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    LDRICHEL   47,676
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Happiness Experiment - Day 1 (of 21)

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

On Friday, I posted a link to Shawn Achor's TEDx Talk called "The Happy Secret to Better Work".

The key idea from his talk was this:

"If happiness is on the opposite side of success, your brain never gets there. What we’ve done is we’ve pushed happiness over the cognitive horizon as a society. That’s because we think we have to be successful, THEN we’ll be happier. But the REAL problem is, our brains work in the opposite order. If you can raise somebody’s level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences something that we now call a ‘happiness advantage’, which is: your brain at positive performs significantly better than it does at negative, neutral or stressed.” ~Shawn Achor

While Achor's talk was tailored towards success in business (which I obviously desire), I believe his activities for increasing happiness (below) will have a positive effect on EVERY area of my life. So, I'm taking his challenge to train my brain to be more positive.

1. Three new gratitudes each day will teach your brain to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.

2. Journaling about one positive experience you've had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to re-live it.

3. Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.

4. Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we've been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once.

5. Random or conscious acts of kindness - send a positive e-mail to thank or praise someone in your social support network.

So, let's do this thing! emoticon

GRATITUDES

1. I'm thankful for life. Yeah, I know this sounds superficial and trite, but I assure you it's not. Why? Because today's headline news is sad: Trayvon Martin and Cory Monteith. If you live under a rock and don't know what happened, here are the back stories.

Trayvon Martin: www.lmgtfy.com/?q=Trayvo
n+Martin

Cory Monteith: www.lmgtfy.com/?q=Cory+M
onteith


One of the greatest happinesses that we take advantage of every single day is that we actually woke up and took another breath. Turning on my computer reminded me of that this morning.

2. I'm thankful for time alone. Don't get me wrong - I love and treasure my children. I cherish every day I get to be with them. But, with the divorce, we have a new reality of one week with me and one week with their Dad. I won't be a fool enough to say that it's an ideal situation - of course not. Any kid should be able to see their Mom AND Dad any time they want 24/7.

Nevertheless, this is our story now and there is no turning back. I have recently had to come to terms with the fact that I am, indeed, thankful for my time to myself without the kids. Does that make me a monster or a horrible Mom? I don't think so. It just makes me honest.

I know single moms and dads who NEVER get a break and I can't imagine their stress levels and, in turn, their strength. They are HEROES, I tell you. Sometimes I feel a little guilty that I get time off and they don't. But, we each walk our own road and this journey is about finding what is authentic to Leah. Instead of feeling guilty that they have it so hard, I ought to re-direct that energy to thinking of ways to HELP my friends in that situation.

3. I am thankful for my body. With all its aches and pains and battle wounds, it has managed to survive and stay relatively healthy through the years. I have known the temporary loss of function in my arms and legs and it is life-changing. The fact that this amazing body has healed and strengthened and still manages to function well and carry me through each day is nothing short of a miracle. It's another easy thing to overlook and complain about. But today I'm thankful.

JOURNAL

The past 24 hours were spectacular. I met two beautiful boys yesterday, the sons of a man who has loved me so well, I sometimes feel like I'm dreaming or in an alternate reality. I was worried they'd despise me, but they were open and kind and sweet, as little boys are. We sampled fresh food at the Farmer's Market, hiked and explored a cave, waterfall and wetlands and spent time playing at the Splash Pad and playground. Then, we enjoyed a wonderful lunch together. All the while, seeing this amazing man in a new light (as "Daddy" - and such a WONDERFUL one at that!) just made me fall even deeper in love with him. It was a GREAT day!

EXERCISE

I started my day with a 30-minute walk (1.72 miles). I haven't been out there or worked out in SO long. It was rough to get motivated but I just made myself do it and, as usual, am so happy I did. I wondered whether walking would do anything for me, but it certainly did. It woke up my body and made me feel ALIVE again. Definitely seeing the connection to happiness here. I mean, I always knew it was there. Just lost it for awhile.

MEDITATE

Funny that meditation is supposed to train our brains not to multi-task and I actually multi-tasked exercise and meditation. Haha. But, what better time to meditate than on a walk when my body and mind are coming alive with nature all around? In my mind, exercising is the perfect time to meditate and look inward. I think I'll combine them every day. No earbuds or music for me.

RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS

Well, it seems it'd be bragging if I wrote this one out in detail, so I'd prefer to keep this to myself. I'll just put a check mark on this every day, to indicate that I've done it. How's that sound?

Anyone else want to take this 21-Day Happiness Challenge with me? Why WOULDN'T you want to be happier? And, as a byproduct, more successful?

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EFFRAYECHILDE 8/13/2013 1:35PM

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MONTREAL12 7/29/2013 4:32PM

  I enjoy, appreciate and learn from your blogs. emoticon Please do keep them coming. emoticon Have a emoticon day!

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MELROSE13 7/23/2013 10:00PM

    Very inspiring and thought provoking, thank you for sharing your life with us!

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ROXYCARIN 7/22/2013 2:51PM

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JIVANA108 7/20/2013 11:27AM

    I am so motivated and inspired after reading your post!
Yes I would love to do this with you:) I like how you did everything in blog format all in 1 swoop.
Amazing...but I tend to be a little more private and may just open up my journal sitting next tome here and do gratitudes, positive experience, record exercise/meditation etc.
Have an amazing weekend. emoticon

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JRRING 7/20/2013 11:10AM

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SHERRY28269 7/19/2013 3:27PM

    Enjoyed your post! Journaling and reflection is so healthy! emoticon

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CUDDLYPOLARBEAR 7/18/2013 11:57AM

    Thanks for sharing....

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CHIRPGIRL 7/18/2013 9:06AM

    Loved the video and will join you in this 21 day Positive Practices challenge. Thanks for getting this ball rolling:) emoticon

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CAROLZ1967 7/17/2013 9:54PM

    That's wonderful....thanks for sharing! I'm going to try and find time to watch the video.

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TINY67 7/17/2013 1:13PM

    emoticon

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GSPEIRS 7/17/2013 6:21AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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LOUTOKALAU 7/17/2013 1:14AM

  This is wonderful, good pointers to live in the now and appreciate the happiness around us!

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ROXYCARIN 7/17/2013 12:28AM

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CIRANDELLA 7/16/2013 9:39PM

    Bravissima, Leah!

Thank you :)

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KBEHNKE81 7/16/2013 9:17PM

    I'm in.

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FATASHNOMORE 7/16/2013 9:08PM

    Your blog was the bomb diggity. I especially liked the excerpt from Shawn Achor, because he is blowing the whistle on a massive societal flaw. The "journey inward" quote was a lovely addition and I do believe I will add you as a Spark Friend so I can continue to enjoy your writing style. Thanks. :)

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RENATA144 7/16/2013 8:27PM

  emoticon emoticon

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GABIGAIL5 7/16/2013 6:07PM

  Great blog! You've inspired me to follow in your footsteps. I'm not going to wait until tomorrow but will start today.

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MYKIDSRSWEET 7/16/2013 5:31PM

    Yeah!

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MELIS_24 7/16/2013 5:00PM

    Wow! Thank you for sharing.

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AJB121299 7/16/2013 2:11PM

    nice

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DIETER27 7/16/2013 1:04PM

  Thanks for your blog !

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RUNNINGYOGINIRE 7/16/2013 12:57PM

  A great blog. I look forward to reading for the next 20 days.

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-DAVE- 7/16/2013 12:08PM

    Giving to others (time and face to face rather than a donation or check) is a very cognitive exercise - touching on your random act of kindness. It touches various parts of the brain and release various neurotransmitters.

I like your analogy of Happiness and Success. I am barely able to define happiness, but success? I won't even attempt that one. I'd like to add to your list of happiness endeavors. Recently, I have begun a 'news fast'. I've heard various teachers speak about this and it has helped me reflect inward and spend more time with my dogs who are always spontaneously happy. If something is that important, somebody will alert me. Next on my list is limited emails (I've begun to unsubscribe to all emails and it is so freeing) and Internet time - essentially, they turn into time wasters for me.

Best to you....Dave

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JRRING 7/16/2013 11:58AM

  loved your message!

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MONTREAL12 7/16/2013 10:14AM

  Loved your blog; by the way you're a great communicator - feel free to add that gift to the positives that you could be grateful for; I'm grateful to you for sharing and also for elaborating on a number of items; sorry to hear about your hesitancy regarding "acts of kindness"; these could be random or even a concerted effort to do something positive - such as sharing your blog with the rest of us in the spark "virtual world." In terms of success; I think that it really is a difficulty of defining "what" success represents. Often, we tend to compare our "lot in life" with that of others - which either leads to "smugness" or dissatisfaction. Rather real success may not be monetized or measured in the traditional way. Time spent listening to your children or for that matter any other individual who values you enough to share their lives with you is a tremdous gift. emoticon again and I look forward to future posts. Have a lovely "positive" day. emoticon

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MCHILSTR 7/16/2013 9:26AM

  Great Blog!

But...I would love it if you would share your randon acts of kindness. I would find it inspiring, and not about you bragging. emoticon

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KOMTRIA 7/16/2013 8:57AM

  Great post good reminder not to wait on success to choose happiness.

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CALLMESHOP 7/16/2013 8:52AM

    great blog! I think I shall try this happiness challenge.

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SANDYCRANE 7/16/2013 7:02AM

    Thank you for your insightful blog. We all have so much to be happy for.

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CUDDLYPOLARBEAR 7/16/2013 3:50AM

    Great post

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ROXIGIRL 7/16/2013 2:53AM

    Thank you. I think your challenge is exactly what i need in my life right now.

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JMCCONNELL74 7/16/2013 2:34AM

    You are so right. I'm off to watch the Ted Talk now...

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BLUEJEAN99 7/16/2013 1:36AM

    emoticon

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TERMITEMOM 7/15/2013 9:42PM

    Wonderful! Congratulations on being so positive and giving some really good tips!

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KKLENNERT809 7/15/2013 9:38PM

    Enjoyed your blog. Thanks for sharing and I am going to work towards some of these things.

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KARRENLYNN 7/15/2013 9:15PM

    Great job!

Karen

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JSEATTLE 7/15/2013 8:37PM

  Excellent blog, well thought out. Thanks so much!

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KIPPER15 7/15/2013 8:32PM

    Wonderful challenge. Positivity is a great thing. emoticon

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SPEEDY143 7/15/2013 8:18PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ISLAMOM 7/15/2013 7:17PM

    Wow!! This is really cool....I'm still processing, but sounds like something I'd like to do!!

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JUSGETTENBY42 7/15/2013 7:03PM

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NEWTINK 7/15/2013 5:45PM

    It is great to hear you sound so positive emoticon

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ONLYTEMPORARY 7/15/2013 5:38PM

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LISA_FRAME 7/15/2013 5:38PM

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PATRICE_E 7/15/2013 2:58PM

    I'm IN! Copying and pasting Shawn Achor's list of practices to my journal, and will commit to joining you for the next week, with the option to extend that contract! Thank you so much for typing it (and his speedy talk) out for us.

Congratulations on all the good you are creating in your life!

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PATRICIAANN46 7/15/2013 2:22PM

  emoticon for the excellent advice.

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