Archive for April, 2012


Try This Happiness Trick: Add To Your Applause Meter

Monday, April 16th, 2012

You know those applause meters they use at big basketball games or during live TV show tapings—the ones that show how loud the crowd applause is reaching? I was I-don’t-want-to-say-how-old when I realized that those aren’t “measuring” anything but how well someone was hitting a button behind the curtain. Sigh. But I do know one thing: We should be applauding more in life. Which brings to mind this great quote:

“If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm.”
—Bruce Barton

Even palm trees can groove with enthusiasm. What works for you? (Image by Amy Spencer, Upolu, Samoa)

Now, I don’t have a son or daughter, so I like to say, instead, If you can give yourself only one gift, let it be enthusiasm. Here’s why: The more passion we put into something, the greater the chance we’ll succeed and get more out of it, right? But you can only get enthusiastic about something that’s in line with your authentic self. You can only applaud the things you enjoy doing from the heart.

It’s why it’s so hard to come up with any fresh ideas for a job you hate, or why you don’t feel like getting dressed up for a party you’re dreading. Your heart’s just not in it. But if your heart’s not in the things you’re doing in your day, how can you expect to feel happy in your life? If you want to feel good in your life, you must align yourself with things that make you want to clap.

What if you can’t work up enthusiasm for what you’re doing? Then you have three options: 1) Drop it and replace it with something you love. 2) Find one thing to be enthused about within it. Or 3) Suck it up and do something elsewhere you’re enthused about. Only you know what’s within your power.

Try this:

If you’re miserable in a situation, a job or a relationship…

…remove yourself. Quit. End it. Give yourself a chance to experience something or someone you are passionate about. As I talked about with Jillian Michaels for Redbook magazine, I once cried while putting on my pants for a job one Monday morning, and that’s when I knew it was time to go. I didn’t have a job at the ready, so I went off on my own and I’ve never looked back. As Jillian said, sometimes you have to let go of one monkey bar before you can free a hand up to grab the next one. Free yourself. Give yourself a chance to grab the next one.

But if you can’t quit or move on…

…find something within your experience that ignites some sparks. Ask to trade desks or take on a different task at work, take your kids outdoors and away for the weekend so you can get a fresh perspective, or sign up for a rock climbing class with your partner to challenge yourselves together. Seek your own original way to do what you have to do with a new sense of energy and excitement.

And if you simply can’t change a single thing…

…find something to applaud in another area of your life. Use your time after work or community service to turn off the TV and read a great book, listen to music you’ve forgotten you had, or to make an iMovie video from your last vacation photos. Or take one day on a weekend to ride a rollercoaster for the first time in forever.

Enthusiasm matters. So find something that sends your applause meter skyrocketing. What will make you want to get out of bed in the morning? What will make you countdown the time because you can’t wait to begin? What have you been meaning to try or taste or do or sign up for that it’s high time you gave a shot? Find something you want to applaud and do it. You deserve a happy, enthusiastic life. So give yourself a big hand in getting there.

And if you want to talk more about enthusiasm—tell me what works for you or ask me a question about what’s notconnect with me here at Bright Side Up on Facebook. I love to chat and connect and that’s one of the best places to find me!

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Big love,

Which Is Better: One Big Luxury or Lots of Little Ones?

Friday, April 13th, 2012

You know I love sharing things that can make us feel happier in our every day lives. And this month, I’m teaming up with Bloomspot so you can get happy in a dose of double goodness: through my happiness tips and their treats!

Do you know about Bloomspot? It’s a gorgeous site that offers locals deals for high-end restaurants, spa treatments, drinks, getaways, tasting menu specials and more. It’s in about a dozen major U.S. cities so far, but it’s spreading it’s blooms and hopefully reaches a spot near you soon. And this month, we’re teaming up to spread the happy!

Yesterday, the site introduced their new makeover and…me. Because for the month, I’ll be sharing some of my happiness tips about living the good life. Check out this post for the yummy giveaways and news about the special days (uh, hello, Treat Yourself Thursdays?).

And today, you can check out my first post on the site! In it, I talk about a very surprising new study that answers this question:

Is it better to engage in a lot of little luxuries or throw your eggs into one big one?

You can find the answer here, in my first happiness tip.

So check out the post, Like it and Share It on Facebook, Tweet it, or pin it to your Pinterest board. Because among all the giveaways and goodies Bloomspot will be offering all month, if you don’t yet have your copy of Bright Side Up, a little birdie just might be carrying some books in her basket…

Don’t miss out. Come join me in the fun!


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Big love,

Try This! Do the Life Cha-Cha

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

I decided to clean out my closet recently. So I grabbed everything inside and threw it on my bed. Four hours later, my room still looked like a tyhpoon had hit and I was so over it. I’m sure you know the feeling. But that’s when I realized my closet cleaning project was just like life: Sometimes things get worse before they can get better. And, really, a messy closet is the least of it all.

Life can be a party if you see it that way. Your mis-steps are part of the dance. (Image by Amy Spencer, Playa Ocotal, Costa Rica, 2011)

• In work, maybe you struggle with a job before realizing you’d be better off doing it differently—or going down a different career path altogether.

• In money, maybe you have to eat some costs to get yourself to the place you want to be.

• In relationships, maybe you get in argument that’s so big, you wonder if you’ll ever preserve the relationship, but maybe the backward breakdown was necessarily to build your relationship back up on a better foundation.

Whatever your struggle is, sometimes touching our toes on the dark bottom is the wake-up call we need to push ourselves with all our might back up to the top.

Going backward blows, there’s no doubt about it. But it’s not a total disaster. It’s also an opportunity. It’s a chance to see what’s not working, how we want to feel and what can be changed for the better. We don’t learn what we’re capable of from the steady move forward. We learn it from the mis-steps backward—and I’m sure the current contestants on Dancing with the Stars would agree. It takes some sweat, pulled muscles, mistakes and tears to learn the dance. That’s life.

Try this: Look at the difficult moment you’re experiencing for the cha-cha that it is. Know that at the end of this tough stuff is a performance you’ll be proud of. So if you’re in the sweat-filled, swear-filled, mis-step stage right now, remember: this is part of the dance. We don’t move forward without a few steps backward. That’s how the cha-cha goes.

What’s your most recent step backward that you can learn from? How is it an opportunity for you to learn from it, grow from it and come back stronger with your next step?

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Big love,