All Articles Tagged "happiness"
Nothing can shake up an otherwise wonderful marriage like financial distress. The Institute for Divorce Financial Analysis cites “money issues” as the third leading cause of divorce. However, financial difficulty doesn’t have not have to mean that the end is near for you and your sweetie.
According to a recent study, which was published in the Journal of Personal Relationships, simple expressions of gratitude have the power to “protectively buffer marital quality from the negatives effects of financial stress.”
“We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last,” said the study’s co-author Ted Futris, who is an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Data for the study was collected through a telephone survey during which 468 married individuals were quizzed about their financial well-being, expressions of spousal gratitude and demand/withdrawal communication. Researchers found that expressed gratitude between spouses was “the most consistent significant predictor of marital quality.”
“It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,'” said the study’s lead author Allen Barton, who is a postdoctoral research associate at UGA’s Center for Family Research. “Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.”
Perhaps a “thank-you” per day helps to keep the divorce attorney away?
“Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability,” Futris continued. “When couples are stressed about making ends meet, they are more likely to engage in negative ways–they are more critical of each other and defensive, and they can even stop engaging or withdraw from each other, which can then lead to lower marital quality.”
For this particular study, gratitude was measured regarding the degree to which participants felt appreciated by their spouse, valued by their spouse, and acknowledged when they did something right.
“All couples have disagreements and argue,” Futris said. “And, when couples are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments. What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”
Food for thought.
by Penny Jones-Richardson
What does happiness look like to you? Do you wake up every morning thinking about how happy your life is? Truth is, not many of us do. Most people go through life looking for ways and situations that will make them happy. The definition of happiness means many different things to different people. To me, happiness is spending time with family over meals and good times. We laugh, eat, play games and talk about old times.
But for some people happiness is something that they seek. Happy days and happy times consist of going away from the everyday stress of a busy life. Happiness for them is something that is found or an adventure.
Here are five ways I use in my practice for clients to identify their level of happiness. It is not the only tool I use to measure one’s happiness, but the results are sometimes astonishing.
- Are you following your dreams? Many people find their happiest days when they are doing things that make them feel good about themselves. When a person spends time reaching for goals and doing things to better their situation, these individuals tend to be more often quite happy.
- Do you have quiet time? This may come as a surprise, but spending quiet time is essential for one’s happiness. During this time most people are able to block out negative thoughts and listen to what their hearts are saying. Also during this time, you can reflect on what it is that will make you happy in your life right now. Quiet time can be resting, reading, bathing or doing nothing at all.
- Is there too much stress in your life? OK, everybody knows how too much stress is never good for you. But did you know that people who deal with lots of stress in their lives are generally not happy people? Stress brings on many different things, including unhappiness. Try your best to get rid of stress and watch how happiness will soon follow.
- Do you hang around happy people or people who are always unhappy? Ever find yourself hanging around someone who is always talking about how miserable her life is? These are the people who always seem to have something negative to say about everything around them. If you ask them how their day is going, they’re sure to tell you about all the bad things that seem to be bringing them down. Be careful and remember to watch the company you keep! Negativity is like a virus; if you’re around it too much, you will catch it.
- Are you getting enough sun? I usually need proof that something works. But after reading the effects sunshine has on people and experiencing this first hand, I truly know this is real. I find myself really happy when the sun is shining bright and I am out enjoying it. The sun does many things for people, but the mood change affect is amazing. If you don’t believe it, try it for yourself.
And, as always, stay focused, stay determined and keep striving for greatness.
From BLC Life
If you tell a lie to yourself, but no one else is around to hear it, does it count? As ridiculous as that sounds, it seems as though there are things that we’re willing to stay in denial about. Chances are that since we lie to ourselves, it’s easier to get away with certain follies because we don’t have to be accountable to anyone but ourselves.
I don’t think its a necessarily a bad thing, but it might not be the best thing either. Here’s a list of things that some people lie to themselves about.
How many times have you heard someone tell you to act your age? Yes, maturity is important but there’s nothing wrong with a little jovial behavior from time to time. In fact, it could be just what the doctor ordered. Stop walking these streets all uptight and learn to chill out. Here are some reasons why embracing your inner child is actually a good thing.
Wouldn’t life be great if we could wake up daily in a joyful mood and move through the day without losing an ounce of that joy? Okay, maybe we could lose an ounce or two, but for the most part we would remain pretty happy. The thought of it feels good to me. I think that would be bliss.
But we all know that finding and maintaining joy just isn’t that easy; especially when you are a busy mom with a ton and her plate. For many busy moms, adding more joy to each day can prove to be quite tough. After all, who has time to worry about joy when you have work to do, bills to pay, kids to raise, and places to be. Of course, we all know how important joy is, but achieving it consistently can seem impossible.
Yet, here is what we all must acknowledge and embrace as mothers; moving through life feeling weighed down and depleted is no way to live. It’s not just bad for us, but it can really do damage to our kids. You see, the way we live life teaches them a lot about how to live life. Do you want your kids to grow up thinking that joyful living is some elusive dream? Don’t you want them to feel like joy is attainable?
So, when life is too much to bear and you just want to crawl under a rock and take a 20-hour nap, how on earth do you add more joy to your day? It isn’t always easy, but I think these suggestions are a start. Doing these things doesn’t make life perfect, and it won’t fix any major dilemmas you face in an instant, but it sure will leave you with days that have a lot more joy and a lot more hope. You’ll take that, right? I know I sure will.
18 Ways to Add More Joy To Your Day
As cliché as it might sound, you really need to count your blessings. Far too many people focus on everything bad that happens in their lives instead of the good. Here’s a little secret: nothing is guaranteed. You can be here today and gone tomorrow.
The time has come to get back to the basics when it comes to having a grateful heart. Here are some things you shouldn’t take for granted.
Lesson 1: “When the Angry Black Woman Is You! Post Traumatic Love Disorder?”
“Ever since I learned there was something called a colored girl, an evil woman, a bitch or a nag, I’ve been trying not to be that. Leave bitterness in somebody else’s cup.” ~Ntozake Shange
“You sure didn’t get that angry black woman gene!” he said, grinning.
“Angry black woman gene?” I repeated. He was bold for a first date. I moved my silver stilettos under the table.
“Yeah,” he explained. “All the black woman I meet seem pissed.”
Of course, every sister reading this is asking, how dare he?! Unfortunately, this man was not alone. I have heard this (often) from love coaching clients.
Homeboy didn’t see me a few years earlier.
When my marriage ended I was woeful — and mad as hell. My heart was shattered. I was in real emotional pain and saw no way out. It felt like it was me against the world. I didn’t go as far as declaring that I didn’t need a man, but I proceeded as if ‘I could do bad by myself’ and ended up hurting others.
So, hell yeah, I was angry. I am also black, a woman and human.
Hollywood tries to stereotype us as an angry black monolith. Our dignified first lady can barely look down at her nails without folks calling it an eye roll.
So what happens when we are angry, black and bitter. Often nothing. We heap hurt on top of pain on top of heartbreak. We lead with our righteous scabs, unable to let love out — or in. We either attract men who are vibrating at the same low level of energy or we can’t accept those coming to us with something different.
When anger is your shield it becomes a wall. This looks different depending on who’s experiencing it. Some women are pissed at the world. Others turn the anger inward as depression. We live it as chronic stress and anxiety or try to stuff it down with food, drugs, sex, alcohol and even religion.
After I noticed this very real trauma in enough of my relationship coaching clients I gave it a name: “PTLD, Post Traumatic Love Disorder.” Soldiers as well as assault and rape victims experience PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a normal reaction after surviving the traumatic ravages of life-changing war.
PTLD occurs after a devastating love event, an incident that may trigger childhood issues. We feel betrayed, broken or abandoned. Then we take this energy forward, living and dating like love zombies and the walking wounded.
So how do you heal for the sake of your spirit and future relationships?
Here’s how to move forward:
1. Learn how to feel your feelings.
We are terrified to really feel our feelings. We fear that if we lean into the anger, sadness, loneliness, that we’ll never make it out. I am asking you to have faith in Something Greater Than You that you will. If you’ve been through a devastating breakup you need to first grieve the loss. The pain is similar to drug withdrawal because the chemicals our bodies create in love are opiates. Cry, scream, yell, feel it out.
2. Practice extreme self care.
You have experienced a trauma. You need to get grounded, connected and back into your body. It takes time before a bombed out shell can be a bombshell again. Re-parent yourself. Your parents did the best they could but now it’s your turn. Practice self compassion with healthy eating, yoga, meditation or a new dance class.
3. Give yourself closure with forgiveness.
Healing takes time. You may not ever understand why a situation took place. It’s not your job to interpret someone else’s behavior. Your objective is getting back to being the best you. For your mental health you will (eventually) need to forgive anyone else involved. However, you need to first take responsibility for your choices in the situation and forgive yourself.
4. Choose connection over isolation.
Post Traumatic Love Disorder can feel like you’re in the middle of a tornado. If you focus only on your problems you will keep going around in the tornado. You have to see the outside to free yourself.
Sadness causes many of us to retreat. We stay alone with our sorrows then lash out. This is the wrong approach. Of course you don’t want to weigh down those around you but your loved ones want to have your back.
5. Get help, chica.
If someone pokes you and venom comes out, it’s not because they poked you. It’s because that’s what was inside of you. Find a therapist, coach or support group to help you.
Heal this hurt so that you can have a healthy, loving, romantic relationship moving forward with a partner who deserve the true queen that is you!
This Week’s Homework:
Complete these questions in a notebook. You may want to form a Love School Playgroup with your friends to do these assignments.
Take 5 deep, cleansing breaths to get centered and begin.
1. What love traumas am I carrying around? Who am I still a “victim” of?
2. Who would I be if this never happened?
3. Because it is too painful I avoid feeling…
4. If I released this victimhood I might…
5. The kind of love I deserve is…
Healing Affirmation: “I am worth loving.”
Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, evolved sexuality and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to JET and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Find love class worksheets, advice videos, coaching, and more at “Abiola’s Love University www.AbiolaTV.com. Email questions to kissandtell@abiolaTV.com or tweet @abiolaTV or #loveclass.
I’m not in control of my happiness. That is the theory that I accepted for a very long time.
It appeared that whenever things were going too well, for too long, some unknown force would ultimately descend upon me and effortlessly snatch away any feelings of well-being I was experiencing. I attributed this abduction of my happiness to the fact that I had merely exceeded my “happiness quota.” Essentially, the universe just wasn’t going to let me get too happy. I deduced that I had a happiness limit and if I came too close to that limit, or God forbid exceeded it, the universe would be forced to cut me down to size, humble me and remind me who was in charge.
Believe me, I had very good reasons to believe this far-fetched theory. One example of an swift and forceful response to an overabundance of happiness happened in March of 2012. During the first few months of 2012, things had been going very well for me: my career was zooming forward at the speed of light, I was six months pregnant and excited to meet my new bundle of joy, and my personal relationships were flourishing. Things were going really well. But as usual, this feeling of “well-being” would prove to be short-lived.
I remember commenting to a friend that I sensed I was getting too close to my “happiness quota.” “You know, things can’t be too good for too long,” I told her. She scoffed at me and replied that I was just being paranoid, (I mean who really believes that their happiness is rationed out by some mythical energy source that rules the universe? … Me, that’s who.)
Within a week of that ominous conversation, the biggest life-changing incident that has ever happened in my life took place. I accidentally ran over my then two-year-old daughter with the family car and was subsequently run over myself after throwing my six month pregnant body under the vehicle in an effort to save her.
This horrific accident not only put me well below my perceived quota, it left a far greater impact on my life. Happiness seemed to eluded me. Though my daughter made a complete recovery (after days in the ICU and numerous fractures and bruises) and my unborn child was born beautiful and healthy as well, that incident implanted doubt and fear as my new constant companions. My daughter’s life was almost lost due to my negligence and my psyche responded with almost OCD like tendencies. I would check, recheck, and check again to make sure that my children were present and accounted for when in the car, even if I understood that I had taken all the appropriate safety precautions a mere seconds earlier. Anytime I was away from them I was preoccupied with wondering if they were OK. I began to have frequent and brutal panic attacks that came and went as they pleased.
Eventually, with therapy and a great life coach, I was able to come out of that space. Through intense counseling I have learned that I was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a common reaction to a situation as awful as what I had experienced. That situation also “turned up” my current bipolar disorder symptoms, which at the time were undiagnosed. The effects of trauma on your mental health are well documented and something that today I know a great deal about.
Through it all, the greatest lesson that I learned was that I deserved to be happy; that my happiness doesn’t have a cap. After the hard work and dedication to my mental health that I had to commit to, I finally understood that there’s work necessary sometimes to be happy and content. No, it wasn’t easy pulling myself out of that slump but if I allowed myself to stay in that space I would certainly still be there now. Once I accepted that there was no theoretical force keeping my joy at bay, it was easier to also accept that the only thing keeping me from being happy was me.
Ish Happens!! It’s how you react to these occurrences that makes the difference. I now recognize that the lows that regularly came soon after my highs were in part due to an undiagnosed bipolar disorder, and that the chronic sadness that always triumphed over spurts of happiness was in fact depression.
Sometimes life has a way of making us believe that everything is working against us. We believe that we are not worthy of the good things that life has to offer. For years I truly believed that there was a finite limit to my happiness. Today I live by the motto: no one can want something for you more than you want it for yourself. With this in mind I have thrown away the notion of a happiness quota. I want limitless happiness. I want to end the fear that has historically preempted the happy moments in my life, and I now command my journey to be one of unbounded joy and optimism. I accept my role in achieving such a feat and I revel in the notion of grasping happiness and not letting go. I implore you to do the same.
Visit the author’s Facebook Fan Page for more information and resources: Facebook.com/MyManicMemoirs
When was the last time you pleasured yourself? No, I don’t mean the kind that some people thinks grows hair on your palms or makes you go blind. I’m asking: when was the last time you purposefully did something for yourself that brought you pleasure? Not happiness. Not contentment. Not satisfaction. But pure unadulterated pleasure. I bet you can’t remember, can you?
And if you’re a mother, I already know what you’re going to say, “What’s pleasure?”
Girl, you and I both know it’s been more than a minute since you even thought to think about doing something pleasurable for yourself. Well, I’m not here to chastise. I’m here to challenge.
Mothers of the world, I double-dog dare you to indulge in self pleasure. Start pleasuring yourselves!
That’s right! I want you to give yourself the gift you so deserve. Pleasure, my dear Sister Mothers, is our birthright. And it’s high time that you got some!
You see, pleasure is not just external. It’s not just about the manual manipulation of some body part. Experiencing the sensation of pleasure is also a mindset. Meaning, just about anything can take you to the heights and depths of pleasure if you allow it to. For example, one of the things that I do to reach that height is treat myself to the delectable combination that is a Toblerone candy bar and a small order of unbuttered, lightly-salted popcorn. You have no idea just how good this experience is for me!! This treat occurs on the rare occasion that I get to go to the movies, which makes it even more pleasurable for me (I do love my babies, but sometimes Momma needs a break!). There is just something about the moment when that candy bar and popcorn come together in my mouth that makes my eyes roll back into my head. Everything around me goes silent and I allow myself the full sensation of pleasure that eating those two things together brings. I do my best to stifle the moan that wants to escape my mouth with every bite. I don’t always succeed, though, which makes for some interesting stares from those seated near me. Ha!
I also fall into a pleasurable state when a good song comes on Pandora. If I’m at home when it happens, I allow my body to move the way it wants to move. Sometimes that’s a sensual full-body undulation and other times it’s a frenetic display of whatever movement my body wants in that moment. I lose myself in the music! And if I’m driving when I hear a good song, I can’t turn the volume up loud enough. My steering wheel becomes a drum that I begin to play and I envision myself smack dab in the middle of a music video I imagine for the song, starring me, of course. I’m sure my fellow drivers are looking at me like I’m crazy, but I don’t care…I’m in my pleasure zone! Another way that I experience indescribable pleasure is by being completely present with my sons. All I need to do is watch, listen and be with them and whatever they’re doing (excepts tantrums of course) and I am whisked away to the Land of Innocence & Joy. Their enthusiasm for even the simple task of stuffing magnetic letters into the cab of their dump truck is so mesmerizing and precious. I could watch them play for hours. Or when they break out into fits of laughter from either something they or I are doing. My whole body smiles when that happens! The pleasure they get from discovering and learning fuels my own pleasure center. Motherhood has to be one of my greatest sources of pleasure these days. I’ve given you some examples of how I experience pleasure as a way to encourage you to find your own pleasure center and now. It’s not as hard as you might imagine and it’s necessary. Because a mother who is connected to her own pleasure adds to the tapestry of love and possibility that ALL mothers are committed to. Not only for ourselves and our children, but also for our world. Those of us mothers who are in the trenches doing the healing work on self that we know will set us free are the foundation of change that is so needed in our world today. So giving yourself pleasure is not a selfish act at all. Your joy is the seed that blossoms into the joy of everyone around you. Your experience of pleasure, in all of its delicious forms, can positively affect everything and everyone you come in contact with.
Now that you know what’s at stake, will you accept my challenge? Are you ready for the adventure?
How will you pleasure yourself today?
If you live long enough you realize that life isn’t always a walk in the park, but if you’re wise you realize that it’s all about what you make of it. Still, let’s be honest. Even the most optimistic person has moments when they forget how to be happy. And if you’re not one of those ‘glass half full’ type of people, it’s even harder for you to step into and maintain your happy space.