Celebrate Color Your Life Happy Day

ColorYourLifeHappy.com

Color Your Life Happy Day celebrates my mom’s birthday. Here she is genuinely surprised when I picked her up in a limo for a Mother’s Day Brunch one year.

 

Did you make New Year’s resolutions?

If you stuck to them, congratulations. If you’re like most of us, however, those resolutions evaporated from your consciousness in a few weeks (or was that days?)

Regardless of how you fared in this annual practice, here’s an opportunity to start anew, but with just one resolution: make happiness a habit.

What is Color Your Life Happy Day?

August 9th “Color Your Life Happy Day”, is a day to participate in something you enjoy, some activity that will make you happy and others too. Then make a decision to make it a habit to continue finding joy, pleasure, and a way to help others for the rest of the year (make that the rest of your life.)

Happiness is not a destination, but the things we do along the way as we live our lives. At the end of their lives, many wish they had slowed down, worked less, and spent more time enjoying family, friends and fun activities. Don’t let this be you.

Regrets are a waste. Do the things that bring you and others joy and happiness every day.

The Origin of Color Your Life Happy Day

This special celebration was inspired by the memory of my mother, Mildred S. Morris, who was born on August 9, 1910.  She passed at age 92 in 2002. She was a hairstylist by trade but spent her life making people happy with her music. She played piano and organ from childhood through her mid-80’s for many churches, organizations, and events. Everyone who ever heard her play was touched by her lively and fervent style.

How to Participate

Please join me in starting to make happiness a habit on Color Your Life Happy Day, August 9th through August 12th.

      • You may choose to

      • take time off to read a book you’ve longed to finish
      • join the courageous who decide to get control of the clutter that has been making them very unhappy
      • rent a Harley or Segway to go for a fun ride
      • become a tourist in your own town and visit a museum or other local treasure you’ve never seen
      • visit a local convalescent home to spend some time with a resident who never gets visitors.

Color Your Life Happy Day is not just for today, but every day.

Take a picture showing your happiness habit and post it on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook using the  hashtag #coloryourlifehappy.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be grand or spectacular by anyone else’s standards. It just has to be something that makes you and/or others happy.

I’m looking forward to the wonderful array of photos. Don’t forget the hashtag #coloryourlifehappy

 

Want help coming up with happiness habits?

Here are a few from my book, Color Your Life Happy:
Create Your Unique Path and Claim the Joy You Deserve

      • dance or sing to music you enjoy
      • volunteer for a cause you believe in
      • connect with a pet
      • savor the moment you’re in
      • say “yes” to yourself

For more detailed guidance on handling change and adversity, 
harmonizing family and work, and creating the life you want and deserve, go to Amazon and get the paperback,
ebook or audiobook at http://amzn.to/2aAZH8D


Reduce stress and relax by coloring creative activities 

Coloring is now socially acceptable for adults. You no longer have to sneak into the kids’ section or “borrow” your kids’ coloring books. Best of all, slowing your mind and engaging in the repetitive motion of coloring helps you unplug from daily stress, increase mindfulness, foster relaxation,  stimulate creativity, and increase self-esteem.

There are three types of activities in this book: 30 patterns, drawings, and mandalas of varying complexity, seven coloring pages with motivational phrases, and finally, seven open-ended activities with space for you to write, doodle, or draw in response to a prompt.

Complete the activities in any order you wish. There are no page numbers or right or wrong. Don’t feel pressured to finish an activity. Stop whenever you want, and move on to another one or not. Most of all, let this book transport you to childlike pleasure and guilt-free fun. Get your copy and one for a loved one on Amazon here.


Express gratitude daily

“Thank you.”

It is one of the first things many children are taught to say. Sometimes we say it in response to receiving a gift. Other times we express gratitude when someone is kind or helps us with a task.

Expressing gratitude is not just a childhood courtesy but when done regularly can improve your satisfaction with life. Showing gratitude is easy and doesn’t cost anything and has tremendous benefits.

Researchers have discovered that expressing gratitude not just occasionally, but daily, improves your health, promotes better sleep, and strengthens relationships, among many other benefits. This journal gives you space to reflect on what you have to be grateful for, and make a daily list. Enjoy
the benefits.

There is space in this journal for you to enter your thoughts and a list of things you’re grateful for every day of the year. Peek inside the Look Inside feature to discover what awaits you at the bottom of the first day of each month.

 Get your copy or a gift for a loved one on Amazon here.


How to Promote the Happiness Habit

In 2015 I rolled out the awesome Color Your Life Happy custom t-shirt.  If you missed the launch, no worries. You can still order the beautiful t-shirt at http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt 


It’s available in sizes small through 5XL and three
other colors: gold, lime and white.

What a great way to support the right to happiness
we all deserve.

This is a Limited Edition custom shirt. The original campaign has ended, but you can still get one. Just go to http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt and click Buy it now!

The suggested retail price is $29.99, but I’ve discounted it when you buy it now at http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt

Consider buying an extra one for a gift and be sure to tell your friends, family and colleagues on social media to join us. Again, the link is http://teespring.com/color-your-life-happy-t-shirt


Happiness is a habit. Tell us in the comments how you will cultivate yours, starting today. 

A Simple Way to Get Unstuck Instantly

Full length portrait of a woman standing upside down

Want a simple way to get unstuck instantly in your life, mood, or career?

What if I told you that successful people use this behavior all the time to get unstuck and accomplish their goals? You would want to know about it, wouldn’t you?

Of course you would.

I share this with my clients and use it myself.

Alright already, Flora! What is this simple way that to get unstuck?!

Happiness researchers have discovered one simple thing that can get us unstuck is intentional activity.

What is Intentional Activity?

We humans are active creatures, spending energy on many projects and goals. When we get stuck such as in writer’s block or indecision about what direction to take in our lives, we stop taking action.

  • The blocked writer sits there staring at the blank page.
  • The career person in transition gets paralyzed by indecision.
  • The entrepreneur freezes while creating her information product.

Simply explained, intentional activity is taking action on purpose, doing something, putting forth an effort, doing something different.

Have you ever misplaced your keys and built up stress as you frantically searched for them?

Then, you decided to give up the search and do something else, maybe go to the kitchen to make a sandwich or gather the books you’ll take with you when you find the keys.

Voila! When you returned to the room where you started, there the keys were, exactly where they were all along.

Another example.

I worked on the 2nd edition of Color Your Life Happy for nine months (yes, it was almost like giving birth,)  After having approved the cover, index, and approved changes from three editors, I tweaked the layout eighteen times. After one more pass by the proofreader, I decided it was good enough and published it. I took the intentional activity of letting go.
.

Why Intentional Activity Gets You Unstuck

Intentional activity works instantly because when you take action you put yourself in a different location, frame of mind, and perspective. You interrupt the obsession, the mulling, the inner conflict, the fear.

All the world’s problems are not solved in an instant, of course, but I assure you that by engaging in intentional activity you are no longer stuck at the same place where you were before.

What is the right action to get you unstuck?

Almost anything that suits you that is different from what has you stuck.

Sometimes we are stuck waiting to have all the answers or while nursing the delusion of perfection.

How Intentional Activity Works in Creative Projects?

It gives you valuable information.

Fail fast, fail cheap, and fail often is a common mantra of successful entrepreneurs.

When you have an idea for a product, service or business it’s important to do some planning, of course, but the sooner you can test your idea in the marketplace the faster you’ll know if there is a market and if your idea is viable.

The early adopters of your idea can give you priceless feedback that enables you to make adjustments before you dump a huge sum of money taking an untested idea to completion.

When Walt Disney proposed the idea of Disneyland to bankers, he was already a successful graphic artist and movie maker, and yet he was turned away by bankers over 300 times before he finally found one willing to take a chance. After all, who could believe that such a preposterous idea would work, much less be profitable? But Walt,  familiar with rejection and failure, was undaunted.

Each fertile idea Disney proposed seemed to be met with skepticism. Naysayers saw Mickey Mouse as just another cartoon. His detractors predicted that moviegoers would not sit through a full-length animated movie. And yet, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became one of the biggest grossing movies in movie history.

 

So, when you’re stuck, get unstuck instantly by doing something. 

Get up and do something else.

  • Launch your project and get feedback.
  • Go for a walk.
  • Take a tea or coffee break.
  • Turn on music and dance or exercise.
  • Make some noise.
  • Call a friend for a chat.
  • Take a nap.
  • Clean out your sock drawer.

Sometimes you’re so stuck that you lose your confidence and can’t seem to move forward. That’s when you can use the ideas I share in Getting Unstuck: How to Get Your Confidence Back and Follow Your Dream. 

What do you think?

Have you discovered that taking action got you unstuck and helped you successfully reach your goal?

Go to Speak Your Mind below and share what has worked for you.

Love Shouldn’t Hurt on Valentine’s Day or Any Other Day

Can Stock Photo/fmarsicano

For florists Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest money-making days along with Mother’s Day and the December holidays.

For candy makers Valentine’s Day means millions of dollars, even during a recession.

But for the wives and children who are victims of violence and abuse,  Valentine’s Day is another day of fear, dread, and anxiety.

It was just a few days into the semester at a local community college where I was teaching a critical thinking class. I had just dismissed the class  when an attractive female student stopped by my desk before leaving the room. “I just want to let you know that I’ll have to drop out of school for now,” with a distinct sadness in her voice.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I shared. “Are you moving?”

“Actually, yes. I’m moving into a shelter with my two kids to get away from my husband.”

“Oh,” I could hardly catch my breath.

“He knows my schedule, and so to be safe we must go into hiding for a while, she said.” Her fear was palpable. “I don’t know when I will return,” she said as she slowly turned and left the room.

I never saw her again.

In my 40 years of teaching, she was not the first nor the last of my students who left school as part of their escape from domestic violence.

I never saw any of them again, but I think about them often.

Many women (and some men too) are hurt by the same people who once promised to love and protect them.  When this happens, the fear of abuse and even death can be overwhelming.

Here’s hoping that you have a great Valentine’s Day full of love and affection with your significant others.

Unfortunately, there are some for whom Valentine’s Day is not a happy day at all.

Troubling concerns associated with Valentine’s Day

1. For the wives and children who are victims of violence, the abuse may escalate on Valentine’s Day.

2. Many cheaters get caught on Valentine’s Day because they  show up for both their lovers and spouses too.  For this reason, Valentine’s Day  can be a banner day for private investigators.

3. Some suspicious lovers even set traps for their partners on Valentine’s Day.

More troubling concerns associated with cheating and domestic violence

1. If you’re one of those people who asks why women stay in abusive relationships, watch the video above and read this article where Leslie Morgan Steiner, author of Crazy Love , shares her own disturbing story and those of others. She is on the board of directors and officers of the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project.

2. In the video above, Steiner shares these chilling statistics:

  • One in three women experience domestic violence at some point in their lives.
  • 500 women and girls a year are killed as victims of domestic violence.
  • It’s extremely dangerous to leave an abusive relationship. More than 70% of domestic violence murders occur after the victim has left.

3.  It’s not unusual on dating sites to see applicants admit in their profiles that they are married and just looking for a fling. But how about a website like http://www.ashleymadison.com/ devoted to encouraging cheaters who are looking for affairs.

4. As many as 90% of the women in jail today for killing men had been battered by those men. See the Fact Sheet on Battered Women in Prison. 

And while domestic violence occurs in about 10% of families overall, that rate doubles, perhaps quadruples, when we look at violence in police families. In two separate national studies, 40% of police officers self-reported that they had used violence against their domestic partners within the last year. 1, 2 http://purpleberets.org/pdf/whenthebatterer_2pager.pdf

5. 

In fact 1 in 3 young people experience some form of physical or sexual violence – which  by any other standards would be called an ​epidemic. http://www.breakthecycle.org/how-common-dating-abuse

What can you do about all this?

1. Learn to recognize the early signs of abuse. The abuser usually seduces and charms the victim before slowly isolating her from her friends and families.

2. Break the silence. It’s because of our silence that violence continues.

3. Look for ways in your community and online to promote healthy love

4. Educate yourself. Safe Horizons, one of the largest U.S. victims services agencies, reports that one in four women will be victims of domestic violence in their lifetimes. It is estimated at over 3 million children who witness this violence not only are traumatized, but may grow to believe this is acceptable behavior.

Lorri Galloway, executive director of Eli Home, speaks with reporter.

Lorri Galloway, on the right, executive director of Eli Home for Abused and Neglected Children, in Anaheim, CA speaks with reporter. Date unknown.

5. Help break the cycle of abuse.

 Don’t let these grim facts and  experiences turn you against love and Valentine’s Day.

Instead. . .

  • Learn to be your own Valentine. Here are 28 ways.
  • Spend the day with loving friends or relatives if you are without a mate this year.
  • If you choose to be alone on Valentine’s Day, watch movies that suit you on Netflix, Amazon Prime, AcornTV (British) or get free or low-cost DVDs at your public library.
  • Check out an interesting history of Valentine’s Day here
  • Call to extend loving thoughts to someone else who will be alone on this day and will be uplifted to hear from you.
  • Visit a nursing home to spend some time with those residents who never get visitors.
  • Attend religious/spiritual services or community activities.
  • Extend random kindness to a stranger today.
  • Leave random love notes in a public place you visit today. See Writing Letters Brings Double Happiness.
  • Share this post with folks you love on your social media sites.

[This is an update of a post I publish every year during Valentine’s Day week.]

Can you think of other life-affirming ways we can celebrate love and Valentine’s Day? Leave your ideas in Speak Your Mind.  

What Will You Do After Martin Luther King’s Birthday? That’s What Counts

MLK

We expect parades, concerts, TV specials and community events on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s National Day of Service. 

When I was still teaching, my students looked forward to this and any holiday as time off. But if we want to truly honor King, his birthday should be a day on, not off

It’s a time for us to show up, not on just one day, but a time to follow his legacy of service everyday. You can get ideas here. 

Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday was first celebrated as a federal holiday in 1986 after 32 years of campaigning at local and national levels. It later became the national Martin Luther King Day of Service when former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Harris Wofford and Atlanta Congressman John Lewis co-authored the King Holiday and Service Act. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. His most popular “I Have a Dream” speech galvanized the civil rights movement, but my favorite King speech is the Feb. 4, 1968 sermon,  “The Drum Major Instinct”. In it he said

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”

If King’s call to serve has a familiar ring, it’s because the same message echoes throughout history.  

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.’ If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else. Chinese Proverb

The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve. Albert Schweitzer

Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” John F. Kennedy 1961 inaugural address

Nothing liberates our greatness like the desire to help, the desire to serve. Marianne Willliamson

Serving others is easy.

You don’t have to go far nor do you need loads of skill or buckets of talent. Connecting with an established charity, church or other community groups can do enormous good and be gratifying for you, even if you work with them only occasionally throughout the year.

In every age group from premature newborns to senior citizens are people longing for conversation, a visit or a touch. Local and global groups can help you find people in one of these groups if you are drawn to serve one of them.

Serving others is accessible.

One neighborhood rallied around to help each other when someone was recovering from illness and needed a hot meal or were unable to drive and needed transportation to medical or other appointments.

Serving others is contagious.

When I owned a gift basket business, the owner of a customized cookie company recognizing that I was new to the business took time from working in her booth at the California Gift Show to sit me down and give me some great marketing advice.

Her spontaneous and generous mentoring inspired me to help other aspiring entrepreneurs through a nationwide network, a newsletter, speaking at gift shows. and presenting workshops at gift basket associations. 

Serving others is mutually beneficial.

Research has caught up with ancient wisdom.  Scientific studies and positive psychology have toppled some of the myths we have about what makes us happy. What is consistent among the findings is  we increase our own happiness by expressing gratitude and helping others. If you are curious to find out where you stand on gratitude and assess your level of happiness, take one of the many free questionnaires on Authentic Happiness.

Serving others is most powerful when it extends beyond one day.

Many communities and organizations used the National Day of Service as the kickoff day for extended service. Some groups provide healthy snacks to nearby schools. Philadelphia holds a citywide event where citizens pitch in on various projects. Some health organizations hold events calling attention to health and wellness issues in their community. 

King filled a void when he spoke out for justice and freedom. I encourage you to fill a void in the niche you serve and show flair and style in the life you live.

Let the way you earn your living also enable you to serve others.  Even if you are working on a job that is just a temporary stop along the way to your ideal career, give your sincere effort and best service, not just for others, but for yourself as well.

To serve, as King points out, all you need is a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. Thankfully, these things are within everyone’s reach. To tap into them all you have to do is go within, believing that they are yours.

Let the National Martin Luther King Day of Service be a reminder to start your daily activities from your heart and soul, and carry out all your interactions with integrity and joy.

Tell us in Speak Your Mind below how you plan to honor King’s legacy throughout the year.

(Revision of a 2017 post on ColorYourLifeHappy.com/blog.)

Let Famous Failures Inspire You to Keep Going After Your Dream

ribbonswirl

 

Have you ever failed at something and for a moment felt devastated?

If so, you’re in good company. History is loaded with examples of successful people who encountered many failed attempts before they discovered success in their fields.

The difference between momentary failure and your eventual success is trying again, and with passion. Perfection, however, is not your goal. Giving your best, making the world a better place and experiencing fulfillment is.

The problem with what the world calls “failure” is that it’s an opinion of someone who can’t see your full value, your inner beauty, and your limitless potential. Even well-meaning folks, like our parents, can diminish our efforts with their damaging evaluations.

Henry Ford who had lots of experience with what the world calls failure said:  “Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently”. In fact, what you learn from failure paves your road to success.

Enjoy the following video about famous failures and let it be a reminder to keep going after your dream.