Claudia Cooley

Lost your Zest?

“Practice The Happiness Factor”

“If you have zest and enthusiasm you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind.” Norman Vincent Peale

ZEST – Def: great enthusiasm and energy.
Synonyms: enthusiasm, gusto, relish, appetite, eagerness, keenness, zeal, fervor, passion

Everyone gravitates to enthusiastic and energized people; however, we occasionally feel our plug has been pulled. Our “Happiness” barometer ranks lower often times after a physically or emotional time. Our country has just gone through a stressful year with elections and uncertainties weighing heavily on people’s minds and hearts. Holidays add a different type of stress and we frequently sense a mood that is less than cheerful even though we know this is the happiest time of the year.smiley

So why write about happiness? Research and experience tell us, happiness can have an impact on every level of our lives…work, relationships, company success and even our country’s outlook and prosperity. We all know, what gets measured gets managed. We know a lot about how to make people happy… why not use that knowledge.

I found this amazing presentation by Dan Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, “The surprising science of happiness.” Dan is the author of “Stumbling on Happiness”, which challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want. He shares that our “psychological immune system” lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned. It is a 20-minute watch but highly valuable… and he teaches us the value of the commodity of chasing after the things that bring you happiness and joy. Click Watch: The surprising science of happiness.

We have the ability to regulate our own happiness level regardless of the circumstances and I know this from my own experiences. I get to choose how I respond to my circumstances. When I was a student at Landmark Education, I remember a demonstration they used that I found memorable and use it often. It’s called…”Chocolate, Vanilla, Choose.” When a decision needs to be made, we frequently think a wrong decision will make me unhappy and we noodle over the “what if’s”. What if I choose wrong? Then worry sets in and what’s next…do you know? Yes, we have a fear of making a wrong decision and not being happy in the long run. The choice takes on a different meaning when we worry and have fear. In the choosing process, weigh the advantages of each choice and then the disadvantages of making that choice. But here is one more question, what is the advantage of not making that choice. I, myself, like chocolate and vanilla is okay but love them swirled together…I determined I could create another option that makes me happy. We can sometimes create an outcome that’s better for us when we think outside of the box

Believe me I know you are saying it’s not always this easy. Determining ways to find happiness and joy in the worst of situations is a challenge, however, there is an extreme benefit to your psychology and physiology when you discover what works for you.

I’ve asked a dear friend of mine that truly is the “spoke person for happiness” to share about creating joy in our lives. Dianne Callahan, is a 3x cancer survivor and now delivers inspirational presentations to groups, foundations and companies to inspire their happiness journey. This is her very inspirational contribution to this blog for you…

Everyone has days now and then that are harder than others. Days when being happy and upbeat just seems a little out of reach. Especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays when there is much to do and little time.

Or for some folks there is so much time and not so much to do, or people to do it with. Days like that are why I created my JOY list. This is a list of things that can lift me out of a funk and bring a smile to my face quickly and easily. My JOY list isn’t long and almost everything is free. Here are a few of the things on my JOY list:

– play with my dog Dagny
– read a good book or a devotion or an insightful blog postdianne
– hug my hubby
– take a walk
– call my BFF or my mom or my son
– put on some great disco tunes (and soon I will be dancing around the house!) – open a brand new magazine and read it cover to cover
– give a sincere compliment to someone

I keep my JOY list in my day planner, which is always with me or on my desk. You might keep your list on your phone or attached to your fridge. The most important thing is to remember to look at it when the sun seems to be hiding temporarily behind a dark cloud.
So tell me – what’s on YOUR list?

Dianne Callahan

Dianne certainly brings some great and simple ideas. Here are a few more ideas I want to share before we end this time together.

To create more happiness, practice your smile. Smiling is really contagious and delivers great benefits. People will mimic you and your smile. I remember walking the streets of the financial district in NYC where it is nearly impossible to capture eye contact with others walking on the street. It must be the unspoken “code” of the NYC area… but I became obsessed with making eye contact so I could give a smile. I loved the responses from those that I could engage with… and it made me feel great also. From that time, I wear my smile as often as possible, because this energizes my heart and life. I have a note on my back door that I read everyday when I go out… “Go out and make a difference in someone’s life today and let them make a difference in yours.” This is an assignment that reaps great rewards.

Did you know that laughter is the only way to exercise your liver? Yes. This has been proven.
One of my favorite songs… you will find it at this link: HAPPINESS .

“True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.” Antoine de Saint-Exupery

December 17, 2016
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