25 November 2014

the ripple effect

Just in time for Thanksgiving, here's a sweet video that reminds of us the power of small kindnesses. Enjoy, and have a happy Thanksgiving!

22 November 2014

10 days without complaining or criticizing

The happify infographic had a little gratitude section that suggested not complaining or criticizing for ten days to see what happens, and my partner and I are giving it a try.

We were curious to know what the difference was between a negative observation and criticizing/complaining—are we unable to make any negative comments?

So, here are the definitions of complain and criticize, and it seems they do include what one could try to justify as a "negative observation."

1. to express dissatisfaction, pain, uneasiness, censure, resentment, or grief; find fault.
2. to tell of one's pains, ailments, etc.
3. to make a formal accusation.

1. to censure or find fault with.
2. to judge or discuss the merits and faults of.
3. to find fault; judge unfavorably or harshly.
4. to make judgments as to merits and faults.

We're hosting two Thanksgiving dinners, one with our coworkers, and one with our families, and it'll be great to talk about this exercise.

So, here's to day one. We'll see how this goes. Want to join us? It should be a powerful exercise.

20 November 2014

happy eating

With Thanksgiving around the corner, here's a great happify infographic on how to get the most out of your eating experience. Enjoy!

16 November 2014

write your way into peace and clarity of mind

Eric Barker has done it again. Here's how to write your way out of anxiety, tragedy or heartache in four steps.

How To Deal With Anxiety, Tragedy Or Heartache – 4 Steps From Research

  By Eric Barker

“You don’t remember me, but I was in your experiment a year ago. I just wanted to thank you. It changed my life.”
James Pennebaker has had a number of people say this to him over the years.
In the early 80’s he came across a study showing that people who experienced personal traumas but didn’t discuss them were more likely to get sick.
He wondered if just writing about their emotional upheavals could help people recover. And the research he did changed lives.
In the 30 years since, hundreds of studies have documented the effectiveness of expressive writing.
It helped with anxiety, tragedy, heartache… It even gave relief to those coping with cancer, heart disease, chronic pain, and AIDS.
People who write about their problems gain a host of benefits including feeling happier, sleeping better, and even getting better grades.
Across multiple studies, people who engage in expressive writing report feeling happier and less negative than they felt before writing. Similarly, reports of depressive symptoms, rumination, and general anxiety tend to drop in the weeks and months after writing about emotional upheavals (Lepore 1997). Other studies found improvement in overall well-being and improved cognitive functioning (Barclay & Skarlicki 2009).
I wanted to learn more, so I gave the man himself a call.
Jamie Pennebaker is a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the author of a number of books including:
In this post you’ll learn how writing can help you overcome emotional hardships and the best way to use it to help you get past tough times.
Let’s get started.

Can Just 20 Minutes of Writing Change Your Life?

Bottling up your problems is stressful. People who keep their struggles a secret go to the doctor 40% more often than those who don’t.
…among those who had traumas, those who kept their traumas secret went to physicians almost forty percent more often than those who openly talked about their traumas (Pennebaker & Susman 1988). Later research projects from multiple labs confirmed these results. Adults whose spouses had committed suicide or died suddenly in car accidents were healthier in the year following the death if they talked about the trauma than if they didn’t talk about it… Not talking about important issues in your life poses a significant health risk.
Some of us talk to friends or see a therapist when life gets hard. But not everyone.
It’s risky. Talking about your problems can mean feeling judged. You’re putting yourself on the line when you’re most vulnerable.
But writing lets you get many of the benefits of talking about your problems without the risk.
Here’s Jamie:
…in an ideal world, it works very similar to talking to a friend. The killer problem is when you talk to a friend or even a therapist, you’re putting yourself on the line. For it to work that other person has to be completely accepting, and the reality is we don’t tell our friends a lot of really deep and personal things because we think it might hurt the relationship. That’s the beauty of writing. You don’t have to worry about other people looking down on you or feeling nervous about putting yourself out there.