Day and Night

I found this old draft post that began as this….

Today is one of those days that instead of dwelling on things that suck, I took time to think about how awesome my life is.
So many things about my life is great and all the pain I endured in the past got me to this fantastic point in time.

This is after I googled  “happy things” this morning.

And found this quote:

“It’s my firm belief that even when it seems like everything’s going wrong in your life, there is always, always, ALWAYS something that’s going right. You owe it to yourself to find out what that is and bring it into your awareness.”
http://www.yourlifeyourway.net/2011/09/19/300-reasons-to-be-happy-things-to-love-about-your-life-now/

This (and past couple of) week(s) are tough. I am trying to use my tools that I discovered to get me back on track so I can write things like I did above.

My toolbox:
Exercise (running & cross-training)
Stress reducing activities (heavy breathing & meditation CDs, bubble baths)
Removing items from my diet that interfere with my mental clarity (sugar, alcohol, most carbs)
Surrounding myself with positive minded individuals and distancing myself from negative minded individuals (For now I am distancing myself from everyone).

Looking forward to returning back to normal soon. Please bear with me

Happiness Project Update

Months ago I wrote this post about happiness. Where are we today?
Stop at least one negative statement about a person place or thing. I can’t say that I have 100% stopped this behavior but I can say that I have gotten a hell of a lot better at controlling my negativity. And when I do let negativity slip out, I notice it right away and a few times retracted my statements in conversations. I have made much headway here and would like to continue this on.  
Wear sunscreen daily.For many weeks I did this, then, I don’t know what happened. First it began as “I don’t plan on going in the sun today anyway” – in which case I ended up going into the sun 9 times out of 10. Now I don’t even think about sunscreen. I need to reset on this goal.
Cut some slack. I have made some improvement here, especially on the home front. I am beginning to sense when someone is just having an off day. I try to not engage in confrontation with them when they act in a way that I do not agree with. With some people it is more of a challenge than others but fortunately I continue to grow here.
Stop being judgmentalI have made some improvements as well. I received some interesting advice from a colleague a few months ago. He mentioned that he too has the tendency to be judgmental. He decided that the best way to conquer this notion is to embrace that which he is judging. He started approaching people he didn’t think he would like. He soon found that those people he had “pre-judged” were actually nice and interesting people. I have started using this approach on a small scale. I now say hi to people I would previously ignore. On a flight I was distraught when I realized I was seated next to a young family with an infant. I tried my hardest to ignore them, just knowing that the baby would be screaming throughout the flight. Sure enough, before we even took off, the baby started crying. A few minutes later she stopped. My fear was unwarranted. I ended up having a nice conversation with the lady. Opening yourself up to others will not only enrich their lives because you are showing a genuine interest in them but also because you are being enriched with knowing someone you didn’t know before.
Breathe and breathe deeply.   
Stop being a debbie downer.This backfired on me a bit. At work I tend to be a problem finder. I see things that are going to go wrong before they go wrong. I most always call attention to these issues; and I am sure there are eyes rolling behind my back. Once I saw a problem, asked about it, was told it wasn’t a problem, it still didn’t seem right to me but I didn’t push the issue as I normally would. Big mistake. I ended up spending one entire weekend (day and night) trying to fix this issue that I “knew” could be a problem. The lesson here is to learn when negativity or conflict is appropriate and use it. In social settings it is ok to let things slide but in work I need to use better judgement.
Stop being a one upper.  This is another category where I have made big improvements but I can still grow more. I think it is more of a self-esteem issue and feeling the need to prove myself. I just need to remember that people like to talk about themselves. Let them do it.
Flossing- This is a better than before category as well. Am I ever going to get myself to floss every single day? Probably not. But if I can get myself to floss 4 times a week, that would be great.

My Happiness Project

I have been reading the book The Happiness Project to look for ideas to bring more happiness to my life. While I am not generally unhappy, I do have many moments of unhappiness and most of them are a direct result of my behavior. With that in mind I used the book to come up with a list of some things I would like to work on.

Stop at least one negative statement about a person place or thing. 

Most of my unhappiness comes from my mouth. When I get frustrated or annoyed with something, or when I am joking around with a group of friends or co-workers, I will blurt out either one or more negative things about a person, place or thing. This is an incredibly bad habit and 99% of the time I feel terrible after the words have come out of my mouth. This will be a tough one for me but it is one I am determined to stop. For now my goal is to stop at least one negative statement a day. In recent practice I haven’t been able to stop all negative statements but I have stopped quite a few. Practice makes perfect, right?

Wear sunscreen daily.

I have had pre-cancerous cells removed in the past due to sun exposure. I no longer lay out in the sun on purpose but I do many outdoor activities. Despite my warning, I still do not wear sunscreen on a daily basis. Sometimes I even skip it when I know I will be doing outdoor activities. Earlier this month I bought a sunscreen that was rated highly for daily use. Since then I have almost daily applied it to my face (despite the greasy feeling). Some days I will even apply it to my arms. It is a goal of mine to make it daily on my arms and face. In addition I will apply to my entire body when full exposure is expected.

Cut some slack 

When someone gives you attitude or is rude to you, cut them some slack. You never know what they are going through – their dog could have recently died. This is a tough one, especially when I am not in my best mood. Why should we hold someone else to a standard that we ourselves cannot uphold? People have bad days….it is nice to cut them some slack.

Stop being judgmental 

I like to pretend that I am open to all people but the truth of the matter is that I make snap judgements. This just needs to stop. Many people prove me wrong. Maybe someone who isn’t talking to me is not “snobby” but is just shy. You never know – give people a chance. I have met the best people when I just open myself up to someone randomly.

Breathe and breathe deeply. 

It is hard to be angry and anxious when you are concentrating on deep breathing. It is a stress reliever. I tend to be a shallow breather so this is especially important for me.

Stop being a debbie downer.

In discussions someone will present an idea and sometimes I immediately go into discredit mode. This happens mostly in the work environment. I understand the evolutionary need for this. Someone in the pack needs to be able to see all the things that can go wrong with a scenario. (exp: We shouldn’t take that route because lions hang out there and lions will kill us). Sometimes it is helpful, but sometimes it is just a road block or just overall negative. I also find when I am in discredit mode I tend to be thinking and not listening. More listening is needed. There will always be time to think through the scenario later.

Stop being a one upper. 

This happens in social gatherings. I am sure my close friends have seen me do this. Someone is having a conversation about some place they went, or something they did, or something they like. I feel the need to either confirm that I did the same thing (find commonality) or express something else to prove that I do stuff too. Sounds really immature but I still have not grown out of this and catch myself doing it constantly. Again the huge issue with this is that I am thinking(or talking) and not listening. I should be listening and validating. Additionally I tend to interrupt the person to get my point across – RUDENESS.

Flossing 

I am not going to lie to myself and believe that I will floss every day; even though that is the ultimate goal. A more attainable goal will be to make sure I floss at least 4 days in a week. Not a perfect goal but it just may be enough to prevent me from losing my teeth. I am already at 2 days this week – yea me.
I would ask my friends and family to help me by calling out when I am straying from my “happiness” tasks, but that would prove to be difficult. One additional item that I have not added to the list (yet) is that I don’t take criticism as well as I think I should. If my friends and family starting “correcting” me, I would just setting them up for some Leala attitude. Yes, this needs to be addressed as well. However I would not like to bite off more than I can chew. All in good time.