A nice reminder

I read this on the Becoming Minimalist blog…I enjoyed the reminder of simplicity.
Below is a cut and paste version, for the full blog, click on this link.

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“Designing a simple life invites us to measure our lives differently. We realize as we pare down that we don’t have to keep up. We don’t have to buy, borrow, upgrade, or upsize to secure our place in the world.

5 Better Ways to Measure Your Life

1. Gratitude.
With a measure of gratitude, you gain the world. When you are grateful for what you already have, you don’t need more. Gratitude is always enough.

2. Generosity.
To measure the man, measure his heart.” Malcolm Forbes once said.
A great gift of simple living is the freedom to give. The infinite freedoms available when we design a life of less allows for infinite ways to be generous. Whether it’s with our time, money, talents, hospitality, donations, or airline miles—when the measuring stick of things ends, generosity keeps growing.

3. Contentment
Contentment is not the satisfaction of want; it’s the pursuit of having enough. And it invites an unmistakable freedom into our lives.

4. Availability
Busyness is no way to measure a life. Busy is a thief. It’s a phantom measure of worth and success and it will never get as much done as availability will. Remain available. Learn to say no, and measure your life by the things you get to say yes to.

5. Purpose
The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as once saying.

If we pay too close attention to how the world measures life we will never understand the difference that our life, our one life, can make. Simplicity of home, time, and character magnifies the very things we were designed for—it points us to the significance of who we are.

We are purposed for much more than our net worth and closet size. Simplify and live well.

The Great Recession of 2008 changed us. More and more people are looking for a new way, a simple way to live. As advertisers revamp their messages toward this post-recession culture, we can redefine the measure by which we live. It helps to remember the best things in life can’t be pitched in thirty second ads.”

 

 

 

 

https://www.becomingminimalist.com/better-ways-to-measure-your-life/

How was your day?

One of the things I have noticed as we all go back to routine and school is that it can be difficult finding out about the happenings of the day.  The question of ‘How’s you day been?’ is often a monosyllabic, negative answer as it is usually asked at a time when the kids are hungry and tired!  I end up getting a negative, limited window into their day.

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I came across these questions that I thought would be fun to try instead:

Who was kind to you today?
What brought you joy or laughter today?
What was your favourite part of the day? Why?

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Photo credit: grace

I’m looking forward to trying these tonight!
(The kid’s might roll their eyes at me, but I’m willing to take the risk!)
R x

1 year on….

It is one year today that I began writing this blog!

As I reflected on this point I realised that if nothing else it has been a privilege for me to write and reflect on different ideas associated with postive psychology.   It has made a big difference to the way that I now think and am.

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Below are a few of the things I noticed as I reflected on my day:

*In the midst of a crazy day at school, whilst on yard duty I managed to look at the stormy sky, pause, notice a rainbow and consciously feel the brisk wind. That I am thankful for.

*After I had whinged about a few parts of my day, one of my own boys asked “What were some of the good things that happened today?” That I am thankful for.

*As I sat in staff meeting and there was a conversation about learning I found myself thinking about the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. That I am thankful for.

*Tonight sitting around the table hearing about the different days everyone had had, I looked at the faces and the love and felt blessed to be surrounded by family. That I am thankful for.

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*Words like grit, postive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment (PERMA), gratitude, kindness, mindfulness and (of course) love, come to mind. All these things now mean something to me.

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This is just a quick list, but there is so much more.

In my writing I have tried to be practical, clear, encouraging and to the point.

Practically speaking now, I have to stop writing and go to bed, I know that sleep makes such a difference.
Practically speaking I am sad that I have not made time to exercise in the last 2 days and I know how much difference that makes too!
But also practically speaking I am thankful for many things and will think about 3 specific ones as I go to bed!

Thank you so much for being a reader. Thanks so much sharing with me in the learning journey that we are all on.
May we continue together to have many ‘sunshinydays’.

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Ponder awhile

In my part of the world it has been holidays, hence the quietness of this blog. School holidays for me are a break from the routine of being out the house early and an opportunity to spend more time with family, both my immediate family and extended family. I love it, but it can be exhausting at times!

Amongst the business of it all, this blog arrived by The Minimalist. I really enjoyed taking some time out to ponder on the thoughts and simple yet incredibly challenging words. May you too be encouraged!

10 Images to Inspire Simplicity in Your Life

Owning less.

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Happiness.

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Gratitude.

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Contentment.

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Relationships.

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A letter and a visit – intervention 2

I am continuing on with Iona Boniwell’s list of practical, evidence based activities that are connected to the science of positive psychology.

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Credit: uel.ac.uk

A gratitude visit.

The activity goes like this: think of a person who you are grateful for, who has done something for you.  Write a letter to them, describing what they did and how it effected you. Give them a call and arrange to meet them. Then, read the letter aloud to them. (It is interesting that Boniwell is an English author and lecturer and she mentions that in her world, usually the students giggle about the delivery part, but in America this does not happen.  I wonder what would happen here in Australia?)

If a person feels uncomfortable making the delivery then it could be just written and posted.  A little warning – this activity tends to give a quick ‘pick-me-up’ but is not long lasting.  Along with it there is the “usual moral dilemma, such as whom this exercise is really for and if there is something strange in saying ‘thankyou’ to someone else in order to feel better oneself.” (Positive Psychology in a Nutshell page 133)

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Photo Credit: isites.harvard.edu

I have a lovely collection of special notes that my husband and children at different times have written to me. I also have lovely notes my parents and siblings have written. On reflection I wonder if these notes would do a similar thing to the above idea?

Maybe we could all try?
Here’s to special notes being  popped in lunch boxes,
here’s to kind notes being left on the kitchen bench,
here’s to txt’s sent to friends and family just letting them know you thought of them!
Valentines Day is coming up, drop a love note to your kids and family!

Happy note writing!

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Photo credit: footage.shutterstock.com

(There are many printable notes if you are interested.  I have put one link here, but there are many others.)

A gratitude thought for the weekend.

Following on from the last blog I wanted to leave you with this thought for the weekend.
May it be encouraging for you,
may it be helpful for you,
may you pass it on to loved ones around you  – including your kids – one of my lot has struggled a little in his new year so it has been practiced. Not always easy but I am finding it a great tool in parenting.

“Gratitude is never so important as during those times when everything appears to be lost…..Finding something to appreciate can save us from absolute despair in a way that abject complaining cannot..
Live as if you feel gratitude and the real thing will come. (Robert A. Emmons)

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Photo Credit: sharathsundar.com

Thought for the weekend

Today I had the opportunity to talk to a class about gratitude. We had such a good time as we discussed  what it is and the difference that it makes in life.

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Photo Credit: manifestedenergy.com

I then asked the kids to write 3 things they are grateful for. I was so amazed with what they wrote as 10 year olds, and I have included here (with the permission of the student) a real gem!  As adults how would we go?

“I am grateful to have a life with everything in it and for being here today and having a great family and friends.  I am grateful for being healthy and free.  I love the world I am on and grateful for all the opportunities I have had.”

May you take some time out to think of 3 things you are grateful for and why.

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Photo Credit: helloperfect.com

(I know it is the thought for the weekend, but I have included the detail below for those who have time to read it!)

6 Reasons Why to Teach Kids to Be Grateful

1. Better Attitudes:

Children who practice grateful thinking have more positive attitudes toward school and their families (Froh, Sefick, Emmons, 2008).

2. Better Achieve Personal Goals:

Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals (academic, interpersonal and health-based) over a two-month period compared to subjects in the other experimental conditions.

3. Closer Relationships, Greater Happiness:

Professor Froh infused middle–school classes with a small dose of gratitude—and found that it made students feel more connected to their friends, family, and their school:

“By the follow–up three weeks later, students who had been instructed to count their blessings showed more gratitude toward people who had helped them, which led to more gratitude in general. Expressing gratitude was not only associated with appreciating close relationships; it was also related to feeling better about life and school. Indeed, compared with students in the hassles and control groups, students who counted blessings reported greater satisfaction with school both immediately after the two–week exercise and at the three–week follow–up.”

4. Better Grades:

Gratitude in children: 6-7th graders who kept a gratitude journal for only three weeks, had an increased grade point average over the course of a year.

5. Greater Energy, Attentiveness, Enthusiasm:

A daily gratitude intervention (self-guided exercises) with young adults resulted in higher reported levels of the positive states of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness and energy compared to a focus on hassles or a downward social comparison (ways in which participants thought they were better off than others).

6. Greater Sensitivity:

Children who kept gratitude journals were more sensitive to situations where they themselves can be helpful, altruistic, generous, compassionate, and less destructive, more positive social behaviors, and less destructive, negative social behaviors…

“Gratitude is good for the giver, and good for the receiver,” Professor Emmons said. “This has been documented in friendships, romantic partners and spouses. One study showed that the mere expression of thanks more than doubled the likelihood that helpers would provide assistance again.”

And if We Don’t Practice Gratitude?

On the other hand, research shows that youth who are ungrateful are “less satisfied with their lives and are more apt to be aggressive and engage in risk-taking behaviors, such as early or frequent promiscuous activities, substance use, poor eating habits, physical inactivity, and poor academic performance.”

Research from: Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

Excerpt from 15 ways to raise grateful kids

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Photo Credit: shine.yahoo.com

Self-respect not to be confused with self-esteem (Part 2)

Today I am continuing on with the summary of the lecture that Dr Toni Noble gave titled ‘Developing your self-respect’.

There are 5 building blocks that are helpful in developing self-respect.

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1. Respect for others
Our values guide our behaviours. eg compassion, kindness, honesty.  We need to put these into practice even in difficult situations.  Also, we need to learn to extend compassion and support towards others and try to help others in trouble.

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Photo Credit: Highachieversnetwork.com

2. Self knowledge

Be aware of what strengths you have. There is a list of 25 character strengths that Seligman and Peterson developed.  (There are different tests on line that can be taken, see www.viastrengths.org)

Focus more on your strengths than on your limitations.

3. Self management

Adopt a positive approach to life, one that has gratitude. (I happened to read 2 fantastic blogs today on exactly this and was truly thankful and amazed how it helped – I was in a ‘woe is me spot’ when I started the day!  They are overtly Christian, but for those interested the link is how to raise grateful kids )

Trust your own judgement, yet at the same time be open to advice.  We need to be able to balance pride with humility!

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Photo Credit: goalviz.com

4. Self control

We seem to have a spreading epidemic of self-regulation failure, this is not the same as low self-esteem.  Kids today are surrounded by so much technology that is highly distracting eg. using the computer for school work, but at the same time there is such easy access to other things.

Toni Noble mentioned the research involving the marshmallow test (the research is by Mischel et al). It has longitudinal data following children who were tested at the age of 4 who are now adults in their 40’s.  Briefly, a 4 year old was placed in a room with a marshmallow and told that if they waited until the person got back without touching the one in front of them, then they would get another one. The wait was approximately 15 minutes.

What the research has found that now, at age 40, out of those who waited there is a high percent who are  academically successful in life, whereas out of those who did not wait there is a higher percent of people with social problems, obesity issues and drug use. (Even Wikipedia has a summary of the test ‘Stanford marshmallow experiment”)

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Photo Credit: methodlogical.wordpress.com

5. Self protect

If a person has self-respect then self-protect follows.  A person will not let others bully or hurt them, they will be healthier in life style and not put themselves down.

There is so much in these 5 building blocks! Each building block provides a topic with so many possibilities for the classroom.  These topics wold also make great dinner time conversations with families! What does it mean to have self respect?

Educate for self-respect, not self-esteem.

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Photo Credit: elitedaily.com

Take a moment…

It is school holidays in my part of the world! That means time to be spent with the kids and hubby. Hooray!  We are all really looking forward to being together, converting our back shed into a ‘garden room’ and not meeting too many time lines.

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photo: rebekahbleby

I am hoping to continue with my Monday, Wednesday and ‘thought for the weekend’ blogs, but they may be shorter!

I was reading a Positive Psychology News Daily Post by Shaen Yeo which I found particularly inspiring. It was about Nick Vujicic, a courageous man who was born with no arms or legs.  Please go to the link if you are interested in reading more!

(Sorry, for those who receive my blogs on email, the link did not work, but this link does!)

http://positivepsychologynews.com/news/shaen-yeo/2013092627301

“The role of gratitude on living a full life is not new. In his research, Robert Emmons has found that being grateful has significant physical, psychological and social benefits. People who practice gratitude often report better immune systems, better sleep, and more positivity. They also feel less lonely, less isolated and more generous.

For Nick, being grateful means focusing on what he has, what Emmons calls an affirmation of goodness: there are good things in the world, and we have received some of them. It also provides a means for Nick to figure out where that goodness is coming from, in Emmons’ words, “recognizing a humble dependence on others.” Nick credits his parents for treating him as a normal child, his wife Kanae for unwavering love, and God for giving him this life to inspire others.”

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Photo Credit: DailyMail.co.uk

It is always good to be reminded, to take a moment for thinking about ‘some of the good things in the world we have received.’

slow down and give thanks

I recently started reading a blog by Jeff Goins.  This week he has been blogging each day and setting the challenge to slow down. His blog today was all on gratitude. Please check out his blog if you are interested in reading more!

http://goinswriter.com/gratitude/

Below are some direct quotes from him, with photos that I took when I visited my local beach!  It was a windy, icy day but I was so thankful to be there and it was spectacular!

“One of the curses of living in such a fast-paced society is that we tend to take things for granted. We overlook everyday blessings, oblivious to the fact that life itself is a gift. And if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves rushing through each day, less and less grateful, which is no way to live.”

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slow down and notice nature…

“Part of the reason we learn to say “thanks” for the seemingly small things is that it helps us appreciate the “big” things in life when they do come.

And the other reason is that as we learn to appreciate the small, we realize it is all big.”

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Notice the small (not that the sun is small!) everyday things.

“We learn to stop waiting for tomorrow or a better break and finally embrace where we are, right now. Which hopefully by now we can say is a very good place.”

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“Be grateful for the moments that slow you down, the ones that cause you to take your time. Use these opportunities to appreciate what you already have and tend to miss. As you do, see how much better life looks, and actually is, when you approach it with gratitude.”