Self-Care Idea #358: Give yourself a break

SELF-CARE ACT#358

give yourself a break

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Two days ago, a friend messaged me on FB:

“Hey Mimi, almost the end of the challenge. If you were to do it again, would you do it?”

This question came at the right time.

Yesterday was day 358 of the self-care journey. 358 of trying new ideas and blogging about it.

It was a lot of self-care and a lot of work too.

You know the story: “no days off, no sick days, writing every day, trying something new every day”

I replied: “I’d think about it twice. I might have been discouraged if I knew the discipline it required. Now that’s it’s almost over, I’m glad I didn’t know it would be that hard.”

That’s the truth and it can’t be more true now that the journey is almost over.

I go through lots of ups and downs.

Sometimes, I’m so happy about all I’ve done. And I feel like the self-care journey is already over.

Other times, usually in the evening, when I’m tired, when it’s cold and when I’m heading to the coffee shop to write instead of staying home, enjoying the peace of a quiet house, I feel like it will never end.

I’m so discouraged. So tired. I don’t want to write. I don’t want to try a new thing. I just want to be done. And even with Hubby or His Dudeness telling me “hey, you have a few days left” I just can’t put things in perspective and see that a few days is nothing in a 365 journey.

That’s how I felt yesterday.

I read my list of self-care ideas at least 10 times. None of them inspired me. I went to work, tried different ideas: have coffee with my colleagues, give self-care advice to my boss…

None of them convinced me.

I decided to postpone thinking about it.

When the evening came, I went to the coffee shop to write the day-before self-care act.

Again, I wasn’t able to get enthusiastic about a self-care idea for the day.

I decided I’d think about it at home.

Back home, all I wanted was to stay in Hubby’s arms, under my blanket.

That’s what I did and that’s also when I decided that my self-care would be to give myself a break and have a self-care blank day.

Self-care too.

WHY IS IT SELF-CARE? Giving yourself a break, letting yourself be will help you release the pressure you-and other people- put on you. You can be on top pf the game all the time and it feels great to accept it.

 

MORE ABOUT THIS

Since I’m giving myself a break, I’m not writing anything in this section…

It feels good 🙂

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Career & Life Advice From People Who Made It To The Top

Career & Life Advice From People Who Made It To The Top

Success means different things from one person to another. There are various routes you can take to get to the top. Unfortunately, those routes are not a one-size-fits-all, and that is why you should learn from the most successful people on the planet. Get some career and life advice from those who have succeeded before you. They might have done something great, that you might wish to follow or even better in your own way.

Know who you are and what you want in life

According to Curt Richardson, the founder of Otterbox, understanding who you are and what you want is the key to success. In other words, you need to know what is in your heart.

If you know that you want to be an entrepreneur, you need to follow that dream. You will never find success until you find the core of what you want to build. Knowing what truly matters is vital. By finding a way to make it as your career, then you’ll see opportunities in every corner.

Taylor Swift also believes that not knowing yourself is the downfall of every person. She considers self-awareness as an integral part of helping her achieve her goals.

Cast a wide net

The head of HP Inc in the UK, George Brasher, worked in various places and played different functions for 26 years at HP. And he considered the experience as invaluable. By casting a wide net, he learned what he is good at and what he enjoyed doing. He also valued working in various areas of the firm because he had time to build his network, which is crucial in his career later on. Without many contrasting experiences, you might never find out what your true passion is in life.

“What Is Success” High Achievers Define What Success Means To Them…

Don’t dwell on failures

Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin Group, advised to never look back with regret. In other words, don’t waste your time dwelling on failures. Instead, use your energy for another project. He considers a setback as a learning curve but not a bad experience.

Reverse engineer

Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder and CEO of VaynerMedia, said that “reverse-engineer” has changed him. By reverse-engineer, he means that he goes back to his big dream and find out what steps need to be taken to realize his dream. He further added that you do not need to mimic what one successful person did. Instead, you must only do what is right for you.

Exercise restraint

Warren Buffett said that one of the best pieces of advice he got that helped his career was from one of the board of directors of Berkshire Hathaway, Thomas Murphy. He told Buffett that he could tell one person to go to hell tomorrow. But keep your mouth shut today. In other words, you need to practice restraint.

It was his key to build his networks, which are vital in business. Warren also stated that you need to emulate those people you admire and adopt their qualities if you wish to make friends and get along with your colleagues.

Build necessary skills 

Tony Robbins, regarded by many as the greatest success coach in history, said that Jim Rohn gave him advice that helped his career. He said that Jim taught him to find a way to build invaluable skills that can add value to the company, employees, and clients.

As you build those skills, your gifts will easily make room for you. In other words, you need to develop and enhance skills that you lack. And these skills must be something that no one else can do in your company.

Get any job 

Melanie Whelan, the CEO of SoulCycle, advised new college graduates just to get a job, any job, and work hard. Whatever job you have, you will learn a lot of things. She said not to stress too much about what kind of job it is or where it is. Just take it and work hard. Melanie said that job seekers must live in the present and stop focusing on what is ahead of them. The most important thing here is that you work hard and learn from it. By doing so, you can expect good things to happen or follow.

Ask for help 

Steve Jobs called tech founder Bill Hewlett to ask him if he could give him spare computer parts. But the tech founder ended up giving Steve a job. Steve said that the key to success is to ask for help. If you ask for help, people will assist you.

Love what you do

The most successful people in the world are also the happiest in their careers. Dr. Anne Chapas, the owner of Union Square Laser Dermatology, said that her mother reminded her always to love what you do every day as you will spend most of your day doing that job. That’s why you need to find your passion and interest. In that way, you can enjoy the challenges. Dr. Anne likes going to work, and her kids see it. She encourages them to find their own passion, too, and develop it into a career.

The post Career & Life Advice From People Who Made It To The Top appeared first on Fearless Motivation – Motivational Videos & Music.

Forget About Your Receipts and Get Instant Cash Reward Now With This App

Everyone these days are looking for ways to save money on the items that they buy. One of the more popular ways that manufacturers use to get consumers to buy their product is to offer a rebate after the purchase is made. In the past, these came in the form of an often inconvenient mail-in system that required you to follow a certain set of rules just to get the promised rebate.

With the advancement in technology, the mail in a portion of the rebate game has been replaced with a much more convenient method; the smartphone and an app called ibotta.

Revamp Your Reward Experience with Ibotta

With the advancement in technology, the mail in a portion of the rebate game has been replaced with a much more convenient method; the smartphone and an app. Using your cellphone camera an easy to use the app, you are able to instantly earn money back from specific purchases on things that you bought. The app is called ibotta and it can be one of best apps you will ever download.

No more needing to jump through hoops of following very tedious steps in order to receive the money that the manufacturer was offering to entice you to buy their products. Instead, you download an easy to use the app from the App Store (Apple iPhone) or Google Play.

Easy To Use Real Time Cash Back System

Once you have the app installed on your iPhone it is really easy to use. There is no need to do a whole lot of steps in order to get started and to get the most out of it. More and more manufacturers are getting behind the idea of using this method in order to entice consumers to buy their products.

Whether you are shopping for groceries, electronics or even healthcare products, you are likely going to find and unlock rebate offers on most of the things that you buy on a regular basis. The whole process only takes a few minutes and you can use it as frequently as you want to.

Unlike the old-fashioned mail-in rebates of yesteryear that you had to fill out a form, send in a receipt and jump through a whole lot of hoops in order to collect your rebate that the manufacturer offers you for making a purchase, Ibotta: Cash Back Rebate App pays you instantly and all you have to do is keep and take a picture of your receipt and submit the picture to prove that you bought it.

Getting Cash Back Has Never Been That Easy 

After hearing about this app from several people I decided to give it a shot. I remember how inconvenient the old mail in rebates used to be and I am glad to see that creator of the ibotta app found a great way to make it fun and easy to take advantage of all of the manufacturer’s rebates that are available to everyone. I found it extremely easy to get signed up and the app is really easy to use it. I would give it 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

The App is an amazing way to pay yourself back for making purchases of products that are available online. Your money is sent to you instantly and you don’t need to jump through any hoops in order to earn the money. You simply choose a product you are needing to buy, answer a question to unlock the rebate and take a picture of the receipt showing your purchase of the product.

Ibotta is now available on App store and Google Play.

The post Forget About Your Receipts and Get Instant Cash Reward Now With This App appeared first on Lifehack.

Alone This Christmas? Here’s 8 Ways To Rock It Solo

While most of us are celebrating Christmas with family and friends it’s easy to forget that some are spending it alone. As someone who has spent Christmas alone, I know first-hand how sad, lonely, and down-right depressing this is.

I’m going to be alone again this year, but unlike other times, I’m looking forward to it. I plan on spending the day with a few drinks, vegging on the couch, and eating myself into a food coma.

No, I’m not anti-social, or a humbug, and I’m not crazy. And yes, I have family, but we don’t get along, and I’m currently rebuilding my social network, so I don’t have anyone close to hang out with.

But I’m OK with that.

“How are you so relaxed about it?” I hear you ask.

Simple. It is what it is.

I’m not being blaze about it. In fact it’s the complete opposite. Life is about ups-and downs, twists and turns. Rather than dwell on it and play the victim I see it as a ‘new chapter’ and an opportunity to grow.

Being OK spending Christmas, or any other day for that matter, alone didn’t just happen. It took me ages to get there, and a lot of hard work and investment in myself, as well. I mediate daily, practice self-care, do correct breathing exercises, and count my blessings. All that effort has paid off as the whole experience has made me a better man in the process: I’ve learned to enjoy my company, gained new skills, rekindled old hobbies and found new ones, improved my fitness, ditched the negative people in my life, spend more time being present, and have become more active in my community, amongst other things.

Misery Loves Company

I understand most of you may not be so relaxed and comfortable spending Christmas alone as I am. Some of you might even be dreading it. When you compound that with a mix of seemingly endless, mind-numbing media commercials telling us that Christmas is a time for family, friends, and ‘ the season to be jolly’, being alone on ‘the big day’ becomes even harder.

If you’re like I was you’ll probably jump on social media in attempt to escape your feelings, but chances are you’ll wind up teary eyed as you scroll through the seemingly endless updates, photos and videos of revellers having the time of their lives. You’ll tell yourself “I’m not doing that again,” but know ten minutes later you’ll be back at it.

Misery loves company, as the saying goes.

I think it’s safe to assume that’s not going to help, so here’s 8 ways to rock it solo this Christmas. These have all worked for me at one time or another. Chances are they’ll work for you, too. At the very least they’ll take your mind off things for a while. Remember, you are responsible for your thoughts and feelings. You can either do something and make the most of it, or wallow in self-pity – choice is yours. Doing the things suggested below don’t just help on Christmas day, either; they help anytime of the year.

8 Ways To Rock It Solo

  • Help serve lunch/dinner at a nursing home, respite center, or soup kitchen
  • Write/journal
  • Plan your next vacation
  • Attend a public event in your city/town – there’s always something going on
  • Indulge in Netflix, or re-runs of your favourite TV show or movie – I spent one Christmas alone watching the entire James Bond movies back to back
  • Go for a drive, a bike ride, or a long walk
  • Buy something from Ikea and try putting it together – this will take your mind of things for hours, trust me.
  • Knock on your neighbors door and wish them a ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ –when I was a kid doing this was as natural as breathing. I understand the world we live in now isn’t as care free and easy going, and doing such a thing might even be risqué. I mean do neighbors even talk to each other anymore? Nevertheless, now’s the perfect time to do it.

Take It To The Next Level

If all else fails you can always get so drunk you spend the day passed out on the couch. Even better – go out and do some Next Level Comfort Zone Challenges. Who knows, we might bump into each other.

The post Alone This Christmas? Here’s 8 Ways To Rock It Solo appeared first on Change your thoughts.

Say Thank You and Save the World

Starting the Ripple

Did Superman really want to save the world, or did he just feel like he had to? Would he much rather be a farmer? Maybe. Would he much rather be hanging out with his dad and his mom and his dog? Probably. ~ Gerard Way

Save the world?

Get out of here! That needs an honest-to-goodness superhero, right?

Save the world?

Come on! Just fighting your way through your hectic week can be challenging enough.

Save the world?

Someone else needs to step up to that plate. Only deep down you know that ‘someone else’…is you.

Because even though it’s understandable, that kind of thinking isn’t really you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be here, reading this, right?

You’re more likely to wear yourself out trying to fight the good fight: be a decent citizen, a good friend, a truly supportive partner, a great parent.

You know, an all round superhero in your own world, driven by a selfless concern for the well-being of others. Which is truly admirable. But also very physically and emotionally frazzling. Even a true superhero might find his or her powers fading by Friday.

But did you know there’s another way to save the world? Truly, there is. And it’s joyous, simple and will vastly improve your life and the life of those around you too.

Gratitude.

Now, I know what you’re thinking (you see, I have some super powers of my own).

Gratitude has gotten some bad press. It’s been called the ‘new buzz word’. A poor person’s ‘hot yoga’ or coconut oil.

Today’s miracle cure, tomorrow’s forgotten fad.

And some people may have misrepresented Gratitude. But honest Gratitude, proper old school thankfulness – that’s here to stay.

Why? Because it works. And because it’s not a fad or a quick fix. It’s been around since the first thought and it’s as much a part of you as your skin.

And it can save the world. Which is where you come in.

Because someone should do something.

The people of this great and global community are fried. Fried nerves and patience. Fried from information overload, fear of future uncertainty and relentless change.

And fried leads to tension, unrest and fights.

Yes fights.

The world’s pretty small these days. The amazing inventions of recent centuries mean we’re all connected as one enormous community now. An argument 5,000 miles away used to be someone else’s problem.

But now it’s yours. And mine.

How Can One Individual Make a Difference?

Do you feel small sometimes? Just one person in an ocean of others?

Yeah, me too.

Good news is thankful thoughts lead to the actions that will save the world. Kind, respectful, appreciative, generous actions.

And then the ripple effect happens.

What you do affects others. Their reaction affects others still. What feels like one tiny pebble of kindness you drop in a Pacific-sized sea of people ripples out further than you can see.

When you let someone turn out in front of you in traffic, they’ll likely wave a ‘thank you’. You carry on your way, knowing you did a nice thing. But what you don’t always see is that the driver is motivated to then let someone else out a few turnings on.

And so on, and so on – all across town.

Your tiny, effortless act of kindness made a stranger feel so good they did the same. You touched someone else’s day and started the ripple.

3 Ways to Make a Ripple into a Wave

1. Be a positive force in the world.

Practicing Gratitude boosts optimistic thoughts. By consistently recognizing all your blessings, you build a positive perspective of how fortunate you are. Your thoughts then more naturally lean towards believing good things will happen.

And spreading your optimistic outlook will mean others feel more positive about the world they live in and the future they’re facing.

Optimism is the most important human trait, because it allows us to evolve our ideas, to improve our situation, and to hope for a better tomorrow. ~ Seth Godin

Good folk don’t fight when they’re feeling positive. But Gratitude’s effects go even further in you being a positive force in the world.

Consistent appreciation of the good in others builds an unwavering respect for your fellow man. It bypasses cultural differences and lets us appreciate that we’re all way more similar than we are different. Gratitude even recognizes what’s great in those differences. It subconsciously promotes feelings of largesse and tolerance.

And tolerant folk don’t fight.

2. Be an Ambassador for Good Relationships.

If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt

Have you ever thought of yourself as being a role model for others?

Maybe not. Superheroes are touted as role models. But the truth is:

We don’t need superheroes to save the world, just you and me. @laurajtong (Click to Tweet!)

So maybe you could start thinking of yourself as a role model. Because you are: a walking, talking example others yearn to follow.

You know that children learn through what they’re shown by adults they trust. And adults learn from the positive feelings they gain from those they admire.

It’s true. What you do turns heads. And Gratitude’s part in all this?

Research shows that people who practice gratitude have more friendships and an overall 17.5% increase in ‘likability’. Couple being likable with the trait of being ever-friendly – that’s a success recipe for promoting good relationships.

Think of the people you spend your day with: work colleagues, fellow club members, neighbors, even the regular commuter crowd. If you added up all the hours you spend with these people over the years, it would be a significant portion of your life. And theirs.

That’s a heck of a lot of people affected by your friendly approach to others. You’ll be a huge dose of sunshine poured into everybody’s routine right there.

And folk that get on, don’t fight each other.

3. Be a self-esteem builder.

Do you find when you’re feeling a little insecure that your day seems doubly tricky?

Awkward situations feel way more  challenging when your inner monologue is constantly self-critical. Even your best seems to fall a long way short of good enough.

That’s an unfortunate negative state of mind. And you may have noticed how quickly negativity spreads, like a virus. Conversely, when your self-esteem is buoyant life is so much easier. The sun shines brighter and you feel way more warmth and compassion for everyone around you.

Well, most people around you suffer with low self-esteem days as well. Many of them every day. Some studies cite an average of 85% of people are afflicted with low-self-esteem.

Someone should do something. And yes, that someone is you and me 🙂

But do you know what that something is? It’s a simple matter of making people feel good about themselves whenever you can. It just takes being honest and genuine. Over-hyping compliments or inflated praise come across as false and actually have the opposite effect.

Authentically kind words and deeds, borne of friendliness, empathy and compassion say ‘Hey, you’re an important part of this  great, global community. Let’s be in this together.” Singling someone out and being over helpful doesn’t actually boost self-esteem.

Self-esteem is made up primarily of two things: feeling lovable and feeling capable. ~ Jack Canfield

The greatest gift to someone else’s self-esteem is to simply let them know that they matter. That they’re not invisible. And that they have a lot to offer.

Because folk with high self-esteem don’t need to fight.

Ready to turn that ripple into a wave?

The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude, Laura’s latest book, is out on Amazon now. You can grab it for FREE for the next few days here.

The free offer runs for 5 days between Sunday 10th December to Friday 15th December.


Laura Tong, a former health professional, is on a mission to help you become the most positive, happy version of yourself. Grab her free cheat sheet: 5 Guilt Free Ways To Say No Without Offending Anyone (Even If You Hate Conflict). Laura also hosts the Re-write The Rules In Your Life interview series where she shares awesome happiness and positivity tips from experts around the world. Click here to listen free to the latest episodes.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

The post Say Thank You and Save the World appeared first on Positively Positive!!.

3 Necessities That Will Help You Think Big and Stay Positive

Years ago I found myself caught up in conventional wisdom (or wisdumb as I call it). I was trying to set goals in every area of my life. I had three goals for each of my five key areas: faith, family, friends, finances and fun. I added that last category only because it started with an “F” and my OCD told me five categories was a better number than four. That’s how scientific my goal-setting process was.

By the last week of December, I had designed them with beautiful checkboxes, and I permanently inserted the sheet into my planner. It made me feel great to “have it all together.” I was, after all, part of the 3% who set goals. This was going to be the most comprehensive goal-setting method ever!

Rather than becoming an overnight success, I became an overnight statistic: I was one of the 93% of people who give up on their resolutions by February. The rest of my year was spent feeling guilty every time I noticed my goal sheet in the back of my planner.

“I should do one of these.” But which one? And, how? Where do I start? Then, “Squirrel!” After trying this for a few Decembers (I’m a slow learner), I discovered a lesson in life I will never forget: if you try to focus on 15 targets at once, you will hit exactly zero of them.

I can’t remember where this system came from but I can tell you it’s a great way to overwhelm yourself. However, these types of ideas are out there in the world of goal-setting. Apparently, people even pay money to overwhelm themselves!

Since that time, I’ve learned a lot such as studying from some of the world’s greatest achievers, and putting principles and tactics to the test. I came out on the other side with a few key insights about the correct way to set goals.

So if you’re one of the small percentage of folks who set goals, especially for the new year, let me help you avoid a few years of banging your head against the wall:

1. Define your core

When most people think of setting goals, they sit down and start writing them out without having answered some fundamental questions. People who build homes don’t start with a 2×4. They pour through stacks of blueprints and renderings before picking up a shovel so they know exactly where they are going and what it will take to get there.

It’s worth an hour or two of your time. Sit down, clear any distractions and ask yourself some fundamental questions: Who are you? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Your assets? What do you want? Why do you want that? Explore all your possibilities and rule nothing out. You can always clean it up later.

2. Write a lifeplan statement

Start by identifying the single most important target. If other things you are doing in your life do not align perfectly with your plan, then do not include them in your statement. When you come across new ideas and opportunities, use your lifeplan statement as your barometer to keep you on track. There can be only one most important goal at a time. In fact, when you “focus” on more than one goal at a time, it defeats the whole idea of “focus.” If you don’t believe me, try multitasking two important tasks at the same time.

Next, break out your goals into as many action items as you can. Make sure you include things you still need to learn because the odds are you don’t know how to get there (because you’ve never been there before). Categorize these notes into monthly, weekly and daily action items.

After writing your goals, determine the sacrifices you are willing to make to achieve it. Finish your lifeplan statement with your purpose, vision and values. Go deep and write honestly, clearly, and powerfully in the first-person, present tense. Keep in mind, this is a living, breathing document you will update and modify as needed. Keep it handy as this will become one of the most important documents of your life.

“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” – Warren Bennis

3. Write a dayplan on a 3×5 card

Index cards are inexpensive and just the right size. On one side, write your top five most important items, with the most important at the top. The other side is reserved for ideas so you can get them out of your head and keep you focused. Write down anything that strikes you as interesting: ideas, headlines, quotes, funny stories, etc. Carry this card around with you everywhere you go and leave it out where you can see it. Check off items as you complete them.

4. End your day holding a five-minute meeting with yourself

Look through the list and see what did not get done. Ask yourself: is it truly important? If the answer is yes, transfer it to tomorrow’s card. If the answer is no, cross it off and forget it. Finally, finish filling out tomorrow’s plan on a new card so you wake up to it the next morning.

End your meeting by filing away today’s card. Every few weeks, go through your stack of goal cards and transfer the ideas from paper to an online journaling system (Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, etc.). You’ll be amazed at the ideas your brain will produce when you give it a chance.

I can’t tell you how consistently this one habit is among high achievers. I see it again and again- it’s almost comical. Nearly without exception, successful people follow some kind of daily routine. I recommend early mornings but take your pick because how you start your day is generally how your day will tend to go. It’s more important that you do it, not when.

There are dozens of activities you could do, and there are no right or wrong answers. Whatever you chose, incorporate two things. First, exercise- the benefits are endless. Second, incorporate your LifePlan Statement by reading, feeling, and visualizing it every morning.

“Be pleasant until ten o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”- Elbert Hubbard

6. Reward yourself and celebrate your wins

Take time to recognize what you did right and don’t feel guilty for giving yourself a reward for it. As you implement this system, be patient and don’t expect everything to change overnight. It’s simple, but not easy. However, when done right, this system is powerful and will change your life. If you mess up, don’t let yourself have two in a row. Regardless of how some make it seem, success is a marathon, not a sprint. You’re in this for the long haul.

How are you making sure you achieve the goals you set for yourself this upcoming year? Let us know your plans below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Trade Your To-Do List for a Love List (3 steps to get back to love)

If your December to-do list is longer than your usual to-do list, consider a trade. I’m not suggesting you give up everything you have to-do, but perhaps there is a way to finish the year prioritizing what you love. You might be thinking, “She’s crazy, I have too much to do.” I get it. It’s hard to admit, but I have too much to do right now too. With my new book coming out the day after Christmas, on top of regular stuff and holiday stuff, I have book stuff too. Still, that can’t be an excuse to put off what I love.

When we dismiss what we love, we slowly lose ourselves. We lose our curiosity, our drive, our soft side, and the ability to remember what makes us smile.

How to trade your to-do list for a love list

Step one: EDIT
Ruthlessly cull your to-do list. Take a good hard look at what’s on your to-do list. What can wait until next year? What can you delegate? What’s never going to happen? Edit your list until only the things that really need to happen or really will happen remain.

Step two: DREAM
Make a cup of tea or your favorite cuddle up beverage. Grab a pen and a notebook and start a new list.

Write down

  • all the things you wish you had done this year.
  • anything you are curious about trying but have been too scared/busy/distracted to look into.
  • things you look forward to doing.
  • your favorite things (that aren’t really things).
  • what you can’t not smile about.

These things you write down could be anything from dinner at your favorite restaurant or hosting a potluck dinner to bungee jumping or sky diving. Or maybe your dreaming is a little more in the middle like mine … candlelight yoga practice, catch up call with best girlfriends, watch The Holiday, write, plan a spring trip with no internet.

What I’m trying to say is you can’t do this wrong. You love what you love.

Step three: LOVE LIST
Pick 1-3 items from your dream list and start your love list. Schedule them for this year. If they take more time, schedule at least one small step for each to get started this year. Once your top 1-3 are accomplished, add more from your dream writing, or dream up more love stories for your love list. As you move into the new year, keep love at the top of all of your lists.

We can’t put off what we love in the name of our never-ending to-do lists. Let’s get back to love.

Book updates!

The closet make-under contest (where I come to your house, help you clean out your closet and take you to lunch) ends in less than a week on December 16th. If you live in the US and are interested, please enter this week. More details here. 

We’ve finalized the Soulful Simplicity Book Tour. If you are considering experiences over stuff for gifts this year, and live in one of the following cities, spend an evening with a friend or client you love at one of the following events. Each ticket includes a hardcover copy of Soulful Simplicity, presentation, Q & A and book signing. You can also use your tour ticket as receipt to enter the closet make-under contest.

The post Trade Your To-Do List for a Love List (3 steps to get back to love) appeared first on Be More with Less.

Misery really does love company. Here’s how to avoid catching bad moods.

Misery really does love company. Here’s how to avoid catching bad moods.

It happens in a flash. After shuffling to the kitchen and wrapping my hands around a mug of coffee, the warm glow from a good night’s sleep and the scent of caffeine vanishes as my youngest son stomps into the room.

He begins spouting off the injustices of the morning: His brother woke him up. His LEGOs aren’t in the exact same place he left them last night. He has to eat oatmeal for breakfast. He has to go to school again!

Suddenly, crankiness spreads like wildfire, grabbing hold of my husband, my older son, and me. It’s as if we all woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Is this normal?

You’re 25 percent more likely to be happy when a nearby friend is happy.

Turns out, our social networks are good at spreading more than just witty memes. They can spread moods too.

Catching Moods

Recent research published in the journal Royal Society Open Science examined the phenomenon of emotional contagion—or how moods can spread from one person to another like a virus. Researchers from the University of Warwick looked at how the social circles of young adults in the U.S. can influence the mood of those within that network. What they found is that moods are contagious and how your friends feel can have a great impact on how you feel.

So, if your friends are happy-go-lucky and have a positive outlook, you are probably more likely to view the glass as half full too. On the flip side, if your friends are feeling down, you’re less likely to turn your frown upside-down.

“Having mentally healthy friends can help someone recover from depression or even remain mentally healthy in the first place, whilst having more friends with worse mood is associated with a higher probability of an adolescent worsening in mood and a lower probability of improving,” says Rob Eyre, who led the study.

But it’s not just an adolescent phenomenon. A study from 2008 found that you’re 25 percent more likely to be happy when a nearby friend is happy. Other research has found that loneliness and rudeness also tend to cluster in social groups, and can spread up to three degrees of separation. While emotions seem to spread more strongly among friends and family, it can also spread in the workplace too. (Even your dog can catch your mood!)

Social media isn’t immune either. One study found that when our Facebook feeds are filled with fewer positive posts, we too tend to post more negative (compared to positive) status updates and vice versa. Researchers also found that what we post on Twitter depends on what we see in our timeline. Our negative posts tend to come after being over-exposed to negative tweets while positive posts occur after being exposed to more positive content.

More Than Empathy

While our normal empathetic response helps us be more aware of and sensitive to another person’s feelings, emotional contagion works on a more subconscious level, says Sigal Barsade, a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Barsade says there are two parts to catching someone’s mood. First, as humans, we tend to mimic behaviors of others in subtle ways. Then, we start to feel that emotion associated with the expressed posture or facial expression. For example, it’s hard not to smile when you see your good friend beaming and, as a result, you start to feel happy too.

“People don’t realize that’s why their mood shifted,” she says and, instead, own the mood as their own. “If you have a cranky person at work, people in the group don’t say that they are upset because George is cranky. They say that it’s because it’s a bad workplace or some other reason,” she says. They don’t recognize that it’s their co-worker’s mood that’s shifted their own mood and how they feel about their workplace.

When our Facebook feeds are filled with fewer positive posts, we too tend to post more negative updates.

Your personality matters too, says Barsade. If your mood matches the temperament of the person emitting the emotion, you’re more susceptible to taking on that emotion too. If you tend to monitor and pay close attention to the environment around you, you’re more likely to notice other people’s emotions and “catch” it.

More Than a Feeling

While spreading moods might seem like a fun party trick, it can have lasting impacts on your mental health, says Eyre. “Our findings then simply imply that these effects are much more long-lasting, i.e. six months to a year,” he says.

And while you can’t “catch” clinical depression from a friend, some symptoms of depression—helplessness, tiredness, and loss of interest—can spread, which could have implications for identifying subclinical levels of depression. “The effect from your worse mood friends is usually not strong enough to push you over the line into clinical depression,” says Eyre. “By understanding the factors that impact mental health, we can then use that knowledge to try and reduce the prevalence of depression.”

Read more: When do our family interactions become toxic?

Emotional contagion is also key to group dynamics. “It’s the mechanism and glue through which groups exchange emotions,” says Barsade. “It includes not only emotions but also cognition and behavior.” As a result, it’s one way to facilitate group cohesion in the workplace.

For example, in one study, Barsade found that when an intentionally positive person was placed within a workgroup, those groups were more cooperative and generous and there was less conflict. Positive moods lead to more creativity, better decision-making, more prosocial and cooperative behavior, and better work performance, she says.

Inoculate Yourself

“The good news from our work is that following the evidence-based advice for improving mood like exercising, sleeping well, and managing stress, can help your friends too,” says Eyre.

Knowing that you may be susceptible to negative moods too, you can take steps to inoculate yourself against a bad mood. “If you know about emotional contagion, you have a better shot at buffering yourself or at least knowing why you feel that way,” says Barsade. She adds that if your co-worker, friend or family member is having a tantrum, try not to look at them. If you turn your attention elsewhere, you’re less likely to take on those feelings.

So, the next time a bad mood spreads like a virus across my house, I’ll know that it’s not just me who woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I’ll know I’m not just imagining my emotional ups and downs.

Artwork by KAREN HONG/SHANNON MOSS