Tuesday, February 3, 2015

 Women for Sobriety, Inc.
Take ACTION to Make Those Inside Changes: Happiness is CREATED
Greatness takes CONSCIOUS EFFORT
Enthusiasm is DAILY EXERCISE


5 Ways to be Happier Today 

These cold grey winter days can send even the most positive people into a downward funk.  Now that winter is truly upon us, what can you do to keep your spirits up?  Here are five ways to be happier TODAY:

1.  Start a gratitude list or journal.

Concentrating on what you are thankful for in your life is a sure fire way to feel better about yourself and improve you attitude.  A few lines written in a journal is sufficient--I like to simply jot down something I am grateful for each day on my calendar.  Don’t have pen and paper handy? That’s okay, you can also think about what you are grateful for---or even say it out loud.  Once you get on a roll with this, it’s amazing how quickly you can turn complaints into gratefulness.

2.  Do something you love.

Take a few minutes out of your day to spend time on a project you enjoy, read a few pages of a book you love, or engage in an activity that brings you joy.  It is so easy to get caught up in our crazy, busy schedules and ‘to do’ lists and then, before you know it, you are simply going through the motions of life instead of enjoying it.  Taking a little more time each day to fully engage in something that you love to do will increase your satisfaction in life and therefore increase your happiness.

3.  Connect with others.

Call a friend or family member to talk.  Or better yet, meet someone you have fun spending time with for coffee or a bite to eat.  Connecting with the people we love is a terrific way to feel happier about your life.  After all, what’s better than reminding yourself of the people who love you and enjoying their company?

4.  Exercise.

Moving your body will help reduce stress, improve your health and make you feel better about yourself.  Exercise is an underused happiness booster.  When exercising, your body releases endorphins.  I’m sure you have heard runners talk about a ‘runners high’.  When they mention this, they are referencing this release of chemicals--those endorphins that create a surge of positivity.

5.  Help someone else.

This tip is a guaranteed way to feel happier.  Help out at a shelter, pick out a toy or coat for a child in need, buy a drink for the person in line behind you in the coffee shop or even just offer a compliment and a smile to a harried store clerk.  Have doubts that this will work?  Give it a try—it’s simple and infectious.

Next time you find yourself feeling down, pick one of these ideas and go for it.  Odds are good you’ll reap the benefits immediately with an increase in your happiness level regardless of the weather.  Want to boost your happiness further?  Incorporating some of these practices into your regularly weekly routine is a fantastic way to create an overall happier life.
~~Pam Howard, Certified Health Coach~~

Statement #3, “Happiness is a habit I will develop.”
Happiness is created, not waited for.

     Reading this blog from Pam Howard, I had to smile.  I am doing a number of items on this list for creating happiness.  Back in 2011, I began two different gratitude journals.  One I write in the morning and acknowledge one thing that I feel grateful for; while the second one is for right before I go to sleep at night.  This one ritual has made an immense difference in my life and I am able to not only see but genuinely feel gratitude almost everywhere.
     Upon becoming sober, I felt incredibly happy.  I was now sober and staying sober.  I felt proud of this great accomplishment and, not long after this, I began to feel something was amiss.  I could not put my finger on it so I reminded myself every day that I was sober and growing.  This helped for a while and then I happily found WFS.  As I read the 13 Statements, I found what I was searching for:  I was home!
     Today I create happiness by taking action.  Doing something I love usually involves creativity, whether it be writing, doodling or my new favorite, watercolor.  Connecting with others on a daily basis grants multitudes of happiness, from our face to face WFS group to the newest crew, our county beekeeping group that my dear husband has recently started.
     The one area in which I feel I am lacking is #4 Exercise.  I can get started on my stationary bike and go for a bit; yet, for reasons I have not discovered, I lose interest and make excuses.  I have also let my Tai Chi practice go to the wayside.  This is the area where I need to apply my effort and feel the joy from taking care of myself physically.  Time to make a plan of success.
     The last item mentioned is helping someone else, which I feel is exactly what WFS does.  You may never meet face to face with a WFS sister or you might be attending the yearly Conference with gusto...together we make this program benefit individuals everywhere.  From this beautiful beginning, we have the opportunity to touch the life of another, whether we volunteer at the library or support our local animal shelter.  Happiness is an expression of pure love!
     So on this “Groundhog Day”, shadow or no shadow...I am creating happiness and living in joy!

What action(s) do you take to create happiness?

Hugzzz, Karen


Hi 4C Women,
     Great ideas for creating your own happiness.  I was one of those women who thought happiness came from the outside - whether it was material things or hoping someone would love me enough to heal all of my wounds.  WFS taught me that happiness is indeed an inside job. While there can be a momentary joy of receiving an item you were desiring or feeling joy at having someone acknowledge they care about you, if you are depending on things and other people to continually feed your need for happiness, it will always be elusive.  It also puts a lot of pressure on a relationship for a loved one to fulfill such an unending need if it is one sided.  I do believe we can receive happiness from healthy relationships.  I guess what I am trying to say is that we need to have a healthy relationship with ourselves - to be responsible for bringing our own happiness into our lives, to be able to share that so we have balance in our relationships when it comes to creating happiness.  -Dee

Thank you, Karen and Dee, for your words of encouragement and inspiration to start off our week!  As for Groundhog Day today - there were no words of encouragement coming from Pennsylvania's Punxsutawney Phil - he predicted 6 more weeks of winter - boo!  However, Staten Island Chuck wasn't afraid of his shadow - woohoo!  Early Spring!  (AND the stats say that in the last 10 years, his predictions are 80% accurate...that's pretty good!  Phil - only 39% - not so good.  I'm sticking with Chuck's positive attitude!).  PS: Thanks to Chantel "SlightlyOff" for inspiring the title to take action - her inspiring article will be in an upcoming newsletter!
~Becky Fenner, WFS Director

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