101 Positive Thinking Posts!

targetaudienceI started writing “The Positive Thinking Diet” blog in January of 2008, and have made about 100 posts since then, so this is post #101! Woo-hoo! I wasn’t really keeping track of that, but it’s a great milestone to pass, without even knowing.

The Positive Thinking Diet is NOT about what you eat, although eating healthy foods can certainly help you feel better.  The Positive Thinking Diet really about using tools and techniques, and developing thinking habits, that can help you move away from bad moods and negative thoughts and towards happier moods and positive thoughts.   There is information here from artists, athletes, doctors, scientists, religious and political leaders, poets, parents and children – good stuff that I found and thought that I would share.

I have written about inspirational people such as Helen Keller, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Oprah Winfrey, and my Uncle Chuck who suffered a brain injury but has a great attitude. I have written about scientific research about food and mood. I have written about how exercise and running have changed my life. I have written about songs, books and movies that put me in a good mood. I’ve even written about Fortune Cookies and Dental Hygiene and how these relate to feeling good. If you want to see some of the other topics that I have written about, just scroll down the right side of this page.

I know that whenever I write something for “The Positive Thinking Diet” that I actually feel better about myself. Writing about positive things makes me feel good. And when I feel good, more good things happen in my life.

But I wonder – who else does this stuff appeal to?  Who am I writing for, if it’s not just me?  Or maybe the question should be – whom should I target? Since most people have never heard of me or my blog, it’s really hard to know who would want to read this – if they even knew about it.

Here are some (types of) people who I know have read and enjoyed my blog:

- My 83-year-old father and his 82-year-old partner, Mary

- My middle-aged Working Mom friends

- My middle-aged Single Women Professional friends

- My running friends (male and female)

- My college and grad school classmates (male and female, mostly middle-age!)

- A few other bloggers

- Some guy from India

I see a pattern here.  My audience is mostly older and mostly female.  But maybe that’s just because that’s who I know.

So here’s the question for any of you who might be reading this post:

-What other kinds of people do you think would enjoy reading about the subject of Positive Thinking?   Also, I’d love to have any thoughts and suggestions on future topics.

If you have any thoughts or ideas for me, use the contact form here, or you can make comments on the Facebook Page for The Positive Thinking Diet at:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Positive-Thinking-Diet/151015748300602?ref=hl

Thanks everyone for your help!

PTD

Happiness

Small Everyday Choices Add Up

T100_2628oday, I feel great!  This morning, I weighed myself on my bathroom scale and it said 108.8 pounds!  That’s probably the least I have weighed in about 5 years! Woo-hoo!  This is down from a high of about 120 pounds a few years ago, when I knew I had to make some changes in my lifestyle because I just didn’t feel good!  My clothes didn’t fit and I needed to buy larger ones.  I felt bloated and unattractive.    And even though I was otherwise healthy and continued to train for and run marathons, my pace was a lot slower than just a few years earlier. And I was struggling with my self-esteem. It was time for a change.

Making lifestyle changes is not easy for most of us – and yet every day, we make small choices that might be setting us in a new direction, and each small choice can add up in the long run.  Sometimes, we are so used to doing something one way, that we don’t even realize that it might be hurting us and preventing us from feeling as good as we want to feel.

The Positive Thinking Diet is not about what you eat.  It’s about how you feel about yourself, your life, and the world.  It’s about *choosing* to think and do things that will make you FEEL better about yourself.  It all starts with how you THINK, and then the DOING follows.

You might ask, “what did you think or do differently, that brought you these results?”

Well, there was no miracle cure.  I cannot point to just one thing.  There were a lot of different small choices that I made, that added up over time.  It’s like they say, you start by taking just one step in the direction you want to go, then another step, and another, and you just keep on going.  And then one day, you are in another place!   That’s the way I have finished most of my marathons.  I cross the starting line, and I just keep on going until I cross the finish line.  It doesn’t matter how fast I am going.  I just want to enjoy the experience and get to the finish without pain or injury.  That’s a successful outcome for me.  How come I can always do that in my running life, but not always in my regular life?  Well, I can, but I have to focus on different things, and make sure I am going in the right direction.

So it’s important to take a look at your current daily habits and usual choices and see where they may be taking you.  If you are always doing the same things you have always done, without noticing what those habits or choices might lead to, you might end up where you never really wanted to go.  If you feel stuck in a bad relationship, bad job, or feel unhealthy or overweight, chances are, you weren’t paying attention to what you were thinking or doing and the choices that you were consciously or unconsciously making – that led you to this current (and hopefully temporary) situation.

In the case of my weight, I’ve lost 12 pounds in 2 years, or 6 pounds per year.  This is not a dramatic change by any means.  I had a plan, but I did not always follow the plan.  I had good days and bad days.  Today is a good day.  I hope to have more good days like this.

The weight loss plan has been pretty simple.  Eat more protein (fish, chicken, greek yogurt, etc.) Eat more veggies (salad, brocolli, green beans, fresh veggies, etc.) Eat fewer processed white carbs (bread, pasta).  Eat fewer sweet foods with added sugar (not hard for me since I don’t really have a sweet tooth).  Avoid drinking your calories (choose water, green tea, sparking water over soft drinks, wine, beer).  Keep on running and exercising as usual (I’ve been running for over 20 years, so my exercise habit is pretty ingrained.)  I didn’t count calories.  I didn’t focus on portion sizes.  I didn’t try to eat less.  I just tried to eat differently – and make healthier choices.  And so long as I followed the plan, I lost weight.  And when I didn’t follow the plan, I gained weight.

Now that I’m eating healthier for the most part, I know that I will continue these healthier habits for the rest of my life.  At some point, my weight will stabilize (hopefully @ 105 pounds) and I’ll just continue to eat this same way to maintain my weight and healthy.  No need to get skinny.  My old clothes are already starting to fit again.  That feels so good!

I have other friends who say they would like to lose weight, but when we go out to eat or grab a snack, they continue to choose to order that bagel, scone or pasta or sugary soft drink, or put 2 lumps of sugar in their tea or coffee, or order another glass of beer or wine, or eat the entire loaded hamburger instead of maybe eating only until they are full and bringing the leftovers home.  I understand their choices. Occasionally, I still make those not so great choices.  But consistently eating/drinking those foods will not make you happier or healthier, just the opposite.

So choosing what you eat is just one of those every day small choices that everyone makes – that really adds up in the long run.  Other every day choices we make that have similar consequences are:

- Exercise habits or lack thereof

- Always showing up on time – or always being late

- Communicating regularly with your friends and family – or not

- Managing your money – or ignoring it

- Developing skills that other people value and will pay you to do – or not

The list goes on and on.  Small choices matter.  What are you choosing to do and where are those choices taking you?  Time to take a look at those things you aways do, but never think about.

PTD

Happiness , , , , , , ,

Don’t Give Up on Yourself

From time to time, all of us face disappointments that make us feel bad about ourselves.   Here are some examples:

- You’ve let yourself go, and become overweight and/or unhealthy.

- You haven’t had as much success, financially or professionally, as you thought you should have had by now.  You start thinking of yourself as a “loser” by comparing yourself to others who seem to have had more success.

- You’ve worked so hard to support your family that your most important relationships have suffered.

- You’re getting old and don’t feel as healthy or attractive as you used to be.  Will it be all downhill from here?

And so on.  There are lots of other things that might make you feel bad about yourself.

Your friends and family would probably want to help by saying things like:

- “You’ve still got so much going for you!  Start focusing on all the great things in your life and stop focusing on things you don’t have.”

- “I believe in you!  You’ve still got so much to offer!  Tomorrow is another day. Better days are still ahead!”

They’d do their best to cheer you up and make you see how much you really matter – to them and other people.  They’d want you to know how much they love you and value you and even admire you or are inspired by you.  They’d tell you that they’d like to do whatever they can do to help you get back on your feet and move forward again.

But ultimately, they can only help you if YOU decide that you WANT to get back up and on your feet again.   Nobody else can really help you until YOU are ready to HELP YOURSELF and accept the help of others.

YOU have to believe in yourself and in your own self-worth.  You have value.  You have so much to give to others and the world.  Your talents, your sense of humor, your affection and support for the people who matter to you.   The world still needs you and wants you to keep on going.  But first, you have to decide that you are worth it.  Just like in the L’Oreal Hair Color commercial.   Start telling yourself “I’M WORTH IT.”

Feeling sad or sorry for yourself does you absolutely no good.  It may be normal to feel this way occasionally, but that feeling will pass.  If you find yourself in a rut, it’s time to pull yourself out of that rut.

Don’t give up on yourself.  Don’t be a victim to your own self-disappointment. You have so much more to give the world.  Get back up and try again.   And again.   It’s time.

PTD

 

 

Happiness

Every Day is Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving TurkeyThanksgiving, the US National Holiday, falls every year on the 4th Thursday in November.   Americans all over the world celebrate this holiday with family gatherings and a huge meal consisting of turkey and dressing, mash potatoes, green bean casseroles, and pumpkin pie.   Many other countries and religions all over the world have their own version of Thanksgiving.  It’s a day of thanks.  It’s a reminder that we should all be grateful for all of the blessings we already have.   And if we focus on all the wonderful things we already have, then we should feel happiness and contentment, at least in that moment.    It’s a shame that so many of us only celebrate Thanksgiving for one day out of each year.  Really, we should be celebrating Thanksgiving every single day.  For every day that we are here, it is a blessing.

For today is another Thanksgiving.  Not the National Holiday, but another day to be grateful for everything that I already have.   Here are just a few of the amazing things that I am so thankful for today:

- I am thankful that I am alive right now and very, very healthy.  I’ve been cancer-free for over 12 years, and am very fit and healthy and am still running marathons.  I’ll be out trail running later today.

- I am thankful that I have a wonderful and loving family, whom I see at least a few times a year, even though we live all over the US.   I’ll be seeing them next around Christmas, and next year, we are planning a family trip to Rome, Italy.   They are all kind, interesting, wonderful people.

- I am thankful for all of my friends, even the ones I haven’t seen in a long time.  I know that they will be there for me whenever I need them, and vice-versa.   I am pretty lucky to know all of them.

- I am thankful that I live where I live, in a place where I can go outside and run on beautiful trails most days out of the year.  Today’s sunshine is an extra bonus!

- I am even thankful for the 326 spam messages that were waiting to be deleted from my blog today.  That means that many spammers think my blog readers are worthy of targeting with their spam messages, which of course, you will never see because I delete them every time I work on my blog!    Something you can be thankful for, too!

So today is another Thanksgiving, one of 365 Thanksgivings every year.  And I’m ready to go outside to enjoy it!

PTD

 

 

 

Happiness , , ,

How Bad Does It Have to Get Before You Decide to Change?

Some of us are expert procrastinators.  We leave everything to the last minute.  It might be a project at work.  Or we may have promised a friend or a family member that we would do something.  And maybe we get so late a start that we do the job poorly - or maybe not at all.   And sometimes, we make promises to ourselves that we’ll do something for ourselves – lose weight, get more exercise, get out of a bad relationship, look for a better job, move to a better climate – and we somehow never get around to it.  Time passes.  Nothing changes much.  And we’re never quite happy, but not unhappy enough finally to get off our butt a nd make something happen.

How bad does your life have to get before you finally make a change and take positive action?  Do you have to wait until you are laid-off from your dead-end job before you start to look for a new one?  Do you have to wait until you are 100 pounds overweight before you finally change your diet and exercise habits?  Will you wait until your Father or Mother is on their death bed before you tell them that you love them?   Do you really have to wait until your kids are grown to get out of a dysfunctional marriage?   Do you have to get into a near-fatal car accident before you realize that you don’t want to keep doing the same thing everyday – and you want to instead live your life doing things that really matter to you?

A friend of mine has a blog called 17000days – the number of days she figured she could expect to live from that point on.  That’s a finite number of days.  That’s all we have.  And the point she was trying to make – was that she wanted to savor each and every day – because one of those days will be her last.

It’s OK to live the same life every day – if it’s fulfilling and meaningful to you.  It’s another thing to live the same life every day – when you are not terribly happy about what you are doing.

We are all going to die someday.  Some people know they are going to die because they have cancer or another disease and their doctor tells them approximately how much longer they have to live.  Other people die suddenly from accidents or forces of nature.  Some people are dead already – and they don’t even know it.  They are alive, but they are not really “living” with any deliberate thought or purpose.

If all of us are going to die someday, why should we wait for anything to start really living the way we want to live?  What will it take for you to decide that today is the day for you to start moving in a new direction?

PTD

 

 

 

Happiness

How to Improve Your Mood With Vitamins and Food

For over ten years, I have been following the latest medical and scientific research on nutrition and mood.  At first, I started doing this to find out what I might do to help out with my own mild depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder due to lack of sunlight).  Over time, I tried a lot of different things, and figured out what foods, vitamins and supplements work best for my own body.  Of course, I exercise too, but exercise alone is not enough.  Some of my friends have asked me for suggestions for nutritional ways to improve their mood.  So I thought I’d write down some of these suggestions here in my blog.  (Legal disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional and this information is not going to be appropriate for everybody.  This is not a substitute for seeing your own doctor and following their recommendations.  If you are severely depressed or thinking about killing yourself, stop reading this now and instead call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255).   OK- on we go!

Protein:  When we eat plant, dairy and animal proteins, they are digested and synthesized into important Amino Acids, which affect our brain chemistry and emotions. Serotonin is one of these amino acids that is well known for creating a feeling of well-being.  Fish, Eggs, lean meats (Poultry, Beef, Pork, etc), Yogurt, Milk, Cheese, Beans and Legumes are all high in protein.   I  make sure to have some protein with every meal.

B-Vitamins: There are lots of B-vitamins, and most of them are very good for reducing feelings of stress and providing increased energy.  I take daily all-around B-complex vitamin supplements, but particularly B-6 and B-12.  Foods that are high in B-vitamins include poultry, seafood, whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils), potatoes and bananas.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: A diet high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids is known to improve mood.  Omega-3′s are prevalent in fatty fish (like Salmon and Tuna), and in “pastured eggs” from Chickens who are allowed to roam freely outdoors and eat grass and bugs.  You can often find these at your local farmers market.  If you do not have access to these foods, there are many good Omega-3 supplements on the market.  I take a twice daily supplement of at least 1 gram of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, including the EPA and DHA forms, from http://www.SwansonVitamins.com.  Trader Joe’s also carries a high quality Omega-3 supplement.

Vitamin D and Sunlight: Vitamin D is produced naturally by your body when you are exposed to sunlight and it’s no wonder that people who live in sunny places tend to be “happier” than people who live in dark or overcast places.  Unfortunately, many of us don’t get enough sunshine where we live to produce all of the Vitamin D we need to be happy.  When I lived in Seattle, my nutritionist told me that most people who live north of the San Francisco Bay Area don’t get enough sunshine and should be taking Vitamin D supplements – about 5,000-10,000 IU per day, depending on the person and where they live.  She recommended that I take Vitamin D3 droplets, which are super inexpensive at most vitamin supplement stores.  I get mine online at SwansonVitamins.com.  Can’t beat their prices.  These days, I’m back across the bay from San Francisco, which often has cloudy/foggy summers.  So even people in San Francisco can benefit from taking Vitamin D supplements.  Another good source of Vitamin D is mushrooms.  I love mushrooms, and buy locally grown mushrooms at Berkeley Bowl and farmers markets.

Probiotics:  By now everyone has heard that “good bacteria,” like that found in yogurt, can aid in your digestion and help you get the most benefit from all the nutrition from the foods we eat.   They also help your mood.  So I eat about a cup of 2% fat plain Greek Yogurt with berries  every morning.  Greek Yogurt is strained, so it is thicker and less runny that regular yogurts.  Plus, it contains more protein and calcium than regular yogurt for the same volume.   Most yogurt contains plenty of probiotics, but if you don’t like yogurt or cannot eat dairy, you can easily find Probiotic supplements at your neighborhood vitamin store, grocery store or Trader Joe’s.

Nuts and Selenium:  Nuts are high in unsaturated fatty acids such as Omega 3′s, fiber, and Selenium, which helps regulate the Thyroid gland and promotes the immune system.  Nuts also help lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and protect the heart.  Nuts with high selenium content include Brazil nuts, Sunflower seeds and Walnuts. Seafood, mussels and oysters are also high in Selenium.  Instead of reaching for processed snacks like Pretzels or Potato Chips, try eating some healthy nuts instead.

Dark Chocolate: Dark Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid found in the Cacao plant.  The higher percent of Cacao in your chocolate bar, the higher the amount of theobromine.  Theobromine is known to have a mild stimulant effect and also dilutes blood vessels, which has the effect of lowering one’s blood pressure.  Many people believe dark chocolate is an afrodisiac and helps increase sexual desire.  I don’t know if that’s been medically proven, but it’s certainly nice to think so.  And it tastes good too! I like to buy Trader Joe’s Pound Plus Dark Chocolate with Almonds.  Yum!

Selzer Water with Fresh Lemon, Mint and/or Pickled Ginger:  My favorite drink of choice these days is Selzer Water with fresh sliced lemons, mint leaves, and/or pickled ginger – the kind that is served alongside sushi in Japanese restaurants.  Selzer water is carbonated water without added sodium, so it is healthier for you than Club Soda.  The aroma of lemon slices or citrus always lift my mood.  And adding pickled ginger, which can be found in ethnic and Japanese groceries, adds a zingy and slightly sour taste, without the sweetness found in most ginger ales.  Try it sometime!

Green Tea:  Green tea is chock full of anti-oxidants and also has some caffeine – but less caffeine per cup than coffee – so you get the energy boost without the jitters.  A hot cup of green tea can also be relaxing and help improve your focus and concentration.  I always feel more productive after drinking a cup of hot or iced green tea.  My favorites are Jasmine Green Tea and fruit-flavored green teas such as Mango Green Tea.  I make a pot of green tea in the morning, and drink a hot cup, then pour the rest in a pitcher to drink casually throughout the rest of the day.

I hope this information helps some people!

PTD

 

 

 

 

Happiness

Don’t Accept Any Limits

Olympian Oscar Pistorius and childThis summer, South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, 25, became the first double amputee to participate in the Summer Olympic games as a runner alongside other Olympians who had both legs.  This is an amazing achievement for someone who had both legs amputated below the knee.

Unfortunately, he finished seventh place in the Semi-finals, which was not good enough to get him a spot in the Finals.  Still, he finished the 400-meter run in 46.54 seconds, less than 1 second behind the winner!  That’s phenomenal!

According to Wikipedia, Oscar Pistorius was born with a congenital absence of the fibula in both legs. When he was 11 months old, both of his legs were amputated below the knee.  Since Oscar grew up never knowing what it would be like any other way – this was normal for him.  With the aid of carbon-fiber artificial limbs, he started competing in the Para-Olympics, and finally, in the regular Olympics.  There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of this sort of artificial limbs – which some people think gives runners an artificial advantage.  But despite all the controversy, Oscar sets a wonderful example for others – to help people see that they CAN overcome obstacles and achieve great things – if they don’t accept self-imposed limits on themselves.

Oscar never saw himself as “less capable” than other people or other athletes.  He found ways to get around his “handicap” and to excel in his sport.   And as you can see in this photo taken a few years ago, he is an inspiration to other amputees young and old – to not let their handicap stop them from doing things the rest of us take for granted.

Thank you Oscar Pistorius for showing the world that people with physical handicaps are not less capable or less worthy than other people.  Pistorius reminds us that the only things that really hold any of us back – are our own beliefs about what we can or cannot achieve.  If we can get rid of those self-limiting beliefs, we can do great things.  Bravo Oscar!

PTD

Happiness

Get Ready for Your Come Back!

Ellen running in the Berkeley HillsAll of us have our ups and downs in life.  Sometimes we experience happiness and success, and other times, things seem bleek and hopeless.  But often, out of our own hardships, we realize how strong and resilient we are – if we can just push through the bad times until we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I apologize for spouting a bunch of cliches – but they have all been true for me.  And it seems like right now, I am in the midst of yet another “come back.”  Maybe it will happen again for you, too.

I am currently experiencing what I would call a return to physical (and mental) well-being, after being sort of overweight and disappointed with myself for the last few years.   Most people who know me would not consider me overweight or out of shape.  My last “come-back” was in mid-2000, after I went through 2 big “whammies”: I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, and I was going through a divorce.  But my breast cancer was diagnosed early, and before the end of the year, I ran the Honolulu Marathon and was the top fundraiser for the Team-in-Training East Bay Run Team.  I then joined the Golden Gate Triathlon Club and  was enjoying the best fitness of my life.   I was competing in triathlons and I ran my fastest marahon ever at St. George, Utah in 2002 and qualified to run the 2003 Boston Marathon.  But things had already begun to change.

After 9-11-2001, I felt like a huge cloud had descended over the world and  over myself.  The world no longer felt like a safe place.  I had planned an extended around-the-world trip, which I then put off indefinitely because Americans were just not welcome in a lot of places.  My creative projects took a hit because I was semi-depressed and my creative juices just weren’t flowing. And in 2006,  I started gaining weight.  I put on about 15 pounds, which is a lot for someone who stands only 5 feet tall.  I didn’t feel attractive, and that translated into fewer dates, and just not looking to be in a relationship.  Working full-time for a disfunctional corporation was also not agreeing with me.

Cut to August 2012.  I now feel “happier” and “lighter” than I have in months.  And I am also physically “lighter” by @ 5 pounds.  I still have about 10 more pounds to go, but these first 5 pounds came off fast, seemingly without much effort.  I didn’t starve myself.  I never felt hungry.  But I did start being more conscious about what I was eating – so I was eating better, not less.  I haven’t really been running more than usual, but I have added a few other brief 2 minute weight-bearing exercises to my daily routine.  I am starting to fit into some of my old clothers.  And a few of my friends have commented that they have noticed my weight loss.

Yes, it’s summer and the sun is shining almost every day.  That has got to help!  And the 2012 Summer Olympics in London are happening, and everyone seems excited to see athletes from all over the world competing with each other – but also getting along with each other.  Everyone is just happy to be there.  This makes me think it’s a good time for me to start planning again for my round-the-world trip!

My creative juices are stirring again.  They still need a bit more nurturing.  I am not yet in full swing creatively.  But I can feel my creativity coming back, too.

I celebrated my birthday about 2 weeks ago, and “donated my birthday” to Charity: Water, a non-profit that provides clean drinking water to communities in developing countries.  So rather than letting friends take me out for drinks or dinner, I asked them to make a donation to my charity.  By the way, I haven’t quite reached my fundraising goal and they are still accepting donations for my birthday-campaign at http://mycharitywater.org/ellens-charity-water-birthday-challenge.

And now that I’ve passed another birthday, I am in a “new” age group to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  This means that I get 5 more minutes to finish a Marathon this year and I can now qualify to run Boston if I finish a marathon in under 4 hours, 10 minutes.  Since I finished the New Orleans Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in March in 4 hours, 30 minutes without really trying, this means that I only need to shave off 20 more minutes to qualify!

Unfortunately, I entered the lottery to run this year’s popular St. George Marathon, but didn’t get in.  Since St. George’s Marathon course has a net elevation loss of over 2500 feet, that’s how I was able to finish fast enough to qualify in 2002 with a time of about 3 hours, 54 minutes.  Now, I just need to finish in 4 hours, 10 minutes.  Easy?  Not really, but definitely possible!

So I just found out that even though the 2012 St. George Marathon is sold-out, they are going to award 3 guaranteed places to the winners of their first Facebook challenge.  I have to be one of the top 3 people to get the most “likes” on my story for why I deserve to be one of the winners on the St. George Marathon Facebook Page under “Contest#1″. Look for my comment under that post and “like” it.  I have some tough competition, but it’s worth a try!  After all, this is my “Come Back Year!”  If you want to help me win a spot at the St. George Marathon, sign into Facebook, then click on this link, and “like” the comment by Ellen Holbrook.  This contest ends on August 6, 2012.  Thanks in advance for your help!  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=424307110946056&id=174144762628960&comment_id=4838578&notif_t=like

 

 

Happiness

The Smiling Experiment

One of my new goals is to try to make at least one person happy every day.  As it turns out, this doesn’t take much effort.   Today, I made at least 20 people happy before 8:30 AM, and it’s amazing how good I feel!

This morning at 7 AM, I met a friend at Lake Merritt in Oakland to run around the Lake.  Jenna did one lap with me, and then I did a second lap for a total of about 6.5 miles.  It was a cloudy and cool day, but there were a lot of other people running and walking around the lake.  After Jenna left, I decided to see how many people I could get to smile.  So one by one, as I was passing people, I would look them in the eye, and smile, and sometimes wave or say “good morning!”  Most of the time, people smiled back, and sometimes nodded their head to acknowledge me, and often said “morning!” back to me, like I was an old friend they happened to run into along the lake.  It was great!

Of course, some people were too absorbed in their own thoughts, or were talking on their cell phones, or were too afraid to look up and see that there was a runner who was smiling at them.  I do think that a few of the people that I passed were not interested in having any sort of eye contact with anyone – not just me.

But seriously, MOST of the these people whom I passed smiled back and seemed genuinely happy in that one little moment.  As I approached, a few of these people looked downright sad or down and out, until I smiled and said “good morning.”  And then they lifted their heads and looked at me, and the sides of their mouths turned up and I even saw some friendly teeth.  It was a complete emotional turnaround in a split-second!

Smiling is so easy and requires no energy.  And yet, when you look someone else in the eye and smile at them, and they look at you and smile back – you’ve both exchanged some positive energy – and even created a lot more positive energy – than existed before that moment.  This positive energy seemingly came from nowhere – and it was completely free. We can all have that same positive energy.  Just smile at someone else!  There is plenty to go around!

PTD

Happiness

Make Someone Happy – Today!

What’s the quickest way to feel happy?

Make someone else happy!

It’s really pretty easy.  And it’s something you can do without spending any money.  All you really need is a target – a person, a child, a dog, a cat, a plant, you-name-it.   Your target can even be a complete stranger.

The easiest way to make someone happy – is to share a smile.  If you’re walking down the street, or jogging in the park, you will pass a lot of people.  Try making eye contact and smiling at some of them as you go by; maybe even say “good morning.”  You’ll notice that while a few people won’t bother to look at you or acknowledge your presence – that many people will instantly return your smile!  You just made someone happy!  Even if it was just for a moment, you made someone happy.  It’s that easy.

If you have a family member or friend that you haven’t seen or talked to for a long time, give them a call out of the blue. When they answer,  tell them that you were just thinking about them and decided to say hello and catch up.  If the call goes to voicemail, just leave a similar message.  They will be so happy to hear your voice and know that you were thinking about them – and that they matter to you.

If you live or work with other people whom you see ever day, think about what you might easily do for someone that would make them feel happy.  Often, it’s as simple as making someone feel acknowledged, heard, and apprecriated.  And just as often, it’s the people who we see and interact with every day – that we forget to acknowledge, listen to and appreciate for the good things that they bring to the table.

A lot of us take other people for granted – people we see every day at home or at work.  Maybe even your spouse or your parent, or a child.  It is especially important to take a few minutes each day – to try to make someone happy whom you see every day.   If it’s a spouse, parent or child, it might be as simple as giving them a greeting and a kiss on the lips, cheek or forehead. Ask them a good question and really listen to their response.  Touch them on their hand, arm or shoulder when you ask a question.  All of these things willl help them feel that you are actually interested in what they have to say.  That will make them happy.  And that will make you happy.

Even people we sometimes disagree with – provide us with an opportunity to examine our own beliefs and figure out if something else might make better sense.  So we can genuinely thank people for their opposing viewpoints and they will feel good, and you can feel good, and maybe one of these days you will also agree about something else.

Pet a dog or a cat.  Watch the dog wag it’s tail.  Hear the cat purr.   You made them happy.

Water a plant.  Know that you are giving the plant something it absolutely needs to remain healthy and alive and fulfill its purpose.  It may take some imagination to see – but you just made that plant happy.   You did good for another living being.  And it was really easy.

And the most wonderful thing about intentionally making someone else happy – is that it makes you happy, too!  Every time.  Just smiling at someone and getting a smile in return – is a great feeling.  Forget about anyone who ignores your gesture – they are probably caught up in their own thoughts and unable to accept your momentary gift.   But those who are open and receptive – will appreciate your smile.   It might even be a moment that has the power to turn their whole day around in a more positive direction.

By doing the most simple things – like smiling – to make someone else happy – you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.   This is so easy to do, you can do it once a day or multiple times each day.  But it’s best to start by making a conscious effort to make at least one person happy – every day.

The late, great entertainer and movie star, Jimmy Durante, famously sang the hit song, “Make Someone Happy”, and you can listen to the song and read the lyrics at the bottom of this post.   The best line from this song is : “Make someone happy, make just one someone happy, and you will be happy too.”  This song is less than 2 minutes and will put a smile on your face. PTD (See below)

“Make Someone Happy” Lyrics

Make someone happy,
Make just one someone happy.
Make just one heart the heart you sing to.

One smile that cheers you,
One face that lights when it nears you.
One gal you’re everything to.

Fame, if you win it,
Comes and goes in a minute.
Where’s the real stuff in life to cling to?

Love is the answer,
Someone to love is the answer.
Once you’ve found her,
Build your world around her.

Make someone happy.
Make just one someone happy
And you will be happy too.

******
Words: Adolph Green and Betty Comden
Music: Jule Styne

Happiness , , ,