A twist on 13 things you must give up to be happy

Inspirational sayingA local Ottawa radio station recently shared a list put out by Pop Sugar, “13 Things You Must Give Up to Be Happy”. Here was their list:

  1. Bad spending habits! Stop accumulating debt. Make a budget and stick to it!
  2. Waiting for the perfect moment. There’s never the perfect time. Live in the moment.
  3. Give up your social media obsession.
  4. Give up living in the past.
  5. Give up yearning to fit in.
  6. Give up your disorganized lifestyle.
  7. Give up overanalyzing situations.
  8. Give up your need to have the best things.
  9. Give up toxic relationships.
  10. Give up your hesitation to indulge. Have fun every now and then.
  11. Give up comparing yourself to others.
  12. Give up your packed schedule.
  13. Give up relying on others to make you feel happy and fulfilled.

Personally, I think they have it backwards. You shouldn’t have to give up things to be happy. It’s like dieting. If you focus on what you can’t eat, odds are you’ll end up falling off the wagon and being extra miserable since you haven’t been able to eat what you like and you’ve failed in your goal to lose weight.

Here’s how I would reframe their list.

13 things to embrace to be happy

  1. Buy what you want as long as it’s within your budget—there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time.
  2. Make the perfect moment, it’s so easy to do (a hug, stopping to enjoy a beautiful view).
  3. Use social media to share, learn, grow and connect but set limits for yourself so you enjoy the non-wired world too
  4. Learn from your past and focus on the future.
  5. Always be you and be happy with who you are, whether you fit in or not.
  6. Try simple things to help you stay organized so you can focus on what’s important and buy you precious time.
  7. Understand that you will never know why people act or say what they do, and know it may have nothing to do with you.
  8. Have one or two nice things you cherish.
  9. Look for the good in relationships and if there isn’t any, move on.
  10. Indulge yourself and always have fun.
  11. Understand your own strengths and the strengths of those around you.
  12. Build in free time every day.
  13. Rely on yourself for your own happiness.

This week’s #HappyAct is to practice the art of reframing the negative to the positive. The next time you see or hear something negative, try stating it in another way that’s positive. Special thanks to my guest bloggers the last two weeks, Tim and Ray–fine job guys!

The power of positive words

Puppy with words who is awesome, you are awesomeRecently I was in a team planning session at work and for an icebreaker, we had to share what our favourite word was. I was intrigued by the words the people at my table chose and why.

One girl chose the word “fluffy” because of the way it sounds, and all the f’s. Another girl liked the word “cozy” because of the way it made her feel. One guy loved the word “awesome” and said he used it all the time.

Words are the frame for the pictures we paint for people. Let me give you an example. I used to complain about being overweight. One day a co-worker said to me, “you know, Laurie, I never thought of you as heavy until you kept calling yourself overweight.” Needless to say, I’ve stopped saying anything about my weight any more. Through my choice of words, I had painted a negative image in the person’s mind.

Never underestimate the power of positive words. They can be highly persuasive and influential in creating the outcome you want to achieve. This is no secret to any business leader or those of us in communications and in media who know it’s all about crafting the right message to achieve a desired behaviour or action.

This week’s Happy Act is to join me in a little experiment. Choose five positive words and use them at least twice a day for the next week and see what happens. One of my words is going to be Awesome. Some people say words like Awesome are overused, but I think that’s just because the word is so awesome.

Report back on what you found: did you find you had a more positive outlook this week? Did you notice any change in the behaviour of the people you talked to? Leave a comment. Have an awesome week.