Thursday, December 13, 2012

The holiday season is a time to think back over the past year and stay mindful of the family and friends in our life. Think about what they have added to our life, ways they challenged us and supported us. Remember gratitude. Think about what you have learned about yourself and finding your own happiness over this past year. Enjoy the holiday season!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Each one has to find his peace from within. And for peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances,"   - Mahatma Gandhi

This quote expresses what I have been experiencing over the past month. I have been trying to find a way to express it in words and this quote sums it up. Over the past month I have noticed spontaneous brief episodes where I feel content with my life. The thought that goes along with the feeling is, "Everything is as it should be." This does not mean my life is perfect or that I don't experience distress brought on by outside circumstances. We all struggle with difficult times. I have been making an effort to increase these moments throughout every day. I stop what I am doing or thinking about and relax my body and mind by focusing on a word such as peace, contentment, happiness.

Over the next month, try to increase your peace from within. At least twice a day stop what you are doing and focus one or two of the words I mentioned. You might think of others which bring a sense of peace to you. Do this exercise without judging yourself or outside circumstances.
Give it a try.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."   -Theodore Roosevelt

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Well," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called. - A.A. Milne

Ah Pooh! We know what that is called, mindfulness! Pooh is practicing mindfulness without even knowing it. So for the remainder of this month, just before you are about to do something that makes you happy, stop and savor the moment.

Monday, July 16, 2012

I am lacking creativity this month of July but this quote will help you find inspiration to be happy about something and share it. Sharing your happiness with someone else will increase the intensity of your happiness!

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy."
                                                           - Lucille Ball

I'm late with my post this month so we have just three weeks for  assignments.

Week 1: Go for a swim or wade in a pond. You might not be able to do this everyday but try for once or twice during the week.

Week 2: Spend 5 to 10 minutes observing your breathe. Notice how the air fills your lungs, notice the temperature of the air.

Week 3: Eat a piece fruit mindfully. First look at it, notice the texture of the skin, the fragrance of the fruit, notice how it feels against your lips as you bring it to your mouth, take a bite, notice the taste and texture of the fruit in your mouth.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring is fully in bloom. Be mindful of the flowers and trees, notice the color, texture and scent when admiring these spring gifts.

Week 1: Watch the sunrise. Notice the colors in the sky as the sun rises and remember this day is a gift.

Week 2: Eat a meal or snack outside. You can go to a park or sit in your backyard.

Week 3: Donate some food to a local homeless shelter or food pantry which distributes to others in need.

Week 4: Watch the sunset. Notice the colors in the sky, the shadows in the landscape and remember at least one good thing happened today.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Remember, it is not only the big things that make you happy!

Week 1: Take one picture every day. You can use your digital camera, buy a disposable camera, or use your cell phone. Take a picture of a pretty landscape, animals, something that makes you laugh or looks weird. At the end of the week you can print out any of the pictures that you really like.

Week 2: Share your pictures with a family member or friend. All of those pictures you took last week can be shared with someone to make them smile!

Week 3: Write down one thing you are grateful for every day.

Week 4: At the end of each day, find meaning in something that went wrong or upset you. If you think about the deeper meaning of upsetting events it can help you let go. Maybe you were meant to learn something about yourself, your strengths, your needs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Spring is almost here. It is a time for renewal and time to continue your mindful happiness quest! Here are the March assignments.

Week 1: Do something nice for someone you don't know. Hold the door for someone going into or out of a store even if the person is 5 to 10 steps behind you. When they thank you, look at them when you say "You're welcome." Here's a challenge, let someone who has more items than you go ahead of you in the checkout line! Give a compliment on something someone is wearing.

Week 2: Do something nice for someone you know. Take your neighbor's trash can or newspaper up from the curb. Give a friend a shoulder massage.

Week 3: Organize one thing in your home daily. Clean out the kitchen junk drawer, work on cleaning out a closet, the basement or garage.

Week 4: Give something away. Maybe old clothing and/or household items you found when working on week 3 tasks.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February, 2012
Here we are with spring time temperatures in Pennsylvania. If these beautiful days continue, we may have an early spring!

Week 1: Get outside and walk for 10 minutes every day, no matter what the weather. At the end of the 10 minutes, you can stop or if you feel like it you can keep going. However, you are under no obligation to continue past the 10 minutes.

Week 2: Get into the sunshine! You can go outside or sit by a window where the sun is shining in, sit or stand and relax for 15 minutes.

Week 3: Smile at least 10 times per day. Smile at other people, your family, coworkers, people in the supermarket. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Yes, I know this sounds strange (the part about smiling at yourself) but smiles help lift the mood.

Week 4: Go to bed one half hour earlier than you normally do. You do not have to go to sleep immediately. This extra half hour can help you get to sleep earlier than usual. Studies show that adequate sleep guards against depression.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Quest

This year is a quest to find out what makes you happy. Each month I will post activities which you will practice every day. You will keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings about the week's activity. At the end of each week spend 15 minutes writing in your journal. Write about whether or not you liked the activity, how it made you feel to practice it every day, and what you learned about yourself during the exercise or at week's end. Try each activity even if you think you will not like it. You will spend between 5 and 15 minutes at most each day so no excuses that you don't have time.

 For January we will practice mindfulness in our activities. The idea is to do the activity and nothing else, concentrate on the sensations you experience without judgement. When you find yourself judging just notice it and turn you attention back to the activity. Mindfulness is observing, describing and participating. Don't forget to journal at the end of each week.

January, 2012

Week 1: Eat 1 to 2 squares of dark chocolate each day. Spend at least 5 minutes eating each square. Look at it, smell it, slowly take a small bite and pay attention to how it tastes and feels on your tongue.

Week 2: When you shower, use a scented body wash instead of soap. If you shower in the morning, use a citrus scent to help wake you up. If you shower in the evening, use a relaxing scent like lavender. Go to the drugstore and look for sample sizes so you can try different scents. Spend at least 5 minutes concentrating how it smells and feels.

Week 3: Drink one cup of herbal tea each day. Spend at least 10 minutes drinking it staying focused on the tea, its temperature, how it smells, how it tastes.

Week 4: Apply a scented hand lotion twice per day. Spend 5 minutes each time and observe, describe and participate.

Have fun!