For pleasure has no relish unless we share it. Virginia Woolf
1. You can contact the author (Sarah) easily and you’ll get a response!
One thing Happiness Weekly has is a highly interactive comments feed. If you comment or ask for advice, you will generally receive a response from me quite quickly. Contacting me, Sarah (founder and chief blogger for Happiness Weekly) is easy:
– Find me on Twitter @HappinessWeekly or www.twitter.com/happinessweekly
– Find my page on Facebook: www.facebook.com/happinessweeklypage
– Email me – firstname.lastname@example.org
– Comment on my blog – I’ll receive it straight away and will respond if requested.
2. It’s more interactive than any other blog: request a blog or ask for advice
Have a suggestion for a blog? Got a problem you can’t a positive solution to? Contact me through any of the above means and I will do my best to publish an article on it in the near future. It doesn’t matter how whacky or strange your suggestion is, all ideas are welcome. Maybe you’re in a sticky situation and looking for advice on how you can maintain your wellbeing and respect others in certain situations. Personal content will not be shared and all enquiries can be anonymous but I will respond to you as soon as possible.
3. It’s a great source for events and courses
Find the best self-empowering and self-motivating courses lead by inspirational teachers on the Happiness Weekly website. Most of the courses are Australian-based at the moment but I am updating this to give it a stronger global appeal as a lot of my readers are from the United States and the United Kingdom. This page is my way of thanking readers and making it easier to connect people with proactive positive activities around the world. If you have an idea for a course or would like to add something – posting is free, please email email@example.com, with the details and I’ll update the information as soon as possible.
4. Be in the know of all awareness days
Happiness Weekly includes the Internet’s most comprehensive awareness calendar! Most of these dates are celebrated internationally. In 2013 the blogs will become more strategically aligned and meaningful as Happiness Weekly continues to grow. If you know of some more awareness days and dates that aren’t on the calendar – posting is free, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the details and I’ll update the calendar as soon as possible.
5. Regular blog posts – it’s my promise!
One thing Happiness Weekly promises is that you will receive a highly comprehensive blog on a different topic each week. To receive it in your email inbox, please make sure you subscribe to the blog on the homepage, alternatively like my page on Facebook or follow my Twitter feed for regular updates via social media. Blogs are generally posted at the start of the week, so keep an eye out every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to see the latest from Happiness Weekly!
6. Receive weekly inspiring, thought-provoking and motivational quotes
Happiness Weekly releases a positive quote to think about each week via its social media pages: Facebook and Twitter. It is not necessarily related to the blog or any particular topic, but is generally something that everyone can relate to. That’s one of the best things about Happiness Weekly – not only is everyone welcome and everyone can contribute and have their say openly, but everyone is made to feel welcome as they can relate to everything posted.
7. Learn something new
It’s likely that you will learn something new every week – and why not share this knowledge with your friends, family and colleagues! The topics that Happiness Weekly posts about are extremely thoroughly researched to receive the best tips and guidance on each. The advice is proactive and simple for everyone to try. If you think I’ve missed anything or have something to add, please leave a comment. All blog-related comments are welcome on the Happiness Weekly page!
8. Expand your friendship circle with better communication
By sharing the Happiness Weekly website with your friends, it’s not only likely that your communication will improve but you will improve the communication of your friends around you. This will inevitably provide a shift as everyone is able to express their thoughts and feelings clearly and so your friendship circle will naturally develop and grow and you will naturally encourage new people into your life. Happiness Weekly is also a great conversation starter: it contains topics and information that are worthwhile sharing with your new and old friends.
9. Encourage the continuation of Happiness Weekly
The more popular Happiness Weekly becomes, the more likely it will be to continue. While the writing-style may come across as easy to follow, a lot of time and planning goes into the blogs published by Happiness Weekly which is produced by a single person. The purpose of Happiness Weekly is not to raise revenue but to simply give back to the world in a way that promotes happiness and wellbeing – because it’s not hard to be happy, but knowing how to communicate effectively and respecting others is important. If you have enjoyed a blog by Happiness Weekly, you can show your appreciation and support by simply clicking “like” in the comments field.
10. Sharing is all about helping others
Now it’s your chance to give back to the universe and pay it forward. Tell your friends about Happiness Weekly by getting them to check out the website: www.happinessweekly.org! Share some blog posts on your Facebook pages, repost quotes on Facebook or retweet through Twitter. Spread the word to your community and encourage them to pass it on. Help Happiness Weekly grow so we can all live in a happier and healthier world that actively promotes self-awareness, encourages fair and assertive communication and enables everyone to make the best choices they can in their situation.
Today lived well makes every yesterday a memory of
happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope. Kalidasa
Have you ever noticed that when planning a big holiday, despite all your excitement, you’re already thinking about how life will be when you return? Your work all piled up on your desk, bills overflowing in the mailbox, the weight gain that will take months to shed … it’s sure to put a dampener on you spirits! But it’s not just holidays! Have you ever completed a big project that’s drained your budget – like renovating your house for example? You get to the end and you don’t have any more money to spend, and you’re asking yourself what’s next? What about getting married? It’s every girl’s dream but the honeymoon period only lasts so long. This week Happiness Weekly looks at how to avoid the BIG blues and how to relax and fully enjoy your life experiences.
Reality is inevitable – and returning from your big holiday, finishing renovations or finally walking down the aisle, are inevitable (if that’s you’re goal!). Whether you’re preparing or returning home – celebrate the journey! Enjoy the planning and the holiday and deal with the rest as it happens. If you’re finding it difficult not to think about the return to the daily grind, take some time out to practice some mindfulness techniques. Here are some quick and easy techniques (allow five minutes to try these) by Toni Bernhard.
– Concentrate on what you can see in front of you – at first you’ll notice the obvious: the shapes, colours, objects and then you’ll notice the details – textures etc. If your mind wonders bring it back to the present and refocus. You can leave your head still or gently move it to look around.
– Repeat this exercise with hearing. Close your eyes to avoid distraction. Take in all you hear.
– YouTube also has some great guided meditations. Login and have a look around, it will certainly help you refocus and readjust.
Plan ahead – do the dishes, clean the fridge, make the bed … ensure all the simple tasks are done before you leave so you don’t come home to a long list of housework (or think about it while you’re away!). Make a small list of reminders for when you turn so there is something to do – such as unpack your bags – it’s better to unpack them straight away than to leave them piling up. Writing yourself a letter before you go, saying you hope you had a great time etc. is a nice way to return home positively. Organise a day or two before you have to return to the office – it gives you time to recover properly from the holiday before collecting emails.
Slow it down
When we’re planning for something big (such as a holiday, wedding or renovations) we generally want to put our full focus into it and limit the time we spend with our friends. But ever notice how things come up and we MUST see people when we’re not expecting it? Going out becomes a necessity and a chore rather than being enjoyed. The trick here is to make some mini plans for yourself and slow things down. Plan to go out and catch up with people (on the cheap) twice a week. If you make a plan, you won’t overspend, you won’t spend too much time on it and you have managed your expectations enough to enjoy catching up rather than looking at it as a waste of time and another expense.
Write a budget
Ensure you have little financial rewards for when you reach your goals – a budget will keep you on track! Set a realistic budget so you can still achieve your BIG goal and have some money left over to reward yourself. It’s when you feel unrewarded for your hard work that you’ll notice yourself slipping into the big blues slump.
Take time out for yourself
As specified in my previous blog, Scheduling Time for Your Happiness it’s essential to take some time out for yourself and schedule in time for the things that make you happy. By doing this, you will have more time and energy to place towards your big goal and won’t feel so burnt out when you achieve it.
Set a schedule
Don’t let your big plans drag on, make sure you set a schedule so you know what to expect and you can see that your goals are staying on track. When we work towards things without goals, we tend to feel less satisfied when we achieve the goal because it feels as though we owe it more to chance than planning and dedication. Set a timeframe for your goal – break it into mini goals by date to ensure everything is organised – and even include some new goals after you’ve reached your big goal to ensure you push through and have more to look forward to and strive towards.
Plan what’s next
Generally we are so busy organising and planning for a big event to happen in our lives that we forget to consider the “what’s next”. It is when we get to that time, when we’re ready for the “what’s next” but don’t have a plan, that we allow ourselves time enough to fall into a heap. Our creative minds have burned out. Consider it carefully before it sneaks up on you!
What to do if you get the BIG blues
– Don’t bash yourself up! Sometimes we have no control over our emotions despite how much preparation we do. Try to accept it and go with your moods, remember you will bounce back
– Rest up. If you can, take a couple of days after your big event to just relax and reflect
– Relive the excitement – make a scrapbook of your favourite moments from your holiday
– Just like Seasonal Affective Disorder, the key to overcoming the blues is to get some sunshine. Open your blinds in your house and get plenty of fresh air and exercise by going for long walks outside
– Eat healthily – try to regulate your eating habits so you’re not over-spending on food. Eating healthily will boost your mood
– Ensure you’re getting enough sleep – aim for a minimum of eight hours a night
– Have something planned for the quiet days, always have something to do and to look forward to i.e. plan Christmas presents for people, practise a new hobby, write letters to friends etc
– Make a list of things you have ahead that you can look forward to
– Ditch an old habit and replace it with a healthy habit – it’ll take time and patience, but it’s something positive to concentrate on
– Incorporate one nice thing into every week (change it regularly) i.e. reading a magazine, having a bath or buying yourself flowers
– Take charge of your life where ever possible, book another holiday, keep yourself busy, or if you find you’re really struggling, seek help from your local doctor or make an appointment with a counsellor or psychologist.
Some people won’t be happy until they’ve pushed you to the ground. What you have to do is have the courage to stand your ground and not give them the time of day. Hold on to your power and never give it away. Donna Schoenrock
I’ve been actually really very pleased to see how much awareness was raised around bullying, and how deeply it affects everyone. You know, you don’t have to be the loser kid in high school to be bullied. Bullying and being picked on comes in so many different forms. Lady Gaga
The words of a bully can haunt for a lifetime, but a victim’s words – describing their pain – never feels enough. Unknown
More and more suicides caused by bullying, or bullycide incidents, are occurring as the brutality takes to the internet. Amanda Todd (pictured) is the recent poster girl as her story hit international headlines following a cry for help posted on YouTube. She’s not the first to take her life because of bullying and the eerie truth is: she won’t be the last.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012, reducing bullying in schools is one of the top social issues consistently important to students across the country. It’s hard to believe that 1 in 10 students that drops out of school, does so because of repeated bullying. Celebrities, such as country singer Taylor Swift, claim to have been bullied at school. Many, including Taylor, write popular songs about their ordeal, and while this may glamorise a very ugly subject, it also raises awareness for a highly under-rated issue.
With more and more organisations fighting to combat bullying, there is still little information and support out there for victims that are suffering in silence. The scars from bullying are rarely acknowledged – possibly because past victims don’t want to open those old wounds to discuss and revisit what happened to them. I am absolutely passionate about combatting bullying – in schools and the office. More can be done! It is National Anti-Bullying Week this week (starting today), so Happiness Weekly looks at how YOU can be proactive against bullying and what more we can do.
What does bullying do to a person long-term?
It affects their…
– Self-worth: they’re so used to hearing that they’re a failure and all the things they can’t do that they’re filled with self-doubt. This affects victims for a long time after the bullying stops. It’s exhausting trying to get the energy to find self-worth again! If nothing is done, this self-doubt becomes so ingrained in the victim’s mind that when applying for jobs or going for a promotion, they will tend not to over-extend themselves and will stick to roles they are confident they can do. Not out of laziness, but out of doubt. Doubts they only have because other people put them there.
– Commitments: They will probably avoid any situation where they feel as though they will be harassed, caged-in, anxious, bullied or defeated. This could affect things such as serious relationships and job prospects going forward – because if something that is said is taken the wrong way, that person who was once a victim of bullying will replay the tape in their mind and feel the same emotions they felt at the time of the bullying, can take it a lot more personally than originally intended and will more than likely avoid the situation by leaving the relationship or job – which could ultimately affect their career.
More symptoms published by the Herald Sun are available here or read what victims and bullies say upon reflection here.
*** BE PROACTIVE AGAINST BULLYING ***
Generally adults with power (teachers, parents and managers) will tell victims not to respond or fight back: “just ignore it” – an unproductive response that doesn’t validate their feelings or needs. We all need to start taking responsibility and empowering our youth! Children need to learn assertive communication and be given practical tips for how to overcome the feelings they have after suffering at the hands of bullies. Some more practical solutions and alternatives to the “just ignore it” response, may include:
VICTIM: What you can do before it becomes a problem
– Choose not to be the victim (avoid the bully, don’t play into their hands)
– Seek courses in leadership, conflict management, assertive communication, self-esteem
– Be proactive in shifting your focus from the suffering and feelings of self-worth and guilt
– Find a way to take advantage of the situation – look for the lessons, let it strengthen you
– Speak to the school counsellor, a teacher or year advisor: suggest an afterschool class for victims – if you’re at work, speak to your HR department recommend team building if the bully is in your team and see if you can find a common ground to relate to them
– Tell your parents or a close friend and ask them to take part in an educational program with you
Remember, bullying doesn’t stop in high school – statistics show that workplace bullying and harassment is on the rise. The fact is you can’t change the bully or make them go away, but you can change yourself (choose not to be the victim), take control and ultimately change the result.
BULLY: What you can do before it becomes a problem
– Find out what is causing them to be nasty and need the power associated with bullying
– Fill the void with a healthy alternative such as taking a class: kindness, leadership, anger management, mindfulness programs etc.
– Speak to a counsellor
– Avoid toxic friends and people who support or encourage the behaviour
Bullies need to first realise they have a problem before they can be proactive in seeking the help and guidance they need. A key area to shift the bully’s focus is to concentrating on how they can change for the better and becoming the best person possible.
PARENT: What you can do before it becomes a problem
– Communicate a zero-tolerance for bullying behaviour by applying negative consequences if displayed. Clear, fair and significant consequences may include grounding, repaying stolen money, restoring damage etc.
– Teach your child to control their anger productively
– Teach your child good values and behaviours, tell them that their behaviour affects others
– If you find your child bullying someone, ask them to explain their events before turning them in (this is the best way for them to take responsibility)
If your child is being bullied:
– Keep a diary of any injuries, report physical assaults to the school and police
– Monitor your child’s friendships and whereabouts.
FACTS AND STATISTICS
– One student in every four in Australian schools is affected by bullying, says recent research commissioned by the Federal Government
– An estimated 200 million children and youth around the world are being bullied by their peers, according to the 2007 Kandersteg Declaration Against Bullying in Children and Youth
– According to the Centre for Adolescent Health, kids who are bullied are three times more likely to show depressive symptoms
– Children who were bullied were up to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts
– Girls who were victims of bullying in their early primary school years were more likely to remain victims as they got older, according to British research
– Girls were much more likely than boys to be victims of both cyber and traditional bullying, says a recent Murdoch Children’s Research Institute study
– Young people who bully have a one in four chance of having a criminal record by the age of 30
– Bullying is the fourth most common reason young people seek help from children’s help services.
– Around the world, more than one in six children are bullied at school, every week. More than one in six employees are bullied at work, and some research suggests that more employees are bullied at work!
– Bullying causes billions of damage to everyone concerned, the target, bully, onlookers, families, school, workplace, employers and the community.
– Bullying causes accumulative layers of primary and secondary injuries. These include physical, psychological, social and identity injuries. It can affect studies, career, relationships and financial wellbeing. It can cause a severe Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, lasting many years.
BEATING THE CYBER BULLIES
What is CYBER BULLYING?
Cyber bullying chases victims onto the Internet – it involves the digital communication (text messages, emails, phone calls, internet chat rooms, instant messages and social media using sights such as Bebo, Facebook and MySpace) to support, deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour.
While it’s fantastic that technology is evolving, unfortunately bullying is evolving with it which means you can be bullied anywhere, any time – even receiving cruel taunts in the privacy of your own bedroom. Studies show that cyber bullying is on the rise, with one third of teenagers in a recent survey having had mean, threatening or embarrassing things said about them online. Stop Cyber Bullying Day is this Wednesday, 14 November 2012.
What can you do to prevent cyber bullying happening to you?
Tell someone you trust: parent, friend, teacher, school counsellor, neighbour etc.
Block the cyber bully: delete your social media account, or simply empower yourself by blocking the cyber bully. Unsure how? Check with your phone or internet service provider or ask Google.
Report it: Report abuse on Facebook/MySpace, alternatively your ISP or phone provider may help provide a log which you can take to your school, university, place of work or even the police.
Keep the evidence: Keep any texts, emails, online conversations or voicemails as evidence which can help track down the bully. If you’re tempted to look at it, keep a log including the time and date it took place to avoid further torturing yourself.
Change your details: Get a new phone number, a new username for the internet, a new email … and ensure only your closest friends get the new information.
Happiness Weekly’s suggested solution to assist victims of cyber bullying and provide an alternative to bullycide
Now that the internet is becoming more popular, and is certainly a place that bullies turn to in order to further insult and humiliate their victims, more can be done right here – online! And I don’t mean more information and more facts…
A quick Google search retrieves information on schoolyard and workplace bullying. Sprinkled with a few stats and facts – suggesting you are not alone. The fact is anyone who is being bullied – for whatever reason – feels alone. No one can take the sting away, but someone can be there to listen and support those in need.
If Happiness Weekly had the capacity to become an anti-bullying organisation, the first thing I would suggest would be an online support group for those being bullied. That’s right – let’s take some of the people off the phones for Lifeline and sit them on a computer to share advice and help these kids (or adults) without them having to speak a word.
And I’m not talking about a lazy forum with a single moderator – I mean a full on page, where people can INDIVIDUALLY talk to a counsellor they choose in a chat session. FOR FREE! The government should support this – with trained professionals. The aim of the idea is to offer 24 hour support, seven days a week, on an international level.
Making a phone call is powerful, but how many kids refuse to talk? Saying it out loud may mean admitting the problem, it may be failure, it may mean kids won’t seek help. Having somewhere online, where kids can set up an appointment with an expert (possibly via text?), join a chat room or even meet them on MSN Messenger, Windows Live or even Skype and just chat it out for an hour or two – feel validated and then put some positive advice into practice could be what leads to a saved nation.
I admit that I am exceptionally passionate about this idea and that stems from having being bullied. The thing is, I didn’t call a helpline for fear someone would overhear the conversation, leading to further embarrassment – and admitting the problem out loud is also unsettling, while it may be the first step to recovery. Our counselling professionals and specialists need to band together to create a safe-haven online and produce some real-time online support – that way victims will always have someone there for them when they need them without the fear of being overheard.
If such a network existed, there would certainly be a reduction in bullicides. Start locally, if a counsellor, or five, from each state got together, we could start with Australia – with the hope of expanding the movement as a global support hub.
What is often overlooked is that bullying not only affects those who are being traumatised, but also those who are watching on. Such a support group could offer real-time advice to school counsellors out of ideas, or people watching victims who won’t defend themselves.
A lot of bullying has taken to Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and they need to stand up and take responsibility as well. Why not employ hackers to shut down access from their IP address – or no hackers, just block the IP address from accessing their site anymore. Bullies will get tired of buying new computers eventually! Nip it in the bud! Don’t block an email account, they can easily start a new one and continue their horrible mission… wipe their IP from having access to your system – ever again! People that bully online are not responsible enough to re-join social networking communities.
What do you think? Would it work? Why or why not?
Information and support is also available from the following websites:
Beyondblue – http://www.beyondblue.org.au
Youth Beyondblue – http://www.youthbeyondblue.com
Info Line 1300 22 4636
Sane 1800 187 263
More organisations that recognise bullying as a major problem:
– Happiness Weekly (there’s more practical and beneficial things to do than bullying!)
– World Kindness Australia
– Enough is Enough
– Human Rights Anti Bullying
– Beat bullying
Please remember Bullying Awareness Week starts today and Anti Bullying Week in the UK follows the week after. Donate to the above organisations, spread word about them to friends and colleagues or be proactive this week against bullying!
Please leave your suggestions for how we could be more proactive against bullying below. Alternatively if you are interested in discussing the topic further or need more direct assistance, contact me and I’ll get back to you! Bullycide is completely preventable. Stop bullying.
Online dating is just as murky and full of lemons as finding a used car in the classifieds. Once you learn the lingo, it’s easier to spot the models with high mileage and no warranty. Laurie Perry
Internet dating is becoming the most recognised way to meet your match. With so many people now heading to the internet for love, the competition is increasing and it is becoming harder to get noticed. This week Happiness Weekly looks at how to put your best foot forward and write a fantastic internet dating profile.
Benefits of internet dating
– It’s a great way to screen people before spending time with them to ensure you have enough in common
– You only talk to people for as long as you need, til you gauge interest or a connection before you can move on
– It’s safe – if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, you can easily block them or exit away from the situation
– It’s fun, great for your self-esteem (as people introduce themselves to you) and for meeting new people
– Even if you meet someone and it doesn’t work out, you may become friends
– You’re in control. You only need to share the information you choose to, there’s no pressure, you can even hide your identity until you find the right person for you
– Like the best things in life, it’s FREE (depending on what site you use) and it’s convenient – particularly if you work long hours and don’t get to go out much
– The fear of rejection is significantly reduced because it’s easy not to have expectations. Even if you talk for weeks and they vanish or find someone else, it’s ok because there are so many other options!
Selecting you profile picture
If you’re serious about meeting the right people, your internet dating profile should be approached as you would a job interview. Select a nice, clear and classy photo that represents you well for your main profile picture. Make it a current (within the past year) photo so as not to mislead anyone.
What to write
– Your first sentence should be something about you that will set you apart from everyone else. It needs to show your personality but it doesn’t have to be witty. Or start simply with some positive adjectives to describe yourself: Loyal, fun, caring, intelligent, confident, sensitive, daring, honest…
– Be honest. Don’t say you’re an expert at something if you’re not, don’t pretend to have more money than you have. Be yourself: and remember – those who mind: don’t matter, and those who matter: don’t mind
– Write passionately and creatively about your interests and hobbies. Focus on the things you LOVE in life – that will make other people sense your passion and want to be part of it!
– State clearly and honestly what you’re looking for. If it’s short-term, explain why (going overseas? Just out of a relationship, don’t want anything serious?)
– Are you educated? Have you studied? What did you study? What field do you work in? Career-wise, what are you most passionate about?
– If you do want to avoid certain people (for example players), put it back on yourself but keep it fresh, light and always finish positively: “Straight up – I’m not a one-night-stand girl. I’m selective about who I will let in my life. Initially, I am just looking for new friends, new perspective and new inspiration” or “I’m not a package deal – I have never been married, I have no lingering or jealous ex-boyfriends, no children, no haunting past… I have a cute dog?? But he doesn’t live with me.”
– List the things you love: favourite food, activities/hobbies, favourite tv shows, sports, entertainment etc.
– Go into detail about your favourite thing to do in your favourite season. For example: “My favourite thing to do is go out on a boat with friends, crank up the tunes and drink the afternoon away. Nothing beats it!”
– When saying where you live, this is where I say I live a suburb further than I am. You don’t want any crazies tracking you down!
What you are looking for
– The key to this section of your profile is knowing EXACTLY what you are looking for. Do you want a smoker or a non-smoker? A social drinker or a non-drinker?
– Be selective! It can be tempting to put “A great person” in there, but by being specific you are more inclined to encourage the right people to talk to you.
– Fill in this section with positive adjectives about the person you are looking to date: outgoing, educated, generous, funny (not at other’s expense), mature, accepting etc.
What to avoid saying on your profile
– Saying anything negative on your profile. Instead of saying what you don’t want, use the space to say what you DO want (after all – you’re marketing yourself and you want to come across as positive and happy)
– Mentioning or inferring anything negative about your past “No players”, “Control freaks need not apply”, “I come without baggage”. You can discuss this stuff when you make it to the date
– Likening your appearance to a celebrity. Embrace your individuality – the celebrity talk will make you appear conceited
– Lying in any way – if you lie then you’ll get found out in the end. It’s a horrible way to start a relationship with someone – just be honest!
– Giving too much information. Not just in your profile but when you begin talking to people. Don’t tell them your life story straight away, leave a little mystery
– Shorthand – not everyone gets what OMG LMAO ATM means. Keep it real, straight to the point and simple
– Committing to meeting everyone you talk to. It can be tempting, but remember to be selective when you meet with people. You don’t want to be too available and remember, the person you’re attracting may also have friends on there, so try to avoid saying the same thing to everyone. Keep your introductory letters unique to each individual you chat to.
In short, the best way to write a great Internet dating profile is to be positive – remember, when you meet, no one’s perfect. Good luck and I hope this helps you to find love!