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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 7

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Smile! Grinning, even if you don't feel happy, releases serotonin in the brain, instantly lifts your mood and makes you feel better.

I try to do this as much as possible. Often, I am seen as weird stocker lady when I do emoticon. But it is true. Smiling makes you feel better, which can put the people you are with at ease

Here's an example. Recently, I went to a chain store. The poor lady behind the desk was dealing with a bunch of jerk customers. The line was slow, the process was slow, the computers were slow... and I was at the end of the line. I could have been grumpy bitch customer, but I opted to show some sympathy to the poor employee. It is not her fault that the computer made an error. It is not her fault that another customer bought the wrong size, product, color that needs to be returned. It's not her fault that the only manager on the floor had to deal with several issues at the same time and was running around getting everything done.

When I got up to the counter, she started the transaction by apologizing. I stopped her right then, smiled, and told her it was okay. Just take your time and we'll get the problem fixed. By the end of the exchange, I had my credit duly made to my account. She had done her job perfectly and we were both happier for it. I thanked her smiled again and she reached out patted my hand and thanked ME for being so nice.

"Plus, smiling people are viewed as sincere, attractive, and sociable."

Last Saturday I was sitting by myself at the bar of a local restaurant. Seemed like all my friends were out and about and I felt like not being home alone, so I wasn't. I could have easily ignored everyone around me. But I smiled at everyone who came and went while I was watching the football game and flirting (not seriously because he was maybe 25) with the bartender. Had I not chatted and smiled with the people close to me, I would have never seen the young lady I used to work with 8 years ago. We had a great chat, caught up on gossip and life.

By smiling at strangers, I have met some amazing people. I have made tiring situations tollerable. It has made days that can be lonely, wonderful.

The more you smile, the more smiles you’ll see in return.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANTISHANTI 11/11/2011 1:38PM

    emoticon...gotta remember to do this on an hourly basis.

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BOBINVA 11/9/2011 11:49AM


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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 6 (one day late...)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Find meaningful work.

I know that I need to re-evaluate how I do my job. It's an okay job, but I need to be more organized at it. Seems like I'm always playing catch up and the piles of paperwork on my desk are beginning to not only look bad, but get really frustrating.

We were asked by our CEO last week to come up with a "Mission Statement" for our postion and goals and objectives for our department departments.

(Once again, I think that SparkPeople is spying on me!!)

Part of what I will include in my plan will be "A positive attitude and a focus on the meaning behind your work more rewarding. "

What I do won't change the world. I don't save lives or cure cancer or anything like that. My job is running the Course Rating (Handicapping for Golf Courses) Department. It affects every member of the Oregon Golf Association (about 42,000 people). My job is to train and recruit my pool of volunteers, organize and assess all courses to be rated, conduct and release ratings for 30+ golf courses a year, and be sure that all information is as updated and as current as possible.

I found a great article on "Happiness At Your Job Through A Higher Purpose"

"Without such purpose, all you have are miserable, lowly, repetitive, unrewarding tasks. With purpose, you lead a high and noble life that is filled with meaning and purpose and value."

I need to re-evaluate and re-purpose my attitude for my job. I know that will make the days easier to wake up, get ready and drive to a job where I have purpose.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DTSOBEL 11/8/2011 2:06PM

    Making any job more meaningful is important. I am glad you are finding a purpose.

I need to work on those piles of papers on my desk too.

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ALASKASKY 11/8/2011 6:01AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BOBINVA 11/7/2011 8:58PM

    Volunteer? It can be pretty meaningful.

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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~Day 5

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Take action. It boils down to this, if there is something in your life that you don't like, make a plan, take charge and change it.

Some days I think the staff at SparkPeople are spying on me!?!

I have never been good at housekeeping/organizing. My apartment has gotten totally out of control to the point where I didn't want to come home. It was so overwhelming that I didn't know where to start. Living in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome) was taxing me to my soul.

A friend of mine suggested FlyLady . The system is a bit like SparkPeople in that you start with small steps and build. I started with the "shine your sink" philosophy. I make sure every night before I go to bed that my dishes are done and the sink is clean.

It's amazing how it just builds from there. Wash sink, clean counter, fold the clothes you were going to wait until one tomorrow or another came up.

When I'm done with the sink, I set up breakfast, get my gym bag and lunch ready for the next day. I sleep a bit better with the knowledge that I can relax a little in the morning and not run around like a chicken who can't find her cut off head.

Today I took an extra step an cleaned out my closet of clothes that are too big, or that I just won't wear. First time through and I took 3 giant bins of clothes to Dress for Success. It's a program that trains and finds jobs for women who are returning to work. Wether stay at home moms re-entering work world or people coming back from addiction or injury, the program provides training and professional clothing for women who need a hand up. I felt so good bringing all those clothes, good, clean,business attire, that I can't wear anyway. All it was doing was slowing me down and clogging up my closets. Now I can see what I have, what I need to get, and what is available. I feel better and I got to help someone.

I still have a long way to go. But I have hope. And I'm looking foreword to the day I can have
friends over again.

Part of my Take Action initiative will also be re-evaluating my goals and methods of getting healthy. I know that slow is the best way to go. But I've been making too many excuses. I have come too far to stop now. I know that I can maintain, but I still have more to lose and more exercise goals to meet.

So there it is SparkFriends. New plan coming soon. I'd do it now, but I have to remember Day 2s blog and get to sleep. It's almost 11:30! And I have planning to do tomorrow!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANTISHANTI 11/11/2011 1:39PM

    Make a plan, take charge and change simple yet I make it so complicated at times. Awesome!!!

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BOBINVA 11/6/2011 5:16PM

    If we keep moving forward, no matter the pace, we will make progress.

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ERIKO1908 11/6/2011 5:11PM

    I suffer from CHAOS too!! I reside on the edge of it...not a fun place to be...Good luck on these changes you are making. I've clicked to follow FlyLady on Twitter, but haven't gotten much further than that...HUGS to you!! Happy Sparking!!

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TINATC26 11/6/2011 7:55AM

    Gretchen, I love this blog!! I love CHAOS!! Well, I don't love it, but I love the name and am afraid I suffer from so much of the same!

Keep up the good work, my friend, it is helping you AND inspiring me! You know, many years ago, I had a thought about the very work Dress for Success is doing! I think I might even have found out about it, and was looking around to see if I could find a place to put one..then life changed again and I forgot about it, until just now.. hmmm....

Off to my Sunday, my friend, but a great big thank you for a great blog!!

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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 4

Friday, November 04, 2011

Cultivate Friendships!!! OOOoooh I like this one!

I am single and live 3000 miles from my nearest (blood) family member. So holidays, birthdays, special events, COULD be pretty lonely. My last job, Bartender at a golf course (local blue collar course, not country club) I met tons of people and was 'adopted' into several families. My best friend and her husband are my family here in Oregon. I have spent many a holiday dinner, picnic, vacation with both of their respective families. As a matter of fact, I will be going to Disneylad with them and their two girls (my 'nieces') in January.

I also belong to a group called Meet in Portland ( which is a free, online, social networking club based out of most metropolitan areas around the WORLD. I haven't spent too much time with them in the last year, but have decided that I need to get out for more adult companionsip too.

It's true, fostering relationships, spending time with friends, getting out and about is wonderful for the soul. I did have to stop going to certain events where drinking and eating were the main focus. I had to learn how to go out and be healthy, without being boring. Now that I am comfortable going to an ice cream social and getting a single scoop instead of a big ole sundae dripping with chocolate sauce, I can go out and enjoy my friends and my friendships more often.

And that makes me happy. Which makes me want to eat healthy. Which makes me want to work out. Which makes me happy....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOBINVA 11/5/2011 10:09PM

    Connecting with people. Forming bonds and relationships where you can share your thought and feelings with them.

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CHRYS13 11/5/2011 1:49PM

    Wonderful! I'm so pleased for you.....and thrilled that you have an "adoptive" family!
Smiles and happiness to you, my friend!

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NURSESUSIE51 11/5/2011 1:38PM

    Today is my day to catch up with blogs. I'm enjoying your series and look forward to your 30 day journey.

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ERIKO1908 11/5/2011 12:52PM

    This is an area that is tough for included. I'm happy to hear that you have been adopted into those wonderful families!! Good luck on getting back out to the meet in's!! :)

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SEAJESS 11/4/2011 6:24PM

    Please comment more on being a friend. I'm not very good at that, I'm afraid.... hoping to learn.

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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 3

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Develop your spirituality.

This one is kind of tough for me. I don't belong to a church. I don't have religion. I guess I'd be considered more of an agnostic than an atheist. I believe that there is a power that guides us as human beings. I'm not sure if there is an afterlife. I am not against religion. I support other people's beliefs. I just haven't had 'the calling'. And yes, I have searched, I have prayed, I have read, researched, attended and discussed.

But that is where I like this Day 3 entry. It isn't about religion. It says 'Develop you spirituality.' Yes, there is a difference between Spirituality and Religion. "Spirituality is the art and science of self-realization. It's a practice of knowing each part of your body. Being spiritual means awakening the very spirit of being who you are." Here's a pretty good article on the difference between spirituality and religion:

I will always remember the most spiritual event I ever had. Several years ago, I was hiking with friends in the mountains near Wenatchee, WA. Years before, there had been a massive wildfire that nearly destroyed the whole forest. We were walking over a rise into a clearing and I was suddenly overcome. I had to stop. I couldn't breathe for a moment. There was no panic, no fear. I started to breathe again. Looked around at the burned out disintegration trees still lying on the forest floor. The new trees growing around. The flowers blooming, moss and lichen spreading. The flora and fauna beginning again. It was the renewal of life in this forest. The cycle of life, death and rebirth. And it washed over me and filled me with a peace that I had never known before.

I have described this event to a very dear friend of mine who is a Franciscan Priest. He told me that it is very close to the same feeling that he had when he went to Medjugorje.

I need to find a way to get that feeling back. I need to find that peace again. Looks like I'll be doing some searching this month!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANTISHANTI 11/11/2011 1:47PM

    May I recommend yoga, again!!! I have found so much peace and serenity on a yoga mat. emoticon

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CHRYS13 11/5/2011 1:51PM

    Blessings to you in your search, dear friend.
I often find my spirituality in the gifts of nature....

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AGASSIFAN 11/4/2011 9:38AM

    LOVE IT! I am always looking for better ways to stay "grounded"...

Peace & love!


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BOBINVA 11/3/2011 7:51PM

    Sounds like you know what spirituality is. It is also believing in a force greater than yourself. It is an understanding that the more we try to control things the more out of control they are. It is associated with values and harmony and knowing that you also are part of something greater, you have a purpose and if you listen, really listen you will hear what you need to know.

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ERIKO1908 11/3/2011 7:25PM

    It sounds like you had a beautiful experience up on that mountain!! Good luck in your journey!!

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