I have a confession to make. During the summer, I started watching the TV series “Glee.” Maybe some of you have been watching it all along, but I never got into it even though I heard from a number of people that it was fun, touching at times, and worth the trouble. But because we were out-of-town for the last couple of months and away from our usual DVR programs, we turned to Netflix and I started watching the entire 22 previous episodes online. The main reason I’m sharing my new Glee addiction is because a primary theme of the show is “Don’t Stop Believing.” And that has me thinking a lot about what I do and don’t believe—and how that has helped co-create my life.
Most of us are drama queens—yes, even you, my macho friends! While it is pleasant to hear good news from others, most of us are more easily sucked into situations where something unusual and oftentimes dreadful occurs. Psychologists say that urge comes from an inborn biological imperative in place designed to keep us safe and constantly on the look out of danger. But for most of us, our lives are routinely safe and secure. So, instead of looking out for lions and tigers and bears, we are drawn into the dramas around us with amazing fascination. And instead of choosing something saner or more helpful, we frequently pass it on to others rather than taking the high road and doing otherwise. That’s why it is SMART to let go of your inner drama queen and instead become a queen of calm.
An important part of SMART Living 365 is creating happiness. But what do I mean by happiness? Unfortunately, many people in America seem to be working to either buy happiness or make happiness happen, and that can actually lead to more stress and dissatisfaction than anything else. So, before we go further, let’s explore what happiness is, and isn’t—how we can experience it—and why should we want it in the first place. [Read more…]
Just over six months ago Thom and I added a new family member to our household—a puppy we named Kloe. To be sure, a puppy ads havoc, lots more work and a great deal of responsibility to anyone who cares for them. However, the increased value and joy Kloe brings to our lives more than compensates for any inconvenience. Not only does Kloe make us laugh on a daily basis, there is plenty of proof that she is also good for our health.
“Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don’t just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings,” Richard Ryan.
As some of our friends and family know, Thom and I have been renting a house for a month every summer up in Idyllwild for around 17 years. Idyllwild is a very small mountain town, (less than 2,000 permanent residents) about an hour from our home in the desert. Back in 1993 we did it for the first time because, quite frankly, we couldn’t afford any other type of vacation. It seemed like a good way to escape the desert heat and was a great bargain as well. Little did we know back then that the experience would be so rewarding, that we would still be doing it 17 years later. Now, not only do we consider it still an amazing vacation value, we are living examples of the restorative power of spending time in nature. [Read more…]
This week Thom and I experienced a dramatic reminder of this truth—don’t take anyone for granted and share your love with those you love every single day. While most all of us would agree that this is an important part of SMART Living, everyone—me included, can use a reminder
Our “lesson” in this regard came this past Monday evening. There was nothing special about the day—nothing bad, but nothing amazingly wonderful either. We’d finished dinner and Thom was in the kitchen doing dishes. I could see that the sun had finally set so I knew it would be getting cooler outside. Our small mixed-terrier dog Kloe was watching me closely to see if it was time to go to the dog park before dark. But right before we did, Thom decided to take the garbage out to the trash bins with Kloe trailing behind. [Read more…]
Do you have any idea how powerful a simple smile is? I sure didn’t. Last night I watched the attached TED Talk where Ron Gutman, the CEO of HealthTap, explained the benefits of something we can do every single day—smile.
Gutman said he got his start from a study done at Berkley that tracked graduates over a 30-year period. What they did is first examine and then measure the smiles from students found in their graduation yearbook. From the smiles they measured they were able to predict how fulfilling and long-lasting the individuals married relationships would be, how well they would score on a standardized test for well-being, and finally how inspiring they would be to others. Wow—makes you wish you could go back and take that photo again right? [Read more…]
Let’s face it. We live in an amazing world filled with all sorts of incredible things. Yet, because humans tend to adjust to just about anything very quickly, we usually forget how great our lives are. SMART Living asks us to slow down, look around and pay attention—and then be thankful. I found this great short comedy video on FaceBook today and I think it says something very important in a short, funny and irreverent way. What do you think?
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
The most important practice to living SMART 365 is to feel thankful and grateful on a daily basis. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest. Once you begin to put gratitude at the top of your daily to-do list, you will immediately begin to see positive changes in the way you look at your life. My own experience shows it is impossible to be truly grateful and unhappy at the same time. But I’m not alone in my thinking; these days there are books and studies that prove that the science of gratitude can profoundly increase the quality of your life. [Read more…]