Monday, April 19, 2010


I spent some time at the Veteran's Home last week. I like going, I like the men there and the opportunity to do some little thing for them. It is a good place to learn a few things, too, like setting priorities, the value of taking care of yourself and about the topic for this post, TIME.

"Most men do not set priorities to guide them in allocating their time and most men forget that the first priority should be to maintain their own spiritual and physical strength; then comes their family . . . then their professions, and all need time. " Harold B. Lee

I hear so many people say they need to exercise but just don't have TIME. The sense you get is that they are busier than most people. No one says, "I have so much TIME on my hands I might as well exercise"! Everyone is busy.

Exercise doesn't take take time, it gives you TIME. It sounds counter-intuitive but here are three reasons why:

1. When we exercise we are mentally sharper and more effective in our day to day activities. We will also tire less easily (at first you might feel more tired but it will pass) So we use our TIME more effectively.

2. Being sick takes a lot of TIME. Exercise greatly improves the immune system and helps prevent everything from the common cold to cancer.

"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness." Edward Stanley
3. People who exercise live longer. That will give you some TIME.

If you feel that you need to sacrifice your exercise TIME for the sake of your family here are three more thoughts for you:

1. Weight and health issues are a heavy burden and your children are learning about fitness from you. They will follow your lead.

"Do you expect, forsooth, that a mother will hand down principles which differ from her own?" Juvenal
2. It isn't fair to burden your adult children with your care because you didn't take care of yourself.

3. Your life is important to those who love you and dying early will leave a hole in their lives.

Do what you need to now to prevent being in a nursing home later. You don't have TIME for that.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

11 Ways to Be Happy(er)

All we really want is to be happy in this life. We make every choice according to what we think will make us happy. Many of our choices make us feel good in the short run but actually damage our happiness in the long run. For example, we might feel like we would be happier if we skipped our workout, watched TV and ate ice cream. For a few minutes of pleasure (which is usually less pleasure than we thought it would be) we trade self-respect, disappointment with our self, some more unwanted weight and a belly ache to boot. Look around you and you will find that the happiest people are the ones who know how to delay immediate gratification for a greater and lasting happiness. No one works out and then says, "I sure wish I wouldn't have done that!", but how many times after some unscheduled self-indulgence do we regret it?

"Indeed, man wishes to be happy even when he so lives as to make happiness
-St. Augustine

Now, with the idea in mind that happiness takes some effort, here are a few idea's on how to be happy(er). If you have been following this blog some of these suggestions will sound familiar.

1. Exercise for the happiness effect. Okay, you know this one is coming so let's get it out of the way. Studies continue to show that exercise works better than anti-depressants. And you don't have to be depressed to feel the happiness effect of exercise.

2. We are happiest when we are growing. Do something hard. Self esteem is earned, not an inherited right. Do things that give you a feeling of accomplishment. For years when my esteem or happiness was low I would pick a hard hill, usually the road to Tablerock, and ride my bike to the top. The options for hard things are limitless. You could run in a local race, serve someone you would rather not serve, take a class. Join a gym??

3. Fill your mind with happy things. Drastically limit the news, talk radio, television, Internet junk, etc. These things are all negative. Replace those things with things that are motivational and inspiring. Keep good audio programs in your car and a good book on hand.

4. Sleep for happiness. Get enough sleep.

5. Eat for happiness. Eat often and avoid simple carbs to prevent changes in blood sugar which in turn causes mood swings, irritability and stress.

6. Find happiness in the moment. Having six kids and all that goes with it I learned to multitask pretty well. Now I am un-learning it. We miss the joy of the moment when doing two things at once or doing one thing while thinking of what we will do next.

7. Find happiness in quiet. Find quiet time everyday, to just think and be.

8. Express gratitude for happiness.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a great thing but like a wise man once said, "silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone." Verbalize your gratitude to those who need to hear it.

9. Spirituality brings happiness. Studies repeatedly show that people who pray and feel they have a personal relationship with God are happier than those who don't.

10. Relationships affect our happiness. Give priority to close relationships. Surround yourself with uplifting people, avoid negative ones and avoid people who stomp on your dreams or goals.

11. Happiness is a choice. Happiness is something we choose. Choose it everyday.

"You are one of the noblest of God’s creations. His intent is that your life be gloriously beautiful regardless of your circumstances."
-Richard Scott