Archives for February 2010

Valentine’s Day


Well, it is almost Valentine’s Day and what better time to begin attracting that love into your life that you think only exists in movies! I think Valentine’s Day is a great day to appreciate being a girl! It is a day that focuses on love, in all of its’ forms. A day filled with pink and red and hearts and flowers. Could life get any more girlie? Here are some ways to take full advantage of Valentine’s Day, whether or not you are in a relationship.

1) Do something for YOU! Valentine’s Day is a day of love and the person you should love with all of your heart is staring right back at you in the mirror. The best way to center yourself and fully appreciate the life you lead, is to give yourself something back. Do something that makes you happy. Go for a run. Take a hot bath (with candles and bubbles!). Eat a decadent meal (or a meal of just your favorite things…even if that means strictly appetizers or cupcakes with pink frosting).

2.) Do something spontaneous! Remind yourself how exciting and unpredictable life can be. Get in the car and head to a new destination. A new restaurant. A scenic drive. Skiing. Hiking. The city! Be adventurous and get yourself motivated!

3.) Go back to your first love…family! Visit with family members. Go home. Let mom cook you dinner (she probably knows your favorites better than anyone). If you are too far from family, call them. Spend some quality time letting the important people in your life know you love them and are thinking about them on this day of love.

4.) Seek out love. If it means renting every classic romantic comedy and fully immersing yourself in what your ex-boyfriend called “make believe,” do it! Drench yourself in all kinds of sappy, sickeningly sweet movies and books. Actively bring it into your life.

5.) Smile. Nothing brings forth happiness and contentedness more than a sense of joy. The Secret is all about the law of attraction. Who are we to doubt something that is rooted in positive affirmations? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people smiled and went with the flow? What does anger and frustration really do for you? So even if you are feeling down in the dumps, have just ended a relationship, lost your job and truly believe that Valentine’s Day exists for the sole purpose of making you miserable…SMILE! I guarantee your spirits will be lifted.

Grey Outlook Turns Sunny

Dr. Alex Karev found the sunny side of a surgery. (Image

Dr. Alex Karev found the sunny side of a surgery. (Image

I have been reading The Dating Optimist’s blog today and I think it is changing the way I go about my daily routine. I’m now looking for the optimistic aspects of just about everything! In tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, for example, on his first day in charge of Seattle Grace, Dr. Shepherd wonders how many disasters one day can hold.  It just seems that anything that can wrong, will go wrong. And haven’t we all had those days? One surgery, in particular, takes an unexpected turn when Dr. Karev is operating on a child with severe stomach pains. The surgery comes back with no results. The problem they thought was causing his pain, wasn’t even there. It wasn’t until the patient was back in recovery, that a problem with his heart suddenly lets itself be known, with drastic results. If not for the surgery on one part of his body, doctors would have never discovered the problem with his heart.

This is a great example of fate and also the benefits of being optimistic. The patient’s father was so angry that all of these problems had evolved from a simple stomach pain.  Karev, the most unlikely of optimists, explained that if not for the minor problems, the heart problem could have hit when the patient was home, without giving him time to get to the hospital.  Sometimes the tiny bumps in the road can help prepare us for the larger obstacles, maybe even prevent the larger obstacles from even happening.

Needless to say, if just reading a few posts on her blog can inspire such a change, I will be sure to pick up a copy of her book, Meeting Your Half Orange, this weekend!


With my new goal to focus more attention on this blog, I am realizing that the benefit of such a task is the constant searching for topics to write about. I am finding myself both more observant of my surroundings and more curious. Yesterday, while wandering the aisles of Barnes & Noble, I noticed a man walking with a cane. Immediately my heart broke for this man. He was stooped over, the rubber foot on his cane was worn at an angle from constant use and his facial expression looked heavy under the weight of what I presumed to be his overwhelming sadness.

But I was projecting that on to him. What I realized upon further reflection, and when he passed me about 15 more times during my visit to the store, was that this was a man who was out and about, perusing bookstore shelves. He was looking at magazines, bestsellers, sale books. He wasn’t sitting at home feeling sorry for himself. He was interacting with the world. He wasn’t letting his handicap slow him down for a second.

We create our happiness. We can either feel sorry for ourselves and wallow in self-pity, or we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and jump into life. We need to take advantage of every opportunity to learn, grow, and expand our social circles. There are times when most of us would like to stay in bed all day and avoid our hectic lives, but then what are you left with? No stories. No adventures. No discoveries whatsoever. Life is meant to be lived and this man, with his cane and his limp, is living his life. The worn rubber foot of the cane initially filled me with sorrow because it meant years of using that same cane to navigate a treacherous world. But looking at it from a different angle, I can see that that man has been using his cane! He hasn’t been sitting down, waiting for the end. He has been getting up and getting out, in whatever way he can. God gave him a cane and he is using it and not letting it slow him down or stop him on his pursuit of a life well-lived.

Fake It Until You Make It

As I mentioned yesterday, I am reading Gretchen Rubin’s THE HAPPINESS PROJECT and loving it! One idea that hit me as particularly poignant was something she has mentioned on her blog, as well. You have the ability to change the way you see and react to things in your life. Gretchen writes, “Studies show that by acting as if you feel more energetic, you can become more energetic.” She references David Dunning’s book, Self-Insight: Roadblocks and Detours to the Path of Knowing Thyself. Dunning writes:

“[People] can argue anything. If asked to argue that some assertion “A” is true, people can do that. If next asked to argue that the opposite of “A” is true, they can do that, too, often with the exact same ease and effectiveness…When testing a hypothesis, people tend to emphasize evidence that confirms the hypothesis over information that disconfirms it. For example, if I asked someone whether he or she was an outgoing individual, that someone will likely sit back to think about times he or she has been an extroverted, sociable person…if I asked the same person whether he or she is the shy type, he or she would likely think of exactly…opposing examples because they confirm the new hypothesis.” (46-47)

I love the idea that we have that much control over our ultimate happiness and acceptance of the hands we have been dealt just by changing the way we look at things. Sometimes we avoid saying, “I am so happy,” for fear that it will be taken from us. In reality, saying these words both internally and externally actually pushes us in the direction of happiness.

I am thrilled to be following my own path towards happiness and cultivating a more appreciative existence.



Loving this book, The Happiness Project! I was reading on Gretchen Rubin’s website, The Happiness Project, about this month’s focus being ENERGY. Because I have recently mentioned my passion for running, I think it is a nice segue into Gretchen’s energy focus for January. Energy is crucial in tackling all aspects of life and exercise is a great way to increase your daily energy.

Here are some of the tips Gretchen provides for staying motivated in your exercise routine.

Everyone knows that exercise is a KEY element to good health. The trick is keeping yourself motivated to exercise, if you’re a person who naturally relapses into the couch-potato pose.

It took me years of prodding, but I’ve finally managed to turn myself into a dedicated exerciser. I never push myself very hard (at all), but I do manage to stick with a routine.

Personally, I find it more motivating to think about short-term gratification like “I’ll sleep better” than long-term considerations like “I’ll live longer” or “If I have surgery, I’ll recover quicker.”

Here are some things to keep in mind, if you’re trying to keep yourself motivated to exercise:

1. Exercise boosts energy. It took me a long time to notice that I’d drag myself to the gym, work out for forty minutes, and leave feeling far more energetic than when I went in.

2. Exercise provides an outlet for feelings of pent-up hostility, irritation, and anger. I always find that I’m far calmer and more forbearing on days when I’ve exercised. I have a jittery, high-strung nature, and exercising takes the edge off.

3. Repetitive, rhythmic motion of exercises like walking and running brings a serene mood and clarifies thinking. I’ve had all my best writing ideas when walking or running, and sometimes assign myself a particular problem to think over during a walk.

4. Sticking to an exercise regime raises your self-esteem for the very fact that you’re sticking to an exercise regime.

5. Exercise offers a chance to be alone and uninterrupted—a relief if, like me, you’re often surrounded by distractions. Or, if you prefer, exercise also offers a chance to get together with other people–a relief if, like me, you spend a lot of time working alone. I have both kinds of exercise during my week.

6. Regular exercise helps to keep your body chemicals in balance. When you experience stress, your body prepares for “fight or flight” with a huge number of biochemical reactions. A stressful event these days, however, is more likely to require a phone call than a sprint uphill. The potentially damaging byproducts of the stress response, such as cortisol, nevertheless continue to pump through the body, and exercise helps offset that effect.

7. Exercise helps you fall asleep more easily and sleep more deeply. The Big Man really notices this in himself.

8. Pure vanity can be a good motivator. Remember that people who exercise move more easily and energetically, and appear more youthful.

9. When I don’t feel like exercising, I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to move easily and without pain—no wheelchair, no crutches, no brace, no trick knee or bad back.