Wednesday, December 14, 2011

5 Ways To Increase Happiness



Revel in nature’s wonders
Whether it’s stargazing at night, watching a sunrise or sunset, or listening to the melodies of a thousand birds in a forest, becoming one with Mother Nature is a sure-fire way to reach a level of relaxation and inner-peace that is difficult to match. You’d be amazed at the feeling that comes with getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a great way to re-charge one’s batteries and also a great way to reach a sense of internal clarity.
Do something different
CHANGE IS GOOD. Take a class – even if it’s just for fun. Engage in a new activity or a new exercise. Spend a day taking horseback riding lessons, or practicing Yoga for the first time. Regardless of what you choose, make sure it’s something you’ve never done before. It’s healthy to step out of your comfort zone every once in a while.
Give a gift to someone
By gift I do not necessarily mean a gift of the material variety. It’s truly the little things that count. Pay someone a sincere compliment today. When going through the drive through, ask the attendant what the total is for the car behind you and pay for it. Unsolicited kindness is rare in today’s society…if we engaged in it more often we could do our small part to make the world a happier place.
Appreciate the here and now.
We are often so caught up in the past or in the future that we fail to recognize the preciousness of the ‘present’. We are all guilty of this. Holding onto pain from the past only prevents us from moving forward. Conversely, we often worry about things in the future that have not even happened yet. We spend so much time living in the past and/or in the future that we do not embrace the lives that we are living today.
Forgive.
Forgiveness is one of those things that is often preached but seldom practiced. When we do not forgive, we are in essence telling ourselves that we should feel angry or betrayed about the past. This is a vicious cycle…as the failure to forgive will result in negative emotions that feed upon themselves. When we find it in ourselves to forgive we are making a conscious decision to make ourselves happier. You’re not only releasing the person that you’re forgiving from your anger...you’re also releasing yourself from feeling that anger. How can you yourself ever expect to be forgiven for anything if you’re not willing to forgive? Forgiveness isn’t always easy…but holding onto anger and resentment will poison you emotionally.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

If a butterfly flaps its wings...



Every moment of our life is, in essense, directly related to our purpose in life. Everything is connected...EVERYTHING we do has an effect. Take a college classroom for instance...if one person had not been put in this or that section, the class could be entirely different. You can change a life with a smile on the street. If a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a typhoon on the other side of the world, what do you think waving a flag around does, or doing a cartwheel? Life is not so inefficient that it would create an entire life for just one purpose.

Every action we make has an effect, and sometimes a profound effect, on the world around us, and most of the time, we will never know that we had an impact. The only thing that we can do is to live life as exactly who we are. To be true to our real mind, to do what we truly believe is right, every second of every day, because every second of every day you are choosing whether to make the world a more positive or a more negative place.

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's Never too Late to Make it Happen...



Imagining Your Ideal Life…
When we are younger, we constantly daydream about the things we want to be when we grow up, the places we want to go, and the things we want to see. Since we have not yet developed an accurate sense of our own mortality or the inevitability that we will ultimately run out of time, these dreams are our reality…we believe in them with the same certainty that we believe that water is wet or that the sun is bright. Somewhere along the way those dreams fade and are replaced with what we think are more “realistic” dreams. Dreams like traveling to the moon, becoming a veterinarian, or becoming President of the United States are replaced with what we deem to be more attainable dreams. To be fair, there are those that do not lose sight of their dreams, but we all know that, somewhere along the way, most of us do. I have often wondered why that is…
I am guilty of losing sight of my dreams. To be fair I cannot complain, I received a good education and I have a job that I love as an admissions counselor. I can easily see myself doing this forever…BUT (and there’s always a but isn’t there?) looking back I wonder where I lost sight of my dreams of working with endangered wildlife. By analyzing that I also began to wonder, why do people in general lose sight of their dreams?
The Perfect Age?
A few weeks ago I was driving an elderly couple to the Lexington airport as a favor to a friend. They were from Florida as part of local program and a staff member associated with the program, whom I am friends with and whom was to be their original driver, asked me if I would drive them. I have a soft spot for the elderly so I happily agreed. On the drive there, the gentleman, who was in his 70s, asked me my age. Upon hearing it he said “that’s the perfect age”. Before I could ask why I was the perfect age, he explained that 10 years from now I will look back and wish I was this age again, and that 10 years after that I would do the same, and so on.
I had to smile because it made sense, and I told him as much. He said that he regrets not doing all of the things that he wanted to do, things he could have done but simply did not make the time to do. I listened intently on the drive from Berea to Lexington as he spoke of the things he had done in his life, how he met his wife, etc. His wife didn’t talk as much…simply offering the occasional reaffirming nod or smile. In sensed that she had heard this story millions of times : ) I dropped them off at the airport, helped them carry their luggage inside, and wished them a safe trip home. The woman gave me a hug and said something very reassuring to me that I shall take with me forever.
The entire drive home I thought about what the gentleman had said. He was right. I often catch myself wishing I were in my younger 20s again so I could have “more time” to accomplish certain things. Why do we do that? Why does the 25 year-old wish they were 21 again? Why does the 36 year-old wish they were 25 again? I suppose the easy answer is that we all romanticize the past…it’s human nature. But why don’t we romanticize the present? I don’t have the answer to that but I do vow to cherish the present in a way that I never have before.
We should all remind ourselves that today we are the perfect age to chase our dreams. It’s the only age you have, which actually makes it the best age for you. Let’s face it, you’re 10 years ahead of the “you” that in ten years will wish he or she was your age again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What do I REALLY want?

Last night I was doing a lot of thinking and asked myself: "If you could have ANYTHING you want right now, what would it be?" It's actually quite interesting to ponder. Instead of just giving an instinctive answer like, A HUGE RAISE or ICE CREAM CAKE, I wanted to come up with a real answer...what do I really want?

Right now...what I really would like is...internal clarity. A sense of peace that is hard to come by yet is desired by everyone. I know that it seems like a rather intangible or abstract thing to want when anwering my initial question but it is my answer nonetheless. I have SO many dreams and goals in life and I am simply not sure which one to pursue. All of them you say? Well if the human life span were 200 years then that might be possible...but seeing as though our lives move incredibly fast it's obviously not possible for me to acheive all my goals, so I am left with deciding which ones to pursue.

The list of my goals and dreams is beyond the scope of this particular post (but would be a good topic for a future blog post). Perhaps I need to work on narrowing down my list of things I want to accomplish, but really what's the fun in that? Maybe someday I'll have the answer to the question of what I am meant to do, where I am meant to be, and who I am meant to share that journey with. It's ok that I don't have any of these answers today...but, to answer the question that is the title of this blog piece, if I could have anything I wanted right now...it would be the answers to those very questions