Happiness research by Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert teaches that most of us aren’t good at predicting how happy we will be in the future. Not only are our predictions based upon current feelings and events, they also flow out of our previous experiences—none of which necessarily explains what will happen, or how we will feel, far into the future. Instead, Gilbert recommends that we study and learn from those who are living the experience we say we want to mimic. Could it be that only the oldest of old living today can offer us clues about living a very long and happy life? That’s exactly what John Leland suggests in his new book, Happiness is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a year among the oldest old. For those of us who see a very long life as a gift we want to embrace, this book is a window into the wisdom of several elders with a great deal to teach.
There is something about the beginning of a new year that fills me with even more optimism than usual. I won’t deny that last year was challenging on many levels for many people around the world. But that simple digit change on the end of the date invites the potential for something different—something better—something hopeful. And as a person who believes in the power of affirmations to help direct our thoughts in positive ways—I decided to go through a few of my favorite quotes to see which ones I want to focus on as 2018 gets underway. [Read more…]
Most people I know here in the U.S. are focused on the coming holidays. Everywhere you turn the music, the decorations, and the celebrations are overlapping with festivities. It’s very easy to get swept up in cramming the calendar with every possible event and trying to do it all. It’s also tempting to compare one’s experience with the past, or the other people we see on Facebook. Or how about those Christmas movies where every relationship drama is resolved in less than two hours so that everyone is happy and in love by the end of the movie? That’s why it is SMART to remember that our expectations can either provide us with a wonderful experience—OR—they can make us miserable. Like so many things, if we stay conscious and aware we can choose to embrace the best and let go of the rest. [Read more…]
As many of you know, international bestselling author, speaker, publisher and inspirational leader Louise Hay passed away at age 90 this last Wednesday. In remembrance of her, I reread her short but classic book You Can Heal Your Life yesterday. Like putting on a pair of comfortable slippers, I could almost hear her voice as it watered the seeds in my mind planted there many years ago. With an awareness of how she influenced my thinking, I thought it only fitting to share some of the key ideas she nurtured within me that helped me create the life I am living today. [Read more…]
Have you ever heard of the word, “hygge?” If not, it may be because you’ve never lived in Denmark where the concept has been around since the 19th Century. But in 2015, a prominent article written about hygge for the BBC website went viral and exploded across the U.K. and Europe. Now it is coming to the U.S. Why so popular? With a simple definition of “coziness” or “content togetherness,” hygge (often pronounced hoo-gah) just might be the perfect solution for anyone feeling the stress of the coming holiday or recent political events. Even better, hygge offers a possible path for those of us exploring living well and positive aging. [Read more…]
This week Thom and I are celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with friends in Baja Mexico. And because I have over 35o blog posts here on the site and many new subscribers, I decided to pick one of my favorite posts that I wrote about gratitude in the past and repost it. I sincerely hope that you enjoy the reminders it contains. I also want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to read my blog and stay in touch with me. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with you all on a regular basis, and together, I hope we will all continue to live happy and SMART 365.
Did you know that some people believe it is impossible to live thankfully and gratefully on a regular basis? Are you one of them? What catches my interest most of all is how the reasoning to avoid gratitude is so similar to those who likewise sidestep feeling happy on a regular basis. That led me to investigate some of the more common myths that exist for happiness—and observe at how those same myths apply to living thankfully 365. [Read more…]
Years ago I read a book called The Science of Mind by Ernest Holmes. Written back in the early 1900s, some of the language is archaic and the sentence structure worse than mine. But something about the ideas contained in the book resonated with my husband Thom and me. We signed up for classes and over time, that positive philosophy worked its way into many parts of our lives and minds. Although no longer active in the teaching, there is a quote from Holmes that came vividly to my mind this week. That phrase is, “Find me one person who is for something and against nothing, who is redeemed enough not to condemn others out of the burden of his soul, and I will find another savior, another Jesus, and an exalted human being.” [Read more…]
One of my daily practices is to remember to look for the good no matter what is going on in my life. It helps a great deal that I’m married to someone who does his best to remind me of this on a regular basis. It also helps that I am a naturally optimistic person, in good health, with many other lifestyle advantages. But even then, I still need to be reminded on a regular basis to stay focused on what’s good, rather than its opposite. That’s why nearly all my writing here on SMART Living 365 serves to re-enforce the positive over and over. Still, what I seldom acknowledge is the huge helping of grace that makes it all possible.
I don’t use the word grace much in my writing. I’m aware that it is a trigger for some people like my husband Thom, to a former religious perspective that created pain and skepticism rather than comfort. I certainly never intended to use the word in the title of my first work of fiction, Finding Grace. But after the main character ended up naming herself, and as her journey unfolded, no other title came even close to fitting as well. That’s how grace often works. When we follow the trail of what seems to be good, we end up with the grace of unexpected gifts. [Read more…]
Every summer my husband Thom and I rent a house up in the mountains about an hour from our home. We do it mainly to get out of the summer heat of our desert environment. But behind the more obvious reason is that it connects us to feelings of beauty and nature that we can’t get sitting at home in front of the computer in our air-conditioned house. So, when I happened upon an article that offered an even better reason why our yearly sojourns have become so important, I wasn’t surprised. It turns out that being in nature, and finding and experiencing an ongoing sense of awe and wonder, is critical to our feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Oh, and besides that, it also makes us nicer people to be around. [Read more…]
My husband Thom and I love to travel almost as much as we enjoy rightsizing. But the two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, because we rightsized our lives some years ago, we can now travel more and in better form than ever before. So, if you’ve always dreamed of traveling more, but never seem to have the time or money, perhaps what you need is to rightsize your next trip.
First, I must recommend that you rightsize your entire life. What do I mean by that? If you are new to this website and unfamiliar with rightsizing, here’s a short definition: Rightsizing is taking the time to focus on what really matters to you and brings you happiness—and at the same time reducing and then eliminating everything that brings you down and sucks the joy out of you. [Read more…]