Tag Archives: gratitude

13Oct/15

Hello!

The Lilypa

 

It’s always difficult to know what to say in the first blogpost.  I’ve introduced myself (and my ego) in the About section. I’ll just briefly say that this is a blog about me discovering myself, unpeeling the layers of armour, insecurities, fears and beliefs that I’ve collected through my 43 years of life, so I can be who I am, rather than trying to be someone I think I should be.

Sometimes it will just be musings about me and my life.  Sometimes I’ll be talking specifically about my ego.  I’m going to feel self-indulgent writing this – useless navel gazing some people would say – but I know that it’s a deep need inside me to not only understand myself and the world, but to share what I learn with others who are also on the self-knowledge journey towards peace and happiness.

I’d love you to join me.

Thanks,

Thea

27May/11

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.

Homeward bound.

Sitting on a train last weekend, I had a lovely moment.  I’d just spent a weekend in Manchester with my cousin Ana, and I was looking forward to a peaceful journey home to see my husband and children.  As I watched the beautiful English countryside whizz by I slowly felt my heart fill with joy. Ana and I had spent most of the weekend chatting, eating and doing a bit of shopping. We’re close but don’t see each other much, so having nearly 48 hours to catch up was a luxury. It was nice for me to get out of the family routine for the weekend too. I went to bed late, could be relaxed about timings, had no children demanding things of me, didn’t have to tidy up (Ana wouldn’t let me) and slept in till 10 both mornings. We savoured patisserie cakes, Brazilian tapas, cocktails, and a proper English fry up. As a mum, it felt so good to step out of my everyday role, and remember what its like to just be me.
 
As I travelled home, my thoughts returned to my children and I looked forward to hugging them, hearing how their weekend had gone, and settling back into family life again. I felt lovingly grateful and appreciative of my husband who eagerly took on the job of looking after the kids all weekend. I expect that he should be able to and happy to do that, but before I went I thought grateful thoughts about him doing it. Now I feel my gratitude in my heart. It all reinforces the old cliche….absence makes the heart grow fonder.
 
I also think it’s about stimulating the brain by experiencing novelty, getting out of the regular routine, and recharging my sense of self. This is especially important for parents I think. Personally I came back feeling renewed, re-energised, reconnected with my cousin and my family, and an all round happier person.      
04May/11

Keep a One Sentence Journal

Recently I’ve been thinking more seriously about gratitude.  I’ve learnt quite a lot about it over the last couple of years in the many positive psychology and happiness books I’ve read.  To summerise the findings in the recent research:  people who habitualise gratitude into their lives on a daily or weekly basis are generally happier than those who don’t.
Quite a simple idea, you would think.  But introducing new habits and changing already established habits is often a difficult thing to do.  And I’ve found it the case with gratitude.  I have not one, but two gratitude diaries and I have not one but two apps on my phone for counting my blessings.  But do I do it every day, or even every week? No.  I’ll do it for a few days, then let it slide, then a few more days and then forget for a couple of months.  I need to find an easier, more memorable way of making this a habit. Because I have no doubt that it works, I can feel it works when I do stick to it. This is because when you focus on the positive things in your life, you feel more positive. When you focus on the negative things, guess what, the negative things take over.  But it is important not to treat this as a ‘positive thinking’ exercise, repeating affirmations and mantras that you hope will make you happier.  You have to really feel and experience the gratitude and appreciation in your heart.  Varying what you are grateful for each day helps this too.
So what am I going to do about this gratitude habit?  Well, as a fan of her Happiness Project, I read one of Gretchen Rubin’s recent posts entitled ‘The One-Sentence Journal’.  She admits she is not a natural diary writer and so has come up with this idea to help her collect her happy memories.  I’m going to join her, and started my own a couple of weeks ago. It is easier to stick to a new  habit if it doesn’t take much time to do.  Nobody can say they don’t have time to write one sentence and revisit those happy memories and emotions. Why don’t you give it a try?
07Apr/11

What Really Makes us Happy?

What makes you happy?

I imagine everybody has asked themselves the question: What will make me happy?

If you have, how do you answer?

Money? Time with your family?  Chocolate? A new handbag? A meaningful job?  A husband? A sunny day?  Keeping in touch with friends regularly?

I seem to ask this question of myself quite a lot, and I don’t always know the answer. (Which is probably why I am now a happiness coach, because people tend to become experts in what they struggle with.)  So over the last couple of years I have read many books and research coming from the relatively new area of Positive Psychology. This is the study of happy people, and what makes people happier.  One of the most interesting theories that I’ve come across is one from  Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky and her colleagues.  She discovered through her research that our happiness is made up of:

  • 50% genetics – we inherit a happiness ‘set point’ from our parents, which doesn’t change much throughout our lives.
  • 10% circumstances – whether we are rich or poor, what city or house we live in, how healthy we are, how beautiful or plain, married or divorced.
  • 40% intentional activity – our daily behaviour, how we think and act each day.

While this does sound a bit gloomy (that we can’t change 50% of our happiness level)  it is also great news because it means that we can potentially increase our happiness by up to 40% by copying the daily behaviour of happy people.

7 Happy Habits

So what habits do happy people have in their lives? Below I have listed seven of the happy habits that researchers have identified.

  • They are social.  Happy people spend a lot of time with their families and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.
  •  They practice gratitude on a daily or weekly basis.
  • They prioritise exercise on a daily or weekly basis.
  • They are mindful, live in the present and savour life’s pleasures.
  • They have an optimistic outlook on life, and think in an optimistic way when things go wrong.
  • They are kind and regularly offer help to people they know and meet.
  • They are committed to life long goals, for example, teaching strong values to their children, building cabinets or reducing crime.

Maybe you could pick one of these habits and think about ways of introducing some intentional activity into your life to give your happiness a boost.