Article by Dee DeWitt

 

Feeling as though you’re always running twenty minutes behind schedule is an unhappy feeling.  Having to rush, forgetting things in your haste, dealing with annoyed people when you arrive … it’s no fun.

 

If you find yourself chronically late, what steps can you take to be more prompt … and as a result, happier? First you need to ask yourself why you’re late.  Then you can see more easily what you need to modify.

 

There are many, many reasons we are all late.  Here are seven common reasons for chronic tardiness and suggestions on how we might address them:

 

Sleep too late?  If you’re so exhausted in the morning that you sleep until the last possible moment, it’s time to think about going to sleep earlier the night before.  Most people don’t get enough sleep, and sleep deprivation is a real drag on your happiness … and your health.  Try turning off the light sooner each night.  And try to go to sleep at the same time every night (yes, including Friday and Saturday nights!). Read More »

Posted on 8 January, 2010 in Balance, Happiness
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Article by Dee DeWitt

 

It’s pretty rare that I have fun.  I don’t know why … it has just always seemed to be this way.  Many times I wonder, is it so hard to be Kevin and to know what I like, what I find to be fun?

 

It seems to be a constant challenge to be myself.

 

Over the years, other people have told me that they also find it difficult to figure out exactly what they like to do … for both fun and for work.

 

And I’ve identified one reason – out of perhaps many – for that.

 

In Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert points out that we’re all more alike than we think.  I’m sure that is true to a degree… but I think it’s also true that we’re more unalike than we think.  This is certainly true when it comes to fun, be it leisure or work “fun.” Read More »

Posted on 5 January, 2010 in Career, Happiness
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Article by Jeanne Tessier, Edited by Dee DeWitt

 

She sat alone in her living room on Christmas Eve, her old wooden rocker creaking gently as she rocked, a brightly painted footstool supporting her tired and hiking booted feet.  Next to her on a low table, a teapot she’d made years ago in her mother’s memory exuded aroma of jasmine and radiant heat.  Her picture window was wide open to the scene outside, bamboo screens set aside, so she could sit in darkness and watch fat flakes of snow drift onto the dogwood, azaleas and holly bushes in her yard.  A single candle her only light, a warm mug of tea between her palms, an old prayer shawl around her shoulders, she sat and waited for Christmas to come.

 

No tree this year, no lights or stockings, no midnight Mass, no family coming to town – just the season of hope and waiting she had always loved.  Her house and mind together held the memories of so many Christmases, some full of joy and others sorrow, but all of them tender, all of them sweet reminders of the One who had loved her since she was a child, the One whose love had saved her, the One she’d tried and failed, in so many ways, to serve.  Not that she failed utterly – this she knew – but that, as one of her many favorite poets had written, “No gift is proper to a Deity.”

 

Her life had been full of both suffering and grace, and this year, this Christmas Eve, she sat in peace, glad to be alone with her memories, glad to be holding a fragrant cup of tea, glad to be watching this perfect snowfall outside her window with nowhere to go and nothing to do.  She’d spoken with her scattered children earlier in the day, and with her only still-living friend.  She’d mailed no cards this year, purchased no gifts except a few for her children – mailed weeks ago.  She’d baked no cookies, planned no Christmas meal.  Her supper earlier - a cup of soup and a piece of the bread she baked the day before – her favorite kind of meal – had satisfied.

 

Now she watched gently drifting flakes as they slowly covered her yard, her trees, and the street beyond in glistening light.  A candle within, a streetlight without, and perfect silence. Read More »

Posted on 21 December, 2009 in Happiness, Spirituality
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Article by Dee DeWitt

 

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
-Paul Boese

                                      

All of us have been hurt by another person at some time in our lives.  We were treated badly, a trust was broken, a heart was hurt.  Pain from hurts such as these is normal.  Many times – too many times – the pain stays too long.  We relive the pain over and over, and have a hard time letting go.

 

The not letting go causes problems in the most basic – and important – parts of our lives.   It causes us to be unhappy, can strain or ruin relationships, distracts us from work and family, and makes us reluctant to open up to new things and people.  We become trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on happiness.

 

We need to learn to let go.  We need to be able to forgive, so we can move on and be happy.

 

This is something I learned the hard way – actually … I’m still learning – after years of holding onto anger at a loved one that stemmed from my early college years.  Recently, I finally let go of this anger (about a year or so ago) and I forgave.  And not only has it improved my relationship with this loved one, it has also helped me to be happier.

 

Forgiveness can change our lives for the better.  Forgiving doesn’t mean we erase the past, or forget what has happened.  It doesn’t mean the other person will change his behavior – none of us can control that.  What it does mean is that we are letting go of the anger and pain, and moving on to a better place.

 

It’s not easy, but it can be learned.  If you’re holding onto pain, reliving it, and can’t let go and forgive, try the following: Read More »

Posted on 17 December, 2009 in Happiness, Making the Day Count
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Article By Dee DeWitt

 

The only real security in a relationship lies neither in looking back in nostalgia, nor forward in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now.
-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

 

From the time we are young, we are taught to plan out our lives, both for the long term and on a day-to-day basis.

 

We have daily, weekly, monthly planners and digital calendars that map out our lives, sometimes to the minute.  With plans like these, we feel we’re in control …

 

But we’re not.

 

We cannot control our lives to this degree, no matter how we try. Things always come up to change the best plans.  And the more detailed our plans, the more of a guarantee that something different – unplanned – will occur.

 

So what happens when the plans go awry?  We are stressed out, because things get out of our control and don’t live up to our expectations.  This is one of the greatest sources of stress for most people.

 

Think about how often your days actually go according to plan – they are pretty rare.  We have no way of predicting the future. No matter how hard we try. There’s always an email that will disrupt things, a last-minute meeting, cancellations and postponements, emergencies and fires to put out.

 

So if plans will almost always go wrong, and when they do we get stressed out, isn’t all the time we spend creating the plans a bit of a waste?

 

Instead … give yourself up to the moment. Read More »

Posted on 15 December, 2009 in Happiness, Making the Day Count
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