The Short Straw Fix/ The Happiness Series

 

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The Short Straw Fix

I am smiling at least three times a day, complimenting others and hunting for opportunities to do a random act of kindness. All the same, I find myself still leaning on the horn when cutoff driving, grumbling if Mr. Wonderful corrects me, and ranting about short tubing in spray bottles.

You know how it goes, starts slowly with minor annoyance, a near empty spray bottle that sprays air instead of cleaner. I shake the bottle, hear the swishing sound of liquid, and then pump the spray to no avail.

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 Mr. Wonderful says, “It’s not empty, try tilting the bottle,”and takes the spray bottle from my hand.

Taking it back, unscrewing the sprayer, and putting my eye to the hole, I say, “I see liquid in the bottom.”

Now this is when the ranting starts. “Why do they do this? You don’t need to be a rocket scientists to know the tubing is too short. How much would it cost to make it a quarter inch longer? Everything is all about corporate profits, forget about customer stress and convenience. A person could have a heart attack trying to get it to spray and thinking about toxins.”

“Claudia, you paid a dollar for it at the dollar store, let it go, there aren’t any big profits. It’s probably a minuscule amount, throw it out and forget about it.”

I answer. “It’s wasteful! What’s wrong with these people? Haven’t they heard about global warming? We could reuse the plastic bottle if the spray worked right. I’m sure it’s more than a minuscule amount.” And grab a measuring cup from the cabinet to measure the exact amount. The liquid pours to the quarter cup line.

In a high pitched voice I say, “See more than you think,” feeling stressed.

Then a quest for happiness returns and I see Shawn Achor’s face and recall something he said in his Ted Lecture.

“Happy people view stress as a challenge.”

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Bang

Adopting an I’ll show you attitude, I grab a colored straw, unscrew the top and attach the straw to the tubing.

It is not perfect but it works better than ranting.

. . . . just saying

P.S. I had to trim the straw.

*Mr. Wonderful is my husband

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The Happiness Series, “From Crappy to Happy”

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From Crappy to Happy

 

      It is a possibility the road from crappy to happy is much shorter than I think. I took the Customized Habit Survey at Goodthink to find out what happiness habit was best for me. After answering questions I was emailed my score along with a score range for recommended activities that will increase happiness when made a habit.

• Score 1-15    You are drained, and smiling three times a day for 21 days you will make you happier.

• Score 16-24 Defines a person as energized, and writing or saying aloud 3 new things you are grateful for, trains your brain to be more positive.

• Score 25-34 you are charged and will realize your power by complimenting three people a day.

• Score 35-50 Supercharged, challenges you to recharge others by doing an act of kindness daily.

      Apparently, I am happier than I thought. My score, 39 points, indicates I am happy, but do not know it. Therefore, I started singing “If You Are Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands” and putting a strip of toothpaste across *Mr. Wonderful’s toothbrush (so he does not have to do it in the morning) in the middle of the night .

      Although I am not opposed to doing random acts of kindness to be happy, it is harder than you think to do a “Good Deed Daily,” when you have not left the house. And the toothpaste thing left Mr. Wonderful thinking he has early Alzheimers.

      In retrospect, feeling not as happy as I am, I thought my score would be lower and the cure would be writing about happiness.

     Which poses another quandary, what makes me happy?

     I thought long and hard over the past week and found my choices, (other than family and friends) of wine and ice cream, shallow. Although wine and ice cream are pleasurable, would gaining ten pounds bring real happiness? On the other hand, what difference does it make what makes you happen as long as it produces an increase in dopamine?

        Oy vey, happiness is getting complicated.

     So back to the original premise, reliving a happy experience will increase happiness. Would writing about eating ice cream, bring the same happiness as eating a double scoop cone?

        It is worth a try and calorie free.

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I Want a Cone

What is so special about ice cream? Is it the tantalizing fancy names like Rocky Road, Chunky Monkey, or Vanilla Fudge Twirl that conjure up images and make you want to swirl? Ice cream so delicious it makes our tongues dance and our hearts sing.

      Maybe, it is an association with happy times, birthdays, graduations and that kind of thing. Memories of a Good Humor truck driving through your neighborhood, and running home to beg for fifteen cents. Then as the jingling bell sound grew distant, hoping the truck would drive back again.

     Deciding, how to spend your fifteen or twenty-five cents, was a big decision. Would it be a vanilla ice cream coated in chocolate on a stick, or a sugar cone filled with ice cream, coated in chocolate with roasted peanuts decorating the lip?

     Ice cream makes me happy.

. . . . just saying

 *Mr Wonderful is my husband of 45 years.

Potty Singing and Happiness

One of the most powerful forces in human nature is our belief
that change is possible. ~ Shawn Achor

thThe Happiness Series

     I am limping into 2016 determined to make the year less crappy. We retired in 2007 and every year after has had a good deal of crappiness. This year I said, “Enough is enough!” and have declared this year, one of happiness.

     I started by watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday television program, hoping to be inspired and I was. The show is a mixture of interviews with and lectures by Spiritual Gurus designed to improve your life. It airs Sundays, on OWN.

     I was most taken by Shawn Achor who along with Elizabeth Gilbert author of “Eat Pray Love” has admitted to crying on the bathroom floor. Shawn has studied the Science of Happiness since his days at Harvard and talks about Positive Psychology and redefining Happiness. I was unaware that Happiness is a science, but what he said makes sense.

     The traditional formula, Hard Work = Success = Happiness, does not work because happiness is on the backside of success. We are always chasing the carrot because it is moved continually . Since 90% of happiness is derived from how the brain processes the world, we can train our brain to be happy just as we train our body to be strong, with exercise. The train your brain exercises he recommends are; a gratitude list, journal about what makes you happy, exercise, meditation, and random acts of kindness.

     You can watch his lecture on Super Soul Sunday or visit his website for particulars.

     While we have heard some of this before, Shawn supports the “Happiness Advantage” theory with findings. He found that people engaging in any of the activities for 21 consecutive days, were happier. In other words, happiness is a habit and good habits, like smiling, make a difference.

     Since writing make me happy, and writing about what makes you happy is on the list, I am introducing the Happiness Series, with “Striped Sweater.”

 

Striped Sweater

      Snow falls throughout the night into the early morning. Soft sugar like flakes that tickle your face then flutter gently to the ground, remind me of creating angels in the snow. We are snowbound. The roads are driveable but it is safer not to. The accumulation is six to seven inches and the air crisp.

     Our eleven-year-old granddaughter is playing computer games with Aunt Janine and doing handstands on the living room floor. The Christmas tree is still standing with scattered presents beneath the artificial branches.

     Alexandria Antonia resembles my side of the family: fair skin, freckles, hazel blue eyes, and her dad’s auburn brown hair. She will more than likely be tall.

     Alex, as she prefers to be called, sings throughout the day, off tune. Her voice is wonderful to hear. She sings, “Striped Sweater, a sweater with a stripe” a song she wrote. There are no other words just this simple refrain. Papa wears an old green sweater that inspired the catchy tune. She denies liking to sing and in between handstands excuses herself to use the potty.

      We then listen to her joyful rendition of Jingle Bells from behind a closed door.

      This is happiness.

. . . . just saying