Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Get Rid of the Green

I've been talking about a lot of how to promote happiness, but sometimes thoughts creep into our minds that make it hard to be happy? One of the biggest of these is jealousy. You see the seemingly endless supply of your friend's clothes, or the expensive furniture in your neighbor's house, or all the dates that girl in school seems to have all the time and before you know it you're green with envy. So how do you combat the feelings that threaten to destroy your happiness.

First, it's very important to remember that happiness is a choice. No one can give you happiness, but no one can take it away either. Second, stop comparing. Comparison always leads to misery in some form or another. It's also unfair. We tend to either compare our worst with another's best, or our best with another's worst. It's never a good idea to think that someone has the perfect life just because they have more of something than we do. But it's also wrong to think that we have it all and everyone else should be jealous of us.

Quit the comparisons, and then think about what you have. You may not have all the hottest fashions, but at least you have clothes to wear. You may not be the belle of the ball at school every day, but at least you have friends and people that care about you. Changing your focus from what you don't have to what you do will you open your eyes to how wonderful your life really is.

One of my favorite movies is "It's a Wonderful Life." In the movie, George Bailey gives up many of his lifelong dreams to keep up a business his father started and to help people less fortunate than him. When he encounters a very difficult trial, he considers ending his life, but a special friend is sent to show him what a wonderful life he really has. You can see an awesome clip from this movie here.

No matter what your struggles, no matter what you don't have, you always have the right to happiness.

-Sarah :)

Monday, November 3, 2014

How to be an Eternal Optimist

We all have that friend that is just always happy. No matter what life throws at them, they just always seem upbeat and optimistic. So how can you achieve this eternal optimist view? I find that I learn best through observation, followed by application. And what better examples to analyze than some of our favorite movie characters?

1. Olaf from "Frozen"

The latest Disney classic follows the story of Elsa's ice powers and her struggle to control it. Amidst all the chaos, Olaf the snowman appears with songs of summer and constant puns that keep you laughing through the whole movie. Even as Anna approaches freezing to death, Olaf is right by her side keeping her spirits and hopes alive.

From Olaf we can learn that the greatest happiness comes from friendship and sacrifice. As he states so perfectly, "Some people are worth melting for." Who in your life would you be willing to melt for? Focusing more of your energy on your relationship with that person will allow you to forget your problems and increase your overall happiness.

2. Dory from "Finding Nemo"

Dory is one of my favorite Disney characters. While Marlin is the eternal worrier, Dory is the eternal optimist. Even when the two are trapped inside a whale with no hope of escape, Dory still adopts a happy-go-lucky attitude and refuses to give up.

Dory teaches us that there is always a silver lining. Even when we are surrounded by trials and struggles, there is always something to smile about. She also expresses many times the power of song in keeping hope alive.

3. Donkey from "Shrek"

I absolutely LOVE Donkey!!!! He is hilarious and can always think of something funny to lighten the mood. While Shrek is overly annoyed with him in the beginning, he soon gets used to his presence and can't help but love him.

Donkey is the perfect example of learning to laugh. The most embarrassing or awkward moments can become the funniest and most memorable ones. Sometimes on bad days all we need are a good laugh.

4. Pollyanna from "Pollyanna"

Pollyanna is famous for always finding something to be "glad" about. She claims that when she found herself becoming sad or disappointed she would play the "glad game" to lift her spirits.

Pollyanna teaches us that we can always find something to be grateful for. Our situation will never be perfect, but it will also never be completely hopeless.

5. Rapunzel from "Tangled"

Rapunzel always dreamed of seeing the lanterns light up the night sky. Despite her mother's disapproval and the odds being against her, she never gave up the hope of discovering her dreams.

Like Flynn Rider, we can all learn from Rapunzel's example. The greatest joy is found not in wealth in riches, bu in dreams and optimism.

6. Annie from "Annie"

Annie is a classic musical centered on the story of an orphan who goes from rags to riches. Despite not having a family and never feeling loved, Annie learns to focus on tomorrow and the promise of a better future. She sings "the sun will come out tomorrow," even after "a day that's gray and lonely."

Annie shows us that just because our situation isn't ideal right now, there is always tomorrow. Live in the present, but don't get too caught up in the stresses of today. Look ahead to the promise of tomorrow.

I know that although life comes in with struggles every day that threaten to ruin our happiness, we can all learn to be eternal optimists and to focus on the bright side of things.

-Sarah :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

His Hand is Stretched out Still

Okay, here's a warning to everyone; this post is going to be completely religious, so I apologize if you are not a religious person. My intention is not to offend you, only to share my beliefs because of how happy they have made me.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I found something that I absolutely loved when I was reading the Book of Mormon, our religion's book of scripture. There are a few passages of Isaiah quoted, and it was interesting to me that although God was disappointed with the unrighteous, he still loved them. 2 Nephi 20:10 reads, "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still" (Isaiah 10:4). I love the fact that God and Jesus Christ are always there to accept us back, no matter how many things we have done wrong.

There is a video I absolutely love about the Atonement called Even When You're Broken It touches me and makes me cry every time I watch it because of how powerful it is. Jesus Christ is always reaching out, comforting us and helping us back to him. We just have to reach out and take his outstretched hand.

I have a testimony of the Savior's atoning love for us. I know that he suffered for our sins, pains, sorrows, fears, weaknesses, and infirmities so that we can be made whole. Whole, as in everything about us will be made perfect and pure! That is such an incredible promise! I believe in and love Christ with all my heart. He is my older brother.

If any of you would ever like to know more about my religion, please let me know! I would love to share with you the thing that has changed my life and brought me so much joy!

-Sarah :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Seven Habits of Incredibly Happy People

For this post I decided to do a little research, and I found this awesome article at the following website:

7 Habits of Incredibly Happy People

I decided to take a new twist on it though and find a quote that ties in with each of the "habits described."

1. "In times of greatest stress or adversity, it's always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive." -Lee Iacoccoa

If you're unhappy, then find something to be happy about. Read your favorite book, join a new club, start an exercise program, or doing something else you love! Keeping busy with things you enjoy in between the things you despise allows you to find balance and reduce your stress.

2. "Friendship may, and often does, grow into love, but love never subsides into friendship." -Lord Byron

Okay, this one may sound a little weird, but I don't mean the "true love at first sight" kind of love. I'm talking about the love that builds as you grow closer to someone, the love that is not about romantic feelings but about an emotional connection. This type of love is the greatest anyone can experience, and developing bonds like this with a few close friends gives you someone to turn to in times of struggle.

3. "Happiness doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude." -Dale Carnegie

I discussed this more in depth a few posts back, but it's true!!! If your happiness only depends on the weather or how many miles you can run in an hour or how attractive your boyfriend is, you will never be happy. Happiness only results when you can learn to find the positive in any situation, despite your current circumstances.

4. "The reason I exercise is for the quality of life I enjoy." -Kenneth H. Cooper

Exercise is a great way to stay happy! You not only improve your self-image by taking care of your body; you improve your attitude as well. Exercise is one of those things that can turn a bad day into a great one, just by allowing me to view life through a fresh lens.

5. "Where there is no struggle, there is no strength." -Oprah Winfrey

Weaknesses and trials are inevitable. We all have our own storms to conquer and our own mountains to climb. However, viewing struggle as a way to grow emotionally can be one of the most effective ways to becoming truly happy. Instead of treating hardships as a painful and impossible experience to endure, we should view them as an exciting challenge to overcome.

6. "You cannot create experience. You must undergo it." -Albert Camus

Focus your energy on creating memories instead of living in your possessions. That new car may look like just the thing to lift your spirits, but material wealth only brings temporary pleasure. Experiencing joy with the people you love is a treasure that will last forever.

7. "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." -Walt Disney

And lastly, follow your dreams! Make sure when you reach the end of your life, you have no regrets. This has honestly been one of the most liberating realizations in my life. Once I had the thought that I can do anything if I'm willing to work for it, it made me immensely happier. If I want to travel to Europe, I can. Sure I'll have to work and plan and prepare for the trip, but I can certainly make it happen. It's a great way to look at anything. Live as if you're going to die tomorrow.

I hope these habits brought some form of enlightenment and allowed you to re-evaluate how you are contributing to (or withdrawing from) your own store of happiness.

-Sarah :)

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Laughter: The Best Medicine

Wouldn't it be great if there was a magic, cure-all pill? This pill would not only heal the physical body from pain and disease, but it would also remedy emotional pain and depression. I just have to say, if I could market a pill like this I wouldn't be short on money for the rest of my life.

While there isn't a cure-all solution for every bad day or difficult experience that crosses our path, there are ways to overcome such stress. One of the best ways to improve your attitude is laughter. According to HelpGuide.org, laughter has both physical and emotional benefits. It protects your heart and improves your immune system while releasing endorphins that improve your mood. In a certain sense, laughter is a kind of medicine!

One of the best ways to bring laughter into your life is to surround yourself with happy people that have a good sense of humor. Also, when you're having a bad day, watch something that makes you laugh. I have a Pinterest board full of all my favorite jokes and memes. Watching a funny show or video gets you laughing and takes your mind off whatever caused your bad day in the first place.

Here are a couple of gems that have never ceased to make my laugh. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.


And I shall bathe in the blood of my enemies.  Hahahahaha

I found this WAY too funny

Can't. Stop. Laughing.

I also absolutely LOVE this video of a laughing baby. It always makes me smile.

So the next time you find yourself in a bad mood, try for a few laughs.

-Sarah :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

Flipping the Mirror Around

Bad days are inevitable. No matter how hard you try to be positive all the time, there will still be days when it seems impossible to be happy. One children's book I've always loved is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day because we can all relate! We all have had days where it seems that every element of life is combining its forces together to destroy our happiness.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

But there's good news! There's a cure for the ever-looming darkness of bad day syndrome. And that cure is service!!! Now, don't start groaning. I know what you're thinking. "Service? As in serving other people? Isn't this supposed to be about helping ME?" Well I'll tell you a secret. Focusing on other people allows you to open up beyond your own personal desires and problems in order to recognize the needs of others. As a result, it makes you happy. It's a win-win; you help another person and have a positive experience in the process.

So what kind of service are we talking about here? Going out and handing out cookies to homeless people? Raking leaves for little old ladies? Reading to children in the hospital? These are all excellent forms of service, but it can be even simpler than that. Smiling at another person, giving someone a hug that needs one, and simply picking up something that someone dropped are all ways to make a person's day better. I heard a metaphor once that I really liked and I feel is worth sharing. Every day we hold in our hearts a mirror. When we first wake up the mirror is facing us. We use it to get ourselves ready, to take care of our physical and emotional needs, and to fulfill our self interests. But when we leave for the day, it's important that we turn the mirror around so it is facing others. Flipping the mirror around is one of the healthiest, beneficial, and most effectual ways to find happiness.

 To finish off the post I want to include the clip to this short video called the Kindness Boomerang. I love this video, not only because it illustrates the power of one simple act of kindness, but it also shows that when we serve other people, it comes back to us in unexpected ways.

Kindness Boomerang - "One Day"

Don't forget to smile and laugh. It's a beautiful day!

-Sarah :)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Finding Love in a Hopeless Place

Sometimes life seems hopeless. The world often seems chaotic and critical and it's hard to find a place where we fit in, much less a place where we can be happy. For me, the best way to find happiness in a messed up world is doing things I love. This includes hobbies, but it can also be something very simple. For example, music inspires me and excites me, even me on the worst days. When I'm in a bad mood it only takes about 10 minutes of Pandora to change that.

Finding simple "fixes" such as this can help when you really don't have time to devote to lots of hobbies and recreational activities. So what is your "guilty pleasure?" Well oftentimes you can make the time to do the things you love without giving up other endeavors. I like to go by the 15 minute rule. If you're feeling really stressed out, take 15 minutes and do something just for you. Whether it's music, art, reading, shooting hoops, or even social media, spend 15 minutes doing something you thoroughly enjoy. Taking a couple short breaks like this every day has helped me so much already through the stresses of school.

So keep your head up and treat yourself to a little happiness today!