Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Tip for Increased Happiness

A tip for increased happiness
Who wouldn't like to be happier?  I have discovered something so small, that takes just a moment a day really, that has helped me feel so much happier in my life!  The idea came from one of my favorite speakers, Stuart Hughes, who gave a talk on ‘radical gratitude’.  When I looked up the term ‘radical’ I found that the synonyms were words like thorough, complete, total, far-reaching, extensive and profound. Radical gratitude.  Put any of these synonyms with it and it sounds like something wonderful!  
While going through a very rough time in my life I decided to implement ‘radical gratitude’.  It was too easy a concept not to try.  Here is what you do: Every morning think of 3 things that you are grateful for.  Never use the same thing twice.  I am a praying person, so I just put this at the beginning of my prayer every morning.  3 things.  Every morning different.  I was amazed at the things that I came up with.  I began to see my life through different eyes.  I began to realize how truly lucky I am.  I began to realize what a beautiful life I have. I have been doing this exercise now for almost a year.  My mind is now in the habit of looking for things to be grateful for; not just first thing in the morning, but throughout the day, almost as if it is looking for things to store up for me to say in the morning.  As a result I have become happier.  Happier because I realize how blessed I am, how good I have it, how much I have.  I see so much positive, and it feels so good to see it and appreciate it.  I feel like before in my life I had all these good things, but I didn't really see them.  Now I am beginning to see, and it is incredible!  Like having your eyes opened to a whole new world.  Such a small thing to do.  Such an amazing difference in my life!  

What is a blog anyway??

What is a blog anyway??
I am not that computer literate.  I have no idea how to upload a photo without one of my children standing by giving me step-by-step instructions.  If they do it for me I will never remember.  Even when they DON’T do it for me I will never remember!  So the idea of starting a blog is a bit of a challenge!  
Who came up with the name “blog” anyway??  I’m sure we could Google that and find out.  That is my favorite phrase these days!  Any time I don’t know the answer to a question my children ask me, I say, “Let’s Google it”.  
Maybe we will get lucky and I will post a picture (with my children’s help) sometime.  Maybe.
I am a mother of 7, which sounds like a lot, but most of them are living away from home with the exception of my 2 girls, 15 and 16, who are in high school, and my son who recently returned from ‘study abroad’ with the U of U in Germany. He came home broke.  He is a senior at the university.
My life is in a much more relaxed stage than in years past.  So why do I still find myself moving at the fastest pace possible, feeling dragged through every day?  This is the question that I have been asking myself recently.  It is amazing to me that when I have questions about life, the answers usually drift through my world within a short amount of time, dangling in front of me, waiting to be discovered if I will put forth a little effort to get them.
This time the answer came in the form of an invitation from a friend to attend something called “Education Week” at the local university.  You pick from a variety of classes that suit your interest.  My friend was going to one called “I Am Sooo Busy” by Merilee Brown Boyac (sp?).  It was very eye-opening.  She taught me that I am busy doing what I CHOOSE to be busy doing.  I am in charge.  I decide.  It is my choice.  I can be purposeful about what I choose to spend my time doing, be intentional.  This was a new thought to me.  I assumed that I was a victim of my life; that I had no choice!
I learned to decide what is important to me. There are things I have to do, things I should do, and things I could do.  If I am choosing what means the most to me, what do I choose?  Clean the bathroom or read my child a book? Hmmm.  Then how do you fill in all the those meaningless but somehow important things like housecleaning and cooking?  Very tough questions!
I am figuring out that if I do what is most important to me first, then everything else feels like a bonus!  For me, that means prayers, scripture reading and exercise first!  (eating is a given!)  These feel like the have-to’s and should do’s.  Other have-to’s and should do’s come behind these, and feel less weighty!  I am learning that throwing in a few could-do’s makes my day fun!  Like reading something I am interested in for a few minutes, visiting a friend, or eating chocolate and watching TV for a few minutes as a break.  Life is definitely an on-going learning experience!  Here I am, nearly 50, and just figuring this out!