Elevate Your Mood on “International Happiness Day”

Today is “International Happiness Day,” so I am sharing Jack Canfield’s “How to Change Your Mood in 60 Seconds” video to make sure we are as happy as we can be today.  (You may remember Jack as the co-author of the “Chicken Soup” series of books.   He’s written many more since then and is an international motivational speaker, as well.)

I have posted many similar tips here at Wishful Thinking Works, and agree with Jack’s ideas and outlook. Why not jump on the happy train today by grabbing a cup of coffee or tea while you relax and watch his 9:12 minute video?

Let me know your thoughts and what works for you when you are trying to shift gears  or to ramp up your mood. Try Jack’s tips, and comment below. Everyone learns when we share!

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And, don’t forget,
“Your life is your once in a lifetime opportunity, what you do with it is up to you.” 
Patrice K. Robson

 

Capture what truly mattered in 2017

notebook-731212__180As the New Year rolls around it is way too easy to get bogged down in what we didn’t accomplish or do this year and to start making long lists of what we need to do in the 2018.

I think a much more rewarding way to start the New Year is to remember how wonderful you are by creating your personal WTW “Ta Da” List 2017.

I created the list years ago for a Wishful Thinking Works post and I use it twice a year to remind myself of all the good things – big or small – that have happened or that I have accomplished. Focusing on the positives and growth in our life is a great motivator and provides a stable foundation for future plans.

Why not use New Year’s Eve to celebrate you and what you have done instead of worrying about what you didn’t do?

Even if 2017 was your toughest year yet, you survived, and that is worth celebrating.

champagne-584072_960_720If you are alone on New Year’s Eve, embrace it!

Buy some bubbly, treat yourself to food you love, pop in a movie, read a good book or soak in a luxurious bath and savor being you.

Some of my best New Year’s Eves were spent alone – outdoors, reflecting on all the good things in my life. I sipped something wonderful, tasted something delicious and savored the moments.

As the New Year dawns, don’t worry about what’s next, just enjoy what is. You made it this far in life and have so much more to look forward to.

Happy New Year!

 

15 minutes of quiet can give you peace

University of Rochester researcher Thuy-vy T. Nguyen, M.A. recently completed 4 studies related to solitude.  Here’s one of the major findings her work revealed summed-up nicely by Bella DePaulo Ph.D. in a recent Psychology Today article:

 

“In short, the people who sat alone by themselves for 15 minutes with no electronic devices, and who got to choose what to think about, or who thought about positive things (by choice or by assignment) had very positive experiences of solitude. They felt calmer and less angry or anxious, without also feeling any sadder or lonelier, and without losing any of their feelings of excitement or enthusiasm.”

15 minutes of quiet – no phones, laptops, Echo or Alexa – can increase positive feelings and reduce stress. How wonderful is that?

Here’s how to unwrap this personalized, peaceful present that will keep on giving to you throughout the year!

  • Sit quietly for 15 minutes.
  • Think about any positive thoughts you like.
    • Relive your happiest or simply fond memories or anything else that brings you pleasure.
  • And, then enjoy the benefits of feeling more peaceful!

Give yourself this free and easy, sure-fire gift to make your life feel more relaxing and fulfilled this holiday season.

You deserve it! Unwrap your 15-minutes-a-day for the next 21 days, and see how your happiness grows.

“Tis the Season to be . . .

Enjoy!

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Capturing the holiday moments that matter

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

heart-picture-1075034__340No surprise there, but they do seem to appear earlier and earlier each year. A couple of years ago I was faced with new challenges centered on blending our ever-growing and combined family’s holiday expectations and traditions. My husband and I were excited to be spending our first holiday together as a newly married couple when we quickly realized that having five sons and their wonderful families in two far-flung states, could make the holidays more complicated than ever.

My first thought was panic, my second and more sensible thought, was rather than worrying about how we were going to share the holidays with our respective kids and grand kids – we have 12, going on 14 – I would first figure out what truly mattered to me during the holidays, and then trust the rest would fall into place.

I had recently read a positive psychology article on the correlation between what folks value individually and what nations value and how we track both, when a thought resurfaced for me – what we measure grows.

You see, that which we deem important enough to measure, i.e. pay attention to, tends to grow. Ta da!

If I fill my holiday with strife and worry and thoughts of who gathers when and where, I was doomed before I began. BUT if I focused on what really mattered to me, perhaps I could increase the likelihood that those things would increase, or at least that I might be more likely to notice and enjoy those moments when they did appear. 

It worked!  Knowing what mattered and focusing on that made our first and subsequent holiday seasons richer, more memorable and way more fun!

Measure what matters

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What do you want to celebrate throughout the holiday season? What are your personal beliefs and values related to the season? In simplest terms, what is most important to you? Family? Love? Togetherness? New Experiences? Tradition? Food? Fun? Religion?

I decided I want to pay more attention to love. I focused on and savored all the acts of love I saw – moments of tenderness and caring, gestures of kindness and sacrifices of any size made in honor and support of the holiday. I was so busy looking for love – that I ignored, or at least didn’t stew as long or as deeply about the less than stellar moments that occurred along the way.

 

How to make your season brighter

  1. Ask yourself what really matters to you. What do you want to hold in your heart this holiday season?
  2. Then capture every moment that matches what matters to you. Note and savor the moments as they occur.
  3. To reinforce your resolve and truly impact your holiday spirit, give yourself a helping hand by using at least one of the suggestions listed below:
    • Jot down your memorable moments in a journal. (You can start a special holiday journal, pack it way with the holiday decorations and have the fun of re-reading and adding to it each year.)
    • Write your moments on bits of paper and store them in a jar to read during or after the holiday. (The jar can be saved from year to year and enjoyed year- long or before next year’s holiday season.)
    • Write your moments on holiday-colored paper and create a paper chain throughout the holiday with all the moments you have enjoyed and want to remember.
    • Encourage your kids, spouses and even your guests to add their special holiday moments to your jar or chain and watch them grow along with everyone’s holiday spirit.
    • Take a few minutes each night before you go to bed or when you wake-up to review these special moments.
    • Or, simply put a penny in a jar or bowl to capture each moment and watch your “riches” grow.

Truth is, we are in control of the holidays ahead. I know it seems like things move way too fast, and that the gift lists, demands and commitments grow longer and greater each year, but in my case so has the love. And, the more I remind myself of that, the brighter my season shines.

Here’s to enjoying the holidays ahead!

Please note: This post has been updated from the original Wishful Thinking Works published in 2015.

 

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Neurons that fire together, wire together!

glasses-983947_960_720I am spending the next 6 days learning more about Positive Neuroplasticity at the Positive Brain Change: Tools for Lasting Happiness, Love, and Peace workshop by Rick Hanson, Ph.D., which makes me positively happy!

Never stop learning about things you love.

I have been experiencing, teaching and sharing the benefits of savoring the good moments of our life for years, but I enjoy the topic so much and I talk with so many folks about it that I am always seeking new ways to learn more about our wonderful brains!

Did you know that you can change your brain? It’s true – neurons that fire together, wire together. The more time you spend reinforcing the positive moments in your life and savoring them, the more likely you will be to focus on, enjoy and benefit from them, because your brain is geared to do just that! New neural pathways form, making it easier for the good times to flow, in and out of you. And, over time, these new pathways can help you deal with negative moments and events more quickly and with less harmful effects on you and your sweet soul. Life will be happier, gentler and more fulfilling.

You see, if you take care of the minutes, the years will take care of themselves. (Tibetan saying.)

I hope the next 6 days are wonderful for you. And, that you treat the positive moments that arise with the tender loving care they deserve, because if you do, they will repay you tenfold, by helping you create the happiness and the life you deserve.

 

 

Positive thinking, a day to remember

positive-thinking-photoToday is Positive Thinking Day, which makes me very happy, because I’m a big believer in visualizing positive outcomes. Visualizing positive outcomes sounds fancy and maybe even a bit sciency, but all it means is that I try to spend more time predicting fabulous endings for activities and events in my life than I do worrying about them turning into major disasters. That’s my way of practicing positive thinking.

Each time I do a presentation or work with a client, I spend a few minutes before getting started, picturing how good I will feel after the session or looking back on my presentation. Sometimes I even picture folks coming up to say thanks and that they enjoyed it – and someone always does!

I developed this habit years before I read the positive psychology research that shows, there is a definite benefit to this happy habit. Studies show predicting positive outcomes produces a more positive short term outlook, which may lead to more positive outcomes. Short term – means the effect doesn’t last forever, but if used daily, positive thinking can definitely enhance your life.  I think the best part of the process is that since I spend much less time worrying about what could go wrong, my life (not just my outlook), has improved dramatically. I have learned to flick the switch to positive, which truly has lit up my life!

cake-1588967_960_720Since today is Positive Thinking Day, why not spend a moment or two predicting a wonderful outcome on some task or responsibility coming your way. You can start with something super simple, such as predicting a new recipe you are trying will come out well. Picture the finished product looking, tasting and smelling delicious. (Like this rich and powder-sugary, crispy-top, plum cake I plan to bake.) The more detailed your day dream, the better. Or, if you have a new project ahead at work, picture it in its final form, looking good and finished on-time. Envision yourself handing it in and how great it will feel having it completed.

These small steps flood your brain with a totally different set of hormones and chemicals than stress and worry do and they open new pathways and possibilities for you. Thinking positive isn’t just a pleasant pastime or or scientific mumbo-jumbo, it truly makes a difference in your brain.

Wishful thinking works, give it a try today, Positive Thinking Day. You have nothing but worry to lose!

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Give it a try on Positive Thinking Day!

Discover and raise your positivity score. A 3-to-1 ratio is the way to go.

“World renowned researcher Dr. Barbara Fredrickson gives you the lab-tested tools necessary to create a healthier, more vibrant, and flourishing life. She discovered that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine. With Positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself.”              (http://www.positivityratio.com/)

In the weeks ahead I will be posting more about University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill professor and researcher Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D.’s wonderful work. We’ve talked about her “Broaden and Build” theory before. Her ground-breaking research in positive psychology tips the scales in your favor. Her tests and tips can set you on a clear path to positivity and help set you apart from the “80% of Americans” who are resting at a 2-to-1 or less positivity ratio.

Step out from the crowd and celebrate “Positive Thinking Day” by spending 3 minutes taking Fredrickson’s free online “Positivity Self Test” to find out a snapshot of your positivity ratio with the goal of paying attention to the questions, not the outcome! You see, the questions hold the clues to positivity – they capture the positive and negative thoughts and emotions we produce and respond to; the ratio reflects the impact they have on your life. Thoughts + ratio = your life.

Be honest as you answer the questions. If your ratio is not what you want it to be – not to worry. Simply use it as a baseline, and think positively! The key to the many, many benefits of positivity is a long-term 3-to-1 ratio, which is oh, so possible. Barbara’s research and your brain are designed to help you – knowledge and practice are the way to go. Barbara’s done the investigating and the gathering; I’ll help by sharing her info, and you can pitch in with the practice. Sounds like a winning combination to me, and it’s all free for the taking!

Get started today, and then come back in the weeks ahead for more of Barbara’s info, tips and techniques.

Until then, think positive!

PS Yup, I have posted about Fredrickson’s 3-to-1 ratio recently and in the past, because positivity matters! So much so, that tomorrow I’m celebrating my “Positive Thinking Day” by giving a transatlantic talk about it at the American Corner in Bitola, Macedonia via Skype. (That’s their program poster above.)

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