Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Day 13 - Ask for a Favor

{As Benjamin Franklin recommended, “If you want to make a friend, let someone do you a favor.” Allow yourself to ask for a favor, for help, for advice, for suggestions. 

Studies show that for happiness, providing support is just as important as getting support. By offering people a way to provide support, you generate good feelings in them. And on your side, asking for a favor is a sign of intimacy and trust. The fact that you’ve asked for a favor shows that you feel comfortable being indebted to someone.
So asking, and receiving, a favor generates good feelings on both sides.
One of my most helpful Secrets of Adulthood is “It’s okay to ask for help.” Asking for help is a very useful way of asking for a favor. I’m absolutely mystified by asking for help is so hard for me. So often, I can just solve a problem by asking for help—which is almost always freely and cheerfully given.
Resolve to “Ask for a favor.” It’s a surprisingly effective way to show affection and trust in a relationship.}

Today was an easy one. To ask for a favor. That seems like I'm doing that a lot sometimes. But today it was just a simple one - come with me to Sam's Club to get stuff for work. Easy. Also he asked me a silly little favor. To print out a coupon for FREE SHRIMP at the PANDA. I don't like it but he does and I'm glad to go with him and get some for him.  Fun :D Easy Feel Good

Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 11 - Quit Nagging!

{In a romantic relationship, or in a family, or any partnership, chores are a huge source of conflict. Who does what? How do you get someone else to hold up his or her end, without nagging? Consider these points:
  • It’s annoying to hear a hectoring voice, so suggest tasks without words. Leave a note, send an email, put a bottle out on the counter to suggest that the prescription needs re-filling.
  • If you need to voice a reminder, limit yourself to one word or phrase. Instead of barking out, “Now remember, I’ve told you a dozen times, stop off at the grocery store, we need milk, if you forget, you’re going right back out!” Instead, call out, “Grocery store!” or “Milk!”
  • Don’t insist that a task be done on your schedule. “You’ve got to trim those hedges today!” Says who? Try, “When are you planning to trim the hedges?” If possible, show why something needs to be done by a certain time. “Will you be able to trim the hedges before our party next week?”
  • Assign chores based on personal priorities. If you hate a messy bedroom, make tidying the bedroom your job. 
  • Re-frame: decide that you don’t mind doing a chore—like putting clothes in the hamper or hanging up wet towels. This is often surprisingly easy.
  • No carping from the sidelines. If someone else makes the travel arrangements, don’t criticize the flight time. If someone else gets the kids dressed, don’t mock the outfits. If you want something done your way, do it yourself.
  • Remember that messy areas tend to stay messy, and tidy areas tend to stay tidy. If you want others to be neat, be neat yourself.
Resolve to “Quit nagging.” After all—at least in my experience—it doesn’t even work!}

As I read over this challenge I realized that this is probably one that Jeff has to do for me. I am not a good house keeper. Oh this is my nemesis in life. I love a clean house and I'm embarrased often that mine isn't cleaner, but for some reason it's not a priority to me. I do it really well when we have company coming over and on the weekends when I feel like I have more time, but I do not have a day to day ritual, it drives me crazy!!!  However I couldn't help but think that Jeff does this for me all of the time. This is something he is so patient about with me. It also made me find another reason I love him ;) he is very patient with me. I'm grateful for him.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Day 10 - Follow a Threshold Ritual

{Gratitude is a key to a happy life. People who cultivate gratitude get a boost in happiness and optimism, feel more connected to others, are better liked and have more friends, and are more likely to help others—they even sleep better and have fewer headaches. 
Nevertheless, it’s challenging to cultivate gratitude. It’s easy to take for granted the people closest to us—and perversely, the more reliable and familiar a person is, the more likely we are to take that person for granted!
To remind yourself to feel grateful for the people you love, consider taking a moment each time you enter or leave your house to reflect lovingly on your home and the people you see every day.
Resolve to “Follow a threshold ritual.” In the tumult of daily life, it’s so hard really to see the everyday, to realize how precious it is, and to feel grateful for it.}

I've actually been working on this for quite some time now. I was grateful to see this one in here and remind myself to really truly do this. When I come home from work I often want to tell Jeff about everything I experienced at work, but I have found that I usually only share the stressful things that went on. For me it's a way of calming myself down, sharing it makes it feel better in my head. However, Jeff and I have talked about this and for him it's like giving him all my stress. I share it and I don't think about it anymore, but for him it's like dealing with it on his own. I have learned it's better to share the positive things. Which are few and far between but much better effect. So, when I come home I sometimes talk them out so it's like I shared them outloud and then I put them away. I don't think of them anymore. Sometimes it's easier to think then to actually do. But it's something that makes our relationship much happier. Love this challenge today what a great reminder.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Day 8 - Control the Cubicle in Your Pocket

{Managing time is a pervasive, widespread struggle.  Many of us walk around with a cubicle in our pocket, and we always have the feeling that we should be working, or could be working—or we actually are working! At home, this constant pull toward work can distract us from the people to whom we want to give our time and attention.

The real problem isn’t the switch on our computers, but the switch in our minds.
You have to make your own rules to control the cubicle in your pocket, because your work, family situation, and technology challenge is different from everyone else’s. But to get you started consider these suggestions: 
Create time periods each day when you don’t check email or connect to the internet.
In particular, don’t check email at bedtime.
If possible, do your most demanding mental work in the morning, before the day’s distractions kick in.
Give yourself a “quitting time” each day, after which you do no more work .That way, you give yourself a sense of true leisure.
Resolve to “Control the cubicle in your pocket.” Remember, technology is a good servant, but a bad master.}

I love this one!! I often find myself mindlessly going through the motions when it comes to keeping some silly habits. One of the big silly ones is getting on the computer, iPhone or iPad and doing. That's right just doing. . . something. . . .anything. I realized reading this that sometimes I'm doing it just to do it. I need to put it away and focus on the things that matter most. My husband, my kids, my scriptures, the Ensign, etc. Feed my head with good things, great things, happy things more. Sometimes the cubicle in my pocket calls too loudly. Sometimes it's calming and helps me unwind but sometimes (actually sometimes too often times) it's just a habit.  Today I'm dropping that habit and paying attention to the world around me better, more focused and resolved to feel the love and share the love (",)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Day 6 Dig Deep!!

{As part of my Happiness Projects, I’ve identified my Twelve Personal Commandments—the twelve overarching principles I use to guide my thoughts and behavior. (If you’re curious, you can read them here.)
“I read your personal commandments,” a friend told me. “I came up with my own commandments, but I only have four.”
“Oh, what are they?” I asked. I loved hearing other people’s commandments. She listed them: “‘Reach out,’ ‘Love your mother,’ ‘Show and tell,’ and ‘Dig deep’.”
“Those are really good,” I said admiringly. “I especially like ‘Dig deep.’ I’m going to adopt that resolution myself.” 
In my case, I especially need to dig deep with my children. Too often, I speak sharply, lose my patience, or make my (supposedly terrifying) mean face. Controlling my quick irritation is something I struggle to do every day.
We can’t yell and nag our way toward the loving, peaceful, tender atmosphere that we all want to foster at home. 
Resolve to “Dig deep” to react with humor, with patience, with calm. Easier said than done, right? But it’s worth the effort.}

This is a tricky one for me. Finding humor in a situation is tricky.  Being patient or calm is easier for me then finding humor, but it's definitely easier said then done. 

I find that in a situation of contention or frustration I tend to be very defensive, very quickly. It's been brought to my attention lately and its something I'm trying to understand. I am working on this one today and my goal is to see the end result, instead of worrying about how I need to appear "good" or "nice" or "right" in this situation think about how the other person is feeling. Try to think how you can make them feel better not necessarily try to make them see how you are good or right. No one likes that.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Day 5 Give Warm Greetings and Farewells

{My Sixth Splendid Truth holds: The only person I can change is myself. It’s so tempting to focus on the changes that other people should make—but we don’t get to hand out assignments. So generally, I make resolutions only for myself.
However, in complete contradiction, I did make an exception to my Gretchen-only policy. I asked my family to adopt the resolution to “Give warm greetings and farewells.”
I’d noticed that we’d fallen into a bad habit; when a family member came home or left, we barely looked up from our games or homework or books or newspapers. I wanted to have a more attentive, more loving atmosphere in our home.
“What would you think about us all making a resolution together?” I asked them. “We could resolve that when someone comes home, or is leaving, we all pay attention to that person, to give a warm greeting or farewell.”
Somewhat to my surprise, my husband and two daughters immediately agreed.  But would we remember to do it, without nagging? I didn’t want a resolution meant to boost our feelings of affection to turn into a source of conflict.
In fact, without much effort, we all began to follow the resolution (most of the time). It feels like a natural thing to do, and the more we do it, the more engrained it becomes. 
As a consequence, several times each day, we have moments of real connection among all members of our family. 
Resolve to “Give warm greetings and farewells.” This simple action will make you feel more connected to the members of your family.}

Honestly, Jeff and I do this one great. But today I did focus on it. Made sure this morning (along with kisses) to give him a big hug - two armed hug - standing up one (",)  I love those kind of hugs they make you feel great from head to toe.  I'm not sure how well I did at lunch though in the greeting department, I'm gonna have to step it up tonight when I get home from work.  I like the way I feel when I get a hug from someone. When someone walks me to the door after we've been visiting and when they greet me with a smile when we come to visit. I love it even more when I'm making a point of doing that for someone else and focusing on our relationship with warm greetings and farewells. It's funny how something so simple can be so big and mean so much.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Day 4 Under-React to a Problem

{Although we think we act because of the way we feel, we often feel because of the way we act. Accordingly, one of my Twelve Personal Commandments is to “Act the way I want to feel.” 
Along these lines, I follow the resolution “Under-react to problems”: not to ignore or minimize problems, but just to under-react to them. 
By under-reacting to problems or annoyances, and acting in a serene way, I help myself cultivate a calm attitude. 
I’ve found that under-reacting to little household accidents makes them less irritating, because after all, they’re only as annoying as I allow them to be.  No use yelling over spilt nail polish.
Also, when my husband or children see that I’m reacting calmly, they stay calmer, too. It’s creates a much nicer atmosphere in our home—especially when something is going wrong.
Resolve to “Under-react to problems.” Your under-reaction will help make you feel calmer and more in control.}

Today was a Monday in all it's glory. When I got home from work everyone wanted my attention. It's registration time. I was getting Zac and Josh asking me what they should do. I really do want to be involved but not while I'm making dinner. I tried really hard to sort of ignore the stress I was feeling as both of them were asking me for help in making decisions that seem so important RIGHT NOW.

I did a pretty good job at under reacting to them but then when Hayden said he didn't like the dinner I way OVER-Reacted to him :( boo. I did apologize later but that was two times too late. I will try again tomorrow.

As far as getting an opportunity with Jeff and I, I didn't need it today, but I'll keep it in mind through the rest of this month and try to keep that goal :D

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Day 3 Make the Positive Argument

{I love my husband with all my heart, but sometimes I fall into a spiral of criticism. He annoys me by not answering my emails, and that gets me thinking about how he also annoys me by not mailing an important form, and so on.
I discovered an excellent technique to combat this tendency. In general, people are very skillful at arguing a particular case. When a person takes a position, he or she looks for evidence to support it and then stops, satisfied. This mental process gives the illusion that a position is objective and well justified. However—and this is the useful point—a person can often make the very opposite argument, just as easily. If I tell myself, “I’m a shy person,” I remember examples of my shyness. If I tell myself, “I’m an outgoing person,” I remember times when I was outgoing. I’m able to argue both conclusions quite persuasively. 
To make use of this phenomenon, I’ve resolved to “Make the positive argument.”
When I catch myself thinking, “My husband isn’t very thoughtful,” and my mind starts kicking up examples of thoughtlessness, I contradict myself with “He’s very thoughtful”—and sure enough, I’m able to come up with many examples of his thoughtful behavior. “He doesn’t enjoy celebrating holidays”; “He does enjoy celebrating holidays.” 
I can actually feel my opinion shift. It’s almost uncanny.
Resolve to “Make the positive argument.” You’ll be amazed at how convincing you can be—to yourself.}

Okay this one was really easy. Today was one of those days where I had an opportunity to use this in abundance. Jeff has recently coined the phrase "you're right . . .  either way, you're right"  I think this phrase fits perfect with today's challenge. I'll sometimes say to him I can't find "that thing" and he'll look at me and say "you're right Cindy, either way you're right" and what he is saying to me is, if you say to yourself that I can't find it, then you won't (and you'll be right). . . . but, if you say to yourself that you will find it, you will (and you'll be right).  He uses this during conversation we have too. And when I'm saying something like (arrrggg I'm so not good at THAT!) he looks at me and says it again, You're right Cindy, either way you're right). Those are the times that it makes me realize I am not bad at THAT, I might have to try harder at THAT but I am awesome at that.

Today at church I used it on him. We have a new class this year in primary and one kid that pushes our buttons and particularly Jeff's ;) well today he was saying how he was going to quit if that kid acted naughty again. I said to him (you're right. . . either way you're right). Guess what our primary class was crazy today but no buttons were pushed like they've been the past few weeks. YIPEE!! :D

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Day 2 - Give Gold Stars

{No surprise, studies show that receiving a partner’s “affective affirmation”—psych-speak for one person’s actions or words to make the other person feel loved, appreciated, desired, and supported—is very important to happiness. Who doesn’t love to get a gold star?
As a gold-star junkie myself, I was intrigued by researchers’ arguments that men need more gold stars from their partners than women do, because women get much more positive support outside marriage. Family members, colleagues, friends of both genders, and even strangers give more frequent affirmation to women than to men. Men, by contrast, depend much more on their partners for empathy and intimacy.
This prompted me to adopt the resolution to “Give gold stars.”
How? I tell my husband “I love you” more often. I try to be helpful even when he hasn’t asked for help—say, by bringing him aspirin if he has a headache. I thank him even for something that’s “his” job. I email him sweet photos of the girls. I try to be accommodating if he wants to go to the gym, leave a party early, work over the weekend, or when he asks me the same question over and over. 
Resolve to “Give gold stars”—you make your partner feel more beloved, and at the same time, you make yourself feel more loving.}

I sucked at this today!! :( boo for me! I'm gonna try and do this again tomorrow. But while we're on the subject Jeff is (on the other hand) AwEsOmE at this! I have learned a lot from him. I need to get better at it with him. I don't do it enough. Sometimes I even think he doesn't care about this one - but he really does. And who wouldn't? Everyone loves GOLD STARS as often as they can get them (at least that's what I think :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happier at Home ~ 21 Day Relationship Challenge

I haven't blogged forever!! Looks like it's pretty much been a year since my last post . . . . pathetic!! Well I have missed a lot about it so I'd like to start blogging again.
The other day I got an email from the Happiness Project lady and she said she was giving us a Relationship Challenge for a Happier at Home 21 Day Relationship Challenge and I thought I'd take that challenge for the month of February being that it's love month and all (",)

Day 1 Kiss in the Morning, Kiss at Night
{If something’s important to you, find a place for it in your calendar. For me, at least, if something isn’t in my calendar, it probably won’t happen.
For that reason, every morning, every night, I kiss my husband. No surprise, couples feel more connected if they kiss and touch frequently; research establishes that kissing boosts feelings of intimacy, eases stress, and encourages bonding. 
Every morning, I wake up at 6 a.m., an hour before my husband, so I kiss him before I get out of bed. (Usually his face is buried in the pillow, so I kiss his shoulder). Then I kiss him before he leaves for work. I also give him a proper welcome-home kiss, not just an absentminded wave, and a real good-night kiss. My husband has always been good about kissing good night at bedtime, but I make sure we never skip.
Yes, it’s a bit preposterous to have a kissing schedule, but if something’s important to me—even something like showing affection—I should make time for it, even if that means kissing with the regularity of tooth-brushing. 
By acting more loving, we make ourselves feel more loving, and at the same time, make our sweethearts feel more loved.
Resolve to “Kiss in the morning, kiss at night”—or find a way to establish your own habit of affection.}

Jeff and I do this all the time! But I made a big point of it today! Kissing is AwEsOmE ;)