Happiness

Happiness Challenge Day 6-7

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September 13-14 Day 6 and 7 of the Happiness Challenge    

I am sorry for not submitting my last two happiness posts on time. I was sick over the weekend and was just not feeling up to blogging. While I was sick I did have an opportunity to recognize another important part of my life that makes me extremely happy. My mom! While my boyfriend was out of town this weekend I got to spend some quality time with my mom. Unfortunately for her I was sick, but she didn’t seem to mind too much. Regardless, we were able to make the best of a sickly situation and had a great time together. My mom took wonderful care of me and worried about me the entire time. Being that I am pregnant my options for treating my sore throat were limited. Mom was quick to make me as many home remedies as she could think of. She was brilliant and really helped to make me feel better. Over the weekend we were able to share one of our good old fashioned mommy daughter days. We went shopping; we ate yummy food, watched tearjerker movies and stayed up late together. It was just like the good old days. Even though I was sick I loved every minute of it. download (2)

Moms just always know what to do to make their kids feel better. I have such a great respect for my mom. She is always thinking and worrying about others. While I constantly encourage her to make sure she stops to do things for herself it is just in her nature to want to care for her kiddies and make sure they are alright. As I get closer and closer to becoming a mommy in the next few months, I now recognize that these qualities will no doubt pass on to me. I am already so in love with my little man and he’s just hanging out in my belly. I look forward to caring for him and spending lots of time creating lovely memories with him. While he probably won’t be into watching those tearjerkers with me I know we will come up with something unique to us that we can share together. These special moments are what life is all about.

“To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power. Or the climbing, falling colors of a rainbow.” —Maya Angelou

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ―Washington Irving

Ambition in the City

7 Day Happiness Challenge Day 3

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September 10th, 2014 Day 3 of the Happiness Challenge

1. Having a strong support system makes me happy. I am blessed to have a small but very special group of people in my life that I can always looks to for support. They are my shoulders to cry on, my sounding boards to vent to, and my most appreciated teachers. I love them dearly and I could not imagine my life without them. While they don’t always tell me what I want to hear, they tell me what I need to hear and this is invaluable.  I am grateful for their honesty, their empathy, their patience, and above all their unconditional love. Everyone could benefit from having someone in their corner and I’m lucky I have you all. 

“Encourage, lift and strengthen one another. For the positive energy spread to one will be felt by us all. For we are connected, one and all.” Deborah Day

2. Solitude makes me happy. Every so often one just needs a little time to themselves. Some time to regroup, to sit in silence and to reflect on life. I welcome moments like these as they can serve as times of healing. All too often we allow ourselves to be consumed by trivial things that do not serve us. We forget that we too need attention and care. I gift my self with moments of solitude as often as I can. It is good for my soul and it brings forth moments if clarity and renewed energy. 

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.” Michel de Montaigne

3. Painting makes me happy. Since the start of my pregnancy a lot of my painting has been put on hold. While I have not been able to work on larger scale pieces like I used to, I have been able to work on a few small watercolor images that I hope to one day give to my baby. It brings me to so much joy to paint. I get lost in my projects and time just seems to fly by. While I love seeing the final product I find that The in between time is the most fun. I strategize and play, I make mistakes and realize new options and overall  I just enjoy being in the moment. Art is absolutely magical. It warms my heart to know that the pieces I have created for my son will be hanging in his nursery soon. Mommy made them especially for him and I hope he likes them. Soon enough we’ll be painting together. 

“Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight.” Orhan Pamuk

Ambition in the City 

 

Chasing Happiness

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I never thought I was one to chase happiness. I was always taught that happiness was just a by-product of your gratefulness towards life. When I think of where my life has taken me in this past year, I now realize that I was in fact one of the many people who chased goals and accomplishments down in an effort to  truly feel satisfied with my life. While the journey and all its ups and downs are what really help people to achieve a happy life, I like so many others, lost sight of the hours and days spent trying to achieve happiness and never allowed myself to just be. In my 28 years of life, I struggled to find happiness in all things. Whether it was in my academic career, my romantic relationships, or even my work life, my motivation was always to do great now so I can be even greater later. I never sat down to enjoy small success or minor victories. My actions were all a means to an end that in some respect were never later achieved. So what can we do when we realize we’ve been chasing happiness all along? I for one have decided to embrace choice and move forward. No longer worried about what will be, I look to embrace what is now. Like the quote states, “Happy people don’t have the best of everything; they made the best of everything.” Embrace each day for its limitless possibilities. Strive to be happy everyday and not “one day” soon. It is the moments we experience now that matter most. After 28 years of chasing my happy future, I have decided to allow happiness to finally catch up to me. It has been here all along just waiting to be acknowledged. I’m ready to embrace it and find it in all things around me. What will you decide?

Embrace Choice and Keep Moving Forward

10 Tips to Finding Happiness Now

1. Be Present

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Commit to living for the experience. It’s so easy to get caught up in our “future thinking” that we forget to embrace true moments of happiness as they happen. BE PRESENT! Commit to enjoy each day as it passes. Regardless if you are wondering what will come next embrace the now and allow its gifts to present themselves. There is so much learning and growth that can be experienced if we just permitted ourselves to be more present. “True happiness is… to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future.” Lucius Annaeus Seneca

2. Let Your Passions Be Your Guide

Regarding our daily activities or career meaningful is vital to living a happy life. As a tool for self exploration, I find it helpful to create a passion list. What are your passions? What have you always wanted to do but never went after? As children we change career ambitions like we change our underwear, but as we get older these early desires begin to fade for the more “realistic” path. Look to your inner child and ask them what they are still yearning to experience in life. As someone who once gave up my passion for writing, I have to tell you, its feel amazing to be back! I feel as though I have reconnected with an old friend and it’s as if we never skipped a beat. List your passions on paper and determine for yourself what it is you have been looking for all this time. It’s never too late to acknowledge that inner yearning. Cultivating your passion with commitment and enthusiastic curiosity will only bring you closer to experiencing true happiness. While it is hard to adopt this type of mindset, attention must be given to our passions. If your motivating factor is the paycheck, you may be depriving yourself of a chance to do your true life’s work. When you can attach purpose to your work, satisfaction and happiness are sure to follow. “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” Buddha

3. Respect the Body

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The healthier you are, the more you exercise and eat right, the more likely you will lead a happy life. While it is so easy for us to take our bodies for granted, it is vital that we protect and preserve this beautiful shell we reside in. Take time to nourish the body. Be mindful of the things you put in it and be mindful of the messages our body regularly sends us. Only you can be responsible for the care of this fragile vessel. Be proactive and take the necessary preventive care measures. Your body will be so grateful to you and your mind will be all the more at peace. Adopting a healthy lifestyle helps to reduce ones stress level and has been known to increase ones overall energy towards life. If you intend on living a long life filled with wonder and exploration you must protect the vehicle that is vital in getting you where you want to go in life. “In yourself right now is all the place you’ve got.” Flannery O’Connor

4. Nurture Relationships That Matter 

When it comes to wanting happiness for yourself it’s vital that you surround yourself with positive people who exude happiness themselves. There is no better feeling then the one you get when you cultivate a circle of like-minded, loving individuals that share in life’s special moments beside you. These people are with you during good times and bad. They build you up and share in your accomplishments and significant life experiences. They are honest and dedicated to nurturing the relationship you represent for them. Take care of these relationships as they bring meaning and clarity to your life. Nurture those people who matter to you most. Never take these invaluable people for granted. “The quality of life is the quality of your relationships.” Anthony Robbins

5. Lend a Hand keep-calm-and-help-others-16

It feels so good when you can help your fellow-man/woman. I have often heard it said that when you lend a hand to others you are filled with feelings of joy, appreciation, and inner goodness. Seek opportunities to help others. Not only will you make someone’s day, week, or life, you will bring joy and happiness into your own heart and that’s a beautiful thing. “There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.” John Holmes

6. Look to the World around You 

Whenever you come to a crossroads in your life look to those around you for strength and inspiration.  Happiness and the courage to change your situation can come when we see others around us who have overcome similar struggles. While no two people are the same we can pull valuable lessons from others stories of courage and perseverance. It is possible to change your course at a moments notice. We see people do it everyday. Why go through life on autopilot when you can take back that control and be the steward of your journey. Transformation occurs when we allow ourselves to be inspired. Listen to others stories of change and allow yourself to see that we too can be transformed when we are open to it. Look to these stories to awaken your inner curiosity and creativity. The possibilities for change and transformation are limitless if you open to uncovering them. I admire people who open themselves up to experience what I like to call an awakening. While once they would consider themselves unhappy and dissatisfied with life, they now have complete control and are happily moving forward on the course they were destined to travel all along. Look to others for inspiration and empowerment. You too can decide to make a change to be happy now. “Change is the end result of all true learning.” Leo Buscaglia

7. Keep Love Alive hands_in_shape_of_heart

A huge part of the journey to achieving true happiness consists of giving and receiving love. To have love in your life requires that you practice having both an open heart and an open mind. Love is an emotion when embraced can really help you to become the person you always knew you were meant to be. Love and happiness easily go hand in hand. Love can lift you up during the darkest times and can motivate you during the best of times. When we feel loved we feel secure in our lives and as a result are empowered to do and be better. Sky’s the limit when you have love in your life. Open your mind to accepting love and watch as your perception of the world shifts. You will be more likely to love and happier because of it. “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” Paulo Coelho

8. Give Value to Experiences

I live for experiences! Memorable experiences make me feel alive and they make me feel connected to the people that matter most to me. Happiness is long-lasting when we take time to place value on the experiences we have and share with others. You can get so much more from an intimate dinner with friends or loved ones than you can from a new expensive purse that will probably go out of style in 6 months. When it comes to happiness create opportunities that will having meaning for you. Plan a romantic vacation with your significant other. Send a handmade heartfelt card to someone close to you that needs it. The emotions that emerge during these moments are powerful and everlasting. While the accumulation of possessions can be nice, these things only provide temporary happiness. “Life is about experience…You can’t hold on to everything.” Sarah Addison Allen It’s the experience and the moments you create that you remember the most. Allow yourself to experience these moments fully. A happy memory can be tapped into at anytime and can result in the recharging of your happiness levels. Live for the experience and keeping making memories. “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Eleanor Roosevelt 

9. Get Out There! 

Building community is a vital component to achieving inner happiness.  Whether you are part of a religious community or a friendly reading group, being a part of a greater whole can bring joy and purpose to one’s life. Spend time reviewing your passion list and see if any of those interests you identified can connect you with like-minded people. Get out there and build relationships. Joining a group can not only help you to cultivate your interests but it can also aid you in your search for authenticity and true happiness. “Interest and enthusiasm are the wellspring of continually evolving community life: they create bonds which unite us whether we are young or old, nearby or far from each other; they allow human warmth and love to be the formative forces in personal and community life and striving.” Henning Hansmann

10. Know When to Ask for Help helping-hand

When times are tough and you feel stuck seek guidance without fear of judgment. Look to your close friends or family members with whom you can confide in. Listen to your inner voice as it tells you that you need more and that something needs to change. If family or friends just don’t seem to get it, you might come to realize that a coach or therapist is the more suitable person to hear you out. There is no shame in asking for help and there is definitely no shame in loving yourself enough to take charge of your own happiness. Seek out the help of someone who will empower you to see your true potential and inner strength.  Get to know yourself again by identifying those things you love and are passionate about. As your coach challenges you and champions your efforts you will begin to see that happiness, clarity, and a new outlook on life are sure to follow. “The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers.” Deepak Chopra

“Happiness is the highest form of self-respect. A person who allows himself to be happy shows his self-respect.” Maery Rubin

Ambition In The City 

Ponder This

What are you totally committed to?  What evidence do you have to demonstrate this commitment?

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Start taking action towards the things you feel genuinely committed to. Make the choice to step into your power by putting your thoughts into action today. 

Ambition In The City

Promise Yourself

The Optimist Creed

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I came across these beautiful words last night as I was working on a new blog post. I decided to put that post on hold to share these powerful words with you all.  In his book Your Forces and How to Use Them Christian D. Larson challenges readers to use positive thinking to aid in their transformation to becoming greater, happier, and more fulfilled individuals.

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As a huge believer in the power of thought, I found these words to be quite inspirational. Each of us has the power to create the life we envision for ourselves. Step into your power and allow yourself to feel what life will be like when you fully embody an optimistic way of thinking. Accept that you have the power to impact positive change both within yourself as well as within others. Spread thoughts of love, joy, and optimism wherever you go. Open your heart, mind and spirit to receiving all the gifts that come when you step fully into your truth.  Share your gifts with the world, and challenge yourself to be the best version of you every day. Inspire others to see beauty and excellence in all aspects of themselves. Acknowledge and celebrate in others joys and accomplishments. For when they are at their best they can help bring out the very best in you.

Hold those lessons from your past that will push you forward close to your heart. The mistakes, the risks, the struggles have all brought you to this very spot. Challenge yourself to let go of whatever might hold you back. Pack light; take only those things that will help you to become better. There will always be more for you to overcome and even more for you to achieve. Transcend your limits by grabbing hold of new challenges and experiences. Make time for whatever will aid you to cultivate your passions and bring you joy. Leave little time for envy, judgment, fear or doubt to distract you from being great. Live these truths each and every day. They are within us all and can be tapped into at any point in time. We have all the power we need to become greater, happier and more fulfilled individuals. We just need to believe it.

“The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” Aristotle 

Ambition In The City

If Not Now Then When

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” I do not fear failure. I only fear the “slowing up” of the engine inside of me which is pounding saying “Keep going someone must be on top, why not you?”‘ George S. Patton

Living in the now can be very challenging for some. While we may aspire to enjoy each and everyday as if it were our last, putting this notion into practice is easier said then done. It can be a constant struggle to find balance between your joy and your daily priorities. What we can come to realize with time however is that ones joy should always be their biggest priority. So how can we make this our reality?

If we can focus our day on the things that matter most, those things that bring us joy, then and only then can we be truly living in the now. Identifying a regular mantra can sometimes help with this. “I have all the time I need to do the things I enjoy.” I have begun to practice this daily mantra to assist me in worrying less about the time I have to complete my daily tasks, and more about doing the things that bring me joy in the present. If I worry less about my daily to-do list and more about doing things that make me happy,  I will stop believing that there isn’t enough time in my day. It is only when you permit yourself to feel joy, that you worry less about the invisible clock hanging over your head. You will have learned to make time to live now. 74378_536143923070648_85208059_n

For many a to-do list can create a great deal of unnecessary stress. While we spend our time focusing on checking off those things we think need to get done, we push away the things we wish we could actually make time to do. We all have various interests and hobbies we wish we could give more time to, but these interests are usually trumped by our so-called responsibilities. While there is no doubt that there are some responsibilities we need to adhere to, the pressure to complete all  our daily tasks is one we create solely in our own minds.

The mind can convince a person that in order for them to attain the greatness they envision for themselves in the future, they need to push their present day interests and happiness to the side. I for one refuse to let this be my reality. In order to be happy in the future you must place value on feeling happiness now. Happiness is not something you chase. It is a feeling you create when you finally accept its significance into your life.

Once you can learn to shift your way of thinking to allow for the things you want now, you will slowly come to realize how backwards you were living your life all along. While we may aspire to have more things, make more money, to do more of what we want, we must first practice being who we really are in the moment. If you pause in your pursuit of happiness you come to find happiness is there all around you. Next time you find yourself asking “when will it be my turn to be happy?” stop and remind yourself if not now then when? You have all the time you need to do the things that bring you joy. Make it happen.

Ambition In The City

“Happiness is never stopping to think if you are.” Palmer Sondreal

“If you want to be happy, be.” Leo Tolstoy

Lifestyle Changes for 2013

happy-the-movie-page2339“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present” Jim Rohn

Have you ever heard someone say the phrase, “This is a complete lifestyle change”? I hear it all the time coming from fitness and nutrition professionals when they urge their clients to adopt new, healthy ways of living. As we begin the new year, I cannot begin to wonder how many people out there are contemplating their next big lifestyle change. Will you promise to eat right and exercise at least 3 times a week? Do you want to save money to go on an adventure? No matter what the goal is, what will you need to change about your current lifestyle to attain it?  As we begin this new year, I decided to explore some common resolutions and give some examples of how these resolutions sometimes require significant lifestyle changes. If you are set on reaching a specific target goal this year plan ahead and be realistic. If you want something bad enough take the necessary steps to make it happen.

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