Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Roundup {Happiness}

Happiness Pinterest roundup . . . ready . . . go!

Believe it.


anne frank

Charlie Chaplin

johnny knows.

don't give up

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one's family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one's own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.  - Buddha 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Compared to {Happiness}

One of the fastest ways to feel unhappy about your life, your body, and your accomplishments is through comparison. Dissatisfaction has become synonymous with striving to be better, and we compare ourselves to others to figure out whether we are better than them, but all we get instead is the feeling of dissatisfaction in ourselves.

When I look at another woman I usually size her up. I think it's a natural thing, or at least I can't remember being any other way. I naturally want to be a better mate than her, putting it scientifically. However, there are two ways to take this mental game from here: either you feel competitive and driven to look better, sound smarter and work harder (using said other person as inspiration), or you turn inwards and get upset that you aren't already that pretty, that smart or that successful.

The first road will take you to greater heights, but most of us take the second. Once again I am going to ask this question like I did in my post Be {Happy}, Be Healthy: Why do we do this to ourselves? You have to unprogram your mind for hating on yourself. It is not modesty. It is destructive to your well-being.

just in what they areTake tomorrow to try to notice when you compare yourself to someone else. Then, when you catch yourself doing it, think about all of the things you love about being you and all of the goals, plans and hopes you have. Think about how far you have come and how much further you will still go. And let yourself be proud.

You ARE a great person, you WILL do great things. The only way to leave your mark on the world is to make it your own mark, and comparing yourself to others will not allow you to develop individuality. You should actually be happy you aren't like someone else. Be you instead.

Judgment traps you within the limitations of your comparisons. It inhibits freedom. - Willie Stargell

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

{Happy} Peptides

This post really goes along with yesterday's: Let Your {Happy} Loose.

Specifically thought today I want you to laugh more. Not at anything in particular, but recognize that your laughter will unlock not only happiness in you, but in those around you also.

Laughing also is thought to release endorphins, which are the happy peptides that are associated with a feeling of well-being, pain relief, getting a high, and orgasm. 'On average, watching about 15 minutes of comedy in a group increased pain threshold by 10 percent,' says the article Why Laughter May Bethe Best Pain Medicine on Scientific American.

So check out this humorous round-up I put together below and check out a few of these websites as well:


yup. i'm a genius.

how to share a milkshake

bitches be trippin'

what i'm best at...

Overly Attached Girlfriend

Wait... Gale's behind that tree

nap time

hahaha whaaat? i love it though :D


Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it. - Bill Cosby

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Let Your {Happy} Loose

Dance quote

Today is a more simple and obvious step toward happiness, or it at least seems straight forward enough to me: let loose! Too many people go through every single day being so flipping serious. There are two great ways to let yourself loosen up:

1. Laugh at the things that make you stressed or mad.
Examples: Think about something really dumb you did that possibly even embarrassed you, now laugh about it. Here's one of mine to help you out: I prize my cooking and baking skills, yet at a friends house this past weekend a dish I made took an extra hour because I couldn't figure out how to simply turn the oven on.
Now think of something that is really stressful for you, especially something you can't do anything about currently. Laugh about it. For me right now it's my toilet. The handle broke, and the first day this happened the water ran and ran while I was trying to fill out a $10,000 loan application. As I was getting more and more frustrated with the application, my eyes started watering and I made myself breathe. Then I heard my toilet running and laughed for the next 5min. It gave me the strength to finish the application and even though I was denied the loan (which is important for finishing my last year of school), I was able to walk away from the situation knowing I would figure something out.

2. Dance.
If you're good at dancing, good for you. If you're a ridiculous dancer, even better. Either turn on some music in your bedroom and get your Shakira hips on, or go out to some random bar with a couple friends you can dance with. Dancing will help you be happier in so many ways, namely in getting your heart rate going and in helping you take yourself a little less seriously.
I'll even give you an inspirational playlist:
And dance like you mean it . . . especially to the last one.

Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance. ― Oprah Winfrey

Monday, October 15, 2012

Get Your Mind On {Happiness}

I'm a bit behind, but like a classic college student I have an excuse. Friday was supposed to be a guest blog day, as in, I wrote a guest blog but it hasn't been published yet. Sadness. So that just means that today and probably tomorrow you will have the joy of reading two of my posts. Try to control the excitement.

Take a breathI don't know about you, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed, and/or down on myself, and/or like I'm going to hurt someone if I don't get out of my apartment. You may know what I mean.

Generally I like to take this opportunity to do something that helps me feel good about myself, like trying on new shoes (no matter how I feel about my body that day, the shoes will fit the same). But the point is to take your mind off of your problems. If you find yourself obsessing over an issue, like perhaps an impending conversation with someone, a test, or maybe your bank account, worrying over the issue will do you more harm.

Getting your mind off of an issue will also help you figure out a better solution more quickly. How so? When your mind is stressed it resorts to set thinking patterns and squashes all ability to think abstractly. Abstract thought is “thinking outside of the box” which if you are to the point of frustration when problem solving, is probably what you need.

Take the time to get your mind off of your problems. You will not only feel less stressed, but you'll see an end in sight even faster! Take it from someone who knows:

Sometimes when people are under stress, they hate to think, and it's the time when they most need to think. - William J. Clinton

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Leafing Through {Happiness}

We read to know that we are not alone. ― William Nicholson

It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it. ― Oscar Wilde

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. ― Dr. Seuss

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one. ― George R.R. Martin

What is it about reading a book that gets people so excited? Many recent series seem to have reignited America's passion for reading. But to many the joy of picking up a book for personal pleasure is still lost. The most popular reasoning I have heard for not reading is that the person gets the same fulfillment out of watching a television series, or that they will wait for the movie to come out and then they will be in the loop.

Well just like our discussion yesterday about why learning and new experiences feel good to your brain, reading falls into the same category. When watching television or a movie you are accepting the images given to you and are not actively using cogitative skills to decode, as you would while reading (as discussed in ReadingVersus Television: Which Is Better?). Reading is more engaging for your brain and therefore is more pleasurable for you. I know you think being lazy feels good, but it has zero benefits to your health and happiness.

However, these scientific reasonings don't even come close to eclipsing my main reason for reading: it's the cheapest escape you can buy. Not only can you experience countries, views, and information you have never known, but you can see yourself through new eyes and reevaluate your life direction stress-free. So, it's also the cheapest form of therapy a person can buy.

Pick up a book. Your brain will thank you.

Imagination is more important than knowledge. - Albert Einstein

Looking for a good author? Check out this related post: Favorite Author: Ayn Rand

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Experience {Happiness}

Why does it feel great to learn? Dopamine. Check out this article, Learn something new - your brain willthank you, where Dr Gary Marcus discusses why it feels good for your brain to learn a new skill.

However, you don’t need to pick up a new musical instrument or learn any knew skill to experience the dopamine rush that learning will give you. Get out and experience the world! It has become quite apparent to you, I’m sure, through reading my posts that I have a lot of interests: lots of DIY projects (haircoloring, making over my bedroom, earrings, and crafts), traveling, and I guess it’s inherent that I love writing also (poetry included).

Steps to make getting new experiences easier:

Make a List

I know I harp on this idea a lot, but list-making . . .  well, it makes life easier. Make a list of places you would like to go and things you would like to see. For example, on my list I would include bands I want to see, like Florence + the Machine, Punch Brothers, Neko Case . . . , cities I have never visited, such as New York and Chicago, as well as National Parks I want to see yet.

Set a Date

Decide exactly when you will do the things you want. Get your planner out now, load a new tab and do a Google search, make the necessary texts to invite friends. Go on. Do it.


Actually follow through with your plans. Your friends dropped out on you? Go anyway, make new friends while you’re there. An event got cancelled? Find a new one. Go through with your plan. Execution is key.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Getting Shit Done {Happily}

thorn bushes have roses
Random Abe Knowledge

My previous post was about taking a day off of everything responsible in your life. This is its counterpart.

Every once in a while I love to dedicate a day or two to really cracking down on my work that needs done. These work days generally are directly after days off or are immediately followed by days off.

Why have days of super high productivity? The feeling of being ahead or even just being “all caught up” is extremely uplifting. When you are able to take the weight off your mind of the things that have added up on the To Do list you will not only feel less stressed out, but you will feel accomplished and will then be able to give your brain the break it needs, as discussed in my last post.

The key to success on an ultra-productive day is planning. Make a list in the morning, or the night before if you're like me and go over everything you have to do the next day while lying down, of everything you need to get done, of every project you have going, of every appointment you have and need to make, and put it all in chronological order.

Then do it.

Finish every task you possibly can in that day. Don't stop for TV breaks, don't stop for naps . . . just go!

Do all of your driving errands in one trip. This means make your shopping list before you go to the post office and bank. Take the time to shop for the whole week too; plan meals now so you don't have to later.

If you're in school get some friends together to work on homework together. Make sure to include at least one friend who's actually serious about their grades to keep you all on track (or to keep you all respectful enough to not get too crazy).

Go crazy tomorrow and get everything that has been weighing on your mind down on a piece of paper and done. See how great it will feel to have it all off your chest!

Need help getting organized first? Check out my Home Organization board on Pinterest. It's packed with cleaning lists, packing lists, planner print outs, how-to's and just plain amazing instructionals and ideas. 

The best way out is always through. - Unknown

Sunday, October 7, 2012


anne frank

Volunteering has has received a very distinguishing, altruistic reputation for a very long time. But telling people volunteering is good for them because it's the right thing to do seems to have created a rift between those who do volunteer their time, and those who think nothing of volunteering.

I am going to say the things you aren't supposed to say about volunteer work. People who volunteer do it because they enjoy it. It's as simple as that. So why will volunteering make you a happier person? Once again it isn't because you'll feel warm and fuzzy about “doing the right thing”. Volunteer work will give you a connection to your community, which in turn gives you a feeling of having the ability to make a difference.

If you don't think that's a big deal then just think about the last time at work or school when you had an amazing idea that you knew would never see the light of day. It is so incredibly frustrating to feel as though you have no say and no impact on your surroundings. Giving your time to helping your local Salvation Army, helping your friend with their psychology homework, or helping someone move their belongings to a new place can all impact your feeling of having an impact on the lives around you.

Go make an impact on your neighbor's life and feel the benefits of making a difference!

Never before has man had such a great capacity to control his own environment, to end hunger, poverty and disease, to banish illiteracy and human misery. We have the power to make the best generation of mankind in the history of the world. - President John F. Kennedy

Friday, October 5, 2012

Take A Day of {Happy}

Day after day I tackle my school work little bits at a time, I clean my apartment some, I do a reasonable amount of exercising. Sometimes that built up weight of all my daily responsibilities gets to me, not to mention the times when I have big projects to worry about, or exam time is approaching, or I get sick, or worse: get cramps. In the words of The Dixie Chicks, some days you gotta dance.

An important part of productivity is taking time off. You wouldn't run 10miles a day for five months straight, would you? Often, we take our brain for granted and don't treat it with the respect of lovin' it needs. You're brain can become an overworked “muscle” very easily. This is why I am suggesting that when you're feeling fried don't push through it, take a day off!

Yes, a full day. Off of work, off of cleaning, off of caring. Some people like to argue that they can't really relax if they know they have all this stuff to come back to. I say if that's the case, then you aren't doing your relaxing correctly. You have to engage your mind in something completely unrelated that has either 0 stress, or only eustress. What I am literally saying is you have to consciously distract yourself. I enjoy using my days off to catch up on watching movies or work on crafting projects. It has to be something you like doing or something you have wanted to try.

Breaks should be utilized both in the short run and the long run. A great article by The New York Times, To Stay On Schedule, Take A Break, illustrates perfectly the advantages of taking breaks during the work day. But as I said before, sometimes it's the day to day activities that weight you down. It is just as important to take a full day every once in a while.

Are you feeling worn down? Taking a break may be the most productive thing you day all week. Consider taking tomorrow as a fun day, your brain and body need it! 

He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul's estate. - Henry David Thoreau 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Be Healthy, Be {Happy}

A big struggle many Americans are faced with today is body image. Often times this issue is reserved for women, but most guys I know are majorly concerned about their body and probably talk to me about it more than my girl friends do.

When you think of your body how would you describe it? When you think of your personality how would you describe it? I don't know how it is for you, but too many days of my life I have been far harsher on my body than on my personality. Don't get me wrong, I love my personality, but for some reason in our country it's OK to talk up your sense of humor, your passion and compassion . . . but it is a cardinal sin to talk up your body.

Too often people get caught up on the 5lbs they need to lose or gain to look sexy. Too often they focus in on that one part of their face they absolutely hate. Why do we do this to ourselves?

There are three big ways to start feeling better about your body, and you hear them all of the time: exercise, nutrition, and self-esteem. Your self-esteem is a big factor, and plainly put, your self-esteem is how you value yourself, and ultimately how valuable you see yourself to others. Nutrition is such a key factor that is over-looked time and time again; people go on these diets with rules or take these magic pills but those systems set you up for failure. Exercise . . . what a topic! The benefits, my goodness. But who wants to do that crap!?

Well guess what, everything you think you know about losing those 5lbs is probably wrong. Taking a happiness approach to body image may be the best thing you ever do for yourself.

Here's the plan of attack:

Nutrition – Proper nutrition is so vital. Think of it this way: everything your body needs to function other than oxygen is consumed by your mouth. So if you don't get iron, Omega-3s, fat, calories, sugar, etc . . . your body can't function.

Take it from me: last semester I slept 14hrs a day, couldn't make it to classes, dropped off of the track team and had multiple emotional break downs. When I stopped having periods my doctor put me on prenatal vitamins because my blood tests showed how extremely deficient I was in all of my vitamins.

Here is a great blog that is all about having a healthy diet: Well Balanced Diet.

Don't get caught up on weight loss! Don't do it!!! Eating better will make you feel better, feeling better will take care of everything you think is wrong with your body.

The Picky Eater is a great blog for recipes of healthy foods, as well as Kath Eats Real Foods, and Healthy Dining Finder for when you're eating out.

Exercise – The concept of exercise has become so skewed in our society. Jogging, lifting weights and doing crunches have become must-do's in a daily routine of other things me must do. But why is that how we chose to exercise? Those are probably the most boring things you could chose!

Think of all the games people have invented . . . you could play football, baseball, tennis, soccer, rugby, cricket, raquet ball, lacrosse, hop-scotch, water polo, duck-duck-goose, basketball . . . you could go biking, horseback riding, swimming, hiking, rock wall climbing, skipping, dancing. The list goes on and on.

Sure, a lot of those options might require that you have a friend and maybe you really hate all of your friends . . . but if you find yourself bored of running I really can't blame you, and I even LIKE running!

Don't get caught up on weight loss! Don't do it!!! Having fun while moving will make you feel better, feeling better will take care of everything you think is wrong with your body.

Self-esteem – This is the trickiest, and the most simple thing to change. It's tricky because we're pretty stuck in our ways on how we think of ourselves, and simple because you will notice immediately how horrible you are to yourself.

When someone compliments your outfit, your hair, your makeup, your legs, your arms, your stomach . . . say thank you. Nope. Nothing else. Oh! And smile when you say it. Let it sink in. Does it matter that anyone else thinks anything of you? No, but it sure is nice to hear.

Think about someone you love and their appearance. Easy example: when I think of my mom I think of how much I love her smile, her bright blue eyes and the way she hugs me. Now think of how someone who loves you sees you. Think of it every time you look in a mirror.

Does my mother have flaws? Sure, she wants to point them out to me all the time but I still see her smile and eyes. Do I have flaws? Sure, but when the people I care about look at me, they don't see them. So why should I? Look in the mirror and don't worry about the pimples that pop up out of no where, the hairs that are running wild, the weird things your nose does or how your teeth could be whiter and straighter.

If you look people in the eye, they won't notice what you're wearing. - Nick, The Wedding Date

The Self Esteem Blog has this great article on improving your self-esteem and Savvy Self Esteem has great posts on dangerous and uplifting topics.

A healthy attitude is contagious but don't wait to catch it from others. Be a carrier. - Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hobby {Happiness}

Idle hands are the devil's tool. Think of it as if God's plan is for your happiness, then the devil's is for your sorrow. Boredom is a disease, a sickness that affects the mind, body and soul. Today I saw a sign that read You're not bored, you're boring.

It is so incredibly true! If you are one of those people who constantly needs to be entertained, or find yourself always saying I'm bored, then I strongly suggest your find a hobby.

No, drinking is not a hobby. No, your job is not a hobby. Sitting on the internet looking through random crap isn't a hobby either. I'm talking about finding something to do in your spare time (and don't act like you don't have any) which you can see through from beginning to end that gives you some kind of product or valuable asset.

Why should you have a hobby? TheImportance of Hobbies For Stress Relief states Hobbies are often thought of as activities for people who lead quiet, relaxed lives. However, people with full, busy, even stressful lives may need hobbies more than the average person, and benefit greatly from having hobbies in their lives” (Elizabeth Scott, M.S).

But don't just chose something random that you don't give a hoot about. Find a piece of furniture in your living space that needs updated, or nurture a fruit-bearing plant of a fruit you love. Make an abstract painting to hang on your wall, take bike trips, join a sport league. In my opinion, the more options you give yourself, the less stressed you will be; I personally enjoy five or six different hobbies.

So think about things you love watching about on TV, or that empty space on your wall and go fill your hands and your time!

Once again, I believe Pinterest is a wonderful place to start: check out my Crafts board for some ideas of things you can make.

Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto. - Dale Carnegie

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dressing Up for {Happiness}

In high school I conducted a little experiment for a while to see whether the way I dressed affected the way I was treated. You see, I had a real issue with people being jerks to me. Sure, it's high school and everyone is a jerk, but I realized even then that there is no point in [unprovoked] rudeness. The experiment was to discover whether when I put on thought-out clothing, an outfit I had to spend time on, my classmates would hold their tongues.

Honestly, there was nothing scientific about the variables or control factors . . . but I found that I had much better days when I “dressed up”. Whether it was that others shut up or I felt powerful enough to ignore their condescension, we'll never know, but I did learn that I could make myself feel better through the day with nicer clothes.

I'm not saying that you need to wear a $200 outfit daily to feel great, I'm saying that some clothes that match, maybe have a fashion-forward approach or a great piece worked in are going to give you more of a spring to your step than that second or third cup of coffee. (And just a side note: I do a lot of thrifting to find great clothes)

How do you get in the habit of putting on a presentable outfit in the morning? Well there are two great motivators I use: showering in the morning and picking out my threads the night before. The latter of the two might seem juvenile, but think of how much more coherent you are at night and how finding something great to wear will motivate you to get up and get ready to wear it.

Also, I know many people have issues with knowing how to put together clothes that match and/or are fashion-forward. My solution: find pictures of outfits you love, and try to copy them. I still even do this. It's no crime! I mostly use my Pinterest account for this type of research; I will pin outfits, hairstyles and make-up ideas to my Oh La La Fashion board and go back through my pins when I'm about to go out, go to class, or just grab lunch. Here are some outfits I really love and will probably copy soon for the Fall season:

Great look.


Boots & dress


I don't mind making jokes, but I don't want to look like one. - Marilyn Monroe

Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 1 of {Happiness}

Today is the start of a new month, and every day is the start to the rest of your life. For the month of October I am writing 27 posts about how to be happier with life.

You may be asking 2 questions: What do I know about being happier with life? What could I have possibly experienced so far that really tested me?

My background is that of a highly anxious, over-stressed girl. I have had my share of panic attacks; not the kind where you lay awake thinking too much and lose a little sleep, I'm talking about sobbing for hours about ridiculous things that no regular human would waste a blink on. Taking showers just to lay in the bathtub crying about nothing. My bestfriend has driven over in the middle of the night to pick me up off the bathroom floor.

It was always hard for me to feel happy around anyone other than my parents, because I always felt judged by my peers. So when my parents separated 3 years ago this month I felt like I didn't have a home or foundation any longer.

You know what is so great about all of that though? I have learned not to rest my happiness on others. I have learned how to be happy about myself, all by myself. And maybe you have experienced something similar to what I described above or are going through something traumatic . . . this month is for you.

Start today's month of being happier by thinking about how you really want your life and the person you want to be. Just take some time to decide not what you want to do, but what kind of person you want to be.

People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.
― Mother Teresa
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