, and enjoyable, ways to do that. 1. Pet Your Animal Companion Spending 15 minutes petting your furry friend releases serotonin and other positive hormones in your body while inhibiting cortisol, according to a study from the University of Missouri-Columbia. If you don’t own a pet, you can improve your mood by as much 80 percent simply by getting one! 2. Watch a Romantic Movie Some people experience a 10 percent increase in nerve-calming hormones by watching lighthearted romantic films such as When Harry Met Sally, researchers at University of Michigan report. 3. Read a Good Book Spending a half hour a day reading for pleasure boosts your mood. And doing so can cost you nothing, if you borrow books from your public library. If reading in general is not a fun activity for you, do whatever gives you pleasure. For example, Psychic Gina Rose ext. 9500 likes to do projects around the house or sew. “I’ve made all of the curtains hanging in my old farmhouse.” 4. Attend Cultural and Arts Events And speaking of low-cost entertainment, the author of The How of Happiness, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., reports that attending art museums and cultural events stimulates feelings of awe and appreciation, which in turn decreases stress. Some museums offer free admission on a certain day of the week and others sponsor free concerts in the summer. 5. Join a Club Interacting with like-minded people gives you a mood boost, even if you don’t know the people well. Sharing common interests reduces stress. It’s no wonder that fan gatherings like Comic-Con become more popular each year. 6. Wake Up Your Body The path to being happier can be as simple as doing mild exercise, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Also, two minutes of deep breathing while visualizing a calming place can put a smile on your face. Another quick happiness booster is to sniff a pleasant fragrance. Studies have shown that lavender actually lowers stress hormones. Or try smelling scents that remind you of a favorite holiday—such as pine for Christmas—or favorite baked goods, such as cinnamon, vanilla, or nutmeg. 7. Get the Right Nutrients Consuming omega-3 fatty acids helps keep depression away. So go ahead and enjoy eating cold water fish such as salmon, herring, and sardines. If you prefer plant sources, try avocados or nuts, particularly walnuts. 8. Love Your Work Dr. Lyubomirsky says her research shows that loving your job is the number-one predictor of happiness. If your current job is boring and you’re unable to find a better one now, she suggests that you make your work more interesting by challenging yourself. Try doing your tasks faster or in a variety of ways. The choice is yours. Says Psychic Ivy ext. 5198, “I believe you are as happy as you make up your mind to be.”

Monday, June 4, 2012

Happiness Is Contagious

How Happiness Is Contagious By Tim Jarvis "Six degrees of separation" isn't just a good plot line. Science shows the theory has dramatic implications for spreading cheer from one person to the next. The theory that everyone on the planet is only a half dozen people away from knowing everyone else was popularized by John Guare's 1993 movie Six Degrees of Separation. Now research by a pair of social scientists might have Hollywood thinking of a sequel: Three Degrees of Connection. Using statistical analyses of thousands of subjects, a study in The British Medical Journal has shown that happiness actually spreads from person to person, up to three connections away. "So if your friend's friend's friend becomes happier, it ripples through the network and affects you, even if you don't know that person," says author Nicholas Christakis, MD, a medical sociology professor at Harvard Medical School. Proximity plays a part: A happy sibling who is a mile away can increase your probability of happiness by up to 14 percent; a nearby friend, by 25 percent; and a next-door neighbor, by 34 percent. Interestingly, the effect also applies to smoking and obesity, Christakis has shown. "If people around you gain weight, it changes your expectations about what an acceptable body size is," he explains. "Our work strongly suggests that when one person quits smoking, loses weight, or becomes happy, others around her follow suit. I am reluctant to suggest you pick your friends solely on this basis, but one could say that helping a friend do better is a roundabout way of helping yourself." Read more:

Welcome to Weight Loss Coach Sherrie's Blog!

I am currently trying a new way of eating (forget about that nasty "D" word!). I am following the "Schwarzbein Principle" and learning ways to focus on creativity and taking care of ME. I am currently in Body Blissmas, a program started by Jill Badonsky. As I learn to focus on healthy eating and being happy and creative, I would like to help you do the same.

Are you currently trying to lose weight?