Monday, December 13, 2010

Merry Blissmas - Everyday happiness

Yes, that's right Blissmas - An everyday celebration of happiness, joy and love = Blissmas!

Over the course of the year we tend to wait until this time of year to celebrate the abundance of joy and happiness in our lives. Why is that? We celebrate with lavish gifts and too much food. Why not break it all down over the course of the year and feel joy and abundance daily?

To be aware of the effects of celebrating “Blissmas” every day begin sharing more of your own happiness and passion with others. Quite possibly you will increase the happiness level of the people in your life, even in the lives of people you don't know - the Bliss Effect!

Not sure how to begin? Take baby steps. Start learning the habits of happy people, then incorporate some of those habits into your own life. Studies have shown that it takes a minimum of 21 days to make "something" a habit and that those habits take practice. Star athletes, musicians, and dancers, practice, practice, practice. Be the star of your own team and practice being happy.

Below is a list of 6 common habits of happy people.

- Be grateful - We ALL have something to be grateful for; like food, clothing, heat, children, snow days, smiles, music, partners, lovers. You get the point. Write a gratitude journal and say thank you more often.

- Savor simple pleasures - When was the last time you sat in a park and watched the birds or listened to children playing on the play ground? Stop for a few minutes a day to enjoy and savor the simple pleasures of life, nature is full of wonder and amazement.

- Join in - Be a part of "something", engage yourself in a cause, a club, a city council, a religious group. Participate in something you believe in.

- Love yourself - It's essential for being a happy person. To truly love anyone, we must love ourselves first. Create a self-love appreciation list and look at it often.

- Surround yourself with happy, supportive people - Choose like minded people to connect with. Positive energy is contagious. Your happiness level will increase simply by being around happy people.

- Ease up - Don't beat yourself up on the off days. We all have them. Give yourself permission to feel crabby, angry, frustrated. Simply allow it to move through you and reconnect with those moments of joy, happiness, and gratitude.

Live your bliss. We were born to be happy and are here to dream big and make those dreams a reality. Enjoy the trip by being as happy as possible and share that joy with those whose lives you touch.

Merry Blissmas to all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time to listen

Rick Schaefer, M.D. posted this quote by Al Guyant on his blog, "The top three rules of effective communication are listen, listen, listen." It is a powerful blog and he offers the top ten ideas that Mr. Guyant suggests using for better listening. I've added some of my own, below.

Jeff (my husband) and I have been practicing mindfulness, meditation and deep listening at the Detroit Lotus Sangha in Ferndale. Detroit Lotus follows the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, who offers a simple yet profound way of being present in the world. When we began the process we realized that we really didn't listen deeply. Most of us get so caught up in what's happening in our own minds that we pretend to be listening, with simple responses like, "oh, wow, and uh-huh". I know - I do it.

Listening is a skill that we can learn, and "good-listening" will enhance the quality of every relationship, whether personal or professional; your loved ones will realize that you really care and your clients/customers will appreciate that you actually pay attention to their wants and needs. Think about how you like to be treated and you'll know that this feels true.

Here are 8 tips to begin practicing being a better listener. Don't forget to take time to listen to yourself.

1. Be sure to allow enough time for the conversations you share - remember it's a conversation and allow ample time for BOTH parties to converse

2. Be present - keep yourself tuned in to the moment

3. Minimize outside distractions

4. Focus on what they are saying

5. Don't think about what YOU want to say

6. Ask questions, the basics: who, what, where, why, when and how

7. When you ask a question, be patient for the response. Don’t anticipate what you think the response will be

8. Don't give advice unless you are asked

Every day I catch myself not practicing these suggestions (a few years ago, I wouldn't have) especially number 8, particularly when I'm talking with my children. It's my nature to want to solve their problems and see them shine. Simply being aware of the moment that you really need to "be present" in a conversation is a great way to begin.

Here's to sharing your bliss and being heard!