Spread Happiness, One Person at a Time

Beautiful Quote from Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie Quote About Happiness
 

“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now. How? By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.” - Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s beautiful words serve as a reminder to choose our words and use our words carefully. Words are powerful, powerful things and can impact people for a lifetime.

A lifetime!

Just as we can lift someone else with carefully spoken words, we can tear them down with carelessly spoken words.  I think only the worst sort of person in the world would actually want to tear someone down. More times than not, hateful, careless, and potentially damaging words come from speaking without thinking.

The next time you find yourself on the brink of speaking, ask yourself…

  • Is what I’m about to say necessary?
  • Is what I’m about to say kind?
  • Is what I’m about to say going to cause a smile?

Most importantly…

  • If my words stay with this person for the rest of their life, how will that make me feel?

Infographic: Habits of Successful People vs Unsuccessful People

Each Point is a Self Improvement Lesson!

Habits of Successful People Infographic
Click the infographic above to see the larger version.

I think my favorite part of this “Habits of Successful People vs Unsuccessful People” infographic is the part about learning. Anyone who knows that I also have a mental fitness blog (Out of Bounds) won’t be surprised by this.  One of my biggest platforms is this: A day spent without learning something is a day wasted!  My daughters heard these words every single day of their lives while they were growing up.

Never, ever, ever become content with what you know today.

I hope you’ll read through the infographic above carefully. Each point is a self help lesson in itself.

Infographic Designed by: SuccessStory.com

Kind People are the Best Kind of People

If There Were Only More of Them

Quote about Kindness and Happiness
At the risk of getting a little preachy, whatever happened to good old-fashioned kindness? Sure, it still exists, but it’s getting harder and harder to find.

Just last night, alone (in the course of ONE single evening, mind you), I encountered the following “acts of anything but kindness” –

  • A guy on Twitter making jokes about domestic abuse – like it’s a laughing matter.
  • Girls calling other girls fat.
  • People making ugly (and I mean UGLY) comments about a celebrity… right on her Instagram, ensuring that she sees it.
  • Someone making fun of a newscaster with a speech impediment.
  • Countless people arguing back and forth over things that don’t amount to half a hill of beans – and lacing their arguments with endless insults and profanity.

Fortunately all of this ugliness was witnessed online and not in my own home.

Social media is, in many ways, a wonderful thing. However, in many ways it’s also one of the worst things that ever happened. People seem to think it’s their own personal platform to spread anger, meanness, and ugliness. After all, they’re able to do so without anyone looking them in the eye.

You want to talk about an athlete being “too short with no talent” – do it online.

You want to bash a particular celebrity – calling her fat, untalented, ugly, and “the worst mother in the world” – do it through social media and… by all means… mention her in a way she’s sure to see it.  After all, hurting someone is just so much fun, right?

Knocking them down makes you a bigger person, doesn’t it?

Oooh, and what if someone in their family sees your hate-filled words and you’re able to hurt them as well?! Bonus points?

Okay. I’m getting preachy.  I’m fully aware that one animal-loving, chocoholic, baseball-obsessed blogger in Kentucky isn’t going to be able to change things. Some days I don’t have the power to open a jar of pickles, I certainly don’t have the power to make the world a kinder place.

BUT if enough people set their mind to at least make a difference in their own little corner of the world…. Then they might be able to inspire other people to also try to make a difference… and so on and so on..

Who knows? Maybe one day people will approach their daily lives – as well as Social Media – with the mindset of reaching out and touching others with kindness rather than cruelty.  Maybe they’ll think, “Who might need a lift right now?” instead of “Who can I take down a few notches?”

I don’t know if such a world is possible, this side of Heaven, but it sure is cool to think about.

Also See: You Never Know What a Few Kind Words Will Do

“Worry is a thin stream of fear that trickles through the mind, which, if encouraged, will cut a channel so wide that all other thoughts will be drained out.” – Author Unknown

6 Keys to Help Recovering Addicts Avoid Relapse

Addiction is a debilitating disease that has far-reaching effects on a person’s physical health, psyche, family, job prospects, and much more. Being able to recognize that an addiction exists is the first step to what is often a long road to recovery, and while many addicts are successful in achieving sobriety, many do so only by recognizing that the threat of relapse is real. If you are in the throes of addiction, or you’re trying to work a program to achieve sobriety, here are six keys that can help you avoid relapse.

Understand Relapse Warning Signs

While relapse warning signs can be person-specific, there are some that seem to hold true for most addicts. These include emotional triggers, physical changes, and certain social situation in which the addict is more likely to struggle. Some of these signs and trouble areas include:

  • A breakup
  • Death of a loved one
  • Financial changes
  • Employment changes
  • Getting married
  • Getting divorced
  • Boredom
  • Health problems
  • And more.

It’s important to note that relapse doesn’t just happen in response to “bad” circumstances that may befall someone. Change of any kind — even change that’s perceived to be positive — can create inner turmoil or a desire to celebrate the way one used to, and without proper support and awareness, relapse is a risk.

Make Use of Avoidance Behavior

Avoidance is one of the most successful tools in avoiding relapse for any type of addiction, whether the person suffering is in a drug treatment program for men or an overeaters’ anonymous group. While it isn’t advisable to avoid every part of your life that may trigger relapse — paying bills, tending to health issues, and seeing your children should all still continue even if they cause you stress — skipping out on situations that create cravings is wise. Whether it’s avoiding bars, clubs, the racetrack, or certain people, practice avoidance in order to keep from relapsing.

Exercise Willpower

While addiction is a disease and should be treated as such, it’s still important to remember the role of your own willpower in recovery and avoiding relapse. Willpower is limited, but studies show that it’s only as limited as we believe it to be. While the temptation to fall back into your former way of being can feel like it’s everywhere, every time you resist temptation, you build up reserves of willpower that make it easier to resist the next time and the time after that. So, believe in your willpower and exercise it. It will only get stronger with practice.

Staying in Therapy

Once you’ve entered into sobriety, it can be tempting to believe that the hard part is over. After all, going through withdrawal and making it through to the other side is often a very miserable experience. The irony of recovery is that achieving physical sobriety is the easy part. It’s maintaining it that’s difficult. Because all your emotions, traumas, and difficulties are still present when you’re sober, but you’ll feel everything because you’re without the numbing effects of drugs and alcohol, therapy is a must. You’ll learn new and better coping skills, talk through triggers and feelings, and enjoy a relationship that will help you stay on the straight and narrow.

Stay Away From Stress

Stress is a common relapse trigger, and avoiding it — or dissipating its effects — is essential. While we can’t always walk away from stressful jobs or fix our debt problems in an afternoon, there are stress relievers that we can incorporate that will offer us aid, including:

  • Get regular exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Laugh a lot
  • Meditate daily
  • Eat a balanced diet from local, fresh, whole sources

Embrace the Now

Like it or not, recovery takes a lot of mindful attention, and staying in the present moment is your best bet at success. While it can feel nice to romanticize the past or long for an easier future, where you are will always be now, and embracing that now is an essential part of resisting relapse. Right now, you are a recovering addict trying to put yourself and your life together. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past. It doesn’t matter what the future holds. Stay aligned with your goals in the present moment, and you’ll keep yourself safe.

Recovery is hard, and the threat of relapse is real. By acknowledging and attending to these six keys, however, you can successfully avoid relapse and enjoy a fulfilling, life-giving, and sober life.

 

How Can You Overcome the Winter Blues?!?!

Tracks in the Snow Feb 3 2013

A while back, I wrote an article Three Simple Ways to Beat the Winter Blues. Since it’s that time of year again, I thought I’d link to it once more.

I’ve already heard from a few people who are beginning to experience the winter doldrums or blues.  One woman told me, “It happens every year. I’ve gotten to where I expect the blues each November.”

Excuse the pun, but that’s depressing.

First of all, the obvious – if you’re “expecting” something, chances are it’s going to materialize. If you’ve experienced winter blues for any length of time, don’t you think it’s time to break the cycle?!

Like anything in life, winter is what you make it.  It’s either a beautiful, peaceful time of year or it’s something so miserable you just have to muddle through best you can – the decision, to a large degree, is made in your own mind.

Ten Quick Things to Love About Winter:

  • College Basketball
  • Christmas Eve
  • Christmas Day
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Chili that’s cooked all day
  • Quiet, snowy mornings when you can almost hear your own breath.
  • Animal footprints in the snow
  • NFL
  • College Football
  • Grabbing a Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks – as in each time you leave the house.
  • Jigsaw Puzzles
  • The lawnmower gets a much needed break.
  • No. Flies.
  • No. Gnats.
  • Big Comfy Sweaters
  • Thanksgiving
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Tinsel
  • NBA
  • Hot soup
  • Boiled Custard
  • Egg Nog
  • Catching snowflakes on your tongue
  • NHL
  • Christmas cookies
  • Christmas Lights
  • Peppermint Scented Candles
  • Evergreen Scented Candles
  • Christmas songs
  • Flannel Pajamas
  • Your favorite mittens or gloves
  • Snowmen
  • Glamorous white scarves!
  • Boots
  • Hoodies
  • Seeing your breath.
  • Drawing faces on steamed up windows (of course I do)
  • Icicles
  • Peanuts Christmas Special
  • The sound of snow and ice under your feet
  • New Year’s Resolutions
  • Warm robes
  • Black-Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

What? That’s more than 10? Well, that’s the idea! Once you start looking for the “good” in a situation, not only will you find it… you’ll find more than you bargained for.

Click through and read Three Simple Ways to Beat the Winter Blues for a few tips on dealing with the winter blues.

How about you? What are things about winter that you love? Share your “frosty favorites” in the comments!

Still need a little Winter Motivation? Check out one of my favorite Pinterest Boards: Things I Love About Winter. The sound you hear will be your winter blues packing up and moving. Good riddance!

Book Reviews on Self Help Daily

I just wanted to share few quick words about book reviews on Self Help Daily: 

  1. I gladly accept and write non-fiction book reviews – not only on the self help blog, but also on my other blogs/websites (including a food blog, Hollywood Yesterday, and quite a few others.). If you have a self help, self improvement, inspirational/motivational book you’d like reviewed on Self Help Daily, simply contact me through e-mail (joisigers @ aim.com) . If you want to know what types of books I review on this particular website, you can get an idea by taking a look at the book reviews I’ve done.  Books are an obsession, so doing book reviews is something that feels more like play to me than work!
  2. While I LOVE books (reading them and reviewing them), I don’t accept fiction books. It’s not that I don’t love fiction – I do. In fact, a little strange secret about me is that I ALWAYS have an Agatha Christie mystery I’m in the middle of – yes, even those I’ve read before.  The Bible and Agatha Christie are my daily reads. I kind of run the gamut on that one, don’t I?

Who do I TOTALLY recommend for writing fiction book reviews?  She’s the same person I TOTALLY recommend for reading fiction book reviews, Emily Dill at She’s Got the Book.  She is completely, 110 percent honest with her reviews and reading her reviews is as entertaining and humorous as any book of fiction could hope to be.  She has a wicked sense of humor, loves books to distraction, and is, honestly, the only fiction book review source you need.

She’s got style and sass – in fact, I often call her “Sassy Pants…”  which is perfectly okay, since I’m her mother.

When looking for fiction book reviews, just shoot over to She’s Got the Book.

She's Got the Book: Fiction Book Reviews

Furry Logic (10th Anniversary Edition): PERFECT Gift for Animal Lovers

Cat Pause
11/14/2014

Furry Logic
I just wrote a review on my Cat Blog for an adorable book I know you’ll love as much as I do – Furry Logic: A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges.

One of the secrets to happiness is filling your life with things that make you smile and… hopefully… even laugh. This wonderful little book is filled with smiles and laughs just waiting to happen. Not only is it something I know you’d love, it’d make a wonderful gift idea for any cat lover, dog lover, ostrich lover… let’s just say, any animal or bird lover – that’ll be easier!

Read my Furry Logic: A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges Review on Cat Pause or simply click through and check it out on Amazon: Furry Logic, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Guide to Life’s Little Challenges

People Who Talk Behind Your Back

A Couple of Quotes, a Couple of Thoughts, and One Big Question

Quote About People Who Talk Behind Your Back
Sometimes I’ll hear from individuals who are troubled by things that resonate with me. For example, when I hear from people who struggle with eating healthy, I automatically think, “I know, right!?!”  As they go on about how fried food simply tastes better to them than quinoa, my taste buds and brain agree with them completely.

Even if it’s a problem I don’t, myself, associate with (loneliness, for example) – I’ll often be able to empathize with their emotions by putting myself in their place.  I can almost always identify with someone by putting myself in their place. I find their footprints and put my own feet in them.

However, I’ll occasionally hear from someone (or talk with them) who’s going through something that’s so alien to my way of thinking that I struggle to find their footprints… let alone step into them.

Here’s a perfect example:  Girls, boys, women, or men who are heartbroken because their “significant other” talks badly about them to….

  • their best friends
  • their co-workers
  • their own family

Why am I unable to find these particular footprints? Because I can’t figure out what makes this sort of person worthy of being called a “significant” anything.

Honestly.

Think about words for a minute.  As someone who writes (to the tune of all day.. everyday..) and reads a great deal,  I may attach more emphasis, importance, and value to words than the average person. Having said that, I don’t think anyone can or should undermine their importance.  Feelings, emotions, and knowledge are conveyed with words. Whether it’s the spoken language or written language – we convey the essence of our thoughts and feelings with our words.

If we’re hurt, it comes out in our words.

If we’re angry, it comes out in our words.

If we’re bitter, it comes out in our words.

If we’re happy, it comes out in our words.

If we’re grateful, it comes out in our words.

And on and on and on.  Our words, in many ways, identify what we feel inside.

Do you see why I said what I did about some people not being worthy of being called a “significant” anything?

Some people talk about their families in a way that seeks only to build them up. If they call a friend up and happen to mention their wife, girlfriend, or children – the friend knows it’s going to be a positive conversation. The friend (or co-worker) will think this guy’s family is the greatest family in the world! Why? Because the friend feels that they are the greatest!

Other people talk about their families or friends in such a way that others start wondering, “Are they complete losers?” or, worse, “I don’t think this guy /girl really loves her/him.”

After all, if the only thing out of someone’s mouth about someone is negative, after a while, you can only draw one conclusion: This person doesn’t care about them.  IF they did, their words would back it up.

So. What do you do if you KNOW someone is running you down or talking about you behind your back? For what it’s worth, here’s my advice:

  1. Make sure of your facts before you say anything. If an individual who you can trust explicitly tells you that this person has been talking about you OR you have seen or heard the evidence, yourself – then you probably have all the proof you need to confront them. However, when I say “confront,” I’m not talking about an ambush. You’re cooler than that.  Also, don’t ask them if they HAVE BEEN doing it – that only gives them an “out.” Without getting (or at least, without appearing!) angry, tell them, “I just need to know something… why do you talk badly about me to ________?”  Let them know that you know they do – you haven’t run for the hills, you aren’t armed and dangerous – you simply want to know why they feel the need to do this and if there’s anything you can do to make it stop. Please make sure you KNOW the facts before saying anything. Few things are less attractive than a paranoid person on a hunt when there simply isn’t any prey.
  2. If the information they’ve spread is LIES, you have a right to ask them to set things straight.  If they’ve exaggerated the details (in an attempt to garner sympathy, I suppose), tell them it’d mean the world to you if they’d let the person know they were upset when they spoke about you and that they shouldn’t have said the things they said.
  3. If the person gets angry and defensive, just drop it for the time being. You absolutely cannot reason with someone when they’re like this. Simply say, okay, let’s forget it for now. There’s no need in escalating the situation or helping a hot head get even hotter.

In the end, if you have someone in your life who you think of as “special,” yet they continue to run to others anytime you have an altercation or they tend to paint you in a less than positive light to other people, please ask yourself just how “special” they are.  That’s the “big question” I mentioned in the title. Words convey what’s in our heart. There’s a little flow chart:  OUR FEELINGS —> OUR THOUGHTS —> OUR WORDS. If someone’s words are unkind about an individual, their feelings or thoughts are polluting their words.  That’s why you have to talk to them.

I saw a quote graphic on Pinterest one time that encouraged girls to find a guy  with whom “you know your name is safe in his mouth.” I love that. It can go for guys or gals, of course, but the gist is this: You want someone in your life who… whenever your name is on their tongue… it is as safe as a baby in its mother’s arms.

You should seek to surround yourself with people who you KNOW – beyond a doubt – speak highly of you. People who, whenever they speak your name to ANYONE, there is kindness, love, and even pride involved.

That’s what you deserve. Don’t ever forget that.

Roadblocks to Positive Thinking

Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can't Quote by Henry Ford

Moods are powerful. Not only do they affect our mindset – that is, our sense of optimism and pessimism – they also play a role in our overall health. Studies have shown that people in depressive states have greater instances of heart disease, and there is also a strong correlation between negative moods and other diseases like autoimmune disorders.
To understand how moods affect health, let’s explore something called the fight-or-flight response.

Fight-or-Flight
Stress causes a very specific set of physical symptoms including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shallow breathing
  • Cold sweats
  • Clammy extremities, and
  • Gastro-intestinal distress.

Stress can also trigger your immune system to stop making the antibodies that help you fight disease. That’s because when your brain registers stress, it triggers the fight-or-flight response, which causes the body to direct all its energy toward survival.

Fight-or-flight is only intended to be a temporary response. Once the danger has passed you should release hormones that allow you to relax and return to normal. Unfortunately, many of us live in a constant state of fight-or-flight, and that takes a direct toll on our health.

Interestingly, your body will go into fight-or-flight regardless of the source of stress. So, a saber-toothed tiger will trigger that response, but so will a stressful work environment, riding a rollercoaster, and sexual arousal. The only difference is our perception of the stress, and there are even different words to describe the different perceptions: eustress and distress.

  • Eustress is stress that causes positive emotions. The rollercoaster and sexual arousal are generally considered fun or exciting, and they create a positive association and positive emotions.
  • Distress is stress that causes negative emotions. The tiger and stressful job are generally considered dangerous or unpleasant, and they create negative association and negative emotions.

Eustress doesn’t usually have the same effect on health, even though it triggers the same physiological response as distress. So it appears that the actual emotions, or moods, associated with the stress play an important role.

Improving Mood and Health
Improving your mood is about more than just positive thinking. In fact, positive thinking is really the last part of the process – something that happens after you have overcome other obstacles. For many of us the biggest obstacle could be learning to recognize negative though patters and turn them around. However, there are also those who need a little more help.

Chemical Imbalances
Most human beings are emotional creatures, and those emotions play a large role in how we perceive ourselves and relate to others. While it’s easy to say “just let it go,” it’s often much harder to do. For one thing, much of our emotional response is directly tied to a complex, and delicately balanced, series of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. There are people for whom those neurotransmitters become unbalanced, and no amount of mental exercises can help them release negative emotions. They have to correct the chemical imbalance before they can get their heads into a positive space, and that usually involves taking medication.

Energy Imbalances
There is also the issue of energy. The entire human nervous system is a complex electrical grid that transmits electrical impulses between neurons, and also creates an energy field around your body. This energy field is why machines like the electrocardiogram (EKC) and electroencephalogram (EEG) can read your heart beat and brain waves just by placing electric sensors on your skin. However, the same way that neurotransmitters can become unbalanced, so can the electrical energy field around your body become disrupted, making it difficult to release negative emotions. People with disrupted energy often need an energy healer before they can get their heads into a positive space.

Serious or Chronic Illness
In the introduction we mentioned that there was a correlation between certain diseases and depression. One thing that you have to remember is that correlation does not always mean causation. That is, while it could be said that people with bad mindsets get sick, but it could also be that people who are sick develop bad mindsets as a direct result of their diseases.

For example, stress might trigger heart disease, but heart disease can also cause fatigue, pain, and shortness and other symptoms that can interfere with daily life, which can be emotionally depressing. Autoimmune diseases can also cause fatigue and, depending on the organs affected, can also cause chemical imbalances that lead to depression.

People coping with serious or chronic illnesses often need to focus first on getting a handle on their illnesses before they think about changing their head space. In fact, trying to force positivity might actually create more distress and negative emotions.