25 Jun

7 Ideas for Summer: Let’s Make the Most of It

This week we are going to try something a little different, we a going to post 7 ideas to make the most of your summer. Recipes, stress relievers and a bit of inspiration to make this a great summer!

Tip #1, Fun doesn’t just happen

Plan you time this summer, don’t just hope it turns out well.  We live in Canada and summer is far too short.  If you have children this is a great way to engage everyone.  Ask them to write a list and together you can create a family summer bucket list that can be checked off.

Of course there is an adult version which might include things that bring a bit of child like wonder back into your life.  Go to the drive in and eat that fancy expensive ice cream while you are there.  So create that list and plan for summer 2018 to be the best summer yet!

 

 

 

01 Apr

Happiness: Everyone wants it but how do we know when we have it?

Happiness is likely the number one goal we hear about from our counselling clients.  They want it and have no idea on how they can get it.  Another thing that isn’t always so easy to answer is, How will you know when you have it?

Finding happiness

Happiness is sometimes seen as being a bit elusive.  For some it may feel a bit like a mythical unicorn.  People who have a more positive outlook on life will tell you that they can find happiness even when things are difficult. If our mind is in a negativity rut it can be very challenging to see the good, even when it hits us on the head.

Happiness can be found everywhere, it is in our daily lives and is within us.  From the movie Finding Happiness there are a seven tips on how to be happy.

Choose Joy

Recently a client told me that they were joyful that they got to spend time with a friend who was terminally ill.  They said the time they spent before she died was very special.  They were able to hold joy and feel gratitude despite their grief. Happiness can coexist with other feelings like sorrow.

Choosing joy means planning for happiness, for many it means having faith.  On the site Becoming a Minimalist they share 12 Intentional Actions To Choose Happiness Today. Two that stand out are treating others well and search for benefit in your pain. It is a simple thing but treating others well does not cost a thing.  Perhaps it costs us a bit of patience or a smile but the price is small to bring a bit of kindness into someone’s day.

Looking for the benefits in your pain can be tricky.  You wonder why something happened and may have a “why me” moment but maybe the simpler question is “what is it teaching me?”.  We are surrounded in the teachings of life.

Are we there yet?

There are some subtle signs that you might be experiencing happiness.  You may have a greater sense of wellbeing, you may feel less tension in your body or maybe you catch yourself laughing.  Happiness is not a destination, it can be found in a moment or a day but it is there.  It happens when we hear about a friend’s good fortune or when we share a smile with a stranger on the street.  It might be found at the end of a particularly challenging day or when we dragged ourself out to see a friend for coffee when we were thinking of cancelling.

You’ve Got it, now hold on to it

While we know it can be hard to find, it can stay with us if we choose to hold it near.  A Huffington Post article suggests that we can appreciate the little things and not sweat the small stuff.  The next time you see the sun  on a wintery day or you notice that it’s warm enough to open the sun roof just let yourself be happy.  Enjoy it and let it bring a smile to your face.  It’s yours if only for a single moment.  As the song goes Don’t Worry Be Happy.

08 Oct

There is Power in Positivity: 4 Things To Get You Started

 

There is great power in positivity. Whenever I ask a client what they want to see more of in their life, they seemed stumped.  We are very good at knowing what we don’t want, finding the negative and wanting to dwell on it. It seems to be human nature, the idea that if we can just go over the negative stuff we can find the answer.

The answer really is identifying what brings us joy and spending our day identifying the positive and trying to focus on an abundance of just that.  Let’s face it, being positive has never made anyone feel worse!

Learned optimism is something you can teach yourself. A quick Google search shows that on any given day our brain makes about 35,000 decisions.  Now imagine if those decisions were focused on the positive. We could choose the decision that brings us more joy, the one that makes us feel happier.

Make a Conscious Choice

Every morning when you get up, set your intention for the day.  Is it going to be a good day or are you going to choose stress and negativity? Start by remembering what you are grateful for and that can guide you in setting your intention. It might be that you are grateful for the beautiful fall weather.  That might mean that your intention is to enjoy every moment you get to spend in it.  Maybe park a bit further from the office or step outside for lunch.

Embrace Positivity

Find out what positivity is all about.  Add a few positivity pages to your Facebook likes.  This will populate your Facebook feed with good things when you check it.  You will start to notice that those negative headlines disappear and are replaced with new ideas and ways to be positive.  We like to follow Happify  because they share tips and thoughts to help us bring more happiness into our life. Positive Energy + is another  great page that is filled with inspiring quotes and positive media stories.

Choose You

One of my favourite blogs is Positively Present.  Dani’s tips are simple, honest and very practical. In her article on making positive life choices, she suggests listening to your instinct and doing what is best for you.  How often do you do something that doesn’t feel right but you do it anyway? It may not be the best decision for you but it is the easier choice that won’t ruffle any feathers.

Do Something You Have Never Done Before

Make it fun, do something that you wouldn’t normally do.  Attend an auction, volunteer at a food bank, go see a car race, have your eyebrows shaped, take a cooking class, speak in front of a large group……the list is endless but it has to be unique to you.  If you are one to put everyone before yourself then focus on doing something for you, if you never step outside your comfort zone then take a leap or if you are stuck in a rut and never do anything different then think outside the box. Ask a friend who knows you well for some suggestions and you will be well on your way to a more positive and happier you

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30 Apr

Follow Your Passion: Discovery is the first step

We have all heard the phrase, “just follow your passion.”  That sounds like a way to inspire our lives but is it good advice and how do we know what our passion is?  Finding out what you are truly passionate about takes a little detective work.

If we look more closely at this trend there seems to be two streams of thought.  One is just to jump right into whatever makes your heart sing without consideration for the practicalities of life.  So let’s say I am passionate about chocolate, do I leave my career to work in a chocolate shop?  Considering a few practicalities might be in order.  Am I passionate about chocolate or perhaps I’m really passionate about food.

Expand your ideas and see where it takes you.  Once we go down this rabbit hole the possibilities become endless.  This could involve opening a restaurant, creating a home based business, taking a chocolate course or traveling somewhere and exploring new food that we might love as much as chocolate.

We can find passion in our everyday if we look hard enough and are willing to try something a bit different.  Volunteer to take on a new project or do something for co workers that makes you happy and shares your passion.  Spread that feeling of happiness and watch it grow.

Don’t discount ideas that seem unrealistic.  Work with them and think about how you could make them fit.  Think to the future and explore possibilities.  To explore this idea further The Muse looks at 6 Fresh Ways to Find Your Passion.

Being passionate can test our comfort zone and tolerance for change.  As humans we are often filled with excuses for why we can’t do things.  What is the barrier standing in your way?  Fear, financial security, what people might think?

Oprah magazine is always there to help us in these times of uncertainty with articles like How To Find Your Passion and The Secret to Finding Your Passion. The authors lead us to ask ourselves questions and find themes in our life that help us find out what keeps us interested and what makes us happy.  No expensive tests needed, just explore your soul, find your passion and you’re on your way to a new adventure!

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24 Aug

Cultivating Happiness: Make a Choice

ti_graphics_happierpeopleWhile setting goals in counselling sessions, clients often state they want to be happy.  For some it can be difficult to imagine what that would look like or how they can get there. For some they cannot remember what happiness feels like.

In the above infographic from Tech Insider they share  9 things that happier people have in common.

Happiness doesn’t just happen, it is means setting goals and putting the work in.  One of the 9 things is spending time with close friends.  Putting yourself out there can be challenging but by picking up the phone or sending that text and asking to get together the rewards are enormous. Take action and be an active participant in your own happiness.

In a society where our culture focuses on things, change your way of thinking and instead of spending your money on stuff use your resources wisely and invest in experiences. In childhood if we are asked about our favourite memories they seldom involve material things.  Childhood memories are about that family camping trip, impromptu meals with friends, swimming in the neighbour’s pool or maybe playing cards or board games on a rainy day.  Focus on what matters and do what brings joy into your life.

In the article 10 Ways To Achieve True Happiness the steps are simple.  Care more about yourself by knowing your own worth.  You are valuable and the opinions of others don’t need to be given so much power.

Spending time doing what makes you happy is one area that many of us can go wrong.  As adults we don’t have as much fun as we used to.  Evidence to support this is the increase in adult focused programming with the “fun” component highlighted.  Paint Night with friends, adult summer camps, color runs and spending the afternoon driving a race car. There is a consumer market of adults yearning for a bit of childhood type fun.

Whatever your idea of fun is, take the time to do it. It doesn’t just happen, it means making conscious choices and putting your happiness first. People love being around happy people.  This week in Canada we celebrated the life of am iconic Canadian rock group.  The outcome was people across the country on a hot summer night in public parks watching their final concert, or at a backyard barbeque with outdoor screens, people really just coming together to find happiness in what could be viewed as a time of sorrow. Whatever you do choose well, choose happiness and you will not be disappointed.

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