Tag Archives: kindness

LOVE

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My first thought was to title this post “A Happy Surprise”, but after thinking about how to write about this happy surprise, I felt the word “Love” was a better fit. If you are new to “My Happy”, welcome! “My Happy” began as a simple scrapbook, in a sense, of the things in my life that add to, strengthen, or create my happiness. It is a way for me to focus on the positives giving me strength, clarity, and appreciation for every day experiences. As I began this journey, I was testing out the positive psychology practices that I had learned.  In doing so,  I wrote “That Makes Me Happy!” a children’s story.

“That Makes Me Happy!” was written and illustrated with love, for my children, and for children everywhere. A passion emerged from my life experiences to show children that we (adults) value happiness and that we love them, whether they are our own child, our neighbor, our friend’s children, our relative, our student, we care about them and want them to feel loved and happy.  

This blog also gave me a doorway to the world. I could connect with people all over the world. I took a chance and reached out to Madame Corinne, a teacher in France.  There was no one to tell me it was right or my story was going to be well received. I only knew in my heart that this story could bring smiles and love. I trusted myself and knew that sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” is sharing my love, and my love is the best thing I can share, right?

Madame Corrine an open-minded, kind, wise teacher accepted my story and used it as a part of her happiness project she had planned for her elementary students. Madame Corinne shares my belief of the importance of teaching children about their ability to create their happiness. Please read about her happiness project here Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project.  Madame Corinne and I have continued to e-mail and share our life experiences and I look forward to learning more from our friendship.

The experience of sharing the story and knowing it was included in a happiness project has been such a gift to me and my family. Love certainly comes back to you and this experience truly came back to me through an amazing surprise from a special teacher and class! Madame Corinne’s class collected their beautiful drawings of happy thoughts they devoted time to during the school year. They created a book “101 Things That Make Us Happy” and sent it to me! I cannot describe in words the happiness I felt when I received the book in the mail. I was close to tears when I realized the children had sent me their original drawings and I saw their happy, loving words.

 

Madame Corinne and her class also felt happy to give such a treasure to me. I would say we all shared much happiness and love. The students made a difference sharing their own happy thoughts. What an amazing lesson for the students to learn.

Thank you, Madame Corinne and all the children for the most precious happiness book ever! I look forward to sharing it. You have all inspired me to keep sharing “That Makes Me Happy!” and creating my happiness because we all deserve to be happy and loved.

“My Happy” readers, I hope this story inspires you to create your happiness and look for opportunities to share your love. I would be happy to hear and share your stories, too. You may comment below or you can e-mail me at thatmakesmehappy@yahoo.com 

 

Websites to be inspired by:

http://www.actionforhappiness.org/

http://www.lifevestinside.com/

 

 

Tiffany’s Holiday Picks for 2016 Gift Giving

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MarbleMist Glass Ultrasonic Diffusing Mister in China Blue Aromatherapy

These MarbleMist aromatherapy beauties fill the air with fragrance that can uplift your mood or calm your mood. So pretty! I found the Marble Mist at http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Mindful Magazine December 2016 issue

Mindful Magazine

Give Mindfulness! Mindful is a mission-driven, reader supported non-profit. Not only does the magazine bring you an understanding of mindfulness meditation with a step-by-step guide. It will continue to give you practices for using mindfulness in your everyday life. I personally enjoy Mindful Magazine’s e-mails that keep me mindful! http://www.mindful.org/magazine

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Clothing with positive sayings are popping up everywhere. While buying these for my children, I had the opportunity to share with them why I like the sayings on these shirts. In this picture the red shirt has “Kind People Are My Kind Of People”. It is a great way to remind our children that kindness is something we value in our family. Not only to be kind to family, but to show kindness to everyone. I was happy to see one for me, too. “Inhale Exhale Love”! Exactly! I found these shirts at Target by the new clothing line “Cat & Jack”. The white “Peace & Love” shirt is from Walmart. I have also noticed shirts with positive messages at Children’s Place clothing store.

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This is my favorite gift pick to write about this year. Our family enjoys shopping at antique stores in our area. My daughter discovered this gingerbread man a few weeks ago while looking for treasures in one of our favorite antique stores. She brought it over to me and asked if she could buy it for her Mimi as a Christmas present. I asked her why she thought her Mimi would like it. My daughter smiled and said “Mimi told me that when she was a little girl she loved to eat gingerbread man cookies.” How special for her to remember what her grandmother had shared with her and to know that this would be a special gift for her Mimi. I would love to hear how other families encourage their children to pick thoughtful gifts. 🙂

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My twin little ones found this You Tube video and we just loved these little snow babies! It was easy to find the materials. We had so much fun making these and it will also be fun to give them away! We obviously made mistakes, got paint on ourselves, spilled rice, and laughed a lot! We still think our snow babies are adorable.

 

 

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A great book for all ages! In fact my good friend, Lois gave this to me as a gift. It is fun to read, beautiful pictures, true happy facts that explain the latest scientific research! It is sure to bring a smile to anyone on your list. I have shared it with students, my own children, and Madame Corinne brought it into her happiness project. Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

Happy holidays to all of you.

May you find peace, love, and kindness during this season.

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Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

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Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project

A Happiness Project taught in a classroom in France brings happiness to a classroom in Spain and to me! Two students taking “The Science of Happiness” course given by the University of California Berkeley were unaware that their paths would happily cross and be mutually beneficial.

My new friend, Madame Corinne, a caring teacher in France to six and seven year old creative students and I connected when Madame Corinne did a Google search and found “My Happy”.  Madame Corinne was kind enough to leave a comment sharing that she was a teacher in France. After reading her comment I was eager to ask Madame Corinne if she would like a copy of That Makes Me Happy! I noticed that her e-mail address came up with her comment on the “My Happy” comment page. I thought about sending her an e-mail, then decided not to. Yes, self-doubt held me back. In the past I would have simply given in to my self-doubt. Instead, I reminded myself how far I had come since my first blog post. I felt good about the writing, the volunteering,  and the learning. One question I now ask myself when I am presented with an opportunity is: “Why not?” I again found myself looking at Madame Corinne’s e-mail address. This time I e-mailed her. I asked if she would like a copy of my story to read to her class. Madame Corinne was so kind to say yes! She was already planning a wonderful Happiness Project for her new class and the story fit right in.

Madame Corinne began her new school year by focusing her students on happiness. I was very honored that she read “That Makes Me Happy” and had her students make Happy Rings as part of her project. Madame Corinne asked her students to think of “3 small happinesses” each morning. Students created pictures and  posted their drawings to a bulletin board.  Below are the pictures Madame Corinne shared with me. Her students were very creative with the Happy Rings. I especially liked how they personalized them, even the smiley faces! Happy Ring total has now reached 127! I also enjoyed looking at all the pictures on the bulletin board.

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Madame Corinne shared her project with a teacher in Spain. Senorita Berta will be teaching her students this happiness project and all the students from each classroom will share their ideas this year! How wonderful!

I was excited I had written that e-mail and in a small way I was apart of these terrific projects. I am still amazed at how simply reaching out has connected me to fellow happiness creators so far from my home. Creating happiness is making a difference to Madame Corinne, Senorita Berta, and their students this year. Madame Corinne’s Happiness Project not only teaches students they can create their happiness, it also teaches students even though we may be living in different countries, we CAN connect, and we CAN make a  POSITIVE difference. Everyone’s ideas are important and we can be happier by sharing them!

Thank you Madame Corinne and Senorita Berta for teaching your students about creating happiness! Thank you for sharing my story. Please thank your students for making Happy Rings!

That Makes Me Happy!

More Pictures 12/5/16

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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—and 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.

 

 

 

Got Emotional Intelligence?

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EIMy family and I practice our EI skills regularly.  This is something I encourage you to take time for. Please be sure to do a “self-check” before your try to teach it to your kids or the people in your life. Expecting your children to learn and use these skills only works if you “Lead By Example”.  We are role models to everyone around us.  Trying to improve and strengthen your emotional intelligence will help your children or the people you are closest to.  The following is practical information to begin learning and strengthening your Emotional Intelligence.

 

“Emotional Intelligence is the set of abilities that helps us get along in life with other people in all kinds of situations.”  ~Maurice H. Elias, Ph.D.    Rutgers University

Emotional intelligence is a wide range of skills that children (and adults) can develop and improve.  Developing and improving these skills are critical for emotional well-being and life success.

The following are social and emotional skills to focus on:

  • happiness and optimism
  • self-regard (self-compassion)
  • emotional self-awareness
  • assertiveness
  • independence
  • self-actualization
  • empathy
  • social responsibility
  • interpersonal relationship
  • flexibility
  • problem solving
  • stress tolerance
  • impulse control
  • conflict resolution

Please note, happiness and optimism are at the top of this list.  It is my opinion that they should be.  If we focus on happiness and optimism we will be strengthening many of the other skills on this list. “My Happy” is full of ideas to strengthen your happiness and optimism.  Many of my posts discuss self-awareness. We need to be aware of our thoughts and realize we can control them and choose to be positive. Using positive thinking can improve other skills.  Take flexibility for instance. I realized that I have difficulty with this at times. In fact, I can really get annoyed  when plans change at the last-minute.  My initial reaction was to become upset and react negatively (grumpiness, I know, hard to believe..ha ha).  After realizing I did this, I had more control over it. Now when something happens that forces me to be flexible (when I don’t want to) I still may initially react negatively, but I can usually catch myself and change my attitude. 🙂 My improvement happened as a result of  practicing positive thinking which contributed to my being a more flexible thinker.

Learning and improving these skills is important for everyone. Not only does it improve your social and emotional well-being, it leads to a more successful life.  This is a topic that I have wanted to share with others, especially caregivers because I know the value of these skills for children. Not only does it help children do well socially and emotionally, it increases learning potential.

As I continued my research in this area, I found CASEL. The Collaborative for Social and Emotional Learning, based at the University of Illinois at Chicago, seeks to enhance children’s success in school and life by promoting evidence-based social, emotional, and academic learning as an essential part of education from preschool through high school. I am looking forward to someday having SEL in schools world-wide.  Website: http://www.casel.org or check them out in my twitter feed!

Books to read:

EI Goleman         EI parenting

more to come…..

 

 

“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. 🙂

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. 🙂 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. 😉 )

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. 😀

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

🙂 ~feeling thankful