Tag Archives: self-worth

FOR SINGLES: 10 Ways to Feel Happy Today!

girlspartyHappiness is good for your mind and your body. It has been scientifically proven that happy people are more optimistic, confident, and have more energy and even more friends. Happy people are also better prepared to deal with difficult situations, are more enjoyable to be around, and achieve their goals better than those prone to sadness. In addition, happy people appear to be healthier and live longer.

So how can we all achieve that elusive quality called happiness? Science has given us some sure-fire tips and tools to improve mood, and to understand how they work, we need to understand happiness. Happiness is part environment and part biology. Everyone has their own set-point level of happiness — and it’s higher than you might imagine. Most people lean toward being happy than unhappy. Temporary boosts of happiness happen when the pleasure center of the brain is stimulated and Dopamine is being released. Endorphins also increase the release of dopamine.

Besides ingesting “dope” (Yes, that’s where the name came from) and suffer the crash, what are the other ways to increase happiness?

Here are my top ten favorites:

1. Be Kind. Do five random-acts of kindness in one day. Acts may include holding the for open for someone, paying for the car behind you at the drive through or gas station, putting lottery tickets on windshields with a good luck note, or writing a letter to a long lost teacher who inspired you. Studies have shown that acts of kindness increase happiness and provide the best boost if done in a clump rather than spread out over a week.

2. Move Your Body. Weather it’s a long walk or a salsa class, moderate exercise produces endorphins that trigger pleasurable feelings in your brain that last for hours.

3. Look Down, Not Up. This is a count your blessings lecture, people. If you find yourself too often looking at the competition and those who appear to be living better than you. Know two things: Appearances are deceiving, and if you’re living in America and reading this on a computer, I promise there are far more people doing worse than you. Being grateful for what you have can bring great feelings of contentment and self pride.

4. Talk. Talk. Talk. Funny thing is, when we talk about our misfortunes with friends we try to make it entertaining to our listeners. In doing so, we often put a humorous slant of the story. Telling your story to a variety of audiences and tailoring it to each of their perspectives helps us reframe our losses and find hope and laughter in our sadness.

5. Find Your Roots. Studies have shown that people who search out and their cultural heritage find feelings of pride and unity with others who have a shared history. Knowing your place in evolutions chain gives meaning to your life and helps you bond with others and develop an appreciation for those of other ethnic groups.

6. Find Your Happy Place. Our brain stores millions of memories, mostly good, so when you are feeling down it can help to return to thoughts where you experienced great pleasure. Learn to scan your memory bank for your strengths, talents, passions, interests, practical coping skills, and earlier potential to glean material that can be used to reinvent yourself to be happier.

7. Listen to Music. Whether regarded as an evolutionary accident as the gateway to our emotions, music activates parts of the brain that can trigger happiness, releasing endorphins similar to the ways that sex and food do. Music can reduce pain during surgical or dental procedures and can inspire us to be more creative.

8. Cuddle with Someone. Human touch ignites our senses and creates a pleasure response in the brain. So, cuddle with your kids, hold hands with an elderly person, stroke a pet, or best of all, get down in the sheets with your lover. All these acts of touch can bring great feelings of euphoria.

9. Eat Well. Depression is partly biological and your brain needs the right nutrients to function at the top of it’s game. Take fish oil and a multivitamin daily and make sure you eat protein at least twice per day. A carb-loaded diet can create highs and lows just like sugar.

10. Meditate and/or Pray. Stop the train of stress and sit down with a candle and twenty minutes of deep breathing. Calming your mind, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure, while connecting to your body’s sensations, can create deep feelings of calm, pleasure and peace. And that sure sounds like happiness to me.

Finally, remember that happiness can lead to success, rather than just the other way around. Happy individuals are predisposed to seek out new opportunities and set new goals. After reviewing data of 225 studies gathered from more than 275,000 individuals, a team of psychologists concluded that while previous research assumed that happiness stemmed from success and accomplishment, happiness is often a result of positive emotions. Success is the result of many factors, including physical health, intelligence, family and expertise, all things linked to happiness.

Watch my youtube video: The Four Kinds of Love

FOR WOMEN: Are You a MILF or a MILM (Mother I’d like to Marry)

Child giving a kiss to his mother on the cheekWith the rate of American babies born out of wedlock continuing to climb, (it’s currently 44%) it has increased the number of single mothers on the mating market. In fact,  I’ve had a number of conversations lately with single mothers about the idea of getting married again. While plenty are happy to raise their kids alone, and prefer to keep a lover in a romantic compartment in their lives, others dream about being a real couple.

I happen to fall into the later camp, although I’ve long ago dumped the notion of a blended family. After I saw the chilling statistics about children and “steps,” I put my love life on hold. Sadly, one of the most dangerous places for a child to be is in a home with non-biologically related males. That includes mommy’s boyfriend, husband, or teen step brothers. These kids have eight times the rate of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. As I’m raising girls, I’ve decided that my nest will have to be nearly empty before I introduce some foreign testosterone into my household.

But I know that other single mothers are dating and hope to find love while raising kids. So, I have applied my intellectual mind to the study of what makes women marriageable. I have some real-world role models, too. Sherryl Walsh (no relation) had been a single mother of FOUR for ten years in 1975. That’s when she married her coworker, Neil Walsh, a single, child-free man of only 30. Sherryl was 36. Recently, Neil passed away, after 34 years of marriage — and when I called to offer some words of condolence, I also asked Sherryl for her advice. If a mother of four could find a great husband in 1975, she had to know something I don’t. Her advice was simple: Marry a good friend. Neil was a good friend from Sherryl’s office. Their friendship lasted almost 40 years. Sherryl, now I’m looking a little closer at my plumber, my agent (too young), and the guy who fluffs my latte at Starbucks. Because those are the guys I “work with.”

I also spoke with another MILM role model — astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s wife, Lois. I have met her a few times over the years at charity events, and one time I cornered her at a cocktail party and asked her how an unknown, middle-aged mother of three could snare one of the most eligible men on the planet (I didn’t use those exact words, though). Lois gave me some interesting advice. She talked about helping a man feel like a king in his own household. Some people say that Buzz, despite being the second man to walk on the moon, was all but forgotten until Lois got hold of his public image and put him back on the map. Her technique seems to be to make herself indispensable, and to remind him how valuable he is. I’ve always said, “Water what you’d like to grow. Not the weeds.” Lois seems to have watered his self-esteem, and man, did it bloom!

The research is clear. Men fall in love, not through sex, but through trust and loyalty. If you are a single mother and hope to become a MILM (Mother, I’d Like to Marry) then establishing a trusting friendship is the best strategy. It will also give you time to weed out the deceptive men whom you’ll learn are not so good for your children.

Which brings me to another topic. When I wrote a book called The Girlfriend Test: A Quiz for Women Who Want To Be a Better Date and a Better Mate, I interviewed 100 married or committed men and asked them why they chose the gal they were with, and why they didn’t marry the rest of us. Their answers were sometimes hard to hear. Despite the rumor that women are too needy, I more often heard from my interview subjects that women were “too independent.” When pressed for more details about what that meant, men couldn’t describe it well (they are the gender that excels in brawn. We are the gender that excels in words), except to say that they found themselves thinking, “What does she need me for?” Ya see, men like to be needed. Actually, all people like to be helpful and needed. But men feel really good when they can fix something.

And someday, my own nest will be closer to empty. So, for now you can wall me a MILM-in-waiting. LOL. I do believe that women can have it all, but not necessarily all at the same time.

For more watch: What a MILF Wants