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Archive for June, 2008

Smurfette says thank you by joebeone

There have been many times when someone has done something extremely nice for me, and I haven’t made an effort to let them know how much it meant to me.  It could be a spouse that cleaned the house and cooked dinner during a rough week at work.  It might be a coworker explaining a new business system in terms I could understand.  Or maybe a friend or family member offered to babysit my kids or pets when no one else was available.

Whatever the reason, there are times when our minds our completely blank, and we can’t come up with a single idea to show our thanks.  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Spend Time With Them. Nothing lets a person know how important they are better than spending time with them.  Even if you don’t spend a dollar, the act of scheduling them into your day is sure to warm their heart.
  2. Say Thank You. The easiest way is to simply tell them, “Thanks for your help.”  Call them on the phone, write a note or send a card telling the person the impact their support made in your life.  One of my personal favorites is sending a greeting card with recorded music or sound. You can find songs for every type of taste.
  3. Give the Gift of Humor. Share comic strips, cartoons, funny quotes or sayings.  Buy a novelty item like a t-shirt, bumper stickers or other gifts that you know they enjoy.  Or better yet, go catch the newest local comedy act together.
  4. Food Reward. Everyone loves food.  Take them out to a restaurant, buy a gift card for their favorite place, or bake some cookies or brownies as a surprise.  From sweet and juicy fruit baskets to salty, sweet chocolate goodness, food is sure to be a hit.
  5. Share the Praise. Tell them what you like about them, “You are so generous with your time, thanks for watching the kids.”  Or, “Thanks for lending a hand with the painting, you’re a real professional.”  Giving concrete, personalized praise is always welcome.  People love to hear positive feedback.
  6. Celebrate Their Interests. Find out the birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions in their life and celebrate with them.  There’s always a reason for a party!  Celebrate the holidays, marriage, births, first house, new car, job promotion, or whatever else you can think of.  Commemorate all of life’s landmarks.
  7. Return the Favor. A great way to show how much their thoughtfulness meant, is to do them a favor in return.  You can wait for an opportunity they need, or if you know a task they dislike doing, try to figure out a way to help get it done.  Hire a maid, send a discount coupon for an oil change, let you son mow the grass or whatever you can come up with.  They’ll thank you for thinking of them.
  8. Gift Baskets. Surprise them with a gift basket filled with their favorite things; crossword puzzles, paperback book, lotion, popcorn and a free movie rental, candy, lotto tickets and other fun gifts.  Personalize them with a theme for even more fun.
  9. Indulge Their Passions. If they area fan of a particular book author, movie or television series, take notice by finding small items like notebooks, pens, magnets and address books with their favorite characters to give as gifts.
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Family by Shiny Things

We all go through times when our relationships with others are strained and uncertain.  Whether through our own fault, the fault of the other person, or a combination of both, we need help to regain our emotional balance and solve our differences.

The bond with our family is often the hardest, as they are usually the ones who have known us the longest, and therefore understand us best; both our strengths and flaws. Connections with our coworkers and other business associates come in a close second, as problems here can lead to failure to meet deadlines and financial loss.

If you’re like me, you are always on the lookout for ideas to quickly and effectively manage your problems.  It’s important to learn how to soothe hurt feelings, resolve disputes and improve your effectiveness in dealing with the issues of anger, confusion, fear and pain that result from arguments, disagreements and misunderstandings.

Here is a list of some tips that can help:

  1. Communicate. The best way to get to the root of the problem is to share your feelings.  There are a variety of ways to do this.  Try writing a letter, calling them on the phone, meeting with an impartial 3rd party, or use a timer to make sure that each side gets to speak uninterrupted.
  2. Explain things. Often one of our main problems in rectifying our disagreements is that we have not fully gotten our point across to the other person.  Make sure you clearly explain what is bothering you.  You might try saying “When you do this behavior _____, I feel _____.
  3. Listen more. While you are communicating and explaining, make sure you listen to the other person’s response.  This is actually hard to do.  I sometimes catch myself thinking “Here we go again, will it be their busy lifestyle or stress at work that’s the excuse this time?”  Clear your mind and listen fully.  Take notes if you need to, so that you can write down what they actually said and not what you think you heard.
  4. Ask for advice. Sometimes we just need a different perspective.  Ask a friend, another colleague, or someone unaffected by the outcome what they would do in this situation.  Often they will have insights you have missed while your emotions are running high.
  5. Take a break. Before speaking to the person, take some time for yourself.  Relax with some music, read some humor, walk around the block, or meditate in silence for 10 minutes.  When you are calmer you will be more receptive to other points of view and less apt to be defensive.
  6. Try to compromise. Find the middle ground.  What can you both agree on?  What is your common goal?  If each of you concedes a bit in areas you are willing to negotiate, you’ll be more likely to find a solution you both enjoy.
  7. Ignore it. For a day, a week, or just an hour.  Let the issue go, don’t fuss or complain about what is bothering you.  Give it a little time and see what happens.  Also, think about whether the same thing would bother you if someone else did it to you?  Sometimes our troubles are not as great as they seem and we just need a little space to forgive and forget.
  8. Take action. Don’t just sit back and watch things happen.  Make a list of things you can do to make changes right now – and then do them.  By taking action, you get out of the victim role and become empowered.  By changing your attitude and behavior, you actions will show you are committed to a healthy and peaceful relationship.

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Swimming with dolphins by *amelia*

“Try this, you might like it.” These famous words start new passions and new adventures. Over the years our taste in food, clothing, music, movies and books tend to change. As we explore and are exposed to new experiences, our appreciation for the different and unusual (new to us at least) increases.

It’s true – variety is the spice of life. Going new places, meeting new people, eating new foods, it all adds interest to life. You’ll never know what you’re missing, until you try it. Even if you try something and hate it – at least you can be sure it’s because of your judgment and not the opinion of someone else.

Sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to branch out and explore. Sure, we think, we’re perfectly comfortable with the same old thing we’ve always done. Then one day a friend fixes you guacamole dip, which you absolutely hated as a kid, but now is a flavorful fiesta in your mouth.

Maybe you went fishing at age 10, and you were too young and energetic to appreciate the quiet and peace of a sunny day on the water. Now you find the escape from work and your everyday chores to be a joy and a sanity-saving device you can’t live without.

Don’t overdo it however. We may be tempted to convince ourselves that just because all our friends love coffee, we should love it too. Stay strong, and be true to yourself. It’s okay to admit that you enjoy a good caffeinated Coke or Pepsi instead. Or maybe you’re more of a tea drinker. Whatever your preference, embrace it and enjoy.

Having an open mind to learning new skills, visiting new sites, or experiencing new hobbies is what leads to a happy and fulfilling life. When you are willing to experiment with unfamiliar activities and entertain new thoughts and ideas, the entire world opens up to you. There is limitless joy, knowledge and excitement waiting for you. Get out there and find it.

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Majestic_rose by elbfoto

In your day to day life the most important ingredient in a successful day is your attitude. You may not be able to control your noisy coworkers, the heat and humidity outside, or the bad driver that cut you off on the way to work.  But you can control how you react to it.

Attitude is your way of looking at the world. You can choose how to react to the stresses and strains of your day; with humor and good will, or whining and complaining.  It sounds simple, but it really isn’t.  It takes hard work and commitment to make an optimistic outlook a regular habit.  You can’t just hope or wish for more happiness, you have to work at it.

When things go wrong it starts with something small.  You’re late for work because of traffic.  You stayed up too late last night and started your day tired and grouchy.  No one said hello to you in the hallway and you forgot the paperwork for your meeting.  Little by little, tiny things add up until you are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted and depressed.

Luckily, it is just as easy to turn things around.  One good thing leads to another.  Simple things like smiling, humming your favorite song as you work, taking a quick 15 minute walk during break or cleaning up your email and desk can instantly lighten your mood.  Then you can tackle the important things with more zest and enthusiasm.

Every day when you wake up, smile at the face in the mirror. Start your day with something that makes you happy – a good breakfast, some rockin’ music, or a short run before the office.  Whatever gets your energy pumping and puts a smile on your face.  Make your morning routine flow smoothly; lay out your clothes the night before.  Prepare your work essentials before bed so you start the day peaceful and relaxed.

Here are some tips to help you develop a positive attitude:

  • Schedule time for fun.
  • Laugh and smile more.
  • Practice gratitude.
  • Use and enhance your sense of humor daily.
  • Spend 10 minutes in the sun.
  • Find the positive side of your problem.
  • Follow up each negative thought with a positive one.
  • Celebrate each small success.
  • Give thanks and appreciation.
  • Surround yourself with people you love and who love you.
  • Read inspirational books, quotes and thoughts.

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Bright eyes and a warm smile. . . by lapidim

I always enjoy spending time with family, but there are times when the generation gap is a little too big.  So if like me, you’d like to include the whole clan in your next adventure, here are a few ideas that everyone can enjoy:

  • Playgrounds. Playgrounds are a good bet for all ages because there’s always a lot of laughter and energy there.  Often they include a lake or walking path, and most are level and easy to walk around.  This is a good spot to gather for a picnic or a barbeque as well.
  • Museums. Museums are filled with history, art, technology, fashion and past fads and fascinating inventions.  They are cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and best of all they are constantly being updated with new exhibits.  Odds are there is a great historical, educational and inspiring museum in your area.  Check out Museum Spot to search for one in your city or state.
  • Pictures. Taking them or sharing them, pictures are fun for everyone.  Have your child teach their grandparents how to use a digital camera.  Charge your batteries and have a contest to see who can take the most unique picture of the day.  Or go through photo albums and talk about funny things from the past.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.
  • Carnivals, Fairs and Festivals. From the yearly state fair with their huge Ferris wheel and Tilt-A-Whirl, to the local Blueberry Festival down the street, there’s something for everyone.  You can walk, shop, eat, listen to live bands and get some exercise while you do.  With the many seasonal events, there’s likely one for every week of the year.
  • Food fun. Every one loves to eat.  (At least everyone I know.)  So fun with food is a no-brainer.  Whether you bake a batch of cookies together, visit an ice cream parlor for a creamy treat, or have a backyard barbeque, food is fun at any age.
  • Zoos and aquariums. Like fairs and museums, zoos and aquariums are full of interesting things – namely animals.  In every shape, size and color imaginable.  From far away lands, and hard to reach places, you’ll see creatures you’ve never seen before.  There are furry ones, feathered ones, slithery ones, and ones that swim.  They are colorful and noisy, cute and cuddly, and lots of fun to watch.  Take your loved one for a visit today.

Extras:

Music: Listening to songs and singing, playing the piano or guitar, or going to a concert.

Games: Kids and adults alike can play board games such as Monopoly, Sorry, Risk or Clue, card games like Go Fish and Rummy, and old classics like “Red Light, Green Light” and “Mother May I?”

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Prague town hall clock by kainet

I fought against it for a while, but I’ve finally come to realize that for some of us, set routines are a good thing. For one thing, it gives me boundaries. When I’m home I can’t do anything about work, and when I’m at work there’s little I can do about my laundry pile. I pay more attention to my time at both places and it helps me stay focused on what needs to be done.

Having a set routine helps me plan my day better. If for instance I feel drained and tired when I first get home from work, I can relax and meditate or get out some hand weights and exercise depending on my mood. That way I can skip the cooking, cleaning and other dull activities until I’m feeling more refreshed and energized.

It also gives me limits; I only have so many hours at home to get the chores done or enjoy my free time. That way I concentrate on what really matters; some weeks the housework tops the list, other weeks it’s time for a movie and dinner out.

The same goes at work. I know I have only so many hours in my day. I make it a habit to prioritize the most important things first. Often I like to tackle things that I don’t enjoy doing first, because my energy is higher in the morning. Other people may be more of a late riser and do the reverse.

I fought against admitting I like having a routine because I thought that made me sound dull and boring. But the truth is that the routine is just my security blanket. By knowing more or less what to expect for each day, I’m able to relax and put my full attention in the present moment. It also means I stress less about getting done all the little things, because keeping a calendar and to-do list are part of my routine.

In fact, instead of being restrictive, my routine is liberating. It lets my mind rest at ease knowing that everything is planned out for my day. Then when I’m doing a boring or annoying task, I can release my creativity to find things to make filing and dusting more fun. (My favorite way for both is listening to music while I work – it really passes the time.)

If routines help you with your day, share your experiences with me in the comment section. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

10 Unusual Ways to Have Fun Cleaning

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Looking for something interesting to read?  Look no further.  Check out these various Blog Carnivals for some fascinating finds:

Carnival of Healing by We Are One World Healing

Carnival of Observations on Life at Anja Merret

Positive Thinking Carnival


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