Conversation Starter: "What Makes a Person Happy?"

conversation starters Feb 17, 2021

We all want to be happy, adults and kids alike. Indeed, happiness is a key component of resilience. When people are resilient, they grow stronger and more able to move the needle in the direction of a happy life. 

Happiness and resilience go hand-in-hand. The same qualities that make a person resilient also make a person happy.

Have you ever talked to your kids about this? If they are tweens, now might be the time to start this conversation, revisiting it when the opportunity arises. 

Happiness includes: 

  1. Spending time using our strengths. When we spend time doing things we are good at, we feel good about ourselves
  2. Living in alignment with our values. When we have identified what matters to us, what kind of person we want to be and what kind of life we want to have, and then live in alignment with those personal values, we earn our own self-respect. Remember, though, that your children get to choose their own values. Imposing those will make them choose...
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Self-Care Sunday: Pinpoint What You Love About Your Relationships

self-care sunday Feb 14, 2021

In today's Self-Care Sunday tip, we encourage you to pinpoint what you love about your relationships, and then make a plan to preserve these aspects.

It is often easy to see someone’s best qualities at the beginning of a relationship, especially romantic relationships (though this applies to most relationships as well). This is when both parties are putting their best foot forward, and because they have not spent very much time together, there is no pent-up resentment getting in the way of all of those great qualities shining forth. 

But as relationships progress, we begin to notice the other sides—the flaws, or the aspects of their personality that push our buttons. The day-to-day aspects of life take over, and we start to lose track of all those wonderful beginning-of-a-relationship feelings. Instead, we focus on the flaws and the things that are not going well.

The great parts of the other person’s personality begin to fade to the background ...

...

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Self-Care Sunday: Write the Next Chapter

self-care sunday Feb 07, 2021

One of the outcomes of the coronavirus-related shutdowns is that people are in a position where they can more easily identify what is important and what isn’t important. We all know that there are certain activities we cannot wait to do again, and we also know that there are certain activities we are relieved to no longer be doing.

So why not be intentional about identifying what our ideal lives look like, and then take this time to put parameters around the next chapter so that it more closely resembles your desires?

When you consider what this next chapter looks like, you might identify activities you can stop doing, but you might also identify activities you want to keep doing. For instance, you might realize that you don’t really miss your volunteer activities all that much, and that you have loved the evening walks you take with your family. Maybe you would rather spend time with your family than pursue some of the activities that would cause you to spend less time...

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Self-Care Sunday: Stack the Deck with Supportive Friendships

self-care sunday Jan 31, 2021

In today's Self-Care Sunday tip, we take a look at the concept of "stacking the deck" with respect to friendship.

"Stacking the deck" means that you stack the deck in your favor by surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you and encourage your strengths to thrive, which in turn boosts your sense of self-worth.

Surrounding yourself with good-feeling people who lift you up might sound obvious, but many people don't do it.

It begins in childhood. We are told to respect our elders, defer to adults, and not rock the boat with authority figures. When we come up against a teacher, coach or counselor we don't like, we are advised to be polite and keep it to ourselves.

We then grow into adults who allow not-so-great-feeling people into our lives out of politeness. We tolerate people who make us feel bad because we don't want to hurt their feelings. We spend time with people—and sometimes even marry them—who don't bring out the best in us.

Using ...

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Self-Care Sunday: Extend Yourself Some Grace

self-care sunday Jan 24, 2021

We all cycle through a range of emotions from day-to-day and hour-to-hour. You may feel anger and joy, all within a matter of minutes, but everyone has a predominant emotional state.

To understand this, check out the Emotion Escalator.™

If you were to circle the emotions you feel most often in any recent week, you would find they cluster around one or two steps on the Escalator. This is your predominant emotional state. Another way to think of it is as the mood you feel most often.

Here is the truth about your predominant emotional state: It is unlikely to take a giant leap forward in a short period of time.

So right now, in the middle of a pandemic, when people’s lives and livelihoods are being destroyed, when we are all lonely and worried, please take a moment to extend yourself a little grace. You won’t (and shouldn’t) always feel like life is filled with sunshine and roses and unicorns dancing on your front lawn.

Keep in mind, too, that your...

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Self-Care Sunday: Instant Mood Shifters

self-care sunday Jan 17, 2021

One of the biggest misconceptions about emotions is this: Negative emotions are bad.

The truth is, negative emotions aren't bad. We call them negative because they feel bad, but negative emotions are actually good. Anger is usually telling us that we deserve better. Sadness is often reminding us of people and things that are important to us. Fear is trying to alert us to danger and telling us to protect ourselves.

But sometimes, we need a break from negative emotions. Sometimes, even when our anger is justified, carrying it around is wrecking our day. Sometimes it causes us to snap at people who don't deserve it. And sometimes, even when we are in the midst of honoring and processing our anger, sadness, or fear, we just need a break from them for a little while.

Today, for Self-Care Sunday, why not make a list of your Instant Mood Shifters? Instant Mood Shifters are those things that make you feel better immediately. Watching a funny video, throwing the ball for the...

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The #1 Resilience Habit You Should Develop Today

resilience self efficacy Dec 14, 2020

The most important habit you can develop to become more resilient is this: Practice resilience. 

Resilience isn’t really something that you are. It’s something that you do over and over again as a habit.

  • Are you in the habit of paying attention to how people make you feel, and then spending time with people who make you feel good? 
  • Are you in the habit of paying attention to how your mood changes depending on what you are focused on? 
  • Are you in the habit of examining the thoughts that cause your emotions and choosing the most empowering thoughts that you have evidence for? 
  • When you notice that you are upset about something, are you in the habit of asking yourself the most important question of all: “What do I need to feel better that is within my control?” 

We all move in and out of resilience cycles. Sometimes we feel empowered. Sometimes we feel disempowered. 

The difference is this: The people who make...

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Do You Resent Your Family Because They Aren't Helpful on Thanksgiving?

Do you already resent your kids and your spouse a bit because you expect them to be less-than-helpful on Thanksgiving Day? If so, here is a strategy that will help you alleviate some of this resentment now, and for all future holidays and celebrations ... 
 
Call a family meeting in advance and let your children and your spouse know what you need from them so that the day feels good to you. 
 
However, instead of lecturing them about how they have failed you by being less-than-helpful and inconsiderate in the past; how you are always responsible for both the cooking and the cleaning; and how you have already planned the menu, done the shopping, and timed the delivery of appetizers, turkey, and all side dishes, use this formula for communicating your needs ...
 
1. Start from a place of self-care and describe (in positive terms) what you want the day to be like for yourself. 
 
2. Without blaming, lecturing, or bringing up past infractions, state...
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Do You Ask: "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?"

As early as preschool, people start asking children what they want to be when they grow up. And while there is certainly nothing wrong (and a lot right) with encouraging children to think about their futures and consider careers that might interest them, this question fails to convey several important things.

First, the question is asking about what career your child wants to have, but a job is only part of the story.

A better question might be—"Who do you want to be when you grow up?"—because it evokes thought about the myriad of components that factor into who we are as humans.

"Who do you want to be?" prompts thought about not just career, but also family, values, hobbies, lifestyle, and legacy. It starts a conversation about how your kids want to show up in the world, how they want to be perceived by others, and how they will try to balance all of the things that will matter to them.

The second and most important thing the question fails to convey is the process of...

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Find Your Parenting Strength, and Be Mediocre at the Rest

You can’t do it all. You can’t home cook every meal, attend every sporting event, work a full-time job, read to your kids every night, teach them great manners, introduce them to next year’s vocab words, take them to museums, memorize facts about Greek mythology, and tell great stories.

We can only do so much as parents. 
 
So let go of whatever picture you have of the perfect parent. Instead, figure out which aspects you are amazing at, and lean into those. 
 
When you spend time “in your strengths,” you show up as the best version of yourself. You will be happier, more patient, and more relaxed when you are doing things you know you do well and that you enjoy.
  • Are you really good at telling stories but not so great at roasting chicken?
  • Are you funny but clueless about soccer and not super interested in learning? 
  • Great at teaching but not so great at throwing birthday parties?
  • The most fun at taking your kids...
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