Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What does it feel like to be happy? Answers here maybe.

Recently, I pondered the question “What does it feel like to be happy?” I really didn’t get answers from my readers. Possibly because I only have a couple! lol. Okay, so I am going to research it myself.

When trying to recall what happiness I may have had in my life, it’s hard for me to pinpoint a specific time; hence, my confusion. There are memories of my childhood when I would sleep in the sunlight shining through the screen door or pillowing my head on the stomach of a beloved pet while napping in the yard. I remember the first time my baby daughter really laughed and laughed in the way babies tend to do, hot humid nights spent making love to my husband in a far away country, a surprise tenth wedding anniversary ceremony arranged for him at the last minute, staring into the eyes of my baby boy, driving alone in my car with the windows down on a beautiful day.

The common factors of those snapshot memories include smiles, a sense of peace, satisfaction, and a longing to be back to those places in time. Contrasting those with other memories: feeling like I didn’t belong in my own family, a boyfriend who was ashamed of me, the first time my husband (lover) broke my heart, my father being injured in my home, death, funerals, illness, poverty, heartbreak, emotional abuse, separation, rejection, divorce, stress, loneliness which I KNOW are unhappiness---then maybe I HAVE had happiness.

There is an interesting article from Time.com about how happiness is now being studied by the psychological community who has long focused on fixing emotional/psychological problems but is just now focusing on what it takes to help people achieve happiness. Apparently, some of the things we expect to make us happy--money, power, influence, weather, education don't. Religion, family and friends are more conducive to happiness. The article references a 2002 study conducted at the University of Illinois by Diener and Seligman in which Diener suggests that "it is important to work on social skills, close interpersonal ties and social support in order to be happy."

However, what is "happy" for one person may not be for another. Some theorize that everyone has a preset happy range that they pop back to after difficult times---kind of like body weight. Equilibrium is another way of looking at it, I guess. According to Diener, there are two life events that people have difficulty bouncing back to that preset happy spot from: "loss of a spouse and loss of a job. It takes five to eight years for a widow to regain her previous sense of well-being. Similarly, the effects of a job loss linger long after the individual has returned to the work force." Don't despair however. There are positive things that we can do to facilitate our own happiness!

There are three categories in which we can work on improving our happiness quotient: maximize our pleasure in life, become actively involved in the things we are doing and look for ways to add meaning to your life.

Here are some suggestions that have been studied and proven effective:

- keep a gratitude journal. At least once a week, make a determined effort to write down your blessings. In the studies, those who did became happier vs. those who did not.

-do good deeds. Doing things for others-- help a child with homework, walk someone's dog, listen to a friend etc. Those who did at least 5 a week showed an increase in happiness.

- find your personal strengths and opportunities to use them. Are you good with children? Volunteer in the children's ward at the hospital. Are you a talented writer? find opportunities to freelance or write for fun. Go back to college, run a marathon, do something that will utilize/strengthen the gifts you already have.

These were all listed in the aforementioned article. I would also like to add a few of my own:

- get involved. Church, special interest groups, volunteer organizations, community events-- just getting out and interacting with peers can have a very positive impact.

- let the sun shine. Open up your curtains and let some natural light in. I notice that when I do that I feel better and more positive.

- always make your bed. If you are not much of a housekeeper a few key things will brighten up your house. Minimum-- make your bed and do the dishes. Just those things at the least will help you feel better about your life. Weird but true. Try it if you don't believe me!

A few words of caution (my own thoughts here)--- if you have felt gloomy, anti-social, sad, hopeless, and not wanting to live for awhile please see your docter and get some anti-depressants. They have really been helpful to me in my struggles lately.

When you do not know who to listen to, who to believe, cannot trust your own judgement, make decisions, etc See a psychotherapist. It is unbelievable how having an educated third party can help you get things into perspective. I did and will continue as necessary.

You won't need those things forever, but using them now will help get your life on track.

I am going to follow my own advice too and will let you know how it goes. Keep me posted on your progress! :)

Happy Bday, Drew!

Drew Barrymore turned 34. Isn't she a cutie? I have always liked her---she just seems likable. Ohmigosh, check out her Golden Globe picture. mrawr! smexy smexy! Reminiscent of M, no doubt, beautiful in baby blue too!

Don't forget her birthday present to David Letterman back in 1995. It's a classic!

I never understood the whole Tom Green deal though. They weren't married very long and his cancer stuff was all wrapped up in there with the divorce. While we are at it, please take a moment to become familiar with the signs, symptoms of testicular cancer.

I like Tom Green too although he is sometimes over the top and makes me uncomfortable. In some ways, he reminds me of my older brother. I'm a northerner, so I get the humor. Plus, he completely tortures his seemingly normal parents. lol. I didn't torture my parents, but I do have a tendency to torture other shy reserved people I care about. giggle.

Nicky Hilton, citizen extraordinaire

Looks like Nicky has taken her personal convictions to a new level. According to Access Hollywood at MSNBC.com, it seems she was pushed from behind while leaving IHOP. Although physically uninjured, Nicky was pissed! She turned around and made a citizen's arrest.

Hmm, I would like to have seen the encounter. How hard did he push her? Did he REALLY push her or just bump her? Are we talking like push as in push in front of the subway push? Coz, that would be an assault for sure.

According to news.com.au, it was a HOMELESS man who pushed her to the GROUND. Hmm, what was he doing at IHOP? (must have been bfast). Apparently, as Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore announced, "the 50-year-old homeless person, Michael Broadhurst, "came up behind Ms. Hilton and pushed her. She's OK, but she was desirous of prosecution. She said, 'I am placing you under citizen's arrest!' " DESIROUS? who the heck says that? lol. cheez.

Either way, citizen's arrests really don't happen very often. Have you ever seen one? What do you actually do? "Freeze, in the name of the law! I'm placing you under citizen's arrest!!" oooh even more intriguing... did she have her own handcuffs??? giddyup! mrawr.

Should the need arise, you can study all about how to make a citizen's arrest by clicking this link.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

If it smells like a skunk....

Yesterday during my first hour, there was a strange smell in my classroom. Students were trying to figure out what it smelled like; I was checking garbage cans.... basically it smelled like skunk.

At the end of the hour, one of my lil Korean students went up to my desk and used my body spray. I didn't think anything of it, except that maybe they had been cooking in her house before school.

This morning before class, she came up wanting to use my body spray again. She asked me if she smelled. I smelled her sweater and sure enough there was a smell. I pulled my perfume out and let her use that. If Coco Chanel can't fix it, nothing can! I tried to make her feel better by telling how I had a similar experience from cooking stirfry before school in the morning.

The student said, "skunk, me" I thought she meant that she was the smelly one--- turns out she really did mean skunk! Apparently, a skunk got under her host family's home and sprayed. The smell has permeated her clothing!!! As soon as the other students came in, they were all gagging. So I quickly got her out of the room to the office and asked them to help her. Poor baby!!! lol kinda funny tho.

Wedgies hurt

I have always found wedgies to be a very effective weapon. Every sister has. You can just tell this lady had brothers!

Woman wields wedgie to subdue suspect
Technician says she saw man trying to break into a co-worker’s car
The Associated Press
updated 3:47 p.m. CT, Tues., Feb. 17, 2009

New Foreclosure Defense WOW

New foreclosure defense: Prove I owe you
Kathy Lovelace lost her job and was about to lose her house, too. But then she made a seemingly simple request of the bank: Show me the original mortgage paperwork.

Monday, February 9, 2009

OH MY GOSH can you say THERAPY?

I was reading Dear Abby as I tend to do, and this was one that completely flabbergasted me. Check it out!

DEAR ABBY: I'm 29, and my girlfriend, "Mia," is 25. We have been in a committed relationship for 10 months. A few weeks into our relationship I noticed that every time Mia was relaxing or riding in the car, she would suck her thumb. When she spends the night with me, she brings her baby blanket.

Mia used to be discreet about the thumb-sucking, but now she openly does it in front of my parents and our friends. She also sucks her thumb in front of her parents. From time to time they try to correct her, but when they do, she yells at them to "get off her back." When I mention it, she becomes upset and defensive and says she sees no reason to stop.

I care about Mia and don't want to hurt her, but friends and family have asked me about her habit. Is this just a bad habit or a sign of something else? -- LEFT WONDERING IN SEATTLE

DEAR LEFT WONDERING: Mia's thumb-sucking may be her way of relieving stress, or it could be a symptom of an underlying emotional disorder. However, if this is the way your girlfriend talks to her parents, you should recognize that it is also a sign of what you may have to look forward to in the future -- so be warned.

Uhmm, HELLOOOO!!!!! Yeah emotional disorder. Ya THINK? Run boy, RUN.