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Choose the positive view

April 9, 2014

Here’s a great idea…
In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman says
“A negative mood activates a battle-stations mode of thinking. A positive mood, in contrast, buoys people into a way of thinking that is creative, tolerant, constructive, generous, undefensive” (p. 39).

In other words…
The way we choose to think has real consequences. Sober thinking is sometimes useful for problem-solving. But when we engage in extended brooding, we create a dark world that makes us sad, unproductive, and uninteresting. If we want to be happy and productive, we should generally chase away the darkness and seek the light in our way of thinking.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
In almost every situation, we can choose to see the threat or the opportunity, the darkness or the light. The next time you’re tempted to feel swamped by a threat, look for the opportunity instead. Notice the rewards that come from choosing a positive mindset.

To Find Out More…
about personal well-being, check out Getting Our Hearts Right orThe Personal Journey programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglifeor contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Authentic Happiness.

Don’t poke at sores

January 27, 2014

Here’s a great idea…
In her book Why Talking Is Not Enough, Susan Page says. . . .
“If you have a sore on your arm, the last thing you should do is poke at it, dig around in there, and examine it more thoroughly. You’ll make it worse! Instead, you should create a gentle, healing environment for the wound and allow it to heal itself. [Healing is done by Nature!]” p. 56

In other words…
Emotional wounds should be treated the same as physical wounds. Constantly revisiting your relationship problems (i.e., analyzing them, nagging, pleading, etc.) will only cause them to fester until strong feelings of dissatisfaction occur. On the other hand, nurturing your relationship will help heal any wounds between you.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
Many relationship problems aren’t truly “problems” at all. They are simply differences in personality or values. Realize that everyone is different and choose to enjoy your partner’s good traits. This will strengthen your relationship.

To find out more…
about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden or the Getting Our Hearts Right program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also like to read Why Talking Is Not Enough.

Happy people focus on others

January 22, 2014

Here’s a great idea…
In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman says,
“Happy people were more likely to demonstrate more empathy and are willing to donate more money to others in need. When we are happy, we are less self-focused. Looking out for number one is more characteristic of sadness than of well-being” (pg. 43).

In other words…
Who do we care about more: ourselves or others? When we are happy, we want to serve others and share our happiness with them. When we are unhappy, we shut down. We become defensive and focused primarily on our own needs.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
Find someone to help today. It can be as simple as giving your waitress an extra tip or taking out your neighbor’s trash. When you help other people, you will find greater joy in your own life.

To Find Out More…
about personal well-being, check out Getting Our Hearts Right or The Personal Journey programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Authentic Happiness.

Building and using your signature strengths

January 15, 2014

Here’s a great idea…
In his book, Authentic Happiness, Martin E.P. Seligman says,
I do not believe that you should devote overly much effort to correcting your weaknesses. Rather, I believe that the highest success in living and the deepest emotional satisfaction comes from building and using your signature strengths (p. 13).

In other words…
We all have weaknesses. There will never be a time when we do not have them. So, instead of focusing on weaknesses that we would like to fix, we should focus on discovering and developing the strengths that we already have. When we use our strengths, we become more confident and we experience greater satisfaction in life.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
Make a list identifying several strengths that you see in yourself. Or ask a trusted friend or family member what strengths they see in you. Then, focus on your strengths and design your life to use those strengths on a daily basis.

To Find Out More…
about personal well-being, check out Getting Our Hearts Right or The Personal Journey programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Authentic Happiness.

Being emotionally close with your child

January 14, 2014

Here’s a life-changing idea…
In his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, John Gottman says,
“When you and your children are emotionally close, …you’re not afraid to set limits. You’re not afraid to tell them when they’ve disappointed you, when you know they can do better. And because you have an emotional bond with your children, your words matter. They care about what you think and they don’t want to displease you.” (pg. 27)

In other words…
Parenting is easier when we are emotionally close to our children. It is easier because children are likely to respond more quickly and in more positive ways when correction is called for. When we are emotionally close, children respond better because they respect us and they know we have their best interests in mind.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
Work on building an emotional bond with your children. Spend time with them. Talk with them. Participate in activities with them that they enjoy. This emotional closeness will give you the freedom to compassionately influence, guide, and even correct their behavior.

To find out more…
about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey, See the World Through My Eyes, or Getting Our Hearts Right programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also enjoy reading Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman.

If only we could solve our problems

January 14, 2014

Here’s a great idea…
In her book Why Talking Is Not Enough, Susan Page says:
“Most couples believe, ‘If only we could solve our problems, then we could be happy together.’ The opposite is actually true: if you focus first on being happy together, your problems will diminish
” ( p. 55).

In other words…
When we consistently focus on what is wrong with our relationship, soon all we can see are the problems. If we place our focus on what is good, or what makes our relationship happy, then that is what we will see. When we do this, many of the things we thought were problems will fade away.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
Think of ways to show your love through words or acts of kindness or compassion. Practice restraint when rough times arise. Look for the good in your partner and your relationship.

To find out more…
about couple relationships, check out The Marriage Garden or the Getting Our Hearts Right program at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also like to read Why Talking Is Not Enough.

It’s serious to me!

December 20, 2013

Here’s a life-changing idea…
In his book, Between Parent and Child, Haim Ginott says,
“A child’s feelings must be taken seriously, even though the situation itself is not that serious” (p. 7).

In other words…
When a young child in all seriousness tells us something that from our perspective is inconsequential or unimportant, we may be inclined to dismiss it or even find it amusing. Neither children nor adults like to be dismissed or laughed at. For example, it may seem ridiculous to us as adults when a child complains, “Johnny took my blue block!” (when that child has ten other blocks on the floor to play with). But we should ask ourselves, “How would I feel if someone came over and grabbed something out of my hands?” 

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…
Listen with sensitivity when your child is expressing his or her feelings. Take those feelings seriously, even though the situation may not seem serious to you, because the situation and the feelings associated with it are very important to your child. 

To find out more…
about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey, See the World Through My Eyes, or Getting Our Hearts Right at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also enjoy reading Between Parent and Child.

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