Archive | September 2012

BUSTED! Eight happiness myths exposed

Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths. Joseph Campbell.

1. If I could get a better job, house, car, lover, more money … I’d be much happier!
People that alter their life in the quest to seek happiness generally discover the grass isn’t always greener. In his book Happier, Harvard Psychology Professor Tal Ben-Shahar calls this the “arrival fallacy” – the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy, when the truth is that you will never arrive and be as happy as you suspect. Happiness is a choice. Rather than changing your current situation try to accept it and look at all the positives it brings. This line of thought will bring you much more peace of mind than putting yourself through a big change in the quest for being happier. The key to feeling happier is to take time to get to know what kind of person you want to be and understand what really matters most in your life and then live it.

2. A life of leisure will make you happy
We all fantasise of endless vacations in paradise, but according to The Happiness Project, studies have shown that a life of leisure quickly leads to boredom. Tal Ben-Shahar says that in spite of all your freedom, you cannot be happy without work. That doesn’t mean a 9 to 5 job, it could be completing a productive, fulfilling activity such as helping a charity.

3. Spending time alone will make you feel better
When we’re feeling down, it’s tempting to hide away, stay in bed and watch movies all day, but it’s been proven that connecting with other people is more likely to improve your mood – and this is true even for introverts! According to the Happiness Project, out of fifteen daily activities such as exercising, housework, commuting, going to the gym, grocery shopping … everything is more fun with company.

4. Money will make me happy
Studies have shown that the income level you need to achieve in order to be happy is approximately $40 000 per year. The average income in Australia is around $55 000 which means Australians don’t have a lot of reason to be unhappy. Those that believe that money will buy them happiness risk never being fulfilled because at the end of the day, where will it end? How much money will be enough?

5. People with high self-esteem are happier than people with low self-esteem
INCORRECT! While a positive self-esteem is a good thing, it doesn’t actually impact our core happiness. Having a high self-esteem makes it easier to find partners, get jobs, and win promotions … but you won’t be any happier. Core happiness isn’t about how well your life is going but about how you feel about the life you have. There are plenty of people in the world who think highly of themselves but aren’t happy.

6. Optimism isn’t realistic
Optimistic people tend to think the glass is half full, and it is. How you think about a situation, determines how you feel – which is why we believe happiness is a choice. You control what you think about a situation and therefore how you feel, which affects how you act and this greatly influences how others respond to you. All in all, it’s better to live optimistically and not just for your own piece of mind.

7. You can achieve happiness … forever!
Fairytales aside, the human brain is equipped with “hedonic set points” which not only establish where our base mood is (optimistic, pessimistic or indifferent), but also quickly adapts to our surroundings and returns to our base frame of mind. In 1978, a research group found that lottery winners, jerks and those who has serious injuries (e.g. parapledgic or quadriplegic) reported a similar number of good days compared to bad days. Some psychologists believe that we experience only a brief moment of fleeting happiness when we achieve a goal before our minds look forward to the next conquest. They call this the “hedonic treadmill”. It doesn’t mean that in between feeling happy that you are completely miserable, you just fall back into the normal mood pattern – even the Dalai Lama is on a continuous quest for happiness.

8. People with a c-shaped smile are happier
It’s often perceived that people with a c-shaped smile are happier than those with a u-shaped smile. A c-shape smile goes across the mouth with most of the the top teeth showing, whereas a u-shape smile has the teeth going straight back into the mouth. If the shape of one’s teeth could determine their level of happiness, we’d all get plates and braces or have surgery to re-mould the shape of our smiles to be c-shaped! This is totally untrue. There is no evidence at all so show that people with a c-shape smile, like Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson, are friendlier or happier than those with a u-shape, like what Christina Aguilera has. That surgery does exist and some celebrities have had it if you look closely: Cheryl Cole, Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Garner. It makes a difference to their smile, and cosmetically they look great, but it would not have impacted their long-term happiness.


Male role models: Celebrity men you SHOULD look up to

Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life. John Wooden.

Good male celebrity role models are as hard to find as good female celebrity role models. Consider the following and what you think of when their names are mentioned: Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Chris Brown, Kyle Sandilands…

Continuing on from my last blog which examined female celebrity role models, Happiness Weekly looks at male celebrities and recommend who our younger generations SHOULD look up to.

Top Role Models: Happiness Weekly’s favourite celebrity men

Dalai Lama
6 July 1935
Known to be friendly, happy, sane, compassionate and wise, the Dalai Lama inspires millions of people with his Buddhist and balanced approach to life. Working with psychiatrist Howard Cutler, he recently published “The Art of Happiness – a handbook for living” which reached number 2 on the New York Times best seller list. He believes that every action has a reaction, and that reaction will seed another result. “My life has not been easy… I learned that one’s own mental state is crucial. If one remains calm one creates a peaceful atmosphere. If one loses one’s temper and calmness, the situation becomes more complicated and more trouble is created,” he said.

Eamon Sullivan
30 August 1985
Not just a pretty face, this Olympic swimmer was the first winner of television’s MasterChef, then going on to open a café Louis Baxter in Subiaco Square near Perth, and released his own cookbook: Eamon’s kitchen – 130 robust, no fuss recipes for everyday and entertaining. In 2008 he held the world record for the 50m and 100m freestyle and he broke the 100m world record twice at the Beijing Olympic Games. To top off his list of achievements, he won the 2011 CLEO Bachelor of the Year. “A balanced diet is key to maintaining good health. I am a big believer in not robbing yourself of the things that you enjoy eating, however then balancing this out with healthy options throughout the week.”

Liam Neeson
7 June 1952
He’s been through the greatest heartache in the public eye when his wife passed away after a devastating skiing accident, but Liam has managed to bounce back into his usual successful routine. The selfless actor quit smoking for his children and has been known to donate and be associated with several charities including Make Poverty History, Clothes Off Our Back, Bicycle for a Day and ONE Campaign. He has worked as a forklift operator, a truck driver, an architect, an amateur boxer and a teacher before pursuing his successful career in acting. “I’ve had an unbelievable life. I’ve been very lucky. You do create your own luck too, you know? I never forget where I’m from. Whenever I pass a building site or see somebody digging a ditch, I always think, ‘That’s real work.’…” He also said: “It’s interesting, the more successful you become the more people want to give you stuff for nothing,” he said.

Brad Pitt
18 December 1963
Down-to-earth, masculine and charming, good looking, and wanted by Hollywood’s hottest actresses! This easy-going actor and film producer has been described as one of the most attractive men in the world. Despite bringing up six children with partner Angelina Jolie, Brad still finds time to support 33 different charities and assist with humanitarian crisis around the world. “I believe you make your day. You make your life. So much of it is all perception, and this is the form that I built for myself. I have to accept it and work within those compounds, and it’s up to me,” he said.

John Lennon
9 October 1940
One of the most influential people in history, John’s quest for peace, love and understanding will always be remembered. In the 1960s and 70s, he was revolutionary in changing negative social values as he formed and led the most successful band of all time, The Beatles. He spoke out against things such as inequality and the Vietnam War. “We’re trying to sell peace, like a product, you know, and sell it like people sell soap or soft drinks. And it’s the only way to get people aware that peace is possible,” he said. Best of all, John was proud of who he was: “I’m not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I’ve always been a freak. So I’ve been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I’m one of those people,” he said, also saying: “You don’t need anybody to tell you who you are or what you are. You are what you are!”

Barack Obama
4 August 1961
The President of the United States of America is arguably the best role model for the new generation. When he took the oath, Barack became the 44th president of his country. Despite his humble beginnings, he overcame all obstacles and achieved what he set out to do. He has a great personality – his charisma comes across when he speaks, and a charming family. He also gives a vibe of hope, courage and enthusiasm, with a strong “can do” attitude. His message is that if you have determination you will reach your destination, it doesn’t matter if the odds are in your favour or not. When your heart is in what you do, you produce the best you can. The love and joy that you feel is reflected in your work. Whatever it is then that you produce, be it a product or service, it not only improves your life spiritually and financially but it also improves the lives of other people too. “If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress,” he said.

Harrison Ford
13 July 1942
He started out working as a carpenter but was made famous for his role as Han Solo in Star Wars and four years on, for his star roles in the Indiana Jones movies. In 1997, he was ranked #1 in Empire magazine’s Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time list, he has starred in a film that grossed at least $100m at the US Box Office for five consecutive decades and in 2000, he received an AFI Life Achievement Award. He has four children, has been married three times – currently to Calista Flockhart – and has had great involvement with charity work – particularly to do with environment, donating $100m to conservation partners around the world. “It took me a long time to figure out how to act, and how to conduct myself in the business so I could get what I felt I needed to support my potential and give them what they wanted.”

Tom Hanks
9 July 1956
He has been married to Rita Wilson since 1988, won Academy Awards for his performances in Forest Gump, Philadelphia, Apollo 13, and Saving Private Ryan, and he is known to be one of the nicest actors in Hollywood. Involved in every part of film, Tom is an actor, writer, producer and director. On Veterans Day in 1999, he received the Distinguished Public Service Award (the US Navy’s highest civilian honour) for his work in Saving Private Ryan. “People always think that there has got to be a dark side to everyone, a closet with skeletons, demons under the bed. People think all kinds of things about one another. They feel compelled to make up fears and false assumptions about their closest friends. Truth is, I’ll never know all there is to know about you just as you will never know all there is to know about me. Humans are by nature too complicated to be understood fully. So, we can choose either to approach our fellow human beings with suspicion or to approach them with an open mind, a dash of optimism and a great deal of candour,” he said.

Jesse Spencer
12 February 1979
Australian actor and musician – he’s played the violin since he was 10 years old and also plays the guitar, bass and piano – he started out on Aussie drama Neighbours. He speaks fluent French, currently acts in US series House as Dr. Robert Chase, and in 2007 was listed in People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful People. Although he hasn’t been in the public eye a lot, and there’s not too much mention of charity work, he has done very well to get to where he is, which is why I’ve included him in my role model list. “I`ve never thought of myself as a big star or a teenage pin-up. I`m just me. It`s probably Billy that people really like anyway, rather than me,” he said referring to his Neighbours character Billy Kennedy.

Shane West
10 June 1978
He won my heart playing the bad boy in A Walk to Remember opposite the beautiful Mandy Moore. Shane started acting when he was forced to take drama class in high school because he needed one more credit to graduate. He’s now acting in CW’s hit series Nikita. “Being a role model is tough. It’s tough because everyone is their own person, we all have our own faults you know, so it is hard to think that someone would consider having me as a role model when I know all of my faults (laughing) … Role models for me are my parents, so I try to be the best I can; if I am going to be a role model for somebody I try to be my best in and for the public,” he said.

There are still so many male celebrities worth mentioning in this blog including Steve Martin, Jack Nicholson, Ethan Hawk, Christian Bale (particularly for visiting the victims in Aurora recently), Clive Owen, Jake Gyllenhaal, Hugh Jackman and Wentworth Miller, Channing Tatum – but I wanted to leave room for discussion: who are your favourite male celebrity role models and why?

Female role models: Celebrity women you SHOULD look up to

Play like anyone you care about but try to be yourself while you’re doing so. B.B.King

As I was passing the news stands this week, I got thinking about all the celebrities. Open any newspaper or magazine and if you find yourself reading about a celebrity it is generally negative or bad news … or they’ve simply done the wrong thing. This week Happiness Weekly is looking at female celebrities, and we’ll get to male celebrities over the next couple of weeks.

Just from today’s tabloids this week, you would see: Amanda Bynes gets caught drink driving … twice, Lindsey Lohan’s step-mother encourages her to drink despite her problem, Victoria Beckham drops weight while Lady Gaga gains weight, the paparazzi captures Kate Middleton’s breasts, Paris Hilton thinks most gays “probably have AIDS”, and Fiona Apple arrested for cannabis on tour… the list seems never ending!

What’s a little scary is that the people buying these magazines and reading this news are generally teenagers or young adults. Is this really who we really want them looking up to? Probably not – but the question is: who SHOULD we encourage our younger generations to look up to?

What is a role model?
According to Psychology Wiki, a role model is “a person, real or fictional, who fills his or her role as a good or bad example for others.” It goes on to define a positive role model as someone who “carries out a role demonstrating values, ways of thinking and acting, which are considered good in that role. Others will hopefully follow the example.”

Is it important to have a role model – good or bad?
According to Health Guidance, role models are extremely important to us psychologically because they help to guide us through life during our development and to make important decisions that affect the outcome of our lives. “Having the correct role model will ensure that we learn to be successful and adaptive in later life, and that we are happy when we are older having achieved that aim … a good role model should be someone hard working, creative, free thinking and moral.”

Top Role Models: Happiness Weekly’s favourite celebrity women

Oprah Winfrey
29 January 1954
America’s most-loved talk-show host and highest paid celebrity is also a crusader for human rights. Oprah inspires people to live fully and be the best they can be, encourages them to read and changes lives with her generosity. She gets respect without demanding it, she is empathetic and humble, and she asks celebrities the questions we really want to know! Better still, she has a great website, blogs, her own magazine, and has created OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) sites and social media pages that keeps us updated with her Next Chapter. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work,” she said.

Jennifer Hawkins
22 December 1983
This Australian beauty was overnight sensation when crowned Miss Universe back in 2004, but Jennifer Hawkins certainly didn’t exit as quickly as she appeared – she is now one of Australia’s hottest exports! It may have started with a few unflattering slips and losing a skirt on the runway, but she has always maintained her dignity. Her achievements include presenting on The Great Outdoors, being the face of Myer and Loveable, and having her own swimwear line, Cozi, and shoe range. A great success, yet she remains realistic and grounded: “I hate the whole tall-poppy syndrome. I don’t want people to think it’s all gone to my head, because it isn’t. That’s why I’m a little bit stressed, because in the back of my head I’m like, ‘When, when, when?’”

Goldie Hawn
21 November 1945
Known for her acting career, Goldie is currently promoting her international best seller and meditation manual: 10 Mindful Minutes. She’s won an Oscar Award, a People’s Choice Award and a Golden Grammy Award and raised two children (one being actress Kate Hudson), and with her experience, Goldie brings a cool feminist attitude and a wealth of inspiring knowledge: “Once you can laugh at your own weaknesses, you can move forward. Comedy breaks down walls. It opens up people. If you’re good, you can fill up those openings with something positive,” she said. “The only thing that will make you happy is being happy with who you are, and not who people think you are.”

Tyra Banks
4 December 1973
From the runway to the stage as a talk-show host, Tyra has become an ambassador for self-esteem and body image. There is no doubt this supermodel is successful with a big list of achievements: she was the first black model on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit at the age of 23, she then made a transition into television and film, published a book: Tyra’s Beauty Inside and Out and eventually had her own successful talk show – the Tyra Banks Show – which she used as a forum to discuss body image, bullying and self-esteem. Her success is owed to being in a league of her own: “I’m competitive with myself. I always try to push past my own borders,” she said.

Miranda Kerr
20 April 1983
Not just a pretty face, this top Victoria’s Secret Angel model studied nutrition and psychology before putting her full focus into modelling. Another Australian stunner, Miranda won a model competition in Dolly Magazine in 1997 when her career began. She was one of the first models to promote proper nutrition and exercise as a way of maintaining her beauty: following an organic diet and practising yoga daily. Miranda also promotes happiness, often talking about the importance of a healthy diet, regular exercise and a positive attitude contributing to being a successful person. “When you are healthy you look your best, and in modelling when you look and feel your best, you get the best results,” she said.

Martha Stewart
3 August 1941
An ambassador for change, Martha has appeared successful in every career move she’s made. She started out in television and modelling, then worked as a stockbroker (one of the first women to enter this field), then she began a catering business which inspired her to write a cookbook, followed by writing starting a magazine: Martha Stewart Living, starting a television show based on the magazine… “My new motto is: When you’re through changing, you’re through,” she said. Although there have been a few ups and downs, Martha said her success was driven by her winning attitude: “Without an open-minded mind, you can never be a great success,” she said.

Taylor Swift
13 December 1989
Beautiful, fresh-as-a-daisy, dignified and vintage-loving – there is no doubt that Taylor Swift is a great role model for the younger generation. Despite earning multi-millions of dollars, this polite country singer is known for her polite, respectful manner and good-girl image – and best of all she has stayed true to herself. Taylor has been nominated for 162 awards and won 113 of them, she was the youngest musician to win the Entertainer of the Year award at the 43rd Annual Country Music Association Awards. Here’s Taylor’s thoughts on being a role model: “I think it’s my responsibility to know it and to be conscious of it … The truth of it is that every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation”.

Dame Judi Dench
9 December 1934
They say Hollywood has an age limit for success, particularly for its actresses, but Judi is still going strong, in November 2011 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. She started acting in a television series Hilda Lessways in 1959 – at 25 years old – and according to IMDB, still has some appearances scheduled ahead of her in 2013, Judi made her debut as a director in 1988 for several stage shows. At 78 years old, she suffers from macular degeneration, an eye disease that is treated with injections into the eye. Although her vision is impaired, she gets someone to read scripts to her and continues memorising her lines and working. “I think you should take your job seriously, but not yourself – that is the best combination,” she said.

Dakota Fanning
23 February 1994
Although young, this gorgeous teen has already acted with Hollywood’s hottest A-list celebrities including Tom Cruise, Brittany Murphy, Sean Penn and Denzil Washington. She learned to read at age two, began acting at age five, and she ranked number 14 on the Forbes List of The 20 Top-Earning Young Superstars in 2007 but still went on to graduate high school in June 2011 and go on to study at New York University. “I think that when you’re in the public eye, you automatically become a role model, because people are reading about you and looking at pictures of stuff you’ve done. But, you know, no one’s perfect, everyone makes mistakes. I have made mistakes and I will make mistakes. I’m only human,” she said.

Meryl Streep
22 June 1949
Known to be one of the most talented actors of all time, she has been nominated 17 times for Academy Awards and won three. The perfectionist says her success is owed to preparation for her roles, she is known for her ability to master almost any accent. Meryl has been married to Don Gummer for 34 years and raised four down-to-earth children. At 62 years old, she modelled for her first Vogue cover making her the oldest cover girl in the magazine’s history! “It is not a simple job to be a role model. It is not just being endlessly compassionate, polite, and well groomed. It’s equal parts being who you actually are, and what people hope you will be. It’s representing for all women to be our best selves,” she said.

Jessica Alba
28 April 1981
There’s no doubt this sporty health-freak is a great role model for all women. Jessica admits to cooking for herself from the age of 12 because she didn’t want to end up as overweight as her family. In 2001, Alba was ranked No. 1 on Maxim magazine’s Hot 100 list. She married Cash Warren in 2008 and has two children: Honor Marie and Haven Garner. In August 2005, Jessica hosted the retreat in Los Angeles, which aimed to empower and improve the self-image of teenage girls. “It’s not about being skinny by any means. It’s about being healthy, loving yourself. It’s about being proud of who you are and proud of how God put you together,” she said.

Ellen DeGeneres
26 January 1958
Ellen is the world’s most famous lesbian (she came out about her sexual orientation in 1997) and inspirational for her persistence. Initially the Ellen Show failed with poor ratings! Now Ellen is a talk show host (same show, different time-slot) and is a strong campaigner for equal rights and anti-bullying with her “Be Kind” campaign. In 1982 she was voted the funniest person in America, and in 1991 she won the Best Female Club Stand-Up at the Comedy Awards. In August 2008, Ellen married successful Australian actress Portia De Rossi. “Follow your passion. Stay true to yourself. Never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path. By all means, you should follow that,” Ellen said during her Tulane Commencement Speech in 2009.

Rachel McAdams
17 November 1978
We all fell in love with Rachel after her stunning performance in The Notebook: her smile is confident but not cocky, she’s classy, dignified and easy to identify with. In 2005, Rachel ranked #14 on the Maxim magazine Hot 100 Women list. While she knows how to drive (learning after a bike accident), in a bid to conserve energy she refuses to own a car opting to ride a bicycle or take public transport instead – further to this, she was a co-founder of, a website which helps raise awareness about the environment. “I’ve sort of heard that “it” girl thing, but not really. Hearing it from a few people doesn’t solidify it in my mind and I wouldn’t know how to solidify that title. It’s so elusive and what does it mean, I don’t know?”

Jennifer Connelly
12 December 1970
This natural beauty began modelling for print advertisements when she was 10 years old before moving into television commericals. She has since played a variety of roles in successful movies, including A Beautiful Mind which she won an Oscar Award for Best Supporting Actress. Jennifer attended Yale University to study English for a couple of years before moving to Stanford University to study drama and classical theatre. Multilingual, she can speak French and Italian. In November 2005, she became an Amnesty International Ambassador for Human Rights Education, stressing the need for clean water and participating in drilling projects in Africa, India and Central America. “I try to stay focused on my life and do try not to be brought into the Hollywood fantasy.”

There are still many more female role models that deserve to be in this blog including Gwenyth Paltrow, Beyonce Knowles, Meg Ryan, Anne Hathaway, Kate Winslet, Alexis Bledel… this list continues – but I wanted to leave room for discussion. Who are your favourite female celebrity role models and why?

How to deal with liars

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you. Friedrich Nietzsche.

One of the most frustrating experiences I’ve ever had is being lied to time and time again by the same person and constantly being surprised that they weren’t honest with me when I returned my trust to them.

You need to learn to trust yourself and your instincts towards other people, before you can fully trust other people coming into your life. Learning to tell the signs if someone is lying to you is the first area to focus to build your self-trust in judging others. The second area, is how you deal with inevitably being lied to. Sometimes it’s not what happens, but how you recover from what’s happened that matters.

How can you tell if someone is lying to you?
Trust your gut

Generally if your instincts are telling you something isn’t right about what the person is saying, it’s experience talking. Trust your instincts. You don’t need to call them a liar, but if you caution yourself to that person, you’re at least protected from them.

Body language
Look at their body language – if someone is lying to you, their physical expression will generally be limited and stiff with few arm and hand moments. They generally avoid making eye contact (but so do people with social issues, so don’t solely rely on this one!), and their hands touch their face, throat and mouth.

Watch their eyes
Looking towards the upper left side means that you are constructing an image in your mind, while looking at the upper right side means that you are recalling an image. That’s useful when people are lying because if they look to the upper left, it’s likely whatever they are trying to recall, didn’t actually take place.

Listen hard
Watch out for any inconsistencies in their story. Be confident in your version of events so you can pull them up on their inconsistencies when you notice them.

Step back
Try to associate with this person as little as possible. Don’t include them in your activities. Don’t let them bring you down. Some liars are extremely manipulative and it’s easy to be brought down by them, sometimes you can even find yourself going over and over the conversation you’ve had with them wondering if you’ve gone mad. Trust yourself, trust your judgement and cut this person out.

What to do if someone lies to you?
DON’T avoid them!
Confront the person as soon as you can about what was said. Keep to the facts and try to keep emotions out of it. Avoidance only freezes a situation at its worse and enables you more time to get upset about it. Life’s too short to give this person anymore power over you.

Be honest when you confront them
Share your concerns and state the facts about the situation from your point of view. That way you feel as though you’ve been heard and you are able to step back and avoid letting their lies affect you as much.

Try to see things from their side
Sometimes the only way to understand things when someone lies to you is to try to understand why they may have lied in the first place. Try to see all situations from the other person’s perspective. If you still can’t understand it, accept that you were deceived – it’s a really horrible feeling, so validate yourself, and move forward. There’s no point in dwelling.

THINK before you lie!
Consider the facts

What is it that you are lying about? Will you need to tell more lies in order to keep this lie going? Why do you need to lie to this person – is it because you feel they can’t handle the truth? Do they have a right to know the truth and make their own judgement? Consider: no one honestly deserves to be lied to. Really analyse the situation and the consequences of telling the truth and lying. Consider what would happen if this person then finds out that you lied to them. Once you have assessed the facts and consequences, decide if it is really necessary to lie.

Think about how your lie may affect others
Will your lie cause this person to act differently to how they would act if they knew the truth. Will it sway their judgement or decision in any way? Is this fair on this person. Is it worth breaking your trust when they may never trust you again? Have you got a relationship with this person that relies on trusting each other?

How will the lie affect you?
No one is happy with themselves after they lie to someone. Your conscience isn’t clear. Is it worth the drama? Is it worth constantly looking over your shoulder? Is it worth losing the friendship over? Generally when you look at both sides of a lie, you will see that a lie may not only hurt the other person but also hurt you – and your reputation.

If you decide to go ahead with lying to someone, be sure you’re set to suffer the full consequences of it. In case you haven’t heard it before, honesty is always the best policy!

Before you speak – you should THINK:
T – Is it true?
H – Is it helpful?
I – Is it inspiring?
N – Is it necessary?
K – Is it kind?

Scheduling time for your happiness

Happiness is not a reward – it is a consequence. Robert Green Ingersoll

Time management is vital to maintaining a state of happiness in the fast-paced world we live in. The stress of not having enough hours in a day can be suffocating – but planning ahead and staying organised isn’t as hard as it sometimes feels.

1. Make a list of the things that make you happy
I was talking to a friend the other night and asked what made them happy. They didn’t know. This shocked me. How can you not know what makes you happy? If you don’t know what makes you happy, then how can you know what to donate time to in order to maintain your happiness? I rattled off a few things that make me happy: going to the dog beach with my dog, sitting in the sunshine, getting exercise… It’s vital to know what makes you happy before you can make time for being happy. Make a list of everything that makes you happy – being mindful of the smaller, cheaper things to do so you can do them regularly without them impacting your budget too much! Another question to ask yourself here is: what gives you energy? What boosts those energy levels right up so you’re re-charged and motivated again?

2. Write your morning plan
Every Sunday evening just before bed, I write a weekly plan in an Excel document so I know my schedule for the week ahead. It motivates me to always have something ahead to look forward to – not just on a big scale, such as a holiday, but on a small scale too. Because I work full time, a lot of my schedule is dedicated to work. So I break my plan into three pieces: Morning, Lunch, Evening and start slotting in work next to all the mornings (Monday to Friday). I also make note of any important meetings here, anything I need to remember during my working week etc. If I can start early and leave early, I put this here so I can plan for the rest of my day.

3. Write your lunch plan
Many people don’t take a lunch break at work. They blame the phone ringing, not having a break out room, conflicting work demands etc. Lunch is really important so we can refresh – recharge and get back into the working zone for the afternoon ahead. When we don’t take a break, our attention span may dwindle and we risk burning out. So this is where I work out what I’m going to do during my lunch break. It may be a walk down the street, a trip to the local café to treat myself, any errands I need to run or phone calls I need to make for example if I need to book a dentist appointment. Basically, you lunch break is for personal essentials. I strongly recommend getting out of the office and not using this time on your computer writing emails, looking at further development courses or instant messaging friends if you can (though this is great if it’s a rainy day and you have no calls to make).

4. Write your evening plan
I love planning my evenings early because I’m one of those people that wants to get the most out of life – I’m planning to be here once (though if I come back again, that’s a great bonus!). My evening plan will include any social catch ups that I’ve organised for the week ahead, any trips to the gym or team sport commitments I have made, time for my blog or general writing, internet surfing, movies, dinners out etc. This also helps when sticking to a tight budget. Don’t worry if you have a few gaps, the odd night off from having a plan isn’t such a bad thing, as it enables you to be spontaneous or alter plans if necessary – you must be able to adapt to change.

5. Write your weekend plan
Trying to plan for your next weekend on a Sunday evening can be a challenge. But if you have any social events locked in, add it in. This is important because it stops us from double booking our plans – bailing on our friends is the fastest way to lose a friend, and it also enables us to get to places on time – because we have good time management as a result of our planning and ability to stay organised. If you don’t have any plans for the weekend at this early stage, leave it blank – but don’t forget to include laundry day if you do this over the weekend.

6. Schedule your happiness
Now you have your compulsory week sorted. Work, personal and social commitments. Hopefully you have a few blanks. This is where you schedule your time to recharge with happiness. Go back to the list you made and schedule in what activities you would like to do that recharge and motivate you. It can be challenging because sometimes things that make us happy are outside of our control: for example, I love sitting in the sunshine – if it’s raining, I go to my back up list which is buy myself a milkshake.

Now you have your plan, you have prioritised time for your happiness – all you need to do is go out there and make it happen!

Looking for more tips?
– Watch some great YouTube clips produced by Dr. Aymee Coget. I highly recommend this one: about having a positive upbeat morning.

Ideas for your happiness schedule
– Do something you’ve always wanted to do, such as learn a new language
– Fix something you don’t like about yourself
– Spend time with your loved ones
– Smile at whoever you can.

The Five Time-Spending Happiness Principals
In 2011, Jennifer Aaker, Melanie Rudd and Cassie Mogilner published ‘If money doesn’t make you happy, consider time’ in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. The article included the following five principals to assist with scheduling your happiness.
1. Spend time with the right people. Socially connecting activities are responsible for the happiest parts of our day. Two of the biggest predictors of our general happiness include whether we have a good, loyal friend at work, and whether we like our boss.
2. Spend time on the right activities. Favour activities that make you feel energised. Ask yourself if what you’re about to do will become more valuable over time – it may increase your likelihood to behave in ways that are more in line with what really makes you happy.
3. Enjoy experiences without spending time doing them. Research shows that the part of the brain responsible for feeling pleasure can be activated when merely thinking about something pleasurable. It also showed that sometimes people enjoy anticipating an activity more than actually doing it. In fact, research showed that we can sometimes be better off imagining and visualising experiences rather than actually having them.
4. Expand your time. No one gets more than 24 hours in a day. Having little time makes it feel more valuable, but when it is more valuable it is perceived as more scarce – this is why meditation and mindfulness are important techniques to learn, because thinking about the present moment has been found to slow down the perceived passage of time. Simply breathing deeply can also have similar effects.
5. Be aware that happiness changes over time. As we experience different levels of happiness over time and how we experience happiness changes. Younger people are more likely to experience happiness as excitement whereas older people are more likely to experience happiness as a peaceful feeling. Therefore, basing future decisions on your current perceptions of happiness may not ultimately lead to the maximum level of happiness.

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