The Happiness Advantage

Lately I’ve found myself thinking like a glass-is-half-empty-kind-of-girl and that doesn’t really jive with my normally sunny disposition.

After all, friends (and my husband) are always telling me how much they miss my laugh (me too!).

Brian sent me the this link to a podcast: The Happy Secret to Better Work  a few days ago and not only did I laugh out loud while watching it (Shawn Anchor has some pretty good comedic timing for a Harvard guy!) but I found myself thinking about it afterwards and making yet another  fake-lent-resolution to practice at least one of his steps in creating lasting positive change.  Those steps are:

1.  Three gratitudes – At the end of the day writing down at least three things for which you’re grateful

2.  Journaling – spending time writing to yourself daily

3.  Exercise –  of the physical kind – enough to work up a sweat and feel like you’ve accomplished something

4. Meditation – having more than a moment when you’re disconnected (from everything!)

5.  Random acts of kindness – even if it’s writing a coworker an email on a job well done

The key to practicing these exercises is to do them every day for at least 21 days (you know, however long ‘they’ve’ found it takes to form a habit).  So my goal from this post forward is continue practicing the  physical exercise step (perhaps making it even more regular with doing something active EVERY day) but also adding another step (i.e. gratitudes, or random acts of kindness) to the mix.

As soon as this Shawn Anchor spoke of the random acts of kindness I immediately  thought of my good friend, Lea, who practices many of the steps already.

She’s been known to swing by my house (when we lived close (big sad face!)) and bring me a Starbucks (grande soy salted caramel mocha, no whip (ahem, there’s a reason my husband is concerned Claire might be high maintenance)) and a new pair of earrings, or I’d come out to my car from grocery shopping and there’d be a note on it saying she’d been at the bank and seen my car and just wanted to say hi or constantly paying for our big girl’s nights out (and not just me, but for all the girlfriends) and yes she’s got the bucks to do it, but she’s no millionaire and it’s that kind of random kindness that seems to give her her happiness advantage, but also makes the people around her happier too.

And I’d say, one of the biggest things I struggle with with my kids every day is trying to stay positive so that they’re positive.  If you’re a mom, you get it.  When I’m frustrated that Case is taking an inordinate amount of time to get out of his bed or get down the stairs, he senses my frustration and lack of patience and it makes it more difficult for him (not only is it hard to do that stuff but now Mom’s frustrated that I’m taking too long and I don’t want to do it anymore so I’m going to sit down and cry (I assume is what’s going on in his head)).

But I know that even if he were a normally developing kid I’d get frustrated with him (he is in his terrible twos!) and my lack of patience/frustration would have the same affect.  Both he and Claire are so attuned to my mood that it’s imperative I give myself the skills to not get so frustrated because at the end of the day I’m not the only one that’s affected by my unhappiness.  And especially for Case,  I believe when he feels like he’s got a momma who’s (more times than not) positively motivating him,  it really makes a difference is his progress.  For a kid who’s not self-motivating (yet!), my positive energy goes a long way.

So in order to ensure I keep this gig up (of being a positive force and source of motivation), I’m going to start writing down three things I’m grateful for each day (even if one of those things is my  grande soy salted caramel mocha, no whip) as well as practicing one random act of kindness (just like my friend, Lea) and emails to coworkers, as Shawn suggests, won’t do here as Case doesn’t check his email too frequently and Claire doesn’t even have a smart phone, pfff.

I’ll keep you posted.  Literally.

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4 thoughts on “The Happiness Advantage

  1. gildedivy says:

    LOVE IT! Hey, i just read The Five Love Languages for Children…VERY interesting read! You should get it! It’s amazing. They also have them for adults, marriage, etc..Wish I had it 10 years ago. Miss you, love you!

  2. Sonya says:

    Hi Friend,

    I couldn’t get the link to work but I did find the Ted talk:

    Thanks for sharing, this is amazing. I love that you are taking the steps to take care of yourself and be the best mommy possible-truly an inspiration for the rest of us.


  3. Janet says:

    I agree with your comments about Lea! Her heart is one of the best I have ever felt! I can’t really know what it must be like to be a stay at home Mom. Very busy and hard work I am sure! Miss you around here…..

  4. […] So in hopes of staying inspired and not complaining so much, I’m going to leave you with a post from my dear friend, Caitlin of Cait Finding the Fresh, about, an awesome initiative from expert Shawn Anchor about how to start changing the way we think. Check out Caitlin’s post about it, The Happiness Advantage. […]

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