I am fascinated with the energy and optimism of the "Blessed Unrest."
More and more women are awakening to their feminine power in evolving a better world.
Over the last 40 years, women have achieved wider influence, better job prospects, and greater acknowledgment for their achievements. And yet, recent studies reveal that women have gradually become less happy, less happy than men, and unlike men, grow sadder as they get older. It shows up in stress. According to the World Health Organization, depression is the second leading debilitating disease among women (Heart disease is #1). Depression clocks in at 10 in men and women take twice as many SSRI's.
So, what really makes for women's happiness? What do we women really want? What is the source of the stress? What really makes women happy? Join us for our teleseminar on What is Happening to Women's Happiness to learn about what you can do. The presents represent a holistic approach including culture, our relationships, and a mind-body perspective.
*Cultural Anthropology - Dr. Jane Granskog - Learn about our hidden cultural history on happiness.
*Positive Psychology - Dr. Alice Vlietstra- Gender factors related to stress
*Mind-body - Dr. Adrienne Zahner - Learn how your body signals stress.
Women leading a "Life on Track" may experience it differently than men. When we think of life being on track, we often think of our energy being focused on one goal. The only problem is this, women often do not focus. We create a new space.
Men and women may differ in how they view life as being on a higher track. A man's orientation to the world is much more organized around a single focus than a woman's. Women tend more to to scan the environment to create harmonious surroundings. For example, if a woman is to clean the kitchen. Her desire is really to create an uncluttered, peaceful space. For a male, it might be focused on hunting and locating food.
Many people are choosing to start an internet business so as to give them the money and life that they choose. If you are just learning about internet technology, it is important to find the right program. When I first learned about the internet, I was intimidated by the technology. Indeed, I was too overwhelmed to even ask anyone with significant expertise, so I hired my teenage son. He was an excellent and most patient teacher. He taught me all the significant aspects of using a computer.
A few years later, however, when I was attempting online writing, I was a little slow for his engineering mind. Fortunately, I was now sufficiently confident to ask for help. Initially, I tried a programs that promised quick success, only to find that they provided little follow up support for learning the technology. It seemed that once a program was purchased, and the initial course was given, the program was over. Since then, I have been most grateful to find programs that are geared for the technologically challenged learner. Here are five tips I have found important for finding the right program:
First, before jumping into any online program, talk with others who have successfully developed an online business and find out what they did. In this stage, you do not want to spend a lot of money. Instead, take time to learn the fundamentals from websites and people with whom you can talk to find out what is important.
Second, do an initial program that is low cost. Try one where the teachers give you ideas on low cost ways to make money. Before making a large investment of time and money, you need to know what you want and where you are going.
Third, search out mentors that provide a lot of repetition, especially in the beginning. Do they have videos which you can review to aid your understanding? Do they encourage you to be persistent and answer your questions? Are they empathetic?
Fourth, check out the program to see if there will be a support group where you can ask questions. Does it meet regularly? This will be a big boost. You can learn a lot from the questions of others.
Finally, find teachers who outline their program in small achievable steps. Do they show you why the steps are important for accomplishing your goals? Do they identify the major obstacles and how they help you overcome them? These elements are important for online success.
When learning to work online, it is critical to find a good program. Finding the right program is a real boost for your online success. My favorite teacher has been Connie Ragen Green.
You can check out her program at Online Writing Success.
As the old economy crumbles, more and more people are looking for a path that serves life more than money. Unemployed, underemployed, and disillusioned with the corporate structure, increasing numbers are looking to the internet and home and family based businesses to provide a more fulfilled life. A major challenge, however, is finding a direction.
Nothing is more frustrating than not having a meaningful direction. Clarity is critical for success. It provides you with the power to do. Without a clear direction, you remain stuck or running around in circles. Even worse, you can never reach your full potential because you cannot fully commit.
Each person is unique and has something special to offer to the world. To be truly happy, we must use our "uniqueness" to add value to the lives of others. This is important in order to have relationships that give us meaning and financial success.
When you identify a direction for your life, it helps you in three ways:
It helps you to clarify your area of contribution.
It helps you connect meaningfully with others.
It helps you define and apply your internal focus in order to make wise decisions.
Then you can begin to align your resources with your values and sense of purpose. You can set your own limits, and maintain a sense of balance within yourself and with others.
In the past, success has been often defined in material terms such as money. Today, with the downturn of the economy, many people are looking for something more. In order to be truly happy, more and more are choosing to become more socially conscious, honor their deeper values, and utilize their strengths.
One motto that has driven American Society for many years is "More is Better." Yet many have found that once they have enough for their basic survival and comfort, the additional emphasis on money and position does not bring happiness to many people. Indeed, research shows that focusing on money and position at the expense of personal fulfillment and meaning lead many to suffer from depression and anxiety.
This has been clearly shown in epidemiological research. In almost all Western countries, once basic needs are met, continued affluence does not lead to happiness. Instead, it has lead to epidemic levels of depression (Seligman, 2002).
What motivates this continuous drive for more? Many times it is motivated by feelings of inadequacy, scarcity, and lack. When this happens, individuals often measure themselves by an invisible yardstick that is external to themselves. If more is better, then what I have is not enough, but the "more" that is supposed to make things better still is not enough. As long as we are measuring ourselves by what others have or think, we will never have enough.
The problem is that this motivation comes from a negative root, and, according to the Law of Attraction, "like attracts like," resulting in continued strife. Once we become aware of a negative root, we can choose to release it, and create a new path.
Success has been often defined in material terms such as money. Today, with the downturn of the economy, many people are looking for something more. Today, in order to be truly happy, more and more are choosing to become more socially conscious, honor their deeper values, and utilize their strengths. One motto that has driven American Society for many years is "More is Better." Yet many have found that once they have enough for their basic survival and comfort, further emphasis on money and position does not bring more happiness. Indeed, research shows that focusing on money and position at the expense of personal fulfillment and meaning lead many to suffer from depression and anxiety. This has been clearly shown in epidemiological research. In almost all Western countries, once basic needs are met, continued affluence does not What motivates this continuous drive for more? Many times it is motivated by feelings of inadequacy, scarcity, and lack. When this happens, individuals often measure themselves by an invisible yardstick that is external to themselves. If more is better, then what I have is not enough, but the "more" that is supposed to make things better still is not enough. Warm Regards, Dr. Alice
lead to happiness. Instead, it has lead to epidemic levels of depression.
As long as we are measuring ourselves by what others have or think, we will never have enough. The problem is that this motivation comes from a negative root, and,according to the Law of Attraction, "like attracts like," resulting in continued strife. Once we become aware of a negative root, we can choose to release it, and create a new path.
Success has been often defined in material terms such as money. Today, with the downturn of the economy, many people are looking for something more. Today, in order to be truly happy, more and more are choosing to become more socially conscious, honor their deeper values, and utilize their strengths.
One motto that has driven American Society for many years is "More is Better." Yet many have found that once they have enough for their basic survival and comfort, further emphasis on money and position does not bring more happiness. Indeed, research shows that focusing on money and position at the expense of personal fulfillment and meaning lead many to suffer from depression and anxiety.
This has been clearly shown in epidemiological research. In almost all Western countries, once basic needs are met, continued affluence does not
What motivates this continuous drive for more? Many times it is motivated by feelings of inadequacy, scarcity, and lack. When this happens, individuals often measure themselves by an invisible yardstick that is external to themselves. If more is better, then what I have is not enough, but the "more" that is supposed to make things better still is not enough.
If your passion is to make the world a better place, start from within. The more we come from the passion and good in our heart, the greater the impact. When your awareness extends to how your actions are affecting those with whom you work, your community, and the environment,
you are in essence creating value in the largest sense of the word.
If you are in business and it is squarely focused on creating value, you will likely notice that your bottom line is increasing. When your focus moves to relationships as well as profit, you set into motion a powerful sequence of events. You build community and people stay because they are happy, They are more likely to buy products from you, and you will be happy to serve.
"The successful business of the future will be built on relationship, common purpose,
and shared values." Nina Utne, Utne Magazine Chair and CEO
One of the challenges we have as women in managing our lives today, is that we cannot do it all.
If you are a woman and want to have a family and run your business, you will have to make a choice.
If you want to raise healthy, responsible children; children and family need to be a priority. Otherwise, the children will be neglected. You will need to hire out someone to manage the business. If you want to have a business, the business needs to be a priority, otherwise it will fail. You can not do it all at the same time.
One of the advantages of knowing and focusing your underlying values, is that you can be connected, and act on those same values both in your family and in your business, and do them at different times. Take time to raise your children, and when they have grown, take time to be more active in the business and community. The same values can be expressed in both areas. Or, let one of the other member of the family handle the business concerns while you focus on family, or vice versa.
For example, if one of your strengths is a love of learning, the love of learning can be expressed in the education of your activities with your children. The same value in later years can be expressed in a variety of ways such as community activities, sharing new ideas through articles, or giving workshops. Either way, an awareness of your values allows you to contribute while maintaining continuity and focus.
Paul Newman, a legendary actor, has been one of my heroes in inspiring character.
Beyond his acting career, he was known as a multi-talented liberal activist, a racecar driver, and a devoted husband and father. His marriage to Joan Woodard lasted over fifty years. As a philanthropist, he capitalized on his fame to raise millions for terminally ill children.
Most fascinating to me has been his entrepreneurial success in developing a leading premium food
company that offers organic food and beverage products. The company, "Newman's Own," has a charitable mission that is expressed in its company motto: "Shameless exploitation in pursuit of the the Common Good." All the profits and royalties after taxes are donated for educational and charitable purposes. So far they have donated more than 250 million to causes such as the "Hole in the Wall Camps" for children with life threatening illnesses. The company, now run by his daughter Nells, has a fierce brand loyalty.
The memory of Paul Newman that stands out the most to me is his parody of the American Gothic that is placed on "Newman's Own" products. The American Gothic, is a 1930 portrait of a farmer with a pitchfork, a younger woman, and a farmhouse. Newman mimics the American Gothic by placing and image of himself and his daughter in the same format on his products. The American Gothic is an icon of its own, depicting stark frontal figures that face the viewer with authenticity and authority. It reminds us that democracy was built on the labors of men and women of character. The images depict strengths such as industry, honesty, and community, as well good dose of humor for our humanity.
What is it that makes for Paul Newman's enduring legacy? I believe is his appeal to character. We are increasingly looking for deep and meaningful relationships in how we live our lives and what we
buy. He has been an inspiration to us all.
You have heard the news. Times are tough. Often, listening to the news can leave us unsettled, fearful and depressed, doubting our abilities, and wanting a strong person to lead us out of trouble. Alternatively, we can use it as an opportunity to become empowered, to connect with our friends and families, using the resources that we have. Indeed, many businesses prosper, even in difficult times, while others struggle. How we handle tough times may be a matter of mindset.
Maintaining a positive attitude is critical to overcoming adversity. In previous posts I have shared
that researchers have discovered a set of twenty-four character strengths that are common to all cultures. These values also have stood the test of time. Each one of us has our own unique combination of these strengths while at the same time, being connected to others. When we are in our strengths, we are in the flow. Because these character strengths have stood the test of time, we know we are tuning into deep, hardy qualities of ourselves. You may discover your unique set of strengths by taking the "VIA Signature strengths survey" at the Authentic Happiness Website.
Often these strengths are rooted in your family. For example, I recently interviewed an abundance
coach, Kimberly Schneider. One of the strengths of her coaching is her ability to look beyond adversity,
not blame herself or others, see it as temporary, and to overcome it. Then she shared a touching story about her father, who had recently died.
He had lived a grateful and happy life right up to the end, overcoming an earlier time where he had suffered severe depression, diabetes, and illness. His story became an inspiration for all of us who heard it. His key strength was gratitude, and by honoring this strength Kimberly was been able to stay connected with his spirit. Gratitude is one of the main strengths of Kimberly as well. You may hear her story at Celebrating Gratitude
You have these kinds of connections too. By looking at your strengths, the strengths of your ancestors, and those of the people around you, you can have a much more positive mindset for handling adversity. It may take a while to discover them. It is difficult to see strengths without feedback. When you see the strengths of others, let them know. It will help you to discover the strengths within yourself.
One proven way to find focus is to align yourself with your higher values, intentions, and purpose. When you do so, you will discover you are coming from a place of strength, expansion, and flow. In previous posts, we have discussed how everyone has a set of unique character strengths and values through which they experience their calling and purpose in life. It is important to discover them because when you do you will feel a deep sense of gratification and enthusiasm.
Even more, when you are aligned, you will find that the same values will emerge in your family as
well as business. This makes it much easier to be focused as well as connected. For example, I came from a family where curiosity and learning were important. We shared our new discoveries at work as well as in our family life. It has given us much gratification and joy to also find ways to bring it to the community.
We also found that we could define a focus and have differences in how we express our learning. We have very different interests and still feel and still be connected. For example, we set up a family legacy project. Each person has their own small area of contribution where they are an important of the team. Being in the flow makes in much easier to start new projects and helps to establish the connections and support you will need to bring it through. Creating a space to find your values and intentions has many benefits for all.
A key aspect to manifesting what you want is the space from which you create it. If you come from a place of harmony and joy, valueing yourself and others, you will attract what you want much faster than if you come from a place of fear and lack. First, be grateful for what you already have, so that you come from a place of high energy. You might want to look at your physical surroundings as well. Your work space can play an important role in the quality of your energy. One way fun way to start a new project is to consider creating a space.
Many times I have attempted a new project, planned it out, and have all good intentions of completing my it, only to discover that it progresses no further than an idea on a sheet of paper. This happens most frequently when the project does not have a space. My desk may cluttered with an accumulation of papers, reminding me of what needs to be done. I can get drained just by looking at them. It is a good way to get distracted.
Now, before I start out any new project, I set aside a relaxed puttering time to design my work space. It helps me to reorganize my life to include my goals. Here are seven tips on what I have found most helpful:
1. Be grateful and honor your higher intentions. This will help you to align your space with what you really want. Then identify those aspects of your work space that you have found most supportive and build on them.
2. Clear out old files and papers you will not be using any more. These can distract you and drain your energy. Sort, organize, rearrange, recycle and dispose of the items that are you weighing down.
3. Design the space so that it is visually appealing. Check on the plants, include the artwork and items you enjoy.
4. Create a vision board with pictures of your intentions and goals. You may also want design your project so you can see the parts of your project fit together. Place it in a spot where you can see it.
5. Find a place for the materials you need for your project, color code similar parts, label items so you can easily find them.
6. Consider planning board or a planner so you can organize your time, create a list of action items, your "to do" list, and replace each item with a smiley face when done.
7. Find a regular daily and/or time to recreate your space. It only may need to be 15 or 20 minutes a day, or one time a week. It is consistency that counts.
When I design my surroundings to reflect my higher intentions, I also experience more creative personal energy. It frees me to focus on my tasks and bring my ideas into form.
Much of our sense of purpose comes from our connections with family, friends, and colleagues.
When we let them know what we appreciate about them, it strengthens our relationships, broadens
our perspective, and helps us to see ourselves as part of a larger community. Others feel
accepted by our noticing and want to give more. There is a joy in connecting around a common purpose.
One way to better appreciate others is to notice the qualities we need from others in order to be happy. These are likely to be qualities as honesty, respect, loyality, and good cheer. Then we can start watching for these qualities and let people know how we appreciate them.
By contrast, the media often encourages us to view others by a projected ideal, such as beauty, money, or a swanky car. This may not even be at the core of what really makes us happy. When we view others with from the glasses of a projected ideal, we often may see what they lack. When we do so, they sense it. Far better, is to relate to others in ways that acknowledge their character. That way we are coming from strengths rather than from lack. Others enjoy giving from their strengths, and it builds our relationships.
For example, I benefit from more than one kind of health service provider. Sometimes I might benefit
from a nutritionist, Other times a massage therapist, or a chiropractor, or a medical physician. This is quite different from expecting one person to meet all my needs, and then complaining about what doesn't work. Instead, I take responsibility for designing a health team, recognize the unique contribution of each, and express my appreciation. In this way, gratitude and appreciation builds teamwork to promote health and well being in a way that is beneficial to all.
"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow." ~ Melody Beattie ~
Gratitude comes from the Latin word, "gratia," meaning Grace. It is an attitude of appreciation and thankfulness for what we have received. It transcends the judgements of good and bad that separate us, and acknowledges that we are all in this together. It is anchored in spirituality, and a higher universal energy flow. When we are grateful we show appreciation for the people in our lives and we are willing to take action to show the gratitude we feel. Gratitude reflects a mindset that is aligned with a higher universal energy, which is the source of flow. When we are grateful, we become vechicles of a this flow, and passion and purpose. It celebrates our higher connection to each other and to source.
One way to cultivate gratitude is to keep a Gratitude Journal. Take note of the specific people and events for which you are thankful and what they have provided for you. Then take a moment to tell them. Let them know what you appreciate about them. When you do this, you are providing a mirror for their passion. Often we can not see our own gifts, we need the feedback from others. In doing so, we increase the universal energy flow. Instead of scarcity, we experience abundance.
One way of staying on track is to note what has gone well. Go with the flow and the joy that you experience. That way you will grow from a solid base and attract more. It uplifts you and promotes a sense of good will. It is encouraging both for yourself and others.
When you experience challenges, you can choose to appreciate the learning opportunities that come with them, or you can choose to hold yourself back. When you look at the experience for what it has to teach you, you go with the flow and it becomes a source of expansion. It helps you to refine your goals, become more clear, and gain more of what you truly want. This is the mindset of gratitude.
When you avoid an uncomfortable or painful situation, you experience yourself as needy and weak. You give the external situation power rather than discovering power within yourself. This prevents you from using your creativity to view the challenge differently. As a consequence, you cheat yourself of the pleasure of being able to overcome it. Gratitude shifts you to the higher vibration of love and appreciation. It restores your sense of personal power.
While the media often portrays pleasure as a key to happiness, research shows that without
community and a deeper sense of purpose, a focus on pleasure alone may only lead to depression and emptiness.
Much of our deep happiness comes from close supportive relationships, our faith communities, a positive outlook, and flow. It is in our relationships that we express our higher ideals and intentions. Without others, would our efforts matter? We need others in order to grow, share our challenges, set backs and victories. A key aspect of this happiness is our experience of friendship, family and community.
Consider the times of the greatest happiness in your life. What were these experiences? Did they happen just from having a good meal topped off with a great desert, or did it come from sharing your story at the meal? Take a moment to reflect, what strengths did you use in this story? Were there challenges? How did you overcome them? There is a deep gratification that comes from using
our strengths in the service of our friends, family and community. Take a moment today to celebrate and share them.
The Authentic Happiness website (www.authentichappiness.org) is a wonderful resource for helping you to discover the activities in your life that give you a deep sense of fulfillment. On this website are a number of complementary surveys on different aspects of happiness. The flagship Survey is the Values in Action questionnairre. It will take about a half hour to complete and is well worth you time because it will list the character strengths you use most frequently. There are three to five of these strengths. They are your signature strengths and are unique to you. At the same time, they reflect six virtues that are common to all cultures and that have withstood the test of time. As you become consciously aware of these strengths you will find yourself deeply engaged in your work while at the same time knowing that your work also celebrates higher ideals of mankind..
If you take the survey, you will find your signature strengths, that is, the three to five strengths that you use most frequently. After you have identified them, you might want to consider how they have shown up in your life. Frequently, we use our strengths to overcome our challenges. You also may find that you have used them since childhood, and that some of these strengths also are important in your family of origin. These are the values that hold families and businesses together. They help us to unify in times of stress and change so to work together for a higher purpose. For example, I have strengths of curiosity, teamwork, and perspective. As a child I frequently organized games for my siblings and neighborhood friends. Today, I still coordinate, only now for the game of life. We have family strengths of curiosity and a love of learning. As you become aware of these strengths you will find they become a treasure house for a deep sense of gratification and purpose.
Imagine celebrating, and being satisfied, having what you need. Could you really handle it? Would it truly last? One moment, an hour? Or, would your aches, pains, and gripes sneak in?
Would you be ready to meet your next challenge?
Did you know that you have a happiness set-point?
It determines how much happiness you can receive. Unless you break through the set-point,
you will always stay at the same level. One reason is that we often have blocks in our
in our ability to receive. If you want to receive more, you will need to release the blocks.
Your Happiness Set point is affected by a number of factors. One factor consists of our conscious awareness of the sources of fulfillment in our lives, Another consists of our ablility to savor the pleasures in our lives, as well as our temporment. In the next few blogs we will be considering these factors that impact your happiness set point.
We constantly are bombarded by the media on the pleasures that can make us happy. Movies, sex,
chocolate, television, games and drugs have become a constant staple of the physical and mental
diet of many Americans. But does this truly make us happy? Writers as Dr. Seligman (2002)
calls these shortcuts to happiness. While they may temporarily make us happy, the belief
that we can rely on these shortcuts can starve our passion and spirit. He argues that
authentic happiness results from more than satisfying our basic needs, but rather by
engaging in the exercise of personal strength and virtues. In order to fully understand
this, it is helpful to make a distinction between pleasures and fulfillments.
Pleasure refers to those events that give us immediate positive emotions and a sense
of well-being. Examples are movies, sex, artistic surroundings, music, massage, and
scrumptious food. Often they are seen as a quick fix to happiness. The only problem
is that the positive emotion dissipates over time so that an over reliance on
pleasures often leaves us with a feeling of being empty. They provide no lasting
benefit. Rather than being a continual diet, pleasures are most effective when
they are savored at the moment and spaced apart.
Fulfillments come when we experience our inner strengths and abilities. They
are related to the special qualities about ourselves that get us totally absorbed.
They are unique for each person. For example, for one person it may be interior
design, or for another writing. The happiness that results from these fulfillments
comes from participating in activities that absorb and engage us fully so that we
experience flow. Dr. Carl Kauffman states says these experiences result are central
to psychological flourishing. They widen the scope of our attention, increase
intuition and creativity, and reduce our experience of stress. They are deeply
gratifying when they are connected to a purpose greater than ourselves.
If our goal is to have an increased sense of passion and purpose we need to engage
our strengths in activities that challenge our skills and abilities, spaced with
events of pleasure. You can get a better appreciation of your natural strengths
and virtues by completing the VIA Strengths Survey at http://www.authentichappiness.org.
Kauffman, C. Positive Psychology: The Science at the Heart of Coaching. In Stober, R. D.,
& Grant, M.A. Evidence Based Coaching Handbook. New Jersey: Wiley & Sons, 2006.
Seligman, M. Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your
Potential for Lasting Fulfillment. New York: Free Press, 2002.