Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How to be Happy

Once in a while, it's nice to be given a straightforward "road map" on what it takes to feel better. Like a recipe, just read and follow.

This "How to be Happy" talk was given at the girls' school last month, and was open to the parents. Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend. Fortunately, they posted these fliers on the middle school bulletin board.  As a self-improvement junkie, I also noticed the same messages printed on tarps hanging from the hallway ceilings.  The message is worth sharing.

Read, follow and be happy!

Five ways to wellbeing 

The following steps have been researched and developed by the New Economics Foundation.



There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.
  • Talk to someone instead of sending an email
  • Speak to someone new
  • Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.


Be active

Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.

But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good - slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:
  • Take the stairs not the lift
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime
  • Walk into work - perhaps with a colleague – so you can ‘connect’ as well
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
  • Organise a work sporting activity
  • Have a kick-about in a local park
  • Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning
  • Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing. 


Take notice

Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.

Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:
  • Get a plant for your workspace
  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route on your journey to or from work
  • Visit a new place for lunch. 



Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.

The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:
  • Find out something about your colleagues
  • Sign up for a class
  • Read the news or a book
  • Set up a book club
  • Do a crossword or Sudoku
  • Research something you’ve always wondered about
  • Learn a new word.



Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research.

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

Text from here.  My photos.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Just Call Me...Martha!

I've had this collection of blue and white plates stashed in my cabinet for so long and I finally decided to do something with them. 

I found some cakestand hardware online and ordered a few sets. It arrived in the mail with these complicated instructions on how to drill centered holes.

I read everything, carefully followed the instructions, and tried to mark the plates.

Then I handed the pattern guide to my carpenter so he could do the same. Instead, he didn't even bother with the instructions and did his own thing.

He measured across the plate, taped the center, and started drilling away. 

I was still reading the instructions and marking plates and he had already drilled a few. Sometimes instructions make things more complicated.

The plates are quite old, some more than the others-- but they are not precious-old.

 I collected them over a span of a few years and many are from eBay. I love all the patterns.

And now the exciting part--assembling.  I don't know if I threaded them correctly.

Et voila!

Now that I have all these tiered plates, I try to use them whenever I can.

And here they are in action...

So perfect for serving little snacks, cupcakes, and 

Sometimes I amaze myself with my (or ok, my carpenter's) crafty skills. Martha would be proud.


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