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habits of happy people

Posted on: Thursday, September 26, 2013

I shared this article last week on Facebook and Twitter, but knew it was right up the Polish My Crown alley. The Huffington Post article shares 21 habits of happy people and statistics and studies behind the statements. I included the habits and shortened blurbs of the statistics and info below, but definitely read the full article here. Happy Monday!

1. They surround themselves with other happy people.
Those surrounded by happy people “are more likely to become happy in the future.” That’s enough reason to dump the Debbie Downers and spend more time with uplifting people.

2. They smile when they mean it.
Even if you’re not feeling so chipper, cultivating a happy thought — and then smiling about it — could up your happiness levels and make you more productive.

3. They cultivate resilience.
Resilience, not happiness, is the opposite of depression: Happy people know how to bounce back from failure.

4. They try to be happy.
Those who actively tried to feel happier in the studies reported the highest level of positive moods, making a case for thinking yourself happy.

5. They are mindful of the good.
Being mindful of the things that do go your way (even something as simple as the barista getting your coffee order right) can make you feel a greater sense of accomplishment throughout the day.

6. They appreciate simple pleasures. {read more about thankfulness for simple things here}
Finding meaning in the little things, and practicing gratitude for all that you do have is associated with a sense of overall gladness.

7. They devote some of their time to giving.
“Volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression.”

8. They let themselves lose track of time. (And sometimes they can’t help it.)
Happy people seek this sensation of getting “caught up” or “carried away,” which diminishes self-consciousness and promotes the feelings associated with success.

9. They nix the small talk for deeper conversation.
Those who take part in more substantive conversation and less trivial chit chat experienced more feelings of satisfaction.

10. They spend money on other people.
Spending money on other people has a more direct impact on happiness than spending money on oneself.

11. They make a point to listen.
A good listener may walk away from a conversation feeling as if their presence served a purpose, an experience that is closely connected with increased well-being.

12. They uphold in-person connections. {more on real-life conversations and friendships here}
Social media, while it keeps us in touch, doesn’t allow us to physically touch, which harvests the warm-and-fuzzies and even decreases feelings of anxiety.

13. They look on the bright side. {more about positivity here}
Optimism touts plenty of health benefits, including less stress and a better tolerance for pain. When you choose to see the silver lining, you’re also choosing health and happiness.

14. They value a good mixtape.
Patients who simply listened to music had the same decreased anxiety symptoms as those who got 10 hour-long massages.

15. They unplug. {read more about unplugging here}
Whether by meditating, taking a few deep breaths away from the screen or deliberately disconnecting from electronics, unplugging from our hyper-connected world has proven advantages when it comes to happiness.

16. They get spiritual.
Transcendent spiritual and religious experiences have a positive, healing, restorative effect, especially if they are “built in,” so to speak, to one’s daily, weekly, seasonal, and annual cycles of living.

17. They make exercise a priority.
Exercise has been shown to ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress, thanks to the the various brain chemicals that are released that amplify feelings of happiness and relaxation.

18. They go outside.
Just a 20-minute dose of fresh air promotes a sense of vitality.

19. They spend some time on the pillow.
“A good night’s sleep can really help a moody person decrease their anxiety,”

20. They LOL.
A good, old-fashioned chuckle releases happy brain chemicals that, other than providing the exuberant buzz we seek, make humans better equipped to tolerate both pain and stress.

21. They walk the walk.
Ever notice your joyful friends have a certain spring in the step? It’s all about the stride.

Thanks for this one, Jenna.

Posted on: Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My lovely friend Jenna sent me this New York Times article recently and I have reread it three times since she sent the email three hours ago. It’s such a beautiful and “slap in the face” reminder to be present and aware and attentive. The article reminded of this blog post I wrote almost two years ago. In the blog post I shared: buy Gabapentin 100mg uk “Don’t allow this online world to rule the beautiful, glorious, exciting, simple, dazzling adventurous, eternally blessed physical world we live in.” It’s important to be aware and awake in our daily lives – and not to miss out on opportunities to be compassionate, loving and supportive to those around us. I’ve been catching myself way too often scrolling through my phone for no good reason when I could be listening to a story my sister is telling me or sparking up a conversation with the person next to me on the bus. Spending all of our time glued to technology doesn’t put us in community with others – it allows us to catch up on their lives in quick, bite-sized portions. Life is too short to be alone – and I don’t want to miss out on deep and real and wide relationships and conversations because I’m reorganizing my contact list or scrolling through Twitter.

So a huge thank you to Jenna for sending and for the much needed reminder.

My favorite excerpts from the piece are below the image but I highly recommended reading the full article here. You won’t be disappointed. xo!

Pay attention

It is harder to intervene than not to, but it is vastly harder to choose to do either than to retreat into the scrolling names of one’s contact list, or whatever one’s favorite iDistraction happens to be.  is it safe to order accutane online Technology celebrates connectedness, but encourages retreat. The phone didn’t make me avoid the human connection, but it did make ignoring her easier in that moment, and more likely, by comfortably encouraging me to forget my choice to do so. My daily use of technological communication has been shaping me into someone more likely to forget others.

Simone Weil wrote, “ http://abarnett.co.uk/services/estate-agent-services/ Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” By this definition, our relationships to the world, and to one another, and to ourselves, are becoming increasingly miserly.

[Technology was] not created to be an improvement upon face-to-face communication, but a declension of acceptable, if diminished, substitute for it.

But then a funny thing happened: we began to prefer the diminished substitutes. It’s easier to make a phone call than to schlep to see someone in person. Leaving a message on someone’s machine is easier than having a phone conversation — you can say what you need to say without a response; hard news is easier to leave; it’s easier to check in without becoming entangled. So we began calling when we knew no one would pick up.

T he problem with accepting — with preferring — diminished substitutes is that over time, we, too, become diminished substitutes. People who become used to saying little become used to feeling little.

We often use technology to save time, but increasingly, it either takes the saved time along with it, or makes the saved time less present, intimate and rich. I worry that the closer the world gets to our fingertips, the further it gets from our hearts. It’s not an either/or — being “anti-technology” is perhaps the only thing more foolish than being unquestioningly “pro-technology” — but a question of balance that our lives hang upon.

Most of the time, most people are not crying in public, but everyone is always in need of something that another person can give, be it undivided attention, a kind word or deep empathy. There is no better use of a life than to be attentive to such needs. There are as many ways to do this as there are kinds of loneliness, but all of them require attentiveness, all of them require the hard work of emotional computation and corporeal compassion.

[Being attentive] can be messy, and painful, and almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die.

Why That Fairy Tale Mindset Needs to End

Posted on: Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Almost every single childhood fairy tale story or movie has the same storyline: woman needs rescued, man saves the day. The end. After recently re-watching this Sex and the City episode and simultaneously reading a chapter in Shauna Niequist’s Bittersweet titled “Princess-free Zone” I got to thinking about how destructive this fairy tale mindset actually is. One simple line from the chapter stuck out to me: “It drives me bonkers when women depend instead on their sexuality or their fragility. I think there’s a better way.” 

I couldn’t agree more.

We women grew up watching movies and reading stories and playing dolls where the male figure sweeps in to save the day and rescue the lost, confused or scared female figure. When we were too old for standard storybook fairy tales, we moved on to a different, yet frightening similar, cultural messaging and media portrayal of women. In these stories, women used their bodies to get what they wanted; these women were frail and weak and depended on men to save them yet again. The only difference is that the men weren’t always portrayed quite literally as a knight in shining armor like in those Disney movies.

There was a phase during high school where I wouldn’t answer questions out loud in class because I didn’t want to be considered smart.  Instead of acting like a confident, outgoing sixteen-year-old girl, I would play the confused dumb blonde role just to sadly enough, have people pay attention to me. I’ve always been friendly, easy to get along with and happy and was fearful that being smart and simply being myself would jeopardize those things. That’s when the dumb questions and the flakiness would slowly seep into my conversations and interactions and turn me into someone I wasn’t. This VICE article shares more insight {some truthful, some just hilarious} at why girls play dumb.

This isn’t something I’m proud of and it’s not who I was raised to be. I was taught to take control of and responsibility for my own actions, that I have a good head on my shoulders. I was taught to speak openly and intelligently and to expect that everyone, both males and females, older and younger, treat me with respect and dignity. I was taught to be independent and at the same time, collaborate and work with others as equals in any and all situations. I was taught to work hard, to never back down and to wholeheartedly follow my dreams and my faith. My hope and prayer is that more women learn that they don’t need someone else to save them. Women have the capacity and opportunity to be self-reliant, self-sufficient and perhaps most important of all, self-loving.

Don’t get me wrong: I am a girly girl in lots of ways through and through. I always have been – including during that terrifying dumb blonde phase of high school –  and don’t see it changing any time soon. I enjoy getting my nails done, I wear heels most days of the week and I could talk about almost any and every fashion show or monthly magazine cover. I like to be taken out on dates and prefer to talk about the latest shoe trend rather than the latest football game score. I don’t want you to mistake me for being anti-feminine or to confuse femininity with fragility.

To the men out there, please celebrate confidence, intelligence, strength, passion and kindness in women and not just their sexuality or fragility. To the lovely women reading this, quit relying on men to rescue you and quit depending on men to make you feel beautiful or accepted. That’s putting a whole lot of pressure ON THEM – and doing yourself a disservice. You are not complete because you have the attention from a guy and you don’t need someone else to figure it all out for you, to tell you what is or isn’t beautiful, smart or wonderful.  It’s time you view yourself as beautiful or accepted, regardless of what anyone – male or female – thinks. Don’t be afraid to be smart and don’t be afraid to go after what you want – whether that’s in your career, relationship or any other aspect of life.

I hope today and everyday you realize the the importance of being active with your own life – active with your decisions and conversations and interactions. I hope you embrace how gloriously freeing it is to take ownership for your own life; rather than watch someone else dictate or bulldoze you and your dreams, hopes and plans. Most of all, I hope you let go of that fairy tale mindset that whispers someone else needs to rescue you.

Lots of love,
Andi

5 Things Your Habits Say About You

Posted on: Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy happy Monday lovelies! How was your weekend? This past weekend was one of my favorite couple of days I’ve had in awhile {stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog post for more details!}. Over the weekend I also read this RELEVANT Magazine article about our daily habits – and how they affect our interactions and experiences with other people. Habits are patterns of our daily decisions and repeated behavior and I think it’s really important to analyze whether the habits you’ve formed are beneficial and healthy or toxic and destructive. Over the years, I’ve discovered it’s much easier to break a positive and life-giving habits {say, praying or journaling daily} compared to giving up a bad habit. Given that it takes about thirty days to form a habit, I’m trying to be very conscious of my good habits – and keep them up!

Read more to learn about five things your habits may be saying about you.
Full article here!

1. They reveal what you value least—and most.

A habit as simple as arriving late or constantly procrastinating can show what you rank at the bottom of your scale of priorities—and also what you rank at the top. What do you hold as important and unimportant in this life? Just take a look at your habits. They will speak for themselves—and most likely, they will speak to others as well.

If you have a habit of working hard, helping others or always being on time to work, it shows that you see a great deal of value in your future, your character and your work ethic. Likewise, if you are perpetually late, interrupt times with friends because you always answer your phone or commit initially only to back out late, it will be clear to the people around you what comes first in your life—and what doesn’t.

2. They reveal where you spend your time.

Habits don’t just happen overnight. If a habit takes 30 days to form, then those 30 days will tell you a lot about your commitments. Are you cutting down on your Starbucks habit so that you can read Scripture in the morning before work? Or are you routinely hitting snooze and falling off your exercise program 10 days in? We all have the same 24 hours in a day, and have to make choices about we’re using our time. We make trade-offs based on what we deem most important at the time—for better or for worse.

3. They reveal the state of your mental health.


Some habits are internal, more than external. They live in our thought processes, our attitudes and our outlook. And if these mental habits go unchecked, it can cause us to live in a state of mental compression because our habits are living our lives for us. But the truth is, mental health is the beginning of all habitual health problems. If a habit, such as envy, lust, comparison, discontent, takes root in your mind, that mental habit is eventually going to be given the reins to the rest of your health if not taken care of.

4. They reveal the state of your spiritual health.


Your habits play a massive role in your sinful nature. Our habits are shaped by either a self-disciplined will, or a powerful felt need—and the latter can often pull us into habitual sin. If you really think about it, most sin is derived from a habit that has been formed over an extensive period of time, and then exposes itself when that habit yearns to be activated. On the other hand, forming habits of prayer and worship can also create virtuous habits that can counteract the destructive pull toward sin.

5. They reveal the state of your physical health.


We’re a society of busy people—and there’s a multitude of fast food, drive-thru options just for our convenience.

Look at your food and exercise habits: do you make late-night taco runs, put off your gym membership renewal, lounge around playing video games all weekend? Or do you make it a point to work out three times a week, floss your teeth daily, fill your cart with produce? Your habits will tell you a thing or two about your physical health.

It’s easy to go about our days as usual—with our habits and routines fixed in place without a thought. But if we do evaluate our default patterns, we might learn what we’re doing well and where we have room for improvement. And in 30 days, we might even be able to turn ourselves around.

Habits

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