Exuberant Joy and Why We All Deserve It

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This past weekend, I was out for lunch with my friend and we got on the topic of happiness and exuberant joy. 

I truly feel we all deserve absolute happiness and exuberant joy in our lives, no matter what. I don’t care who you are or where you come from, you deserve it, and you should never let anyone tell you otherwise. 

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36 Things to Be Happy About

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36 Things to Be Happy About

In this crazy world in which we live, it’s nice to find things to be happy about on a daily basis. Whether big or small, it’s important to find them and smile about them. Below you’ll find a list of 36 things to be happy about. In no particular order…

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Your Happy Place

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You know those times you feel pure, uninterrupted joy and happiness? Those moments you feel so utterly happy and content that you want to bottle that emotion and feeling up and bring it back out whenever and wherever you want? Don’t you love those moments? I know I do!

I was watching Ellen the other day (I live for her..she’s simply the best!), and you know how she dances and makes the audience dance every single day? It’s her thing. And it makes everyone around her and watching her happy. It’s fun, it’s silly, it’s HAPPY.

What if you thought about that thing you could do to bring you to your happy place? That, at any given moment, when you’re feeling sub par (or even when you’re feeling great!), you can stop what you’re doing, and do a little dance (or whatever it is that makes you oh so happy and joyful)?

It doesn’t have to be dancing. It can be putting on one of your ‘happy’ songs that always lift you up, no matter what else is going on. It could be an activity that takes you somewhere else (say an adult coloring book or writing poetry). It can be a thought – that thought that makes you totally zen (maybe thinking of a moment on a vacation you once had that was unlike anything you’ve ever experienced). It can be ANYTHING. Find that thing that brings you to YOUR happy place. The place where no one can bother you and nothing gets in your way.

Life is busy. Life can be challenging. Life can be messy. Sometimes it’s necessary to just zone out and find your zen, your pure joy.

Who is with me on this?

 

Image: Death to Stock

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Thoughts From My Desk: Happiness

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I talk about happiness a lot in my little corner of the inter web, but it’s because I feel it’s the absolute most important thing you can achieve in life. Money? No. Love? Important, but no. HAPPINESS. I’m not talking THINKING your happy; I’m talking true, to the core, absolute happiness.

I was talking to my friend last week and something he said struck a chord with me. I can’t remember the exact statement (I probably drank too much wine earlier in the night because #wineo), but it was along the lines of finding true happiness within yourself. I kept thinking and saying, ‘well this makes me happy, that makes me happy…’ And he kept stopping me and pointing out that I was talking about external things or people that brought me happiness, but what about the happiness within myself?

SO, that very next day, I took a break from my work for a bit and actually wrote down a list of what happiness means to me. Because, the thing is, I am happy, I feel I’m happy, but is it happiness that comes from within myself and no one else? Am I depending on anyone else to bring me this happiness? Am I truly happy?

After doing my little exercise (and thinking while I should have been sleeping because lately I haven’t been sleeping, ugh?!), I concluded that yes, I do feel I’m truly HAPPY. While there might be things in my life at the moment that don’t add to my happiness, I am, deep down, happy with myself.

While my life is far from perfect and I am still a work in progress (I hate to break it to you, but we all are), and I have my high and low moments, as we all do, I do believe I have found true happiness within myself. It took years. 29 to be exact (yes, I’m turning 30 in a few short months! What the what?!).

True happiness should have nothing to do with anyone, but yourself. Yes, your family, your friends, your significant other, can add to your happiness and elevate it at times, but without them would you still be happy?

Take a moment to think about that.

We all go through hard times. Unfortunately, that’s life. Loss of a loved one. Break ups. Divorce. No one said it was going to be easy, and when something less than ideal does happen, it will be hard. You will grieve. You will be sad. But as time goes on, you should still be able to find happiness. Happiness within yourself.

When you find THAT happiness, there’s nothing else like it. Nothing at all.

 

 

Image borrowed from Now Novel

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How to Have a Brighter Day

Oh, Monday. Back so soon, right?

Monday’s reputation isn’t a good one. Usually it’s met with annoyance, frustration, and tiredness. However, it doesn’t always have to be so bad. It really doesn’t. Keep reading for 5 ways to help yourself to have a brighter day, and not just on a Monday, but any day of the week.

Alarm Clock

Only hit snooze once, at most. If possible, don’t hit snooze at all, but if you must, once. And only once. Every time you hit snooze you’re waking up and falling back to sleep. But it’s not a deep slumber, so it’s not even going to make you feel more rested. In fact, it’ll likely make you even more tired. So, set your alarm for the time you want to get up, and the time you’re planning on getting up.

Waking Up

Before you get out of bed, tell yourself it’s going to be a good day. Whether you say it out loud or in your head, say it. More often than not, what you believe and what you think becomes the reality. So if you say you’re going to have a good day and have that positive attitude, that very well might be the case.

Smile and Be Nice

Smile and be nice. It’s a lot easier to do these things than to be angry and mean, trust me. Whether you’re checking out at the grocery, picking up lunch, on a work call, be nice. Say thank you. Show gratitude. It makes a big difference, not only to others, but to yourself, as well.

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Hit the gym. Sweat a little (or a lot). And if working out just isn’t your thing, take a walk, something to get your heart beating. I can’t endorse it enough; working out is everything. If I skip more than a day or two of working out, I am not myself. Something feels off. Even if I’m having a majorly lazy day, but I haven’t worked out in a couple days, I force myself to do something active. It makes all the difference in the world.

Thinking

Take a few minutes for yourself and be with your own thoughts. Think back on the day. The good. The not so good. Put your phone and computer in the other room and just take a moment for yourself. Reflect.

Images borrowed from: Brunch at Saks, Yahoo, The Sartorialist, Chron.com, and A Cup of Jo   

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Thoughts From My Desk: Money and Happiness

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At the moment, I have a couple friends going through the same thing. They are currently at jobs they do not like at all, but the jobs pay them well. They are debating whether to leave said job to follow their passions for a significant pay cut. It’s a big decision and a tough one, at that. And here are my thoughts on the matter (if you care…if you don’t, pop back tomorrow for a home decor related post!).

I feel happiness trumps everything.

When I was younger (i.e. – just out of college), it was more about getting a job that paid the bills. That’s the mindset I had, at least. However, as the years went on, I’ve totally and completely changed my tune on that front.

Of course, you should never work for free (I am clearly not saying that!!), and you do need money to live. However, I feel it is so crucial, so important to wake up happy everyday and looking forward to work. If we’re talking about full time jobs here, you spend the majority of your time at this job. If you’re at a job you hate, it can suck the life out of you (#beenthere).

Even in the most amazing job that you absolutely love, there will still be bad days. That’s life. But if you’re waking up dreading work, hating life, counting down until the weekend every single second, I think you need to make a switch. And I know it’s not that simple. Much easier said than done. It’s scary and a big risk. I get that. I totally and completely get that.

It’s just, life is short. You never know what tomorrow will bring. Do you really want to be 90 years old, looking back on your life, and being like what the fuck was I doing wasting away all those years miserable at my job? I know my answer is a big fat NO.

Look, I’m not saying to go quit your job today without thinking about it. You need to plan for it, figure out how it’ll work financially. Maybe dabble into a job transition by taking up some hobbies and figure out what it is you really love. It’s not something to decide overnight. It’s a big life change, but I think it’s an important one. Happiness is so SO important. I can’t say it enough.

And you’ve heard it before, and I’ll remind you again, MONEY CAN’T BUY HAPPINESS. It doesn’t matter about the fancy car, the designer bag, the expensive shoes. Yes, all those things are nice, but that will not make you happy. It may make you excited for a fleeting moment when you purchase the aforementioned items, but if you’re not happy, deep down, no amount of money will change that.

I know that’s a lot to think about for a Monday morning. #mybad

 

Image borrowed from Carla Aston

 

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How to Simplify Your Life

Simplify Your Life

In the fast paced world we all live in where we’re constantly on the go, it can be nice to slow things down a bit and simplify your life. When you simplify your life, it brings about a sense of balance, happiness, and fulfillment. You realize you can get by in a much less complex way. Keep reading for what I personally feel are some of the best ways to simplify your life.

1. Go through your entire closet and get rid of (i.e. – donate) things you simply don’t wear or don’t like anymore. This weekend I’m actually planning on working on my own capsule wardrobe. Having less to choose from when getting dressed and figuring out how to mix and match and truly defining your style can be very refreshing.

Organized Closet

2. Don’t say ‘yes’ all the time. It can be easy (and fun) to say ‘yes’ to every single invitation. However, you need to remember to take time for yourself. Don’t feel guilty saying ‘no’ on occasion and politely declining invites to things. People will understand. Slimming down your social calendar can help you find passions you didn’t know you had (and you’ll be less tired).

3. Trim down your time on social medial. If you paid attention to how much time you’re on social media, you’d probably be shocked (myself included). Most of us spend far too much time checking on what other people are doing rather than living in the moment we’re in. There’s a strong possibility you’ll feel even more connected to the moment you’re in and the people you’re with if you limit your time on social media, even just slightly.

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4. Clean up. I don’t know about you, but when my home is messy (specifically my desk and office space), I’m significantly more stressed and/or overwhelmed. Take some time (whether it’s each day, each week) to just de-clutter your space. Put paperwork in their specific folders, go through mail, throw out what you don’t need, and so on. You’ll feel like a weight has been lifted.

5. Stop over thinking. I’m guilty of this. I think many of us are. Something I’ve come to realize is I’ll be thinking about something and continue pressing on that thought, so much so that eventually I’ve made up a story in my head that’s so far from reality. It drives me nuts, and I will pat myself on the back because I’ve gotten much better at NOT doing this, but if you accept the thought, deal with it, and push it away, you’ll feel so much better and your mind will feel much less cluttered.

6. Spend your time with people who lift you higher. Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it? Surrounding yourself with those who make you happy and make you feel good will bring out the absolute best in you. Try to avoid the negative ones. Even if you don’t realize it at the time, the negative energy is weighing you down and nothing good can come of that.

Friends

Above all, do what you love and be kind to yourself and others. You create the drama and stress in your life. If you don’t want it there, get rid of it.  With just a few small changes, it can all be pretty darn simple.

 

Images: Dress Design Decor/Poliform/Darling Magazine/The Effortless Chic

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Thoughts From My Desk: 100 Happy Days

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100 days ago I decided to embark on this whole #100happydays journey. Not only did I do it on Instagram, but I also did it on Twitter and Facebook (meaning a different happy moment on each of those social media channels for 100 days…so, yes, it was really ‘300 happy days’). For those of you who aren’t familiar with the #100happydayschallenge, it basically means you find a happy moment each day for 100 days straight and you document it on social media in the hopes it inspires others to be happy, not take life so seriously, and to remind people (and yourself) even on the not so great days, there is STILL something to be happy about.

With that being said, I’m thrilled I did it (yesterday was my final day of the ‘challenge’). There definitely were a couple times where it was rather late in the day and I realized I hadn’t done ‘100 happy days’ on any of my social accounts, and I realized that day (typically on a Sunday) I hadn’t done anything of importance or significance. But I realized, on those ‘lame’ days, there was still a happy moment to be found. Whether it was just the light shining in the window as I sprawled out on the couch watching a great movie or the time that I remembered there were M&M’s in our household in the cabinet (sidenote: a lot of my happy moments these 100 days had to do with food…*insert monkey covering his eyes emoji here*).

Sometimes life can get busy and sometimes it can get difficult and sometimes you are just feeling down in the dumps. It’s important, especially in those moments, to find the good, to find the happy, to find the smile and even the laughter. Life is a nutty roller coaster ride, BUT it’s also pretty great. And I guarantee you if you look hard enough, you’ll be able to find a happy moment each and every single day.

Even though I’m done with the #100happydayschallenge, I still plan on acknowledging these happy moments as much as possible. I challenge each and every one of you to 100 happy days. Ready set…go.

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Thoughts From My Desk: Thinking Positively

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Matthew and I were up in Connecticut this weekend with family, and on Saturday night we were with my sister-in-law’s aunt who is a Psychologist. Somehow we got on the topic of the #100happydays hashtag I’m sure you’ve seen floating around social media. While it may look like just another hashtag, it really is so much more.

The purpose of #100happydays is to make you find something good (‘happy’) in each and every day. Because there is ALWAYS something good in each and every day. I promise.

Our brains are so accustomed to go to the negative or the ‘bad’ thing rather than seeing what’s good. It’s a lot easier to complain it seems then to be grateful. It’s truly so important to try to force yourself and train your brain to think positive over negative. Like in the book ‘The Secret,’ where it talks about saying a positive statement rather than a negative, it will help you with being grateful and finding a silver lining even in the worst of days.

For example, I’m not the best on an airplane. I need wine on every flight, even if it’s early in the morning (in fact, as I write this, I’m on a plane, and it’s 7:30am and yes I have wine in hand). Rather than thinking to myself before a flight ‘It better not be a bad flight. I really hope there is no turbulence,’ I try to say ‘I hope it’s a good flight and a smooth ride.’ This may not seem like a big difference, but just switching out the negative words (‘not’, ‘no’, etc) you’re already looking at the glass half full. And while those statements may not make the flight any less bumpy, it’s a state of mind.

Even if you’re not doing #100happydays, I challenge you to still try to find something good, no matter what, in each and every single day. Even if it’s simply that you make every stoplight on the way to work or that you don’t have a line at the grocery store or that you get a close parking spot. Start small and work your way up. Eventually your mind will be so used to thinking these happy and positive thoughts that negative thoughts will be few and far between, and quite fleeting.

And I’ll end this by giving you an example in my own life.

My family is spread out throughout the country. My brother, sister-in-law and nephew live in Maryland. My parents split their time between Connecticut and Texas. I have cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents in Florida, New York, California, and elsewhere. In an ideal world, we would all live in the same city and see each other all the time. However, this is not the case for us. We see each other at family events and at most holidays, but day to day we’re not all always together. I look at friends of mine and see how lucky they are to have their entire family in one city. It’s hard. My nephew is 5 months old and growing by the minute, and it kills me that I only will see him every couple months. However, instead of being down about this, I tell myself that I’m very lucky. I’m very lucky that I have a close-knit family that can travel and see each other as much as possible. I’m very lucky that I have a precious healthy adorable nephew. I’m very lucky that my brother and sister-in-law are living in Maryland because it’s best for my brother’s amazing career. I’m very lucky that my family is healthy, most importantly. And even if it’s a plane ride away, I’m lucky I get to see them when I do.

Like I said, even when you think there isn’t, there is always something to be grateful for.

 

image source

 

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Be Happy

There are a lot of articles out there on how to be happy, what is happiness, how your happiness can affect your relationships, and many more of that nature. However, sometimes the easiest ways to feel happier are the simplest ways with no science to back them up. Here are a few things that instantly boost my mood. Maybe they’ll do the same for you.

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Get into the kitchen and bake something sweet. Even if you’re not too good in terms of baking (hell, I’m definitely not), it’s still fun to whip up something for yourself or someone else, and bonus: you get to lick the bowl! 

hand written letter

Write a hand written letter. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve always absolutely loved writing notes and letters. There’s something about putting a stamp on that envelope and putting it in the mailbox rather than clicking ‘send’ on an email.

headphones

Listen to some good tunes. A great song can instantly change your mood.

organizing

Clean and organize. Sometimes when I’m feeling ‘blah’ I’ll organize a closet in my home or clean up a room or do laundry, and the sense of accomplishment once those tasks are complete makes me very happy.

sitting outside

Get fresh air. Whether you walk outside, run outside, or just sit on your porch/balcony/front step, being outdoors can brighten anyone’s day.

I’d love to know in the comments below what are some things you do to lift your mood!

image sources: baking/writing a letter/listening to music/organizing/sitting outside

 

 

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