REFLECTION: Are you connected? In this social media world of ours, that question usually refers to whether or not you have a Facebook account, a Twitter feed or a Linked In profile. Although I do have all three of those, I occasionally find myself conflicted about their value in my life.
What I note is that the relationships that seem to mean the most in my world are those cultivated not just through electronic postings but by engaging in meaningful conversations, sharing social experiences, working together on projects, or spending real time/face time in each other’s lives.
In fact, I’ve noticed that spending too much time on social media sites like Facebook can actually have a negative impact on my happiness and well-being. The constant shifts in topic and direction leave me with mental whiplash. As I read about the exciting events and activities in the lives of others, I do feel happy for them; and then occasionally my thoughts shift from celebration to a state of comparison where, not infrequently, my life – as satisfying as it often is – seems to come up short. What’s more, tracking the ‘breaking social news’ keeps me from putting in real time on real goals, real projects, and real relationships of my own.
I think that’s why when I was introduced to Sonja Lyubomirsky’s list of 12 Things Happy People Do Differently, number three grabbed my attention. It reads: Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. Lyubomirsky advises if you feel called to compare yourself to something or someone else, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself. That way you will credit yourself for the hard work YOU’VE done and the progress YOU’VE made.
ACTION:Since there are 12 steps in Lyubomirsky’s list of happiness habits, and since we are 12 days away from a very significant annual holiday, I thought the list might serve as an interesting variation on the 12 Days To Christmas.
If you are so inclined, print the 12 points and post them on your bulletin board or fridge, or cut and paste the list to your electronic calendar.
Choose just one action that would bring to life each habit of the day. Notice the impact on your happiness in the lead up to the holidays.
Here’s the list in its entirety:
1 Express gratitude
2. Cultivate optimism.
3. Avoid over-thinking & social comparison.
4. Practice acts of kindness.
5. Nurture social relationships.
6. Develop a strategy for coping.
7. Learn to forgive.
8. Increase flow experiences.
9. Savor life’s joys.
10. Commit to your goals.
11. Practice spirituality.
12. Take care of your body.
PS – Given that #12 falls on Christmas Day, I’m thinking it’s probably not a time to forego the turkey, trimmings and plum pudding. Maybe it is a time to combine them with a bit of exercise – beyond, of course, the journey to the couch for a post dinner nap.
As for the rest of the items, I’m pretty sure you brilliant and thoughtful Pause readers will have no trouble coming up with one action reflecting the intention of each day. Have fun!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” – Harold Coffin
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: For an expanded discussion check the article, 12 Things Happy People Do Differently.
By the way, if you have time when you do visit that site, take a wander through a few of the postings in the ‘Makes Me Think’ section. Some of them are quite engaging.
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