Tag Archives: friends

Happy Book Launch

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Ringing the singing bowl to focus our hearing

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patiently waiting

 

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

my favorite part, reading the story and seeing smiles

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My friend, Margit has supported every step of my happiness journey and made these cookies for the book launch. She hand did each face!

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smiles

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I think these cookies stole the show! ūüėČ

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Happy drawings!!!

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Getting to write special messages was so fun!

 

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Margit’s cookies made everyone smile

untitledThis photo was taken at the next reading I did for story time at our library during vacation week. We used masks to act out the story. So cute!

 

 

We had a very happy book launch at my town’s library, thank you to all the librarians and a special thank you to Lindsey and Becky! Celebrating with my family and friends always makes me happy.¬† I always know I can depend on them to be as happy as I am to come together and celebrate, especially for something they know means so much to me. ¬†A number one priority to creating your happiness is to strengthen your social connections. I hope they know how much I appreciate their support, especially at my happy book launch. Sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” and making Happy Rings with¬†my family and friends was truly one of the happiest days I have ever had.

Twenty-five families attended and listened to the reading of “That Makes Me Happy!”.¬† All the children were terrific listeners and participants. The event was also attended by¬† Alison, a reporter from our local newspaper.¬† I look forward to reading¬†the article¬†and seeing the pictures. There was so much going on and I wished I could have chatted more and been able to talk to each child about their drawings.¬†During the book launch children made their happy thought circles and then added it to a Happy Ring to take home. My friend Kim shared with me that her son’s¬†happy thought was me! I was very surprised and almost cried! How sweet was that!James and Tiffany

It was also¬†very heartwarming when one friend shared her enthusiasm for the “Happy Rings” and how her sons have¬†been able to have fun using them for calming strategies. She was very kind to post this comment on “My Happy”:

“That Makes Me Happy! was read in my son‚Äôs preschool class and he loved it! He was excited to share with the family the Happy Ring he had created. To this day, I use the techniques described in the book and the Happy Ring as calming strategies for both of my boys. They always end up smiling and laughing with each other. Tiffany, I am so happy to share in your special day tomorrow as you launch the book. Congratulations on your amazing accomplishment!” Amy

It was also important to me to explain some of the great research that led to my motivation to write “That Makes Me Happy!”. First, I explained the work of Richard Davidson. Richard Davidson is a neuroscientist and emotional specialist. At a recent conference hosted by The Mind and Life Institute, Davidson talked about his center’s work in the field of contemplative neuroscience.¬† He says one of the most important insights this work is leading us to is: we can train for well-being. “It is the neuroscientific evidence particularly which shows us that the circuits in the brain that are important to underlying well-being exhibit plasticity–it changes as a consequence of experience and as a consequence of training.¬† We know that the brain is constantly being changed, wittingly or unwittingly.”¬† “We can all take responsibility for our own brains and we can shape our own brains in ways that are more positive and can lead to the cultivation of well-being.”

Read more about Richard Davidson’s work at: http://www.centerhealthyminds.org

Next, I¬†shared the information about the course given by UC Berkeley, “The Science of Happiness”. Not only does this course cover all the latest research in positive psychology, it also teaches students happiness practices to cultivate well-being. ¬†Although it is a 10 week course, if you are not taking it to earn credit, you have the materials for six months and may take it at your own pace.¬† Between the discussion groups and Facebook page there is opportunity to connect with people from all over the world. Simply hearing the stories of others looking to learn more about positive well-being is very uplifting.

Read more at http://www.greatergoodsciencecenter.org

Local organizations that support SEL in other ways are

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http://www.friendshipconnectiononline.com/

http://www.artfullifecenter.org/

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Lastly, I organized a “Happiness Bundle” for my town library. I have pictured the books I included below. I tried to think of everyone, whether you are an avid reader, a magazine flipper, a movie watcher or a parent looking for children’s books about happiness. I feel like this is the best grouping of books that I have read in the sea of new happiness books. If you live in my area, I hope you get¬† chance to borrow some of these finds. ūüôā If you are not, your own library may have some of these titles. If not, you can ask them if they could get them in.

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As you can see I have a lot to share! The title “That Makes Me Happy!” truly describes what all this is about, Creating My Happy! I hope that it also Creates YOUR Happy!

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so HAPPY! ūüôā A special thank you to Olivia for taking pictures at the book launch and Lois for taking pictures at the story time. Thank you to Margit for the delicious custom cookies and¬†to Alex, my excellent assistant¬†at the launch.

 

I Did It!

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Happy Rings

“Happiness is not something ready made.¬† It comes from your own actions.”¬† Dalai Lama¬†

I did it, with help, support, and encouragement but I did it! I had an idea for a story to teach children (preschool through 2nd grade) how to help themselves to be happy. The story also concludes with making a personal ring of pictures. Using the ring will help children practice 3 happy habits deep breaths, smiling, and thinking a happy thought.

Each small step I¬†took towards a happier me made a difference.¬†No matter how big or small the¬†differences¬†were, it is still a positive difference. I want to be¬†a person¬†who creates change for the better. If you want greater good, you have to be the good. The following paragraph¬†includes¬†the strategies I have been writing about that helped me this past year, and more specifically with¬†writing the children’s story.

Not letting excuses get in my way, leaning on friends and family, listening (with my ears and heart), using a Growth Mindset for myself and others, taking risks, not allowing negativity in other areas of my life get me down, keeping my working materials ready and available, visualizing, deep breaths, meditating, using everyday bravery, focusing on the positives, taking time to be creative, being mindful, being thankful, not giving up, and of course, blogging.

I am grateful that I had this opportunity to focus on this project. I am thankful to the teachers and children who welcomed me into their classroom, listened to my story and created their “Happy Rings”. The pure joy I feel teaching in itself is rewarding. Seeing those sweet faces and bright smiles! Admiring the¬†teachers who work diligently to create a loving, supportive, and comfortable¬†environment for each of their amazing students to then be open to new learning.¬†¬†Wow! The only thing that made this experience truly amazing for me was¬†sharing my ideas and teaching about my FAVORITE subject, HAPPINESS! Wow! Wow!

These have been some of my actions. I would LOVE to hear about yours, big or small! You can comment below or e-mail me to share your information privately.

This¬†has been¬†the perfect way to conclude my first year of blogging. ¬†Today is the one year date of my very first post “Lead By Example”. Thank all of you for reading “My Happy, ¬†Creating Your Happy” and giving me positive feedback. Thank you to WordPress for designing a user-friendly site and for sending¬†me this congratulations¬†for “My Happy’s” 1st anniversary! I look forward to expanding my blog with a page for kids!

Achievement

1 Year Anniversary Achievement
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com one year ago!
Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social and Emotional Learning

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This video, 5 Keys to Social-Emotional Learning Success, was shared from Edutopia’s YouTube channel. I thought this video would be helpful in understanding SEL.

Social-emotional¬†learning (SEL)¬†is happening in the U.S.,¬† China, the UK, and Singapore! Some of my¬†friends get excited about new technology, some get excited about new fashion trends, others get excited about the latest music…I get excited about social-emotional learning!!!

Validated by research, social-emotional learning is shown to enhance academic success as it actually reduces stress levels in that pursuit. It prevents negative behaviors and gives students the “soft skills” they will need to flourish in today’s work environments.¬† It also promotes positive relationships and attitudes about school, and in general.

Studies¬†with toddlers show that we really are “born to be good”.¬† In his book Born to Be Good,¬†UC Berkeley professor (and Greater Good Science Center Director) Dacher Keltner discusses our natural tendency to be good.¬† Keltner makes the case based on research in psychology, sociology, and neuroscience that we are also wired for good. More specifically, he looks at the science of emotions and how positive emotions such as compassion and awe are contagious‚ÄĒand help to bring out the good not only in ourselves, but in others as well. (Taken from:¬†¬†Social-Emotional Learning: Why Now?¬† by: Vicki Zakrzewski¬†Ph.D.)

SEL cultivates our self-awareness.  Focusing on understanding our emotions, positive and negative, to help us navigate the classroom, workplace, our relationships and the decisions we make in life.

Again (if you are a regular here at “My Happy”), positive emotions such as gratitude, tranquility, love and joy expand our hearts and minds which helps us to share and connect with the people in our lives and increase our learning potential. Also, as I have previously mentioned, there are times¬†everyone experiences¬†negative emotions and difficult experiences, however, our children will be better equipped to handle those times with this kind of learning.

I have created an SEL page where I have taken information from various sources to explain what SEL is and why it should be a priority in our homes, schools and communities. I also included websites where you can find more information. Take a look at the Social and Emotional Learning Page to learn more about it. 

 

I would love to hear about what you think! You can write a comment or e-mail me at tiffanylynne_14@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

What Are You Focusing On In 2015?

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IMG_20150105_144042894 Journal given to me from my positive friend, Danielle

 

 

 

Focus, or “directed attention” has been life changing for me. When I first read¬†about an exercise to understand the power of our mind’s focus, I did not realize what an impact this would have for me.¬† I was reading about focusing thoughts. The writer asked the reader to think of the color red and notice how suddenly you would see red everywhere.¬† It was a cold winter day and I was reading¬†in the pick up line at my son’s¬†school.¬† I thought to myself, how funny, this won’t work with everything so white with snow. Driving home I noticed a red car, red door, another red car, red lights, and so on. Some of you may laugh and think, well that’s really not that unpredictable. Next, the writer suggests thinking about something bigger. I chose something that I wanted to have to help me exercise, but I didn’t want to spend the money for it. This took longer. I thought about it daily for weeks. One day I happen to find what I wanted and it was free for the taking (used, of course). This got my attention and I decided to keep an open mind as I¬†read more about the importance of our focus.

It’s rather simple if you think about it. Focus on positives and you will not only feel better, but you will open your eyes to let in more positives than you saw before.¬† I always thought of myself as making efforts to see the “glass half full” but, what I realized is that it is more than that. It is taking the time to really notice all the wonderful happenings or things around you that fill your world with positivity.¬† If you focus on negatives, you may only see the negative and miss other positives that are happening all around you.

Researcher, Richard Wiseman, conducted studies to understand why some people seemed luckier than others. He asked volunteers to read through a newspaper and count how many photos were in it. There were two groups of people: people who claimed to be lucky and people who felt they were unlucky. The lucky people were quicker to know the number of pictures than the unlucky people in this task. On the second page of the paper there was a large message reading “Stop counting, there are 43 photos in this newspaper.” It seems the people who felt unlucky missed the message. The people who felt lucky saw it.¬† This study and others like it show that people who focus on the positives are more optimistic. Optimism leads to being more¬†observant of positive opportunities. People who don’t feel lucky¬†(or who¬†do not seek out positives)¬†may miss out on positive things all around them.

“My Happy”¬†is one way for me to¬†stay focused on the positives. What better way to organize information for myself and others to benefit from? I didn’t realize all the other wonderful things that would come from this happiness¬†blog.

I have friends and family who supported me by reading or following this blog. Besides that apparent support, I had¬†many opportunities for¬†wonderful conversations about things I was writing about.¬†I realized my¬†friends and family shared my interests. Some examples¬†of focusing on the positives leading to increased positivity for me were:¬†¬†receiving¬†a daily positive quote book,¬†learning about¬†twitter,¬†receiving current information to add to my blog, sharing of a¬†book¬†¬†“14,000 Things to be Happy About”,¬†¬†receiving a journal to help me organize all my ideas.¬†One of my favorite results was¬†when my older son told me he thinks¬†my blog is¬†“cool”!( If you are a parent, you know how amazing¬†THAT is)¬†Staying focused on the positives and opening up about it has led to these experiences and more for me. These may sound like small things, but aren’t the small daily connections we make so important?

My positive friend Lois, who encouraged my idea to blog and guided me to WordPress, led me to a community of bloggers which I have received support and encouragement from. It has also given me the opportunity to learn from their blogs and gain new perspectives from all over the world!

I hope you are excited about practicing this simple strategy of directing your attention to the positivity around you, if you¬†don’t already, in 2015! May your focus on positivity lead to more positivity!

Below is the 2nd¬†“Happy Discovery” (previous post) for grown ups.¬†¬†My positive friend, Margit, shared this book with me. I loved reading about this writer, Barbara Ann Kipfer.¬†She started her happiness journal in 6th grade! Reading through this book really puts a smile on your face. ūüôā

Tiffany Phone Jan 2015 001Tiffany Phone Jan 2015 002

Barbara Ann Kipfer also has a website http://www.thingstobehappyabout.com

A very special thank you to Patricia and Dan for staying so positive when my family can be a handful, awesome, but a handful.

To my friend Kim for staying positive through a tough situation, you inspire me!

 

Here’s To A Happy New Year! (Are you with me?)

“Cloud of Love” Gift of Love

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Are you looking for a special gift for someone you love?¬†“Cloud of Love”¬†is something I did with my kids for birthday gifts in our family. I thought you might like the idea for the holidays. For those of you who might not know, Clouds are groups of words showing categories viewed on blogs, websites, and other social media. This “Cloud” though, is created of reasons why you love your special someone.

The title of the “Cloud” can¬†include the person’s age. For example, 60 Reasons We Love Mimi.¬† I chose to use the person’s age to determine how many reasons¬†are used. You can choose¬†to do the¬†same or another number that is¬†meaningful to you.¬† List reasons using different sizes, colors, even fonts, if you are computer savvy¬†or simply use paper with crayons, markers, or pens.

Once you have created your cloud, it could be framed or placed in the front of a photo album (They still make these, right?). You could also include pictures of the person with you or your children. I have¬†given a partial¬†example below. (There are not¬†60 reasons in the example.¬†It gives you the idea, though.) ¬†I also included it as a document link. I think you could use it as a template, please let me know if you try it. ūüôā

https://myhappydotme.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/60-reasons-we-love-mimi2.docx

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Happiness for the Holidays

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happy holidaysJust like adults, children sometimes have stress, anxieties, or get overly excited during the holiday season.  Here are a few strategies to help yourself and your child enjoy the holidays and each other:

Be sure to do a self-check. If you are getting nervous, stressed or frustrated trying to “do it all”. It will surely trickle down to your children. Don’t be shy to ask for help! It’s okay to ask for help because it will strengthen your relationships.

Make sure you don’t get overwhelmed by keeping what is truly important in mind, your beliefs in the holiday your family¬†celebrates, your family, and helping or appreciating¬†others as well. It’s a great time of year to show appreciation to others who help your family in some way. Also, it is a¬†time to help other families who may need it during the holidays.

Make lists and keep a journal. Making lists of items you need to buy or things you need to get accomplished. Be sure to write down a day you would like these tasks to be done. I also started to keep a journal of holiday giving to help me remember from year to year what we have given.

It’s also a good time of year to give to charities, food pantries, and shelters. Schools and stores usually have toy or gift drives. Wal-Mart, for example,¬†has a giving tree with gift requests on it. You can¬†select a¬†tag off the tree, buy the request, and then give it to the customer service staff member. This is a good thing to do with your children so that they understand the importance of giving, even to other families¬†they may not know.

A side note regarding donations. There are organizations in your area that need families to make donations which help your own community.  One way to make donating easier is by making a payment monthly for one year. Small monthly donations can be given automatically through your bank to the recipient.   This commitment is actually better for the recipient.

Strategies For Kids:

Give kids age appropriate “jobs” to help with holiday preparations. One idea is wrapping gifts. Cut paper to size of gift. Give your child sized paper, pieces of tape (or if old enough, the tape dispenser), bows, and a bag to place when finished. Here is the big tip for you: Love however they wrap the gift! Sometimes we have to “let go” of how we might do something because it’s all good. ūüôā The recipient will enjoy your child’s wrapping abilities no matter what. Other jobs may include: help with cleaning (socks on hands to dust is always fun), decorating, cooking, and making gifts.

Deep breaths (in through the nose, out through the mouth) and exercise daily.  Kids need to be taught how to take a deep breath. Elementary teachers sometimes  explain to their students, it is like smelling flowers and blowing out  birthday candles. Be sure to tell them to only do one deep breath, but remind them a few times during the day. If you practice this daily, your children will be able to use it more effectively when they really need it to calm themselves. Exercise is very important for your children to keep calm as well. An easy indoor activity is Freeze Dancing. Turn on your favorite tunes, but when the music goes off, you freeze! The kids really like this and they get some exercise.

Read and discuss holiday traditions along with their usual favorite books. (Bedtime is a great time for this. Kids are very open to conversations at this time. Especially if they get to stay up a little late. ūüėČ )

Emphasize Giving Make or buy gifts together for others. Include them in buying for the toy or gift drive you donate to. It will get your child thinking about how others need our support.

Teach expected behaviors for giving and receiving. For example, when receiving a gift always say “thank you” and something kind about the gift. When giving a gift watch the person open it and respond to a thank you with “you’re welcome”. This not only gives them the words to use,¬†it¬†provides¬†the opportunity to learn about gratitude.

If you are visiting another home for a holiday party be sure to tell your kids beforehand the usual sequence of events and what is expected of them during the party. Remind them that expected behavior is important for everyone to have fun and stay safe. If you have a child who has difficulty in these less structured events, be certain to respect any concerns they have and help them to¬†feel comfortable. It’s okay to request information from the host or bring something with you to help your child feel more comfortable. Don’t put your feelings or anxieties on them, however. Don’t ask or suggest anything negative, simply listen if they bring up a concern and reassure them that you will help them if needed.

Older kids need support, too.¬†They would benefit¬†by your sharing the above strategies with them (in your own words) and ask them what they might like to try this year. It may just be the conversation starter you are looking for. (Don’t forget…bedtime is a great time to ask and listen.)

Hopefully, you are also working on your happiness with visualizing, family cheers, exercise, getting rest, being thankful, being mindful, meditating, self-compassion, and thinking positive thoughts. Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to create amazing memories for your family and others. I hope this helps you and your children enjoy this special time of year. Please share some of your own strategies that have helped your holidays be happy in the comment section. I look forward to learning from you!

More to come……

 

 

Do You See My Twitter Feed?

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Blogging has led to tweeting on Twitter and following tweets! If you haven’t tried this yet, please do! Even if you are a bit shy, it is such a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people. Happy, positive, fun people!

First of all, you can “tweet” about what is important to you or simply about things that make you…..(you know what I am going to say, right?) happy! Others can “like”¬†your tweets and follow YOU.¬† Another fun feature is when you find something you like, you can “retweet” it! Maybe your friend’s tweet, or something you want your friends to learn about, or just something that made you laugh and you want to share it. ūüėÄ

Secondly, you can find people or groups¬†on twitter that you are interested in and follow their tweets. They don’t have to be your friend. If you really like one of their tweets, you can click on their link to learn more!

Lastly, even when you’re not actively finding others, they can find you! I have made connections with some wonderful people and groups.¬† Some of which I searched for and some I connected with when they found me.

You never know, you¬†might have fun if you give it a try.¬†Please, though, look at my Twitter Feed conveniently located in my sidebar¬† under Blog Hits. ¬†You do not need to be registered with Twitter to read my feed.¬†I will¬†be bringing tweets to your attention, but anytime you see a tweet that is interesting, you¬†can easily click on its link! “My Happy” posts will appear as tweets, but other tweets¬†will be information that is similar or supports¬† “My Happy” content.

I was prompted to share my feed on “My Happy” when I found some great links. If you like what I have been blogging about, I know you will really like them.

Please take a look at the December 4th retweet  The Power & Science of Social Connection: Emma Seppälä TEDx . It is about compassion, kindness, and of course, happiness! Emma Seppälä  brings our attention to current research regarding compassion and why it is important for us to have it for others and ourselves. Hoping this video reminds you to be  kind to yourself and others.

Thanks for reading!

A Happy Discovery

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Thanks for watching my video post about:

100 Things That Make Me HAPPY

Did you know libraries have many fun activities for children, whether it is a story time, a puppet show, or a visit from the “Whale Mobile”? Don’t be shy! Check out your town and surrounding town library websites to learn more. It is a great place to meet new friends¬†and of course, find great books!

Have a happy day!

 

Thankful

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Thankful

This was my first Thanksgiving as a blogger. In fact, my blog is about happiness, positive thinking, social thinking, emotional intelligence and being grateful! It is the perfect opportunity to write about how much we need to have gratitude to be happy, how our children need to be taught how to be thankful and why, that studies are showing happy and resilient people are the most grateful people! Unfortunately, I was stumped. I let the holiday slip by without a terrific post about having an attitude of gratitude!

I researched and found many wonderful posts, articles, studies regarding this special holiday and it overwhelmed me. I felt an obligation to give my readers something they have not seen elsewhere, something special. Instead, I started to feel like I wasn’t doing enough anywhere in my life. I didn’t make super cute crafts with my kids, I didn’t have them write any thank yous, I¬†only read one¬†Thanksgiving story.¬† I was caring for my¬†sick kids (colds being passed to each other), trying to figure out how to balance¬†my family’s needs¬†with my needs¬†during these last few weeks, stay well myself, not to mention trying to be a supportive wife, friend, and sister.

So, I took a deep breath. I decided to take my own advice and be kind to myself. Instead of feeling badly¬†about what I didn’t do,¬†I thought back to the memories of Thanksgivings past with my family as a child. I tried to do some of the things we¬†had done then that made the time together seem so special. Little things, like celery with cream cheese, using little leaf dishes, and turkey napkins. Once we were seated for dinner, I said¬†a blessing and my husband asked each of us¬†to name one thing we were grateful for.¬†We, then,¬†simply enjoyed each other for the rest of the day.

I do hope my readers who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful holiday. Whether it be this holiday or another that you might share some of my experience, I would love to hear about it.

Thankful for friends, family,¬†¬†“My Happy” readers, and¬†all who care for my family

Happy for each new day

Always hopeful
Never sad for too long
Kindness is appreciated
Say I love you, often
Give even a little
Invest in your loved ones
Visit every chance you get
I am wishing everyone peace and love
No worries
Get some rest

ūüôā ~feeling thankful

 

Kindness For You, Not Excuses

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Everywhere there are acts of kindness taking place. Our local channel for children has a kindest kid contest, teachers have kindness walls, counselors are telling of kindness as the key to successful relationships, I want to bring your attention to one of the most important ways to be kind that you might be missing.

I’m sure you are kind to your children or children you care for, I’m sure you are kind to your husband, wife, extended family, friends, colleagues, church groups, sales clerks, and I could go on. My question is, are you kind to yourself?

You are a very important person in your life, you are your first best friend, have you appreciated yourself lately? Are you chuckling to yourself right now reading this? I hope it is because you know I am right! It is called self-compassion. Be sure to take time to nurture yourself, create your happiness (of course, I had to say that), take a break, smell the roses, and appreciate yourself. We tend to be our own worse critics. We¬†will judge ourselves where we wouldn’t judge or criticize another.¬† This is a current area of research because so many of us have difficulty with this. However you treat and see yourself, others will too.

This is especially important if you do have children.¬†Your children will learn about self-compassion by the example that you set.¬†¬†I discovered inspiring books for my children by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer¬†which help them to understand¬†self compassion, self-awareness¬†and ¬†improve their self-confidence.¬†Dr. Dyer¬†wrote “Incredible You” and “Unstoppable Me”, among others.¬† These, like many children’s books, are wonderful to read over and over throughout your children’s childhood. Because my children liked¬† these books, I looked for another. I then found, “No Excuses!”

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“No Excuses!” is a¬†story of a young boy who loved sea turtles and dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. My oldest son and I refer to this book often as a reminder to stay focused on our goals.¬†¬†The first time I read¬†this with my son, I learned a lesson myself!

Dr. Dyer¬†writes this story to¬†increase children’s understanding of¬†what excuses are, where they come from¬†and not to let excuses stand in the way of their dreams.¬† I had never really thought about my own excuses in the way he described.¬† At the end of this book I noticed that Dr. Dyer had written a more¬†in-depth book for adults titled “EXCUSES BEGONE!”¬† How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits. Got it, read it, and I would recommend it, if you find yourself holding back because of excuses. This was where I first realized how strong our mindsets are but,¬†how possible it is to change them. When I asked my children to believe in themselves that they can do anything with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking….why was I not telling myself the same?

I hope¬†YOU know that with effort, a good support team, and positive thinking¬†¬†you can do anything! Are you telling yourself the same?¬†Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t let your excuses stand in the way of reaching your goals, big or small. ūüôā