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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 14

Friday, November 18, 2011

Exercise Regularly. Physical activity produces "feel good chemicals" (endorphins) in the brain which promote satisfaction and well-being. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.

Amen... nuff said!! But I'll say more anyway.

Lately, I've been on a bit of an exercise push. I tend to go to the gym 3- 4 times a week for 2+ hours a session. Group Power followed by Zumba. KickBoxing followed by Yoga. Boot Camp followed by whatever. And if there isn't a class, I work out on my own, weights, abs, dreadmill, whatever it takes.

I FEEL GOOD. I have more energy. My workouts are starting to produce results, quickly. Right now I'm not losing weight as much as I'm gaining muscle and I'm good with that. I've started to notice a change in the shape of my body and muscles starting to appear where thay've been hiding for years, if not my whole life.

Quick story, a couple of days ago I took an hour long Group Power class at the gym, followed by 45 minute boot camp style work out. One of the two trainers is a young, buff guy. He pulled me aside and asked why I'm always smiling in class. I just looked at him, smiled bigger and said "I'm getting healthy."

Everyone else seems to be groaning and whining and just not doing the exercises. I'm twice the age and more out of shape than most of the people in the class. He says "run the stairs" I shout YOO HOO!! and I'm the first one up.

I'm smiling, because I can. A month ago. I had to stop to catch my breath after running the stairs 3 times. Last night, 7 times, up and down again, and I was running people over. Trust me, I was breathless, but I did it! Several of the exercises that we do, I have to modify for my bad shoulder and knees, but I find a way to make it still challenging, not just easier.

I noticed that some of the instructors are asking me to help out new people in class. I wear that as a badge of honor. I'm NOT the fittest person in there, but I may be the most motivated.

I get out of that session what I put in. The groaners get what they put in, too.

Here's a link to an article from the Mayo Clinic on the benefits of regular exercise.

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOBINVA 11/20/2011 10:34PM

    You have come a long way. Keep going.

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LOPEYP 11/18/2011 1:21PM

    Great story! You go!

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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 12

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Be optimistic. A positive outlook is associated with better health, a longer life and greater joy. When you look to the bright side and believe people are good, you directly increase your own happiness.

And according to this article on greater achievement, less stress and even more.

I've seen some articles on how optimism can hinder weight loss... I don't buy it. Here's one article
But I can see some of their point. Having a small dose of negativity helps you too keep on task and get over the bumps in the road.

I guess the key here is to be mostly optimistic with a side of realistic. I'm going to lose 50 lbs in 3 months, for me NOT realistic. I'm going to work hard, eat well, occasionally have a 'off day' and lose 50 lbs eventually. optimistic and realistic.

And I don't know about you all, but isn't it much nicer to be around and optimistic person than a big old downer?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOBINVA 11/18/2011 12:45AM

    A pro football player gives speeches and his message is that your attitude determines your altitude.

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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 11

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Start a Journal. Use it to record positive experiences and things you are thankful for. Read your own words during times when you feel down to remember how fortunate you truly are.

What SparkPeople appears to be addressing is more of a Gratitude Journal. There are some benefits to writing about the 'good stuff'.
But there are also benefits of getting out the bad stuff as well.

Years ago, while my father was recovering from serious health issues and I was taking care of him, I was having trouble sleeping. Dad noticed and brought home a set of Worry Dolls
Each night before I went to sleep, I would tell one worry to each of the dolls and tuck them in their box. By releasing the energy, worries and bad thoughts, it allowed me to sleep peacefully.

The same can be said for journalling. Yes, gratitude is wonderful, but so is purging your mind of bad thoughts. Make room for the positive. Allow yourself to go forward instead of being stuck in the past.

I probably have 4 or 5 blank books around my home. Most only have a page or two with writing. More that one has been started after watching "Bridget Jones' Diary". If you've seen the movie and are a single woman, you might have one too! I'm not so good about the journalling. I should get better. But seeing as it is the 15th of November and I'm working on Day 11... I get behind. And here I know people are watching. If no one is watching, what do you not do???

Please note that there is a difference between journalling and blogging. Journalling can be private, book or online. Not so much for sharing. Can be directed at specific events (travel, work out) or every day life experience. Blogging is more about sharing your experiences with other people. To get feedback and help inform others.

Did you know there is a Journal feature on SparkPeople? On your start page, go to Planner> Journal. Are you artistic? Maybe you could draw how you feel. Are you a 'scrapper'? Cut and Paste away. But get your thoughts and feelings on paper. It is important. It is cathartic. It is a way to keep memories and remember the little things. Because some days the little things add up.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALASKASKY 11/16/2011 6:39AM

    Thanks. Great Blog. Great advice. I journal but not as often as I should. I also feel better when I get those emotions on paper. I have tons of notebooks to write in and am waiting for my Oprah Life class Journal to arrive.

I'm going to sit down today and journal away. I have a lot to get off my chest and a lot to work on right now.

I like the dolls.


Comment edited on: 11/16/2011 6:44:01 AM

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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 12

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My favorite day yet!!

Dark chocolate is healthy in moderation, but it can also increase well-being and boost your mood. Savor a small piece to satisfy that craving.

Every day. I plan for at least some chocolate. EVERY DAY!! Last night I finished a wonderful bar of Dark Chocolate with chili and lime. It was YUMMY. It was 8 squares and lasted me 12 days... yes, twelve days.

Here's a link about the benefits of Dark Chocolate

Please note, none of the articles list anything made by Hershesy. They are not saying eat a Snickers bar every day. It really is only GOOD DARK chocolate that has the true health benefits. NOT milk chocolate or any over processed, mass produced, sugar filled chocolate.

Last year I had a Costco bag of assorted small squares of dark chocolate. It lasted me over six months. I had to throw it away because the chocolates all melted together... time to go back to Costco!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERIKO1908 11/16/2011 12:10AM

    I love this day too!!! Too bad I'm currently not eating candy or I'd work on this one for awhile!!! Cocoa is my go to for chocolate...LOVE IT!!!

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30 Days to Greater Happiness ~ Day 10

Friday, November 11, 2011

(Playing catch up still, yep, Making Time for Myself is still an issue!)

"Simplify your life. Unburden yourself of possessions that lock you in the "rat race" of earning more money to pay for more things you don't really need. Spend time and resources on things that add real meaning to your life."

This is a concept I have been working on for years. I still have work to do. My friends laugh at me because my TV is "so small". I think it's just right. It's what I NEED. My apartment is too small. Nope, it's what I NEED. (albeit, I have too much stuff in it... but I'm purging!). My car is too old. Nope it's paid for and runs fine. Buying a new car when mine is good enough would be silly and a waste of time, energy, money.

Getting rid of stuff, the bits and pieces that clog my house and my mind is what I need to do. It's a long, slow process. There are emotional ties attached to things that need to be broken.

Living simply is a way that I want to live at home and outside my house. In my relationships with freinds and family.

One of the ways that I have done this is to TRY and convince my friends/family that we, as adults, don't need to buy presents for other adults for Birthdays, Holidays and the like. Some days I feel like I'm just talking to air. Frankly, half of the stuff given or received is never wanted/used/liked/enjoyed anyway. But because they are gifts, we have to keep, display and use things we don't want.

For Christmas, my nieces get TONS of gifts. Most end up broken at the bottom of the toy bin, barely used. Several years ago, I started to give them something different. "A Day With Auntie Gretchen"... just me and one of my nieces. We chose something special that they want to do. An event, movie, pedicures, dress up tea, play, Chuck E Cheese... THEIR CHOICE. We make a full day of it. Dress up, go out, have luch, always find a side trip or a park to visit. So what I do is give a Memory. The memory cannot be broken, will never be the wrong size, can't be lost, and doesn't take up closet or toy chest space.

I'm still working on purging *stuff* from my house. 3 giant bins of too large clothes to charity, a couple of bags of paperback books back to the used book store for credit. Unopened gifts either re-gifted to a more approprate recipient or in the bin to Goodwill.

Unclog my home, unclog my head, free myself for better, healthier live!!

Here is an article on zenhabits about Living Simply:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRYS13 11/14/2011 12:47PM

    I really wish there was some magic potion I could drink in order to de-clutter without caring! I have so much junk in this house that it's paralyzing!! But, every time I come to get rid of it, I rationalize and talk myself into an "I just might need this" state!
I better get going and see if I could just part with one thing per room! It's a start!

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BOBINVA 11/11/2011 10:36PM

    I like this one. I have been getting rid of so much stuff that I have not used or worn in years and am not looking to replace it.

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DARKCHILD 11/11/2011 2:11PM

    I am soooooo feeling you on this one!! I'm getting rid of stuff today. Already went through the closet in the bedroom, was amazed at the stuff in there, next shoes...and so on and so forth. Ditto to what you had to say in your blog! emoticon

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