June 2008 Newsletter
Welcome to the “Happy Summer” edition of Own Your Life!
Well, we’ve just passed the Memorial Day weekend, a time that marks the unofficial start of summer. Traditionally, it’s been the time when I pause for a few minutes and think, “wow, summer’s just around the corner.” Yes, I’m pausing again this year, but my thinking is just a bit more emphatic. It’s this: “OMG, where has all the time gone??!!!”
It really does seem like only yesterday that I was writing my last newsletter and celebrating the New York Giants’ Super Bowl win. It certainly seems as if time has simply zipped by -- and what a great time it’s been! The past few months have been filled with great work, new opportunities for learning, fun activities, and new networking and friendship connections. As the old saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun!”
What about you? Do you feel time is flying by? And are you having fun?
I sure hope so! Still, I’ll bet that on some level, you’re ready to greet summer as a slower and more relaxed time. A chance to escape the “usual grind.” Perhaps with more outdoor activities, like going to the beach, having cookouts, taking a vacation, or simply snoozing in a hammock.
Whatever summer may bring your way, it can also be a time of reflection and renewal. It’s a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the quality of your life, and figure out how to enhance it. Since your happiness is in your own hands, it’s important to figure out what you’re doing for yourself, what you do for others – and how that makes you happy. So, a great place to start is by taking stock of how you’re doing on practices that can enhance your happiness. Consider each of the following:
1. Count your blessings. Keep a private journal or communicate with others through visits or correspondence. When people in career transition take time to consider what is good in their lives, they often get an added lift in their efforts to find new work.
2. Practice acts of kindness. Do something unexpected for someone else -- whether it’s letting someone go ahead of you at a supermarket check out, sending an unexpected card or gift to a friend, or telling a Starbucks barista what a great latte she made. Try it, and you’re likely to end up being rewarded with broad smiles – some that will live forever as treasured memories.
3. Savor life’s joys. Focus on the simple pleasures of life, like feeling the sun on your face, tasting the sweetness of piece of fruit, or sharing a smile with a friend.
4. Thank a mentor. Let someone who has guided you know what it was you learned from them and the difference it has made in your life. And I would add, pay the debt of gratitude forward by being a mentor for someone else.
5. Learn to forgive. Let go of anger and resentment. You can do this in person, or you may find it easier to do so in a letter. Either way, when you’ve expressed your forgiveness, move on.
6. Invest time and energy in family and friends. As you might guess, this is a great way to put these other happiness practices to work, with the result that you increase the happiness of others while you increase your own happiness (and quality of life).
7. Take care of your body. Make sure to follow a nutritious and balanced diet, to get enough exercise, and to get the right amount of sleep – which all contribute to your overall well being. Make these ongoing self-care practices; and leverage the benefits of exercise by engaging in fitness activities with others.
8. Develop strategies for coping with stress and hardship. No doubt about it, no matter how well things may be going, we all face occasional hardships. The trick is to realize that you already have or can develop resilience skills to recover and go on with life.
These are sound practices, and you are probably familiar with many of them. What you may not be aware of is that these are drawn from the groundbreaking research of a University of California professor of psychology Sonja Lyubomirsky and can be found in her book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want.
So, in addition to evaluating and working on your happiness practices, you may want to make this book part of your summer reading; and make these practices a strong and more regular part of your life. Need more? Check out the list below for other summer reading suggestions.
Have a Happy Summer!
- Sonja Lyubomirsky: The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want
- Tal Ben-Shahar: Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment
- Martin Seligman: Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment
- Bob Burg: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea
- Linda Kaplan Thaler: The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World With Kindness
- Robert Ashton: The Life Guide: 10 Things You Need to Know About Everything That Matters