By the end of this post you’ll be happier, hopefully .

So here’s the thing, I wanted to post about acceptance today but then a friend shared this video with me and it’s much more pressing.

You may have seen it already but I don’t care, watch it again! Then do what they say!

Here’s the skinny: People who express gratitude in person or over the phone are 19% happier overall! People who think about why they are grateful for the people in their life are 4% happier. Either way, this speaks to my personal mantra think happy, be happy. It’s not hard, just tell people why you appreciate them!

Here, I’ll help you get started:

Who has had the biggest positive impact in your life?
Were they an inspiration or did they willingly help you?
What was it?
How has it affected you?
Why do you appreciate them?

Now go! Go to them, call them, tell the people you love why they are important to you!

And, if you feel so inclined, I’d love for you to share something you love about someone below.

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Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Soup Recipe

This is my first winter outside of Sunny California and even Sunnier Arizona. AND I just got back to NYC from a wonderful New Years Eve in the Bahamas, so you can imagine my worry when the weather forecast is 15 BELOW zero tonight with wind chill. Yeah. Can I just teleport from the office to my cozy bed? Where’s The Doctor when you need him?

Since teleportation technology is not yet a thing (maybe at CES 2016) I’ll warm up a traditional way, food! More specifically, SOUP! This soup can be vegan or meat filled. It just depends on if you want to include the meatballs. Let me tell you, it results in one happy tummy.

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The recipe is originally from True Foods Cook Book but I’ve edited it to my taste. I’d love to know what you think! Also, what’s your favorite recipe for cold nights? I’m going to need more!

Enjoy!

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Find the Recipe Card Template Here

House Rule #2: There is No Someday

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Hello, November! Only 61 days left in 2014. Crazy right? Did you accomplish what you planned this year?

This has been a long year for me. A year of some serious reflection. A lot of good things happened! Like our recently implimented house rule. There Is No Someday.

(Side note: You’re probably wondering why I’m starting with #2, not #1 – well we have a couple of house rules and the most important (#1) is to Be Curious, Not Jugemental, a quote by Walt Whitman. It’s something Ryan and I have always done and finding a quote that fits so perfectly solidified it as a house rule… and #3 is, you may have guessed it, Keep Choosing Joy.)

I’m sure you do it too. “I’ll clean the kitchen this weekend.” “I’ll start working out in 2014.” “I’ll pick up knitting this fall.” All of these things sound like they have deadlines but in reality they are just as vague and undefined as One Day or Someday… that most likely will come and pass without any action.

We had a lot of Want-Tos and Will-Dos but nothing ever got done!

So, the There is No Someday rule was born. It’s a small change, but an effective one! If there is something you want to do, give it a date. Say it out loud, give yourself a deadline. Even small things, we used to say “Let’s go to the museum this weekend.” then the weekend passed and we never went, for a thousand reasons, but we STILL want to go to the Museum haha.

Let’s go to the Museum this weekend. VS Let’s go to the Museum on Saturday.

I will do _______ on/by _______.

Now, this works for things like cleaning, organizing, a first workout, trying a new art class but if it’s something larger, say, moving or getting certified in something you need to set a schedule as well. Thats a blog for another day though.

There is no one day, no someday. If you want to do something, get it done! Start now, right now.

So, what are you going to do before the year ends?

What’s the Difference Between You and Most People?

With all of this “Basic B-” nonsense going around I want to celebrate that fact that we are all individuals and our own person. It’s true! BUT, what makes you an individual? What makes you YOU? P.S. If you love PSLs from Starbucks, we won’t judge you here, they’re delicious and North Face makes a solid jacket.

Take a second to think about this. Don’t be afraid to sound selfish, this question by nature is about you. If you feel comfortable, comment below! I’d LOVE to hear what makes you unique. If you consider what makes you different to be negative, don’t dwell on it – it’s an exercise to help see that we’re all beautiful and have differences. Everyone has things they consider to be bad, which are just the areas that need a little more love.

If you’re finding this difficult think outside of your immediate group of friends and family. Maybe all of your friends are vegan, and so are you. But most people are not. So there’s an answer! Do you paint? Make your own beer? Did you make the choice not to drink alcohol? Not to have children?

I make it a point to never never let frustration in a situation show if chatting with a Customer Service Representative. 

 

Power of Positivity

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Affirmations, positive statements that essentially project what you want in life. They are something you repeat multiple times daily, causing the universe to hear you which leads to a deep feeling of belief on a subconscious level. 

They shouldn’t be complicated and don’t need to be about something far off in the distance either, it can be happening right now! Also, keep in mind your affirmations should only include positive words. For example: I am my ideal weight VS I am losing weight. 

Recently I attended an hour-long cycling class. I haven’t gone running in roughly a year and was concerned my endurance would be low. I went in with the thought “I haven’t done this in a while, I won’t be able to do the whole class full speed, I can sit down, just keep moving my legs” but then the class started and I changed my tune. “I can do this. I’m strong!” Sure I was tired, but I kept telling myself “I can do this, I’m strong. Don’t give up.” And guess what! I did it, the whole class. If I had continued to repeat “It’s ok, I’m new, they don’t expect much from me.” I wouldn’t have pushed my self, and wouldn’t have had so much fun.

List of Affirmations I use & love:
My body is healthy and functioning in a very good way
I am in control on my life
My mind is calm and clear
I radiate love and happiness
Everything is getting better every day

What are you favorite affirmations? 

This leads me to the fun part! Jewelry =) Specifically, Shop Compliments jewelry.

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Shop Compliment is a company that literally will shine light into your day. They make beautiful jewelry that is delivered with a customizable compliment. I have given these pieces as gifts with compliments such as “You’re Beautiful” and even as simple as “Happy Birthday.” Just imagine the positivity that can come from wearing a piece of jewelry that constantly reminds you of what people love about you! 

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These items are totems that keep positive affirmations about yourself nearby. They’re a great way to support a friend or loved one.

Check the jewelry out HERE
Check out Melissa’s Story HERE

And guess what! Any time you decide to buy from Shop Compliment, you can use the code CHRISTINE for $5 off. The best part? It’s not a one time only discount! 

I want to hear your stories! What experience was made better for you through the power of positivity? And don’t forget to share your favorite affirmations! Comment below!

Compassion is Contagious

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I want to share with you two of my favorite sayings, instilled in me by my mother. “Compassion is Contagious” and “Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Among other mantras, these two sayings are how I try to live my life.

Compassion – the ability to understand and empathize with the pain of others.

It’s something we all need to work on. Terrible things happen when our compassion runs thin – we blame victims, we become selfish, we influence others to be less compassionate.

Compassion is admired BUT ALSO looked at as weakness. Why would we EVER discourage compassion? I once gave my winter gloves to a homeless woman sitting on a sidewalk, the response from the person I was with? “You’re going to freeze, stop giving away your clothes.” WHAT? I have another pair at home and I could totally stop to buy another pair. This woman needs warmth!

I’m sure you know the saying “A smile is contagious.” A simplified version of the previously stated compassion is contagious. Guess what, it is. Scientifically. It’s engrained in our brains! And we can strengthen it. Don’t believe me?

CHECK THIS OUT.

By simply treating others better and being a nice person, the people you come into contact with will in turn be more positive, nice and compassionate moving forward. If not but for a short amount of time.

You can test this yourself – go to a bakery, bank, cafe, wherever! The first time, approach people with a frown, the people you talk to will reciprocate. Next time, approach with a smile and sunny disposition. You will see an immediate return of kindness. And if not, keep that smile on your face, who knows what that person is going through, they may need your smile that day.

Can I ask one thing of you? Be nice to customer service reps. This is one thing that really gets my goat. I hear someone yelling angrily “I have called X number of times and YOU keep messing it up!” NO. THEY did not personally mess it up. And when you yell, they are less likely to want to help you. Imagine if you were on the other end of that call. How would you react?

Which leads me to my final point, a though I often have, that drives my acts of compassion “What if that were me?”

What if you were the lady sitting in 20 degree weather without gloves?
What if you were the man asking for 50 cents to get on a train?
What if you were the brand new barista that people keep getting frustrated with?
What if you were the mother of that screaming child who needed compassion and understanding, not rudeness, judgement or negativity?

And if you are not someone who believes in “what ifs” then just imagine yourself in that possition. How would you want a stranger to act towards you?

Oh and just for fun, check out Faith in Humanity Restored on Pinterest.

Namaste

AKA You Time

Who mediates? Raise your hand!
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If you are one of the many people who didn’t raise your hand, may I ask why? Is it intimidating? You don’t think you have time? It’s too new-agey? All of these reasons are real and legitimate. But I will say, I hope you find the strength to push those thoughts from your mind. Meditating can be as simple as turning off the TV and putting your phone down for 10 minutes. That’s it! OR it can be done on the drive to work, in a line or in class/work. Don’t believe me?

I present to you my two favorite meditation tools. These are what got me into meditation and I am so thankful.

Head Space. Created by Andy Puddicombe, their website has some information and help BUT the free app called Head Space (found on the website and in the App Store) challenges people to meditate 10 minutes a day, for 10 days. I promise it will help with stress, clear thinking and feeling over all refreshed. View his 10 minute Ted Talk HERE

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Also Gabby Bernstein. Her books are great but this specific meditation that I do when I start to get stressed or overwhelmed works wonders. In public or at home. Most recently I went to an over-crowded outdoor event in the humidity. Typically each one of those words stress me out, put them all together and you have one unhappy camper. Luckily, I watched this video by Gabby a couple of weeks ago. It cooled me down mentally, and in turn physically because I wasn’t worked up. You will learn it’s recommended for one minute but now that I have practiced it for a while once I start it the stress melts away. Check it out, try it out, and let me know what you think!

*I claim no credit or ownership for any visual content contained in this post.