Thursday, May 16, 2013

Happiness is a State of Mind!

I recently read an article that said that as you get older you get happier. I tend to agree with this. As I become older, wiser and bolder I find that I am happier. There are some simple reasons for this. The first one can get you in trouble – but as I grow and become more confident I realize that issues that used to send me over the top don’t faze me now – maybe because I know that I am so much more in control than when I was 20. As a child everything makes you happy (unless your parents take away your “candy.”) In your teens, you get to drive and have freedom for the first time. In your 20’s you are ready to take over the world and know more than anyone so it is easy to be happy. In your 30’s it is your first big promotion, possibly getting married, having kids, buying that first home or following your dreams whatever they may be and wherever they may lead. But let’s focus on those next decades where some people and even some of my friends worry about getting older. I love getting older – it is better than the alternative! So here are some thoughts for being happy at any age. 40’s – you are young yet and still trying to figure out all the possibilities that life has to offer you in your career and personal life. For some their lives are expanding and their circle of friends and family is bigger. With all the new responsibility of growing households, job enhancements and daily pressure there is some fear, guilt and worry about the future. Solution – Learn to take on just what you can handle. I always remember at this age wondering why the neighbors had a bigger house, drove better cars and the wives never worked while I was busting my (you know what) to bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. My husband always calmed me down by repeating his famous saying, “things aren’t always as they seem.” Some of these people were living way beyond their means and therefore happiness was cut short when sooner than later they would lose their house or downsize because they couldn’t live within their means – so don’t worry about keeping up with the “Joneses” just keep up with yourself and be happy! 50’s – Here is to old friends and new starts. For some in this group you have lost your parents and you are learning to cope with this new chapter in your life. You may be grandparents realizing how much fun it is to have your grandbaby for the weekend and then they get to go home. You start to have more time. Yoga becomes exciting, you run your first marathon, and learn that making up is much better than fighting. There is some stress in coping with all these changes in your health, dealing with aging parents and the possibility of your adult children suffering with job losses and personal issues. Solution – get in touch with old friends – use Facebook to find all your high school and college friends. If you are married or in a partnership, celebrate that you still have this person in your life to travel with, laugh and cry with. You are not alone. If you are not in a relationship or just ending one – look beyond today. There is someone for all of us whether in friendship or love – don’t sit back – go find them. 60’s – Peace at last. I hear from my friends in this generation that they are filled with gratitude for what they have. Thankful for their long standing relationships, grown children and more time for themselves. Those that can go with the flow find that their life is much easier than the ones that are so focused on living their life from an Outlook Calendar as they did when they worked. There is still stress – issues with the grown children, chronic health problems and the realization that your life has changed for good. There is no more alarm clocks, worry about the next presentation and should you really keep the “big house.” Solution – go with the flow. Discuss your thoughts, concerns and problems with your spouse or partner and your kids if you have them. Be open and honest. Don’t try to be everything to all people. You have paid your dues and the clubhouse is open – enjoy the party! Money and Happiness In my book “Living without Balance and Loving It” I talk about money and happiness. I have always been told that money can’t buy you happiness but I always say that “happiness can’t buy you a house.” There are facts now that show that stress is reduced if you make a decent living – whatever that is for you. Worry about money causes stress at any age. So be smart while you are young and save – save – save. Then your 60’s and beyond will be even happier!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spin your weakness around! We all have weaknesses. The real struggle with these weaknesses is first admitting where you fall short. Whether it is in the service or product you sell or the in personal service you deliver. When was the last time you received any feedback? Was the feedback observable? Recently I sat in a workshop and observed people from different countries give each other feedback. The honest, sincere and authentic ideas they shared with each other were enlightening. They took every weakness and showed the person they were giving feedback to how to turn things around to be more positive. While I was at this session I took a Yoga Class and the instructor spoke on the same topic. She reminded each of us that the negative thoughts in our head can be devastating to our wellbeing. She used the example of a? If you straighten out the “hook” of the question mark (which can be negative – always questioning something) to an exclamation mark (!), you will you become more excited in life!