Creativity or Problem-solving
One of the amazing things about humans is our constant endeavor to create or improve things. When we are inspired to create something, we demonstrate our passions or talents. When we run into a problem, we want to fix it and come up with a solution. These days it’s not unusual to complain about something and hear someone say in response, “There’s an app for that!”.
Whether we are trying to express our creativity or simply improve our lives, coming up with something new seems to make us happy!
Inventions are all around us. From books and music to sports and games to comfort items to technological gadgets aimed at making life simpler. Someone created every one of them!
Any form of creativity is enough to fill us with happiness. Think of the joy that comes from cooking a special meal, decorating your office, coming up with a tool for your job or playing a song. The creator enjoys this happiness that comes from the pride of putting in the effort and seeing the final result.
Creating is great, sharing is better
But the joy goes far beyond the creator. We feel happiness and wonder when we see an amazing photograph or a winning touchdown. Creating something is an incredible way to share joy with the people around you and to fill your own life with happiness, too.
Each day, develop the habit of noticing created things, from complex tools like the internet to the simple necessities so easily taken for granted, like a doorknob. Celebrate the examples of artwork or inventions you pass in your day to day life. Maybe you spot a magazine on the table with a great cover, hear a great song at the coffee shop or a colleague just shared something to improve things at work.
What Can You Create?
We live in an amazing world, and when we remember that, it helps boost our happiness and sense of wonder. And as part of the human race, that ability to create resides in all of us. What sorts of things are you good at creating? Maybe you’re good at cooking or organizing. Perhaps you’re a great fisherman, handy with your hands or gifted at spontaneous one-line jokes. Celebrate your talents and share them with others around you. Here’s one final thought to leave you with:
“The secret of happiness is this: let your interest be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile”—Bertrand Russell.
Looking for more happiness tips? Check out chapter 20 in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, in which I share how to use your talents at work to boost your happiness. You can also find out more on the power of creativity in chapter 2 which teaches how music affects our happiness.
This is the perfect time of year to boost your happiness by going outside every day. What's amazing is you don't have to spend hours outdoors in order to receive the happiness benefits. Just a few minutes each day is usually enough to make a big difference in our levels of happiness and energy.
Going outside is free. It's easy. And it offers some pretty significant benefits to our health. Here are just 3 of the reasons to put going outside on your daily calendar starting this week.
1-You Need Sunlight to Make Vitamin D
Your body makes vitamin D while you're out in the sun. Researchers believe at least 1 billion people suffer from vitamin D deficiency. When we don't get enough vitamin D, we can begin to experience symptoms of a vitamin deficiency, such as fatigue, increased vulnerability to illness, back pain, and even depression.
OMG! All those things would make it difficult for anyone to experience happiness. The great news is that all you have to do to "right the ship" so to speak is to start spending time outside. Try to spend at least 15 minutes outdoors at a time of day when the sun is high in the sky. At least 15 minutes on a daily basis is enough for many people to maintain a healthy level of vitamin D. The darker your skin is, the longer you need to be in the sun to create vitamin D.
2-Nature Brings Us Peace
The sound of the wind in the trees or waves gently lapping the shore can ease tension in our bodies and help us relax and forget about daily worries. Watching living creatures like birds, butterflies, and even fish can lower our stress levels and help us remember how big and beautiful our world is.
Going outside also allows us to mentally clock out and get away from our computer screens. Staring at something only a few inches from our faces for long periods of time can stress our eyes. Taking a walk outside allows our eyes to focus on objects far away and lets those muscles we use on the computer have a rest.
3-Nature Allows Us Opportunities to Connect
Another benefit to spending time in nature is it allows us opportunities to authentically connect with others. Take a friend or loved one on a picnic and notice the difference in the way you connect while you're out and away from distractions like your computer and TV.
Try leaving your phone in the car or in a bag where you won't be tempted to keep checking it. Be present in nature, in the moment shared with your friend or loved one. Those authentic connections also allow us opportunities to relax and ease stresses we may be feeling. They also allow us to create new memories with people we care about, which gives our happiness another boost every time we think back on those great experiences.
Look at your calendar for this week and create opportunities to go outside. You can start small if you want, and just schedule yourself a fifteen minute break outside each day to drink your coffee, meditate, or people watch. After a week of doing this, see if you notice a difference in your mood. I predict you'll feel happier and more energetic.
Learn More About Nature and Happiness
For more research and tips on how nature can positively impact our happiness, check out Day 6: Nature: Step Outside for Happiness in my book 21 Days to Happiness.
Did you know...
According to the Statistic Brain website, 76% of people cite money and work as the main causes of their stress.
As an organizational psychologist and happiness expert, I can tell you that people think it's normal to be stressed, overwhelmed and tired, but it's not! Certainly, when experiencing it, stress gives energy, but in the long run, it hurts our performance.
Stress is the answer to a perception of danger. In difficult situations, the adrenaline released allows us to be fast, strong and agile. It's very practical in the moment, but in the long term it harms our physical and psychological health.
Here are the 2 most effective tips I recommend in my practice.
1-Breathe Slowly and Deeply
By slowing down our breathing, we send a signal to our brain that we are in control. This allows us to react better because we are more effective when we are calm than when anxious or exhausted.
A practical tool to control our breathing is cardiac coherence. This method of monitoring heart rhythms was discovered by American researchers and then widely publicized by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber.
It is believed that the average number of complete breaths that is related to positive emotions and well-being is between 5 and 7 per minute, depending on the person. By "complete breathing" we mean long, deep inhalations and total exhalation: the cycle is about 10 seconds in total (5 seconds of inhalation, 5 seconds of exhalation).
Quick tip: try this…To guide you with your breathing, here is a video with instructions.
In addition, I suggest you download the APP RespiRelax - iOs or RespiRelax - Android on your smartphone, so you can easily "de-stress" between crises in about five minutes!
2-Learn to De-dramatize
Stress, as previously mentioned, is caused first and foremost by our perceptions or interpretation of events. If you think a situation is severe or negative, your stress automatically increases. Conversely, if you think there is a solution to everything and that things could be worse, your stress decreases.
One thing I love to do to help de-dramatize comes from the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. The book poses the question “will it matter a year from now?”. Usually, the answer is NO! Most of the time, we are stressed with things that are usually quickly resolved. We tend to manage multiple emergencies and crises per week to which we most often find solutions. I always say: “if there is not a solution, there is a lesson!”
Quick tip: try this… Since I am not a physician, when dealing with problematic situations at work, I often say to myself: "There are no lives in danger" and this allows me to regain my composure in order to find the best way to deal with the issue.
Do you want to know more?
You can learn more tips on managing stress in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, in chapters 12 and 13.
21 Days to Happiness is a practical guide offering 21 different simple techniques to try for 3 weeks in order to increase your happiness, productivity and energy. Do you have 10 minutes a day?
BIG NEWS: In just a few weeks, 21 Days to Happiness will be available in an interactive online eLearning version!
What do you buy the person who has everything?
Have you heard people ask this question? Sometimes it seems overwhelming to try to think of a gift for a friend, coworker or loved one when they seem to have everything they could ever want already. It's probably because you're thinking of giving them a thing, an object, something they could easily buy. I'm going to tell you a secret about gift giving that will change how you think about birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas celebrations. Ready? Here it is: the best gifts aren't items. They're experiences.
Opportunities to Buy Experiences Are All Around Us
Look around your community for local events and experiences. Take a music-loving friend to hear a community orchestra or a jazz ensemble. Find a new park or trail to hike together and pack some fun snacks to share along the journey. Is there a show or an exhibit coming to a museum or gallery near you that your spouse or coworker might enjoy?
You can also help your friends and family members by suggesting these kinds of experiences as gifts. Doing something together to celebrate your birthday creates a memory that lasts. It gives you new stories to share and gets you out of your routine to add a little freshness to your life.
Celebrate with Experiences Any Day
Giving experiences doesn't have to be expensive. You can bring them muffins, take a picnic lunch somewhere fun. Pick up smoothies and walk at a local park. Invite someone for coffee or for a meal. Spending time together and getting away from daily distractions allows you a chance to connect to the people who matter most to you. You don't even have to wait for a special day to celebrate. You can give this happiness-boosting gift any day!
So this year, as the people around you celebrate milestones, keep experiences close in mind. Look for opportunities to share them with the people you appreciate to show how much you care by giving them a lasting gift of happiness.
Get More Tips and Information on Improving Your Happiness
Learn more about how experiences impact happiness in Day 16: Money: Buy Experiences, Not Things, in my book, 21 Days to Happiness.
Are you happy and inspired at work?
If you spend eight hours a day, five days a week at work, you will spend more than 2,000 hours on the job in a year. That's a lot of time! If you enjoy your job, then 2,000 hours probably flies by. But if you struggle to find happiness in your work life, it can seem like an eternity.
So how do you find ways to make work a source of happiness? It's not an impossible question! There are lots of ways to bring happiness into your workday. Here are five questions to ask yourself about your job which will help you uncover sources of happiness beyond that paycheck hitting your bank account.
1. What parts of your company or job inspire you?
Inspiration comes in lots of forms. Maybe something inspired you to apply for this particular job, like being able to help others. Maybe it appealed to your sense of creativity. Maybe you felt a connection with the business mission statement or your employer or coworkers. Take a moment to think about what drew you to this particular job or workplace.
2. Are there problems at work you can participate in solving?
There's no perfect company or perfect set of coworkers or customers out there. Every job will have its challenges. What things bother you? What can you do about them to work toward a positive solution that helps everyone around you? It could be something small, like adding a potted plant to your work area to brighten things up. Or something larger, like meeting with your manager or team to discuss changing a policy which is making your job difficult. Be sure to offer solutions rather than just airing complaints.
3. Can you bring creativity into your job in some way?
Maybe you can bring in a few pictures (or update those you have) to remind you of the people you care about. Take a step back from the way you normally do things at work. Is there a new approach you can take which might freshen up the way you complete your job? It doesn't have to be huge. Don't be afraid to think outside the box or bounce ideas off a coworker.
4. Where do you want this job to take you?
Think about your goals for the next year or five years. Can you see this job as one piece in a larger puzzle of your life? Sometimes taking that step back to consider the bigger picture helps put things in perspective for us. Not only is work just one part of our lives, a job is also one part of our work career. You may picture yourself staying at the same job for the rest of your work life. Many people will change jobs several times through the course of their careers. Thinking of this job as a part of your larger goals can help give you renewed energy and a feeling of freedom at work.
5. Is this the right job for me?
If you've answered all the questions above, and you're really not able to find peace or happiness in your current work life, it may be time to consider a change. Maybe this means moving to a different project or department within the company you work for. It could mean taking some online classes or getting a new certification to add to your arsenal of skills on the job. Maybe it means taking an online career planning test to find out what you should look for. Then, polishing up your resumé and looking for your next workplace adventure.
Whatever the case, with a little effort and some self-examination, finding happiness at work is entirely possible. Making those 40 hours each week contribute to your happiness rather than draining it will significantly change your overall energy level and your ability to enjoy other parts of your life.
Still have questions about how to improve your workplace happiness?
If you have more questions about workplace happiness, I can help you answer them. Take an online career planning test or order a copy of my book, 21 Days to Happiness today. Day 20 focuses on how to find happiness at work. You'll find tips and other resources to help you on your journey toward greater happiness.
Increase your effectiveness with this simple technique
We all seem to be so busy these days! Being busy can add extra pressure to our schedules and mean that we need to be extra productive. With so many things on our minds, it can be tricky to focus on one task at a time, and we can end up hopping from one task to another to another without actually completing much. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you're not alone, and I'm here to help.
Making a few simple changes to how you approach your work periods can really impact your productivity. One of the most effective changes is to work in short, focused bursts. Take quick breaks in between work sessions to let your mind relax. A great model for this type of work-break time management is the Pomodoro Method.
Here's how it works:
Work for 25 minutes. Take a short break of 5 minutes. Repeat this for three rounds. On the fourth round, work for 25 minutes and then take a longer break of 15-30 minutes.
You can use a timer to set intervals yourself. You can also do a quick search on YouTube or wherever you download apps to find either a video with Pomodoro intervals marked or an app to manage the intervals for you.
The goal is to have short but uninterrupted time spent on specific tasks. Try making a list of your goals before you begin to help narrow your focus. You may find you get more done in a 25 minute Pomodoro session than you did in an hour working another way. Give it a try! See how it works for you.
More on the Link Between Time and Happiness
You can learn more about time management and the connection between time and happiness in my book, 21 Days to Happiness.
We have so much to be grateful for.
It's that time of year...the holidays, the parties, the excitement! You probably have a lot to be grateful for and may take some things for granted. You don't need much in order to be happy. Many people without a lot still find real happiness in their daily lives.
Have an Attitude of Gratitude
What you do need in order to be happy is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Take a moment to reflect on the past year and make a list of 10 things you have to be grateful for. Note the things you tend to overlook. Think of what you do have instead of what you don't: health, family, work, home, friends...
Focusing on these blessings will foster an attitude of gratitude in your life. And that attitude is like fertile soil where happiness will grow and flourish. Develop a habit of noticing good things and expressing your gratitude for them. Try it for 21 days. You will see a difference in your overall happiness and contentment.
Ready to start your happiness journey?
"Day one" of my book, 21 Days to Happiness focuses on gratitude, and offers additional tips and strategies for greater happiness through gratitude. Each day of the 21 day journey takes you through another area of life where you can make simple, practical changes for greater happiness. I'd love to see you start your journey today!
It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year - to Work on Your Happiness!
This is the best time of the year to work on your happiness. It's almost Thanksgiving in the United States and just a few short weeks until Christmas. Taking a few minutes now to center yourself and focus on your happiness can help you have the best holiday season.
Very soon I'll be launching my new 21 Days to Happiness E-Learning. I'm so excited to share it with you! The e-learning will share all the practical, effective happiness habits and resources I've put in my book, but in a fresh, interactive format. You're going to love it!
To help start our holidays off right, I'm offering a three-day Happiness Challenge. Each day, I'll ask you to do one task that's guaranteed to help boost your happiness. And, if you participate along with me, you can enter for a chance to win 3 modules from my new 21 Days to Happiness E-Learning.
So let's do it! Follow the tour and earn entries for a chance to win 3 modules of the brand new 21 Days to Happiness interactive e-learning. Here's how:
Follow the Challenge
11/19 - Happiness Challenge Day 1: Smiling with A Mama's Corner of the World
11/20 - Happiness Challenge Day 2: Go Outside with Everyday Gyaan
11/21 - Happiness Challenge Day 3: Gratitude - The Story Sanctuary
Spread the happiness and challenge your friends to participate with you! Notice a boost in your happiness? Great! You can learn more about habits for greater happiness, energy and productivity in my book, 21 Days to Happiness, which is now available in four formats - e-book, paperback, audiobook, and e-learning.
Variety is the Spice of Happiness
Have you ever felt trapped by your day to day schedule? Maybe you feel like you're busy all the time or you simply don't have anything coming up soon that you're really looking forward to. Being busy or simply maintaining our day-to-day responsibilities can make life feel monotonous. We feel like we're missing something.
Trying something new-- big or small-- can give us a boost of happiness in a lot of ways. Not only does planning the new thing give us something to look forward to and anticipate, actually doing it can be a fun adventure. Then we have a story to tell and a memory to look back on, which is like a happiness bonus!
5 Cheap, Easy Ways to Boost Your Happiness with Something New
Here are some quick and easy ideas for new adventures you can try on any budget and with limited free time.
1. Try a new food. You can browse an aisle at the grocery store you rarely visit and try something new, like a soup or unusual fruit. Or you can invite friends to a restaurant you've never visited before. If you opt to go out with friends, consider ordering different dishes to share, so you each get to try several different items. Feeling even more adventurous? Invite a friend over to try a new recipe or style of cooking together!
2. Visit a place you've never been. Look online to find your city's website or community calendar. Is there a museum you've never been to? A park? Maybe there's a jazz night or community orchestra concert you can attend. Check nearby theaters for live community theater performances.
3. Try reading a book outside your usual genre. Look for a book you might not ordinarily pick up, but something that strikes your interest. Maybe the memoir of a famous person or historical figure you've always been interested in. If you're worried about finding time to sit and read, try an audiobook to listen to on the go!
4. Change up your routine. Take a different route to work or the grocery store or gym. Take a walk outside instead of on the treadmill or at the gym. Get up ten minutes earlier and sit outside with your morning coffee.
5. Rearrange your furniture in your bedroom, living room or office. Moving things around will make the room feel fresh and new. You can spice things up even more by adding a new houseplant or a vase with fresh cut flowers.
Doing something new might take a little bit of planning, but the burst of energy and happiness it brings you makes trying a new thing worthwhile. Sharing these experiences with a friend or loved one will deepen those relationships. You'll also find you feel a glow of happiness long afterward when you look back on the experience and remember it.
You can learn more about how experiences bring happiness in my book, 21 Days to Happiness. Click the button below to learn more.
In our society, we spend a lot of time seeking pleasure. We work hard, and many times we want to play just as hard. Having fun and spending time with friends are great things, but those pleasure-seeking experiences don't always leave us feeling truly happy. Why is that?
The Difference Between Happiness and Pleasure
Pleasure is that momentary high we feel in the midst of a good experience: a fabulous meal, a hilarious joke, making love, and so on. It comes from an external source. It's a response to what's happening around us, directly affecting our senses. Unfortunately, this great feeling doesn't last beyond the good experience causing it.
Happiness is a long-lasting feeling that isn't directly affected by what's happening to us in the moment. It has some overlap with pleasure. For instance, if you go out for dinner with a good friend, you will experience pleasure from the tasty meal and the funny parts of your conversation. But you will experience happiness from sharing an evening with someone you care about and creating new memories together. The relationship brings you happiness. The act of sharing yourself with someone else, being open, listening to another person and being listened to, bring happiness. And that happiness lasts long after the meal ends, and you've gone home.
Transitioning Our Pursuit from Pleasure to Happiness
One of the big problems with chasing pleasure is that it's a bottomless hole we can never fill. As soon as the pleasurable experience ends, the feeling fades. We have to hurry to the next good experience in order to recapture that high again. We rush from one experience to the next-- more food, more money, more success at work, more things filling our homes-- in order to feel pleasure. Chasing pleasure can be as addictive as drugs or alcohol.
What if instead, we focus on happiness? Taking the time to invest in meaningful relationships with others, to share acts of kindness with those around us, or simply slowing down and finding ways to show gratitude for the good things in our lives can make a huge difference in how we feel. In fact, those things and other keys to happiness can boost our lasting happiness and joy.
Learn More About Happiness
Changing the way you think about happiness and pleasure can be overwhelming at first. The good news is you don't have to do it alone! I can help guide you step-by-step through a journey toward lasting happiness, joy, and energy. And it only takes a few minutes a day. My book, 21 Days to Happiness, will lead you through 21 days of practical life strategies that will increase your happiness, energy, and productivity.
Connections Are Key
Do you want to know one of the best secrets to true happiness? It's probably not what you think. One of the greatest ways to have a happy life is to create connections with others.
Does this sound too easy? Too hard? The truth is, relationships can be challenging. But they also bring the greatest rewards we can imagine.
Connections with People
Think about the people in your life with whom you have connections. You look forward to seeing them. They give your life some unpredictability. Something to look forward to. You never know exactly what they'll say or do.
A chat with a friend or peer can provide an opportunity to celebrate your successes or share a disappointment and gain some perspective or get some advice.
"A joy that's shared is a joy made double"
Connections with Nature
In addition to connecting with people, forging a connection with the world gives us the opportunity to step away from the chaos and appreciate the greatness around us. Spend time outside, listening to the sounds of nature. You'll find just doing this alleviates some feelings of anxiety and stress.
Take a walk and enjoy the trees, flowers, and birds around you. Allow yourself a few moments to marvel at how intricate and beautiful nature really is. Focus on that feeling of gratitude.
Feel happier? Great!
Take Happiness with You
Take that positive experience with you to your next appointment or meeting. Smile when you greet other people. Ask other people how they're doing, and mean it. Giving your attention forges connections with people and spreads happiness. They'll feel happier, and so will you.
This kind of connected life will take the focus away from your complaints. Instead of noticing all the things that don't go the way you want, you'll begin to notice the things that you're grateful for. People want to spend more time with someone who makes them feel good. When you are a person full of gratitude and positive energy, that makes people want to spend more time with you.
Create Authentic Connections
This doesn't mean you can't vent to or confide in others. You don't have to pretend to be happy when you aren't. People feel close to someone who shares an authentic self. If you're unhappy, and need to talk about something, seek out a trusted friend and open up to them.
It may prove to be an opportunity for you both to bond and explore solutions and paves the way for new, happier experiences to come.
In my book, 21 Days to Happiness, I talk about how important connections to others are for happiness and how to nurture those relationships. Find out more in my book in Day 19, Relationships: Better than Money in the Bank.
Spread Happiness with a Smile
Do you want to put a smile on someone's face today? Maybe make their day a little better? It won't cost a single penny or much time to do just that. And because smiling is contagious, you'll find that making one person smile causes happiness to spread like a sweet smell on a warm breeze.
20 Ways to Make Someone Smile
Challenge yourself. See how many of these smile-spreading techniques you can complete this week!
1. Smile at someone.
2. Compliment a friend or work colleague.
3. Donate something to charity.
4. Take a friend out to lunch.
5. Let someone know you miss them.
6. Make a surprise call to your partner or a friend at work, just to say hi.
7. Hold a door open for someone walking behind you.
8. Hug your partner for no reason.
9. Share a joke with someone.
10. Send a card or note to a friend or coworker letting them know you appreciate something they've done.
11. Give up your seat on the train or bus to someone.
12. Share your umbrella on a rainy day.
13. Ask a friend if they need anything while you're out shopping.
14. Plan a picnic! Raining outside? How about an indoor picnic!
15. Leave a love letter somewhere where your partner will find it.
16. Send someone an unexpected gift like a tasty snack or a book they'll enjoy.
17. Tell your child you're proud of them or tell a coworker they're doing a great job.
18. Tell someone you thought about them.
19. Cook a surprise meal for your partner or friends one night, especially if they normally do the cooking.
20. Send some flowers to your partner or a friend at work.
Did you know it takes only 17 muscles to smile, but 43 to frown. Why waste all that energy frowning when you could just smile.
Here are 5 more facts about smiling.
1. Women smile more than men.
2. Smiling releases endorphins that make us feel better.
3. We are all born with the ability to smile, it's not something we learn from others.
4. A smile is a universal expression of happiness.
5. A smiling person is thought to be a more pleasant, attractive, sociable, sincere and competent than a non-smiling person.
Just remember, smiling is the easiest and cheapest way of improving your looks.
For more tips and ideas on spreading happiness through acts of kindness, check out Day 9 Kindness: Pay It Forward in my book, 21 Days to Happiness.
Is Happiness Like a Butterfly?
Sometimes we treat happiness like it's an elusive butterfly in the garden of life. Imagine a young child in the garden on a summer day. He sees a beautiful butterfly flitting from flower to flower. He wants to see it close up, touch it, and hold it in his hands. But as he moves towards the flower that the butterfly is resting on, just as he gets within reach, the butterfly moves to another flower. And so the child follows the butterfly to the next flower, and then the next. But the butterfly always stays just out of reach.
Even to adults, happiness can seem just like that butterfly: always just out of reach. It can become almost an obsession and the words “if only…” become an increasingly large part of our thoughts and vocabulary. "If only I had more money I would be happy, if only I was in a great relationship I would be happy, if only I could have a different job..." and the list goes on. This kind of thought life doesn't lead to greater happiness.
If we achieve one of our “if only “desires, the happiness we seek somehow manages to stay just out of our reach. Do you remember the expression about the grass being greener on the other side? It's the same idea.
Where does happiness come from?
The truth is, we won't be completely satisfied by external events or circumstances. To find happiness in life we must first be at peace internally. External events and circumstances can bring us happiness in the moment, but they do not have a lasting effect on our inner self. Life brings a mixture of good and bad circumstances to everyone. To rely on life’s experiences for our source of happiness would mean living life in a constant emotional roller coaster ride. Wouldn't it be better to learn to have a steady feeling of contentment rather than be at the mercy of circumstances and be tossed from the high and low feelings like a ship in a storm?
Happiness comes from within. The inner contentment that survives the roller coaster ride of life has its roots deep within our being. The source of happiness comes from finding and embracing who we are as a person, and living a life of purpose. We need to find peace in every aspect of our life- the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Acceptance, purpose and peace in all of these areas will give a sense of completion in life.
Is happiness an elusive butterfly for you? Spend some time in quiet reflection. Are you neglecting one of the four important parts of who you are and experiencing a sense of emptiness within? The more you discover, embrace and accept your uniqueness and purpose, the more you will be able to stop chasing the elusive butterfly of happiness and instead experience the butterfly of happiness coming to you and alighting on your shoulder.
You can read more about finding a sense of happiness within yourself in the first chapter of my book, 21 Days to Happiness, Day 1 on gratitude.
The Cost of Time Spent in Nature
Going outside is free! Nature is there for everybody to stand and stare and take happiness and comfort from. The trees do not distinguish between rich and poor, strong and weak, man and woman. Warm sunshine is free; the glow of the moon is free. You don't have to pay for the cool breeze, warm seashore, towering mountains, smooth flowing rivers, or the dark and inviting forests. You can enjoy them all for free.
Take Time to Enjoy Nature Around You
Instead of sitting during a break, try taking a short, brisk walk outside. Take your lunch to a park or outdoor area and enjoy a picnic. This weekend, invite a friend to hike a nearby trail with you, or take a day trip to a park or forest. Explore someplace new!
While you spend time outside, breathe deeply. Look at the sky. Notice how big the world is, how limitless the sky feels. Listen to the sounds of nature around you, and let them recharge you.
The sky, the sun, the ocean, rain and sunshine, all are there for us to possess fully. You can stare at the sky at any time and claim all of it for your happiness. For that moment, it is all yours.
Let your time in nature alter your perspective on your problems. The universe, the earth even, is far bigger than our worries. Time away from our usual routines also gives us a break and lets our minds rest instead of running on the hamster wheel, rehashing a worrisome situation over and over.
The Bank Account of Nature
Just like the bank account where you keep your financial resources, nature is like a happiness bank account. When you need to spend money, you make a draw from your bank account. In the same way, when you need a happiness boost, make a withdrawal of time spent in nature. You'll feel the difference after spending even just a few minutes.
For more practical ways to boost your happiness and more on the ways spending time in nature improves happiness, pick up a copy of my book, 21 Days to Happiness and see Day 6 on Nature: Step Outside for Happiness.
We are Always Pursuing Happiness
Think about it ... every single thing we do is intended to make us happier. The people we choose to spend time with. The ways we spend our time. And yet sometimes we get distracted and do things that actually move us away from this goal.
We all have the potential for genuine happiness. We make choices throughout our lives. Each option is like a series of locked doors in front of us. We choose which path to follow and open the door we've chosen. The result of all these choices combined determines our level of happiness. Make the right choices and happiness can be yours.
Ten Keys to Greater Happiness
Here are some tactics we can follow on our journey toward genuine happiness:
1. Look For The Positive In Everything: You know the old saying about a glass being half-full or half-empty? Finding the positive means choosing to focus on the parts of a situation that are going your way. Do this and you will be happier. Those who soar against all odds, do so because they look at the positive that could come out of their situation, how ever bad it may seem to others.
2. Accentuate The Positive: From a young age we are taught what we must not do instead of what we may do. Don't run with scissors. Don't jump on the bed. Don't cross the street without looking both ways. Even in day-to-day life, there is more negative influence that positive. Luckily you can work to improve the balance. Phrase things in your mind as positives. Focus on DO rather than DON'T. Celebrate the positive and work to get more of it. When you achieve something, congratulate yourself!
3. Practice Good Selfishness: When we were young we were taught that putting our interests before those of others is wrong. This is particularly true for women, many of whom sacrifice their dreams and ambitions to help others achieve theirs. It is also common in the corporate world where the good of the company is considered more important than the good of the individual. Helping others and being a team player are important things, but we need boundaries to protect ourselves from being manipulated or abused by others. You are important, and you must look after yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually.
4. Listen To Your Feelings: Feelings are your body's messengers. They make us aware of circumstances around and inside us. Sometimes those messages are pleasant, other times not. Our tendency is to distract ourselves from unpleasant feelings or to resist them in some way. Sometimes we tell ourselves we shouldn't be angry or sad or frustrated by something that has happened to us. The next time you have a feeling like this, take a moment to stop and experience it. So what if it's caused by a situation outside your control (like frustration over rush hour traffic). Take a deep breath an acknowledge your feeling. You don't have to live in it, but pushing it away or pretending it isn't there isn't healthy either.
5. Give More: The more you give, the more you receive. It seems that the more of yourself you give, the greater the thrill and uplifting effect on your psyche. Help the needy. Give time if you can. Give anonymously, even if you lose the tax deduction!
6. Visualize Your Happiness: You have the ability to make things happen using your mind. Top sports stars, and business people use it, and so can you. Get a picture in your mind of whatever it is that you want to happen. It does not actually have to be a visual picture; it could be a feeling, a smell, a sound, or any combination of the senses. Imagine finding the perfect parking near the entrance as you arrive at the supermarket or mall … the sky is the limit, but persevere! We are not used to utilizing this tool, so it takes practice.
7. Accept The Things You Cannot Change: We resist things we don’t like, and often expend a tremendous amount of energy on this resistance. When something bothers you, take a moment to ask yourself, "Can I do anything to change this situation?" If the answer is yes, get to it! But if the answer is no, then give yourself a moment to feel the disappointment or frustration and then begin to move on.
8. Take Responsibility For Your Choices: Nobody's perfect. At one time or another, we will all face uncomfortable consequences. Sometimes they're the result of mistakes or impulsive actions. But even the most careful planning can't guarantee safety from negative consequences. It can feel convenient to blame outside causes for things that go wrong in life, but your life is the sum of all the choices you make along the way. If you tend to blame other people or things, it may be scary to take responsibility for what happens in your life, but it is really quite liberating because instead of seeing yourself as an effect of outside forces, you realize you are the cause of everything good you achieve. Don’t abdicate responsibility for your life.
9. Schedule Regular “Me Time”: Take time alone to inventory your life. Spend some time analyzing where you are in life, your strengths and weaknesses. How can you turn the latter into the former? Think about your views on everything from your job to global warming and the existence of aliens—then work out why you feel the way you do. Is your reasoning sound? The better you understand yourself, the better you understand the world.
10. Make Time To Meditate: We spend almost all our time thinking of the past or planning for the future. We seldom spend time in the present. Your meditation could be formal meditation or prayer, but it could be as simple as merely focusing on each breath as it goes in and out for five or ten minutes, dismissing past and future thoughts as they arise—and they will!
The more successful you are at assimilating the concepts and processes described in these points into your life, the more genuinely happy you will be, and the happiness will last!
Look for more keys to boost your happiness, productivity and energy in my book, 21 Days to Happiness.
Managing Your Mental Diet
Are you bombarded by thoughts of negativity? Have feelings of insecurity, stress or worry? This is normal... just watch the news and notice how many stories are negative and dramatic! You are what you mentally and spiritually eat.
This is the time to go on a diet-- a diet of "positive attitude". You have to literally stop feeding your mind negative things. Ask yourself, is this thought positive or negative? What do negative thoughts look like? Well, they start with "can't" rather than "can", "no" as opposed to "yes", or focus on "won't" instead of "will". We tend to let our thoughts control us. Let's flip this around.
Identifying the Subject of Negative Thoughts
A great way to know what we are negative about is to ask those people who are closest to us. Ask your spouse or a close friend how they would rate your attitude on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being super positive and 1 super negative. Ask this person to be totally honest with you. You will benefit from their honesty.
Ask this person what it is that you specifically say that they perceive as negative. What do you complain about? Write down what they say and look at the actual words. Now is the time to be honest with yourself. Those words are a reflection of what is inside you. They reflect who you are. Consider patterns that emerge. Are you sometimes negative about your health? Work? Relationships? Are you afraid of things which could happen but often never do?
Flip the Switch
The great thing is that you can change these thoughts. Complaining is just a bad habit! It is as simple as making a choice to do so. It's like flipping a switch. You must decide to replace the thoughts of negativity with thoughts of positivity. Decide to change the negative words on your paper to positive ones.
Once you have done this, make an effort to insert these new positive thoughts in your mind. You will begin to notice a positive change taking place in your life. Your family, friends and co-workers will all notice it as well. They may not know what is different about you. But they will know that you are not the same person that you were.
The items which are causing negativity in your life could very well be the news, negative people, replaying conflicts or stressful situations in your mind and the list could go on. Consider eliminating some negative sources if you want your new mental health regimen to be a success.
You can do it. You can and will have a positive attitude, if you simply take the steps outlined above. You do not have to be what you were in the past. You can be different in the future. The choice is yours. I know you will make a positive one.
You can find more on embracing a positive attitude and improving your happiness in my book, 21 Days to Happiness in Day 12 on dealing with worry or Day 21 on optimism.
Integration for Life Harmony
Balance. It's a nice word but the reality is hard to pin down. It may not even put us on the right track in our quest for fulfillment and happiness. Today we will talk more about "work-play integration".
Let's think about integration, which means bringing the various pieces of our lives into a cohesive whole. We each have many roles, goals, responsibilities and life plans. We have to consider all of those aspects globally and identify clear priorities.
Experience shows people best at balancing their lives are ones who have very clear priorities and their own clear definition of success. They know what's most important in their lives. These are people who can say, before it happens: if I have to make a choice between different activities, I know what my biggest priority is.
Recognize the Choices You're Making
Sometimes we fall into going through life feeling like we don't have a choice. We let the new promotion or the new demands of the job dictate what we do. This is not a balanced life road. We need to stop and reflect, communicate more with your significant other and your manager at work...basically be more pro-active and take charge.
Take Time to Unplug
It's easy to find we have too much to do. Technology has changed things and made people accessible 24 hours a day, encroaching on the peaceful "unplugged" time people used to have. Yet some things don't change. We still have 24 hours a day. We all have the same amount of time, and how we use it comes down to a personal choice.
Use Management Skills in All Areas of Your Life
For a balanced life, basic management skills have to be used at home as well as in the workplace. One of the reasons why many people prefer going out to work to working at home is that we're very organized in the workplace. We use time management there, and then we come home and just ride the waves, allowing the latest problem that has cropped up to dictate our time. Instead, try bringing some organization into your home life. Plan a weekly dinner with friends or a family game night. Schedule an activity for yourself from time to time as an opportunity to take care of yourself and re-energize.
Day 20 of my book, 21 Days to Happiness, focuses on creating happiness at work through the use of our strengths and talents. Check it out, and let me know which chapter helps you most!
Smiling is a simple thing to do, but it can make a huge difference in how we feel and how we're perceived by the people around us. Here are some great reasons to give us a grin.
1. Our smile shows others people that we are likeable and helps us connect.
If a stranger or new coworker approaches you and gains eye contact with you and then treats you to a smile, you'll have a fairly good idea that they are friendly and likeable. Which type of person do you prefer? A person that has a tired or overly serious face; an expression that may reflect their inner thoughts of boredom and worry; or would you prefer someone who is usually smiling and shows that they have an enthusiastic passion for life? Few of us would choose a miserable person to talk to whether it's in our work or personal lives. Let's face it-- we all prefer someone who is going to be positive.
2. A smile can make people feel happy and is infectious.
When someone smiles at you, even a stranger, you usually smile back. For that moment you enjoy a flash of positive communication without saying a word. It's hard to feel unhappy, negative or sad while you're smiling. Smiling gives you enthusiasm and drive. It is also habit-forming. When you spend a lot of time in the company of someone who smiles often, you will probably find that smile contagious. It is hard not to return a smile; most of us do it at a subliminal level without thinking. So don't wait for someone to start the happiness epidemic. Be the first to offer a happy face!
3. A smile makes you look far more attractive and memorable to others.
You don’t see many celebrities or media personalities that are not smiling. If you did, it is fairly certain their popularity would quickly start to drop! Have you noticed you remember smiling people more than those that are not? It is a fact that you are three times more likely to remember a smiling person over the one wearing a negative or neutral features.
4. The effects of smiling can last for hours.
Whatever problems and challenges you have in your life, smiling temporary puts them on hold. You can choose to see opportunities and become solution-oriented, and while you are in a positive state, you have far more potential and power to advance and improve your life.
5. Most importantly, smiling is good for your health.
When you are smiling, you may find whatever you are doing far easier. It releases stress, worry and tension that you may have built up throughout the day. Long term, developing the smiling habit will be one of the smartest things that you can do to improve your life.
Also, smiling is FREE!
You are never going to run short of smiles and will always have enough to go around. When you weigh the positive points of smiling, it's a no-brainer decision to do far more smiling and share them with as many people as possible.
For more information on quick ways to improve your personal happiness in just a few minutes each day, click the button below. You'll find a whole chapter on smiling and laughing in my book, 21 Days to Happiness.
Are you in a hurry?
When you go about your day, take a moment to look at the people around you. Do they look like they're in a hurry to get somewhere? Have you had the experience of asking friends or coworkers to meet for a gathering, only to be told, "Sorry, I'm super busy"? " Maybe you've been the one to have to put off get togethers or activities because your schedule simply doesn't have openings for those fun events. Busy seems to be the "new normal"...I noticed it can be embarrassing not to be busy these days!
It's easy to become chronically busy. It's easy to develop the compulsion to be successful as fast as possible. It can be tempting to feel like in order to achieve our goals, we have to compress five years of work into one, by moving five times faster! But what's the cost of this kind of fast-paced, high-pressured living?
Make time to pause and reflect.
If we push too hard and neglect rest and recreational time, despite all our earnest and wholehearted attempts to be successful, we run out of steam and lose our sense of direction. It's like focusing on the trees, but failing to notice the forest. We can end up running in circles because we've lost sight of what's really important: the things that bring us joy, like family, friends, and rewarding experiences.
Those joyful things serve as a compass, giving us direction and guiding us toward happiness. When you notice yourself slipping into busy-mode, try setting aside a few minutes to reflect on what's important. Ask yourself these simple questions:
· What do I value in life?
· What does success mean to me?
· Has what I've done today brought me closer to my life's goals?
· How do I get from where I am, to where I want to be?
Yes, these questions require you to think deep; do some soul-searching. But when you have the answers, your mind will be clear. It's like driving a car with a clean windscreen... you can see where you’re going! I suggest you clean your mental windscreen every morning by taking time to reflect. That way, your VISION will be as sharp as can be. Everyone needs a Vision – that vivid mental image of what you'd like to be, do, and have in life. Without it, we can't see which way we're headed. And the only way to develop it is to pause, think, decide then...go for it, one step at a time. Remember, life is not a race.
Live an intentional life.
We have a finite amount of time to spend here on earth. Don't you want to spend that time in a life that's happy and rewarding? I know I do! So take a little time to slow down, pause, and reflect. Figure out what's important to you in life. Then spend more time doing what's important, rather than being busy everyday or chasing an imaginary shopping list of what it takes to be successful. Remember… better to walk slowly in the right direction, than to dash madly all over the place.
In my book 21 Days to Happiness, I talk about how to clean your mental windscreen in Day 5 of the journey to greater happiness. In this chapter, I explore how intentions can direct us toward happier, more energetic and productive lives.
Are you a worrier?
"I know worry works because nothing I worry about ever happens." Have you heard of this quote? It sounds funny, but it's not far from the truth!
It's normal to worry from time to time, but more and more people seem to worry about the smallest stuff. They also worry about the big things, too, of course, like health, relationships, and finances.
Because worrying can be overwhelming and counterproductive, when writing my book 21 Days to Happiness, I decided to try to understand it through research and dedicated the chapter "Don't Worry Be Happy" to address how to decrease it. Maybe you'd like to know what to do about it.
3 Strategies for Peace of Mind:
1) Practice catching yourself. During a recent phone call with a friend, I caught the person worrying 5 times about 5 different things. I'm not kidding. "Hey, you're worrying again." What I've learned is that worry is a mental habit. You can change habits; but you have to catch yourself first in order to stop it.
2) Practice thought switching. Once you catch yourself worrying, decide to think about something else. By this I mean, think of something that is more positive, perhaps a project or passion that will take your mind off whatever you are worried about. Are you planing an event, a trip or have some work goals you could focus on? Remember, "worrying is like a rocking chair...it keeps you busy, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
3) Act, file, or throw it away. Decide to do one of three things: decide to address the issue right then by finding a solution; if you can't do anything about it at the moment, give yourself a time to address it later; or decide that it is not important and let it go. In other words, act on it, file it or throw it away.
Awareness and acknowledgment are the keys to changing our habits. If you tend to worry a lot, try to lighten up. 95% of what we worry about doesn't happen. What a waste of time and energy that can be. Of course, if there's a problem, find a solution...but let's not imagine and create problems that aren't there!
What strategies work for you? Leave a comment or post on my 21 Days to Happiness Facebook page to tell me about it.
My book, 21 Days to Happiness, describes additional strategies for setting aside worry for greater happiness.
"Progress is impossible without change, and those who
cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
- George Bernard Shaw
Creatures of Comfort
Change often has a negative connotation for many people, especially when we have no choice. We are creatures of comfort and we automatically seek out what feels good in the moment. We long for comfort and this usually comes from that which we know; that which is familiar to us. Our minds and nervous systems are designed to find and attach meaning to everything. Something new can feel stressful, even scary.
Comfort in Patterns
Your mind and your nervous system has to understand and adapt to the unknown and this process feels uncomfortable on many levels. Our nervous system works primarily by conditioning and by repetition we notice consistency and assume patterns. This system is really there to serve us in helping us being more efficient and to be able to do more, with less effort. Your mind is designed to always look for the best way. Through repetition we learn certain orders and sequences in which things happen and we learn to recognize and respond according to these sequences. We feel more and more confident when we are familiar with something.
Recognize the Patterns
Simply be aware of the fact that there is a part of you that responds and acts based on your past experiences and associations. The challenge is to go from one pattern, one that does not serve you anymore, to one which will serve you more. Adapting to change, whether at work or at home will feel uncomfortable at first, but rest assured that the uncomfortable will become comfortable as you form new associations and new patterns of association.
Change is Inescapable
Remember that old saying: "If you can't beat them, join them"? All of life is constantly in a process of change. Nothing stays the same. It's the nature of all of life, including you. Even if you do nothing, life will still change. It's tempting to resist the change and hold onto what we know, but doing that often leaves us stressed and unhappy. What if instead, you make the choice to initiate changes and embrace new things?
Change is Growth
The process of making the uncomfortable comfortable is the way we grow as human beings. As you become comfortable with new things, they become part of your comfort zone. Expanding this zone expands yourself as a person. The need to grow and develop is a need that all humans have. Without growth it is difficult to be happy for any length of time. Although it feels uncomfortable in the moment, personal and professional growth feel fulfilling in the long term and make us feel good in a more lasting way. It creates a sense of pride in yourself.
Change How You Think to Change How You Feel
All change starts with a change of mind. You have to start by changing your thoughts about the change. Find a more positive way to look at an upcoming change. In changing the way you think about something you immediately change your perception and consequently the way you feel about it. When you change the way you feel you change your behavior and that's how you progress. Thoughts lead to feelings, and feelings lead to behavior. Trying to change behavior without first addressing your thoughts and feelings will rarely create lasting change.
So remember this simple secret...change your thoughts and the rest will follow!
I share a lot of tips on how to change your thoughts in my book 21 Days to Happiness. I hope you find them useful.
Making Someone Smile is Easier Than You Think.
Do you want to put a smile on someone's face? Maybe make their day a little bit brighter? It doesn't have to take much time or money on your part. In fact, many things can be done as a part of your normal routine and cost little or nothing. We often underestimate how people can be affected by an act of kindness and they are contagious, so it's well worth the small effort. Try out one or more of these 7 ways today, and put a smile on someone's face. Spread a little happiness today!
1. Send a positive message. We often don't take the time to send a positive email or text message. Handwritten notes are even more rare...just grab a "Post-It". Start a new practice: take a few minutes to write/send a positive note on a regular basis. You just might start an epidemic!
2. Take someone out to lunch or coffee or invite them to your home. You will get to know each other even better than you do right now. If you feel like being more adventurous, throw a small party for several of your friends or colleagues and put smiles on a multitude of faces.
3. Give someone an inspirational book to read. You will feel good doing it, reading the book can change or inspire the person, and they will think of you every time they read it. You can share my book, 21 Days to Happiness, or one of the books from my recommended reading list!
4. Offer to babysit or take care of a pet for a few hours. You know the value of being able to have a few hours of "alone time" without worrying about the children and pets. Don't wait to be asked. Offer to do it at a time when the person can do something fun and relaxing.
5. Deliver a meal to someone you know that is sick or having a rough time. We have all been sick and know the last thing you want to do is to cook. There are also times when life is tough and it is hard to do all of the daily chores. You can be a tremendous help by providing a meal that can be enjoyed.
6. Volunteer your time to a local charity. Every minute you dedicate will cause many smiles. It is very rewarding to help without being asked.
7. Thank everyone that supports you throughout the day. The list of those that you come in contact with is endless. Remember family and friends, co-workers, teachers, store employees, janitors, those that deliver your mail and staff at restaurants.
Don't Forget to Smile
So there you have it. Seven ideas for ways to make someone smile. There is one more way that can't be ignored: reveal a genuine smile to everyone you meet. You will experience how easy it is to get others to smile!
Learn more about happiness and how to spread happiness to others in my book 21 Days to Happiness. Order a copy for yourself and one to share with a friend!
Sometimes We Chase the Wrong Things
In a culture obsessed with high tech gadgetry, cellphones, credit cards, fast cars, large houses, and job titles, it should be no surprise that most people experience stress and anxiety. The strain of striving after material advantage and the dictates of the Almighty Dollar have made many people virtual slaves in their jobs.
Even after working more than 50 hours a week or getting every material need and luxury that money can buy, many people still live unhappily. Success at work, instead of bringing fulfillment, leaves many people with a feeling emptiness and disillusionment.
But there is still hope for the tired professional and the exhausted worker. Stress and anxiety need not ruin lives and careers. To get back on track, it may be helpful to consider the following advice on how to be an achiever who lives a balanced life:
Identify what's important
What we really are lacking is balance. A good start would be to have a career and life plan that balances your time and effort between work and home. If we plan carefully, we will most likely make the right action or choices. Life shouldn't be a big enigma. Life can be made simple and enjoyable. A career or life plan must start with having a stated purpose.
Knowing what you really want helps you get rid of unnecessary fatigue brought about by things which are not really important. Knowing your priorities also help you get rid of unnecessary worries and prevents you from wasting energy. Writing it down --- putting your plan on paper --- is the first step on having a balanced life.
Your first task is to identify what you want. Do you prefer to have a fun personal or family life, vibrant health more than having financial success or a well-respected position? Maybe you can have both without making any sacrifice in terms of time or quality of life? Write it down! Goals are much easier to achieve when we identify them and list them on paper.
To get our bearings, it is important to be constantly aware of our priorities. A good way to start redefining one's priorities is by answering the following questions:
Don't be discouraged if you answered "yes" to some of those questions. Taking a moment to acknowledge where your life is out of balance is a great first step toward happiness. Once you've identified problem areas, you can begin making changes that lead you toward a happier, more fulfilled life.
It's All About Balance
You have the power to manage your everyday stresses. You have opportunity to make healthy changes in your life. It may take time, but don't be afraid to start now. These helpful tips will ease the pressures and get you moving toward happiness.
You always have a choice about how to respond to the world you live in. Being proactive and taking some time for self-care and prioritizing will go a long way toward reducing stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Do what makes you happy!
Get More Great Tips
You can find more great tips on how to be a happier, healthier, more energetic person in my book 21 Days to Happiness, which is NOW AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK. Listen on your commute to work, or while taking your daily walk and refresh your mind as well as your body.
"The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals."
Is there a better way to start the new year than to prioritize your happiness?
Each year, as a new chapter begins, most people reflect on what changes and improvements they want to strive for. We all love the idea of a fresh start and setting goals.
Unfortunately, many of us abandon our resolutions after just a few weeks. A fascinating study I read found that we tend to pick the exact same resolutions year after year...hello!!...Healthy body anyone?
My book is a guide, broken down into simple, doable tips. Each day, I not only share with you why the tip works based on science and how I apply it in my life, but I also provide tools like APPS and videos.
Why don't you start this year with me? I have been practicing psychology for more than 25 years and I am setting you up for success.
I wish you a very, very HAPPY new year!
Get a plant and bring nature indoors.
Well, most of us are eager to take a few days off for the holidays. Here's an idea: plan to buy a plant for your office or home. If you don't have the chance to go outdoors as much as you would like, why not bring a little outdoors, indoors?
Even a small plant can make a big difference!
Working indoors all day can feel draining sometimes. One simple way to boost your happiness in the office is to bring a little nature into your workspace with you!
While you can't control the indoor climate in an office, you can improve the way the space looks and feels by brightening it up with a plant or two.
Office spaces can easily become too hot, too cold, too dry or too damp. Finding the perfect balance of temperature and air quality for a group of people is a big challenge as we all have different preferences.
In addition printers, copiers, computer monitors, floor coverings, paint and wallpaper can release substances into the air which affects the quality of the indoor climate.
The potential consequences of poor air quality are well known: irritated eyes, headache, skin complaints and dry membranes in the nose and mouth. This is not only unpleasant, it is also unhealthy.
Yet you can easily improve the indoor climate by using plants! Plants help create a healthy indoor climate and a happier workplace. Not only do they put water vapor back into the air, they also absorb heat and filter dust and harmful substances out of the air.
The effect of plants in the workplace has been the subject of repeated scientific investigation. Time after time the conclusion is the same: plants work! Here are some ways they help improve the quality of our work areas.
Fewer complaints & less illness
Some indoor palms give off a lot of water, which helps keep humidity in the air and prevent dry eyes and nasal membranes. Plants like sword ferns cleanse the air of the formaldehyde released by building materials, paper and furniture. Other good air-purifying plants are the rubber plant, English ivy and date palm.
More plants means less stress
The presence of plants does not just affect the physical climate. Researchers have discovered that a view of greenery can result in a demonstrable reduction in stress within five minutes. Research has shown that people who spend more than four hours a day working at a computer monitor feel better and are more productive with plants in the workplace!
The green view
Companies are increasingly willing to accept that they have a key role to play in protecting the environment and the welfare of their employees, and therefore often strive for a 'green' image. Presenting such an image starts with a healthy indoor environment. Plants at work fit perfectly within many company policies. Check with your employer to see what the workplace rules are regarding plants in the office.
Bring a little bit of nature to your desk or home
With your employer's blessing, you can give the gift of a better workplace to yourself and those around you. Bring a little nature to your desk by adding a plant which purifies the air or helps reduce stress and makes you feel more productive. If you don't work in an office or at a desk, get a few more plants for your home. Look for plants which do well in lower light settings and avoid flowering plants as others may have allergies.
In my book, 21 Days to Happiness, I talk about the importance of spending time outside in nature. It can be difficult to get outside every day, especially if you live in a place with cold winters. Bringing a few plants inside isn't a substitute for all the benefits of getting outdoors, but it's a small, easy thing you can do to improve your happiness in the time you spend inside.
From me to you, HAPPY holidays...it'll be a perfect time to read my book or offer it to someone special and apply some of the tips , especially the ones focusing on family and friends and taking care of you!
Ms. Ingrid Kelada is an experienced psychologist and happiness expert in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She is a speaker and has facilitated over 1000 workshops all over the world.
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