In the spirit of the holidays, I’d like to wish you and yours love, peace, and joy. This year brought a lot of obstacles, but we are still here. Humanity never ceases to amaze me as neighbors are helping each other. Our communities are getting tighter and are realizing that we are not dependent.
It is easy to call out everything wrong. But we are above the new media standards. We are the ones who give a soft smile as we greet strangers on the street. We hold the door for others at the local convenient-store. We are not subservient; we are kind, compassionate, and humble.
So to all of the readers out there, thank you for the kind comments. Year three is coming to an end for this blog, but there will be a fourth-year. With so much to look forward to, I am excited to see where this journey will lead. Thank you for your support and kind words
When stress is upon us, and life is a fury, we need to engage. Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps put us in a flight or fight mode. But, there are times when we are mentally stuck in a loop and continue to fret, worry, stress, and produce too much cortisol. This can lead to anxiety and depression.
How do we reduce our cortisol levels? Simple, all we need is a hug. If a person has no underlying medical conditions causing an over-production of cortisol, then a hug will reduce the stress hormone in our system. Our brain releases oxytocin when we embrace each other, which reduces stress, anxiety, and cortisol.
With reduced stress, our immune system has a chance to heal. This also leads to quicker recoveries from injuries. Who knew a simple act of kindness could do so much? In case you’re wondering, this works for both the hugger and the hugged. And, oxytocin is released when we embrace a pillow, bear (teddy type, not the wild one), or ourselves.
On top of releasing the “cuddle” hormone, serotonin is released, which is our “feel good” hormone. This takes advantage of the reduced cortisol and brings us to our “happy place.” Who couldn’t use a little time there, right?
With all of this said, I’d like to interject with a word of caution. Don’t force-hug others. If a person doesn’t want a hug, don’t give it to them anyway. Their brain isn’t going to chemically convince them that they are wrong and we’re right. Life doesn’t happen that way. Don’t do that. On the flip-side, it’s alright not to want a hug. Not everyone likes to have someone else’s arms wrapped around them like two pythons fighting over a meal. We all have bubbles, and not everyone is welcomed to enter. A hug has its benefits if done correctly. Be respectful, and hug only those who want to be embraced. Together, with understanding, we can make this place a better world. After all, we are one hug away from happiness.
Until the next blog, live life, be happy, and click like.
Everyone wants to become successful in life. But what is success? Ask a group of people individually, and I’m sure we will receive an assortment of answers. Does this mean we do not know what success is? Not at all; it shows that we have different views. Although we have multiple perspectives on the subject, there are five steps everyone can take to reaching their goal.
Set a course
What is it that we want? This can be a career, a state of mind, or even a material object. What are the requirements for obtaining said goals? We may want to look at the cause and effect of reaching our goals. A new career may mean less time with our family. A luxury vehicle may mean high state taxes every year. Be sure to look at the pros and cons.
Make a plan
After selecting our goal, it’s time to make a plan. How do we get to our dream world? One goal at a time. Remember to take baby-steps at first. No one runs a marathon in one step. We must have alternate plans and periods of assessments. Play the “What if” game. Obstacles may appear, and we’ll have to divert around them. What if we had to drive one hundred miles to pick up our dream car. Are we willing to go the distance? Right now, the answer may be no. But after some time has passed, we may change our minds. This is where the assessment comes in. Plan for small pauses and verify that we are still going towards our goal.
Execute the plan
This may be the hardest step for most. We can have a dream, but that dream will never become a reality if we don’t execute our plan. How can we run a marathon without taking a step? This is where we will fail. Dreams are not perfect, and we may need to try several hundreds of times to hit the mark. That is normal. Hitting every caveat in the first attempt is not normal. This is why we made alternate plans. Be patient and do not get discouraged. Everything will work out if we stick to the flexible schedule.
Assess the direction
At this stage, we pause and verify that we are still going towards our goal. We make changes accordingly and push on. When to do the assessment is up to the individual. But, I would warn against doing it after every step. Assessments are planned delays. Don’t overload our dream with delays. Once the changes are made, get back at it and stick to the plan.
So we reach the end, now what do we do? We make another plan. We are not one-dream heroes. Instead, we are a lifetime of dreams. Some are worth chasing, while others are best kept in our imagination. For example, my favorite corvette is this year’s model. With each changing year, I’ve enjoyed seeing the changes and improvements. I would love to own one, but there is a sense, so magic lost once some dreams are no longer dreams but reality—that something to keep in mind. Once we obtain our goal, it becomes a reality. Some plans are better kept in our imaginations.
Until the next blog, live life, be happy and don’t forget to like.
The most common reason for changing jobs is the individual felt as though it was time for a change. Beyond money, there are caveats that we must meet to feel satisfied with our employment. This means that there are ways to motivate employees to want to work.
Let’s be honest. No one wants to work. However, we have bills to pay and things that we would like to buy. This takes money, and it so happens that employers are willing to part with their cash in exchange for our work. Notice I didn’t say time. I know a lot of workers that show up to collect a paycheck. Anyone can show up.
When a person has a sense of purpose in their work, they know why they are doing their job. There is a means to the madness, as one may say. Take that purpose away, and people will start to ask, “Why do I have to do that?” And that leads to my favorite, “Not my job, not my prob.”
Positivity in the workplace is another bonding force that keeps employees motivated. It’s easy to complain about everything. We all can gripe about the weather, sports, news, and don’t get us started on the year 2020. Besides, people have a strong inclination to listen to constructive criticism if presented positively. We all want to improve ourselves and are willing to become more of an asset to others. We just need the right motivation to get us going.
This leads me to recognition. We all may not love the limelight, and that’s alright. But, we do need an occasional recognition for the work we do. Otherwise, what difference are we making in this world? We should see some form of positivity from our bosses. How else are we to know that we are going in the right direction. It’s a form of positive feedback. Speaking of feedback, don’t give it in front of their peers. If we only call people in to criticize them, their peers will know what is going on when we call people. This doesn’t mean stop praising in public.
Another item that keeps people from jumping ship is training. Just because we graduated from high school, vocational school, college, university, or the academy of awesome heroes, doesn’t mean we stop learning. It’s only just begun. Training and development can lead to a better career path. After all, we are driven by self-improvement.
These are not new ideas by any means, but it’s nice to hear them as a reminder. It’s easy for us to get in a rut and forget the basics of satisfaction. So take the time and assess the current workforce attitude. This is particularly important if we work from home; get organized, and find that satisfaction.
Two words have never been easier to say than “I’m fine.” With this quick-phrase, one can effortlessly avoid attention. If only it were always this easy to dodge our peers.
But there are times that we are not okay. We aren’t afraid of help; we don’t want people in our business. Who wants others to take control of our lives when they have their own to run. Then there comes the pride of knowing that someone had to stop what they were doing because we couldn’t control our situation. We’re adults, just like everyone else. We can manage our own lives.
Anxiety, stress, and depression are not typical. We hear that everyone deals with these. Since everyone is dealing with anxiety, having stress must be expected, right? Nope. Think of it as body pains. We all have our moments of aches, but having a spasm is not the norm.
As with body pains, emotional pain needs time for healing. If we sprained our foot halfway through a 5K run, we wouldn’t continue running. We would slow down or stop. And just when we were about to lose all hope, a supermodel would run to our side, ask in a calm but caring voice, “Are you all right?”
“I’m FINE.” we’d reply as each pain riddling step forces a whimper. “YEP! I’m okay! There’s nothing to SEE here!” And with a simple “Well, okay.” Our glamorous assistant disappears, leaving us with two new words (or expletive). “Fudge Nuggets!”
Never be too proud, modest, or embarrassed to ask for assistance. And since we are on that word, I prefer to ask if I can “assist” others. Mental people need help. We are not mental, but we may need an extra pair of hands or another strong-back. See the difference?
Have you ever faced an overly happy person just minutes after waking up? We may even growl a little to warn sunshine pants that they are on dangerous grounds. Notice the mismatched attitudes versus the reactions of both parties. One is a bundle of joy while the other is a bowl of good-gravy; I’m not there yet.
This is important to note. How often do we encounter someone with a polar opposite attitude? Now imagine a person who just received news that they are getting laid off and they are in a roomful of people celebrating So-and-so’s birthday. Bad-news-bear may not want to stay for the party and may project their feelings and emotions onto others if forced to do so.
There is a primal mindset that will question the situation. Why should we be the only ones hurting? We want others to know the pain we feel. This is why we often say or do things that we don’t mean. We don’t want to be alone, and we shouldn’t be alone.
There are times that we have trouble expressing our feelings. How do we tell others that we hurt without sounding petty? We should ask a trusted friend to lend an ear, but make sure to let them know that we don’t know how to express how we feel. This affords them an upfront explanation of the jumbled words that will follow. As we speak, it is essential to breathe. Hey, emotions can leave us breathless. Keep calm and speak clear if you want the listener to understand what is said. I once had a junior sailor tell me his whole life story while sobbing through every word. To this day, I cannot tell you anything he said. However, I let him finish. When he appeared calmer, I informed him that I couldn’t comprehend any word formations. To my surprise at the time, he just smiled and said, “That’s all right.”
Misery does love company, but a pained heart also loves a good ear. We often forget to check on each other. Our routine wraps us up, and our focus is on everything that is an arm’s length away. Perhaps if we took the time to look up and asked how everyone was doing, we could alleviate the isolated feeling others feel. This would also afford others a chance to unload their thoughts; just make sure we are ready in case they do choose to unload everything onto us.
In my youth, I concluded that poverty doesn’t provide happiness. So, I started a quest to find a better world. I wanted to be happy and have a life I could enjoy.
Is there such a thing as a better life?
This question frequents my thoughts. And yes, there is a better life. If we lack food and water, shelter, or clothing, then we are in need. If we have them, then we are looking for comfort. Think of a person with no shirt, a cotton shirt, and a silk shirt. Most of us will agree the silk shirt feels the best. But is it the best shirt?
What is a better life?
Thresholds and boundaries define our happiness. My dreams may differ from yours, and that’s all right. But in our search for improving our lives, we should keep a reality check. Living in a big house with luxury cars sounds cool until it’s time to pay the taxes. Perhaps we should lean towards a simple home and car. It’s not glamorous, but it fits the bill.
How do we achieve a better life?
If we want more things, then we need more money. Happiness requires fulfillment and satisfaction. These do not go hand in hand, as most people believe. Ever hear of the lottery winner who wished they never played those winning numbers. Money can buy material things, but the joy fades, leaving us wanting more. Welcome to the nature of humanity. But that’s a different blog. For now, if we want a better life, it is essential to enjoy the one we have. Stop the hungry eyes and daydreaming. Somewhere, someone wishes they could have our lifestyle.
Another aspect to remember, as we get older, our wants and dreams will change. Our goals and passions in our sixties will differ from when we were forty, which differed from our twenties. This means our definition of a better life will change. Buying a single-story home may prove more beneficial when it comes to aging hips and climbing stairs. Knowing our present and future limitations will pay in the long run. Be honest and truthful.
Is it wrong to want a better life?
If we are looking to impress others, then our quest for a better life is foolish. It is petty and juvenile to want a better lifestyle in the name of gloating. “Look and me and my things” are the words of an imbecile. Don’t do that. Instead, stop worrying about others. They are not worried about us, and our happiness should be for ourselves. We deserve to be happy.
Find happiness and contentment within the present to enjoy our future.
When I was a child, I was taught people only learn through pain. So, I learned not to touch fire only after getting burned, and specific actions brought on corporal punishment. If I didn’t repeat the deed, and my bottom was safe. The Department of Human Services (DHS) visited our home on occasions due to a reported bruise or two.
Since physical contact brought unwanted attention, yelling became the new form of outlet. Yelling for a minute or more can produce a fair amount of adrenaline, and coming down from a chemical high feels good. We know people can develop an addiction to adrenaline. This is how some drama llamas are created. In the aftermath of a scream-fest, a point was made, and a calm feeling soothes the soul as we collect ourselves. No bruising means no DHS representatives.
The irony of each scenario lies within the need for controlling a child while we are losing control. We do not need to hit anyone, nor do we need to assault them verbally. We are responsible for our actions. Others did not make us angry; we chose to get angry. Scenarios may upset or aggravate us. This is life. How we deal is this aggravation is up to us.
If we cannot express ourselves without yelling, then we need to excuse ourselves and calm down. I have stepped out of many conversations to collect myself. This, in turn, brought on newfound respect from my peers.
In my youth, I yelled at my junior peers to get the point across. I later learned that yelling at a group was less traumatic for individuals, but not for the ones observing the verbal onslaught via third-person. Third-person stress cannot be adequately controlled. Therefore, we must manage the stressors. As stated earlier, if we cannot talk without yelling or screaming, then we need to hold our tongues until we can. (not literally).
For those of us blessed with a quick or strong temper, it may take more discipline to achieve having an adamant conversation under eighty decibels. But, as with everything worth learning, it takes time and patience. Learn to express disapproval or aggravation without raising the volume. Everyone can hear us just fine. Breathe in slow, then breathe out slowly. We are the paragon of professionalism.
For years boaters have declared the word boat as an acronym: Bring On Another Thousand they state. This may sound silly to those of us who never owned a boat. Cars and trucks don’t cost much to operate. So why would a john boat or pontoon cost so much? And what does a boat have to do with happiness?
Don’t fret. The metaphor has everything to do with happiness.
When it comes to watercraft, we want bells and whistles everywhere. GPS, fish finders, remote-controlled trolling motors, sonar, radar, weather maps, and dolphin translators. We want it all. The problem is, they cost a lot of money. And, once installed, we have to maintain them. So, is there a perfect boat? Well, that’s like asking, is there an ideal car?
To keep the cost down, we must simplify our boat. A kayak cost less to maintain than a sailboat. After all, fewer parts equate to fewer expenses. Our lives are no different. Yes, frills are nice, but they cost.
“So, we need to go without to be happy?”
As much as I would love to say no, there is a level of truth to this statement. Happiness is not in the “poor house”; it’s in the “simple house.” Smaller bills leave more paycheck at the end of the month. Living within our means allows us to enjoy life. Live beyond those means, and we will always chase bills.
Is there such a thing as too simple? I believe it depends on the individual. Some may find happiness with a canoe, while others need a gheenoe. Whatever the case, we must define our threshold. Stray too far from this point, and we’ll be unhappy. What good is a boat without some form of propulsion? Being stagnant has no “Woo” factor. We need mobility.
Life works in a similar. When kept simple, life is easier to maintain and enjoy. Yes, a luxury yacht sounds great until it’s time to pay the crew, boat slip, and maintenance fees. We will find more happiness and satisfaction by staying within the means of our finances. This will also prevent us from Bringing On Another Thousand.
Life is simple, people make it difficult. In most regions of the world, people live in comfort. We no longer need to hunt or forage for food or water. Traveling long distances is easier. It doesn’t take us all day to travel twenty miles. And, our technology allows us to communicate with loved ones no matter where they are on Earth. But, we still cannot find happiness. We insist on complaining about how bad we have it, and how bad life is.
Life contains elementary laws that lead to our happiness. We must accept who we are. Upon realizing where we stand in relation to our morals we either need to change or maintain our habits and routines. Next, we need to control our wants. Contentment leads to satisfaction. “Want” is a bottomless pit that we will never be able to fill. We will always want more. Learn to be happy with what we have. Treat others with respect. We shouldn’t go around trusting everyone in hopes that they will do the same for us. But, it is uncouth for us to keep the world at bay assuming everyone has an angle or a plot against us. Finally, it is up to us to enjoy the simple things such as a cup of coffee and the sunrise. Find moments in our hectic life and pause. These are the things that lead to happiness.
But, it’s people who insist on not leaving well enough alone. We mettle with everything in an effort to find improvement. Our cars need to be faster, our houses need to be bigger, and our clothes need to draw more attention. That’s it. The fundamental reason for our dissatisfaction lies within the fact that we need to be noticed. We compete with those around us for the sake of saying “I’m better than you.” It’s sad that we cannot accept ourselves nor others. We must compete and strive for the attention of others. Do we really need that affirmation? Are we so shallow that we are willing to sacrifice others for a moment of fame? Yes, yes we are.
Life is neither good nor bad, but our perception may say otherwise. Life didn’t give us a flat tire, the nail in the road did. Life didn’t give a crappy boy/girlfriend, we chose them. Life didn’t give a dead-end job, we applied for it. Life is a buffet and we choose what to have on our plate. Yes, there are outside entities that affect us. But we are responsible for how we act, react, and treat others. Life didn’t make our bad decision nor did it make our good ones. We did.
Life is neither for nor against us. It is a stage upon which we live our lives; the good life. But what is a “good life?” Surprisingly, the answer is as unique as the person we ask. In fact, everyone has his/her own definition. Referring back to the buffet, we are making our plate. We choose who to have around. Our anger is our own. Just as our joy and happiness are ours as well. Life is not plotting against us. I’m sure Albert Hitchcock and Steven King would disagree.