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 :)