Make It A Point To Make Someone’s Day

Here’s an interesting exercise for you. Head out to do your errands, drive to work, or get to school and make it a point to make someone else’s day today. It could be something as simple as giving someone a big smile, have a meaningful conversation with a person who’s feeling a little lost or lonely, or it could be buying lunch for the homeless person on the corner. It doesn’t matter what you do, but do something today to make someone else’s day. How does that make sure feel? It’s a pretty good feeling, isn’t it? It seems that a big key to our own happiness lies in making people around us happy and helping others. When you start to think about it, it makes sense, doesn’t it? We are social creatures who have to work together to truly thrive. It is only logical then that helping those around us has an internal rewards system built in. In other words, our happiness goes up as we improve the lives of those around us. You can see that a great strategy to increase our own happiness is to cheer up those around us. Not only will it help make you feel better and happier, you’ll be able to share that big smile on your face which can make someone else’s day as well. While it can be hard to do this kind of stuff when you’re feeling sad, those are the times you need to force yourself to do it the most.  Simply performing a selfless act increases the happiness you feel and instills a feeling of pride for helping someone else. As with many of the other strategies we’ve been discussing, the key to making this work is to make it a habit. If it becomes an ingrained part of your daily routine, you’ll automatically go out of your way to help others even when (and especially when) you may not feel like it.   Give yourself that little extra boost, infuse your with happiness  and go out of your way for the benefit of someone else. To get your habit started, think of a few different things you can do to make someone’s day. It doesn’t have to be anything big or complicated....

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Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – Savor It

“Don’t sweat the small stuff” they say.  Think about it, it’s easy to get caught up in all the little things that cause stress and ruins our day. Frankly, it’s not worth wasting energy on things that happen on a daily basis that we don’t like. Sure, we could get upset over the fact that someone else took the last good parking spot, or that the grocery store is out of our favorite brand of cereal.  Alternatively, we can choose to not make a big deal out of it and use that small, fairly insignificant stuff to practice seeing the positive side of things. Having to park further away means we get to exercise a little and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine for a couple of minutes while we stroll into the office. Not being able to find our favorite cereal means we get a chance to try something new that we may like even better. There are often two sides to any situation and we have a choice in how we look at it. Make it a point to look on the bright side and watch your happiness improve. Then take it a step further and start to really pay attention to all the good stuff around you. Stop and smell the roses, if you will. I’m serious. There’s value in noticing all the positive things around you. The little things around you will put a smile on your face if you take the time to notice them. Make it a habit to spend some of your downtime this week savoring the small stuff. Notice how your cup of coffee smells, how it warms your hands on a cool morning, and how it tastes. Pay attention to the birds outside your window and notice how watching them and their antics around the birdfeeder makes you smile. Appreciate the next hug you receive.  In other words, savor the small things that make you happy. It may not be much, but it all adds up to a very happy life. Just take the time to notice. Over the coming weeks, practice noticing and savoring the small stuff. Don’t let a small stress bring you down. Instead, make it a goal to find something positive about everything...

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Why Happiness Is A Choice You Make Every Day

Are you a glass half full or half empty person? This is a great example to illustrate that there are often two sides to any story and that you have a choice in how you view things. And that choice, in turn, determines how happy you feel. Happiness then becomes a choice you make every single day. You can choose to see the glass as half empty, focus on the fact that you’re almost done drinking that nice glass of ice tea. With that attitude, you’re more likely to feel a little depressed about your tea. If on the other hand, you focus on the fact that the glass is still half full and you have plenty of yummy, ice cold tea to sip on, your mood improves and you’re increasing your happiness. When you look at it that way, happiness really is a conscious choice you make, at least to a point. From what I’ve been reading 40% off your happiness is directly affected by how you think and how you choose to feel. And that’s what the next 30 days are all about. Over the coming days, I will post here on the blog daily with tips, advice, and strategies to help you make a conscious decision to be happier. Ready to join me? To make sure you don’t miss a post and get a little inspiration and motivation from me via email, sign up for the 30 Day Happiness Challenge. Happiness is a choice. Join the challenge here!...

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A 30 day happiness challenge. Am I crazy?

Yes, I might be crazy but we are entering what can be a difficult time of year.  Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s we have more obligations and more on our to-do list than at any other time of the year.  So, I created this happiness challenge to help us focus on happiness and perhaps even the beauty of this season rather than all of the chores. Happiness is a choice, and a choice we make every single day, so I want to challenge you to make it a habit. Beginning on November 21, 2016, I want to inspire and encourage you to make a choice each morning to be happier. It takes time and daily conscious decisions to change habits and how we approach life. That’s where the challenge comes into play. The idea is that you have a daily reminder via email each day to help you remember to make that choice. Of course, there will also be plenty of helpful content on the topic of happiness in the form of a new daily blog post. By the end of the challenge, I hope you will have formed new habits, new ways of thinking, and new ways to look at each situation as it arises. With a little shift in thinking and perception, you can craft a happier, more fulfilling life for yourself.  I sincerely hope this challenge will help you get there. Join the challenge...

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The Importance of Self-Care

I have found that self care is one of the first things I give up when I am stressed and overworked.  If you are not thinking “bad idea,” you should be!   We must nurture our spirit, mind, and body to remain compassionate and effective healers.  Losing that edge doesn’t cause us to give bad care, but it does make us seem insensitive and detached.  Of course, this perception will ultimately affect compliance and the robustness of our care.   Today, I want to move beyond the big picture self care items you are thinking about (exercise, healthy eating, etc.) to two simple, quick techniques you can use to improve your day-to-day practice of self care.   Technique #1: A breath of fresh air   Name an item that immediately anchors you to a calm feeling.  This can be an object, a photo, a quote, etc.  I would encourage you to incorporate this item into your workspace and to create a ritual around it.  If you have multiple work areas, perhaps there are multiple anchors you can integrate into those spaces.   As you go through your day, look to this anchor to provide a calming sensation when it is needed.  Focus for a few seconds and allow your spirit to be soothed.  Let tranquility replace the other feeling(s) you have at that time.  This breath of fresh air will help you overcome adversity when you need it most.   Technique #2: Can I buy you a drink?       The afternoon tends to be the toughest time of the day for me, and incorporating this practice has really helped to refresh my mood and reenergize my spirit.   Pick your favorite beverage and take a few minutes to do nothing but drink that beverage.  (I know you are busy, so set a timer if it helps.)   When I say do nothing else, I really mean it.  Be mindful of how the beverage feels in your hand.  Pay attention to the aroma.  Notice how it feels in your mouth.   It will be tempting to multi-task, but don’t.  Make self-renewal your only task for these few moments.  You’ll be surprised that it only takes a couple of minutes to feel restored.   In...

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Reconnecting With Your Passion

Is there something you were once passionate about that now makes you groan whenever it comes up?   Maybe it’s work or maybe a favorite hobby.   At one time, there was something deeply fulfilling about that task, but now it is dull; and quite frankly, its importance has become fragile and weak.   It’s certainly not easy to remain enthusiastic, but reconnecting to that passion allows for a more fulfilling, satisfying life.   In my case, that “something” was work.  I had wanted to be a physician since I was 6 years old and I am now an obstetrician/gynecologist.  I reached my ultimate goal.  In time, what started as a passion, actually a life purpose, eventually became a chore.   In fact, I distinctly remember a delivery where I felt bored, disconnected, and like I was completing a mundane task.  It took that delivery for me to realize that I needed to make a change and recommit to my passion or I would essentially lose everything that I had worked for.   As I sought to restore my love of medicine, I found three points of wisdom to be central to my recovery.   The first was to believe it was possible for me to love medicine again.  If you don’t believe it can be true, then it never will be.   I started by making a conscious choice to enter each day with positivity and happiness.  Let me tell you, that was easier said than done.  What helped to solidify this perspective of happiness was incorporating a gratitude ritual into my day.   Not everyone gets to share a deeply personal, beautiful moment with others on a regular basis, but I did.  Even when I felt the least passionate about medicine, gratitude for my patients, skills, and education remained.   The second thing I did was to reconnect with my values.   Values are principles or qualities of life that are worthy and are intrinsic to that person.  Values that are not honored lead to internal tension or dissonance which over time, leads to a detachment from our purpose or passion.   There were key values that I was not honoring, which contributed to my unhappiness.  Learning is a deeply important value of mine,...

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