Archives for April 2010

What Still Cracks You Up?

CB026221I was collecting happiness flashbacks to include in my upcoming book, Color Your Life Happy. It was amazing that decades later these stories still crack me up.

For example

My husband was usually mild-mannered and often chided me for being too loud and forceful. But one day, when two middle children were in a heated and almost combative dispute, he burst out ”CONTROL YOUR TEMPER!”

First, there was a moment of silence, then we all burst into laughter over the irony of it all.

Another example

My son rode a school bus during 5th grade that picked him up from our neighborhood and took him to a magnet school about 12 miles away. Whenever we were out driving about town on weekends, he was always convinced that his bus passed many intersections that it could not have possibility passed.

He would insist, ” My bus stops here.”

If his bus had stopped at all the places he thought, he would never have gotten to school. It became such a family joke that now no matter where we travel in the world, we say “Herbert’s bus used to stop here.”

Recalling those moments that made you laugh in the past can serve to give you another burst of laughter today. What’s great about this is it lifts your spirits and adds a sparkle to your day. Try it.

What memories still crack you up?

Based on a March 2009 post

It's About Time: Did You Sign Your Permission Slip?

schoolbusRemember elementary school field trips?

You couldn’t get on that bus until your parents had signed a paper verifying that they were giving the school permission to transport you and supervise you on some outing.

In elementary school you probably stood by eagerly waiting for your parents to affix that precious signature on your passport to a day away from school for something fun.

By high school, if you wanted to go on that trip desperately enough you forged your parents signature because you forgot to get the authentic one before you left home.

Now that you are all grown up you must still get permission before you can go on this trip called life. The only difference is you are the one who must sign that permission slip now.

No matter how much you want to pursue a given goal you won’t make much progress until you give yourself permission to do so. Here are five tips for getting your signature onto your permission slip:

1. Determine your destination.

You must know where you are going before you head out on any trip. This applies regardless of your goal.

It’s essential that you are specific, of course. Saying you want to make more money, for example, is not very useful since “more” is relative.

Set a specific intention, such as making $5,000.

2. Set a target date

Your goal to make $5,000 is a wonderful start, but you must set a deadline or time frame. Is your goal to make $5,000 by next Friday, per month or per year? The way you answer this will determine the actions you will take to get to the goal.

3. Check to be sure your goal is in line with your values and beliefs.

If you believe that it’s impossible for you to make $5,000 by next Friday you will not do what is necessary to reach that goal. Your subsconscious will be unconvinced that you are serious, so you won’t see the opportunities right in front of you that can help you reach your goal. Your actions are guided by your beliefs.

Then if you place a high value on spirituality and believe that desiring money is somehow evil, your values are in conflict with your goals and will thwart your efforts to go after your goal.

4. Do what it takes to reach your goal.

When your values and beliefs are in line with your goal, you will know that you deserve your heart’s desire. Now you will be free to take action to go for your goal.

Back to our example of getting $5,000 by your time deadline, you must be willing to use your skills to bring this goal about. If you are self-employed, it may mean taking on new clients; if you work on a job it may mean working overtime or taking on a second job. Perhaps you create a new project designed specifically to raise these funds.

With the first three steps in place your creativity with flourish with ideas for positive actions toward your goal.

5. Celebrate when you reach your goal.

You deserve congratulations for setting your goal, adjusting your mindset and taking the action that lead to your success. Celebrate to reward yourself and bolster your self-esteem. After all, this is something you did and can now do again.

To continue to enjoy success and happiness in your life now you know that all you need to do is sign your permission slip.

For more tips on managing your time and getting the life you want, click here.

It's About Time: Learn to Laugh Your Way to Health and Happiness

Laughter and Cake by tompalumbo on flickr

Laughter and Cake by tompalumbo on flickr

In our culture, we spend an enormous amount of money on doctors, medicine and medical treatment.

It’s too bad that many of us haven’t grasped the truth set forth throughout the ages: laughter is the best medicine.

If you don’t believe it, treat yourself to a belly-deep, robust laugh and watch how much better you feel.

Dr. Madan Kataria believes so much in the benefits of laughing that he started Laughter Yoga and Laughter Clubs. Dr. Kataria says that laughter is nature’s stressbuster. To learn about his clubs and conferences, visit his website

This week,the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humor (AATH) is holding its 23rd conference at Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA. The 2010 theme is “Biology of Hope/Healing Power of the Human Spirit”
A Tribute to Norman Cousins.

Norman Cousins, former editor of Saturday Review among many other notable achievements, is well known as author of Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient In it he chronicles his recovery from a life-threatening collagen disease with high doses of vitamin C and daily doses of belly laughter.

At their conference AATH attendees will learn how humor and laughter can improve your health, your productivity, and your ability to learn—and as an added bonus, of course, they have scheduled in loads of fun!

Presenters will include experts in humor, laughter, positive psychology, and psychoneuroimmunology. Stressing the power of humor to transform our careers and lives, are also leading researchers, scholars, speakers, authors, and professionals.

And proof that this field is no joke, attendees can earn graduate credit through the AATH Humor Academy.

There is lots of evidence that laughter reduces blood sugar levels, helps blood vessels function better, reduces pain and enables us to tolerate discomfort. Laughter releases hormones that increase performance, creativity and happiness.

So, along with eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, add daily doses of laughter to ensure a healthier and happier life.

“Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods.” Japanese proverb

Get more tips about using your time well here.

It's About Time: What are You Doing with the Time You Have (Left)?

Tree Climbing by eszter on flickr

Tree Climbing by eszter on flickr

You’ve heard speakers, authors and coaches remind us that we all have exactly the same amount of time–24 hours a day.

I’ve said it myself many times, but an email from a friend gave me another perspective.

Last June my friend traveled from the Netherlands to attend a party held in Seattle, WA. That may seem to be a long trip, but my friend was propelled by an undeniable urgency.

She had been diagnosed with a debilitating cancer and was advised by her doctor that she only had a few months to live.

She decided not to waste any of her remaining time, but to have fun and be with friends wherever they were. Along with my friend who travelled all the way from the Netherlands, 30 of us showed up from many other places around the USA.

The first night we enjoyed a pajama party complete with movie, delicious food and popcorn. The next day we met for a Chinese brunch, and then on to visit an island the next. We shopped, ate, drank, laughed and enjoyed each other the whole weekend.

Nine months have passed since my friend returned home, uncertain of her future.

I recently received an email from her updating all of us that the treatments she has been receiving have given her and her doctors hope for a bit longer life. Even though she still faces more radiation and more surgery, we are all happy with this good news.

That’s when it hit me that while we all have 24 hours a day, we don’t know how many days we have. None of us know that.

Those who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses and told by their doctors to get their affairs in order often do just that: get their affairs in order and seek to enjoy activities and goals they may have long neglected.

But what about the rest of us. Why do we need the push of a doctor’s prognosis? Wouldn’t it be great if we all pursued our goals with a sense of urgency?

After all, if we think about it for a minute, we are all terminal. One thing we can absolutely expect from life on this Earth is that it will end. None of us know when.

So, if we acted with urgency, we would get busy moving toward our neglected goal today. We would be less fearful of failure or more concerned about leaving our dream lives unlived.

We would say “I love you” to those who need to long to hear those words.

We would say “thank you” to those we have made a difference in our lives but haven’t been informed by us.

And most of all, we wouldn’t hesitate to take off our shoes and skip through wet grass, climb a tree or pause to watch a lizard doing his pushups on the ground.

How about you? What are you waiting for? What are you doing with the wonderfully delicious and precious time you have left?

It's About Time: What Can To-Do Lists Do for You?

todo2-mediumWe have long been encouraged to use to-do lists in order to help us organize our lives, be accountable and more productive. Some people swear by them, some swear at them.

But to-do lists are more than just a simple listing of plans. To-do lists are used by successful people to manage their time, to ensure that important tasks are done and to help them reach their goals.

Modern to-do lists have taken many forms.

There are lists of things to do before you die, places to go before you die. There are guides to making to-do lists and computer tools such as Tadalist to allow you to make your list online.

I’m one of those who swears by to-do lists. I tend to put more on a list that any human can accomplish in a day, however. One of my frequent errors is putting long-term or a big task on a daily to-do list. For example, one day my to-do list read

1. Email Ryan, K, and Yvonne
2. Send class count to JDW
3. Check FC email for any email from online
4. Write more powerful stories
5. Check on my new domains at GoDaddy to see if they’re live
6. Cancel hosting account with former host
7. Order gifts for grandkids from online catalogs
8. Write blog posts for GBBW and CYLH
9. Finish prepping tax papers
10. Plan Toastmaster talk for next week
11. Wash and hang fine washables
12. Start box for giveaway clothes and other items
13. Change linen in MB
14. Read and respond to important email

My list is not prioritized nor grouped by categories. A quick scan down my list and you’ll notice that there’s one item that is not likely to be finished in one day.

Task#4 is an admirable task, but one that I’ll be polishing and refining for longer than just a day. Maybe it should be on a reminder list. Or maybe it should be a long-term goal with small steps that will get it accomplished. For sure it seems out of place on a daily to-do list.

For tasks that stay on my to-do list for an extended period of time, never getting accomplished, I take them off. They’ll resurface in my mind and life if they need to get done. I’m always torn about how much detail to put on my list.

Should I list stopping to make lunch, putting clothes in the washing machine? Should I prioritize my list, give myself deadlines? Regardless of how the list is organized, the best part is crossing things off as you finish them. It’s amazing how good I feel as I cross or check off each item.

How about you? Do you use to-do lists? Do they keep you on track or distract you? Do you overestimate how much you can do in a day? Do you schedule fun and happiness in your list?