Monday, May 31, 2010

Are you chewing yourself a new one?

It's now 1:19am. At about 1:10am I was chewing myself a new one. Here's a glimpse of the conversation I noticed in my head:

"Stella. (Okay, I don't talk to myself in the 2nd person, but will for effect here). It's 1am again! Haven't you made a commitment to yourself like a million times that you were going to go to bed earlier? I mean really, did you need to stay up watching Sex in the City, again?"


"Stella. What is the big deal here? Are you really having this thought? Are you seriously beating yourself up right now for not getting to bed earlier on a holiday weekend?!?"

Perhaps it was yoga on Friday, or maybe my turning a year older last week, or maybe my practing self acceptance recently, or even the $50,000 I paid to learn about positive psychology - but whatever it was or is - the capacity to PAUSE, NOTICE, and re-direct my thoughts is the key to IT. Whatever it means.

We have about 60,000 thoughts a day. Most thoughts for most people are fast. We're so used to the noise of thoughts that it's easy to not pay attention to them. But tonight I did. I isolated a self defeating whisper that was not so much about going to bed early as it was on the gravy train toward undermining my self efficacy.

So I pulled the breaks as soon as I noticed and thought something like this instead: "So what? Maybe, you actually like going to bed late. Maybe you should F routine. You're not a routine, regular type of gal. You don't fold your shirts the same way, you enjoy wearing mismatching socks for the fun of it, so stop trying to act like an anal A job."

Standing up for myself and my behavior instead of judging it made me feel lighter. Why hadn't I thought to do that before?

This whole mental experience happened in a matter of seconds. But it's the capacity to tune into the chatter and transform the non-supporting thoughts that can change your life. Or at least, help you sleep a little better.

With much love,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to me.

On the eve of my big 2-9.

I just watched the movie, Precious. All I have to say is, thank you, God.

I just went to the bathroom.

And as I washed my hands, in much need of a manicure, I looked at them, and said, thank you, God.

Thank you for these hands. The hands that I used to nag (from age 4-20 something), “but they’re soooo puffyyyyy, so chuuuuuuuuuubbbbbbyyyy, so stumpy, uhhh!”

Now I love ‘em. And I’m grateful that I CAN love them.

I know many adults who still don’t love their bodies. But that’s like me saying I wish I didn’t grow up in North Brunswick, NJ.

It’s done. Get over it. It’s you. Love it. And integrate how it’s made you, you. Accept.

Today I celebrate all of me. Grateful for each freckle, pimple, whatever else I happen to have going on, and all the beauty in between.

I started this post at age 28. I then took a break and watched Management with Jennifer Aniston. And now I’m 29. And then I watched part of Hangover.

These three movies represent life, love, and the happy accidents in between. They each tell the story of characters who accept the unexpected, fold into it (perhaps initially resisting) and then, revel in the unpredictable positive outcome of it all making sense in the end.

Here's to a year of gracefully and gratefully accepting, of trusting the mystery, and living as brightly in my light as I can, each step and turn of the way.

Happy Birthday to me!


If you haven’t watched any of the above movies, you absolutely must! I didn't plan on watching them. Nor in that order. But I totally recommend that flow.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What Graduation Feels Like

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” - Orson Welles

Today I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Master in Positive Psychology. Kind of. Our class technically finishes in the summer when we complete our capstones - but we got to wear the cap and gown and I bought a Penn it feels like I graduated. I feel good. Relieved. Happy. Content. Sad. Uncertain. Anxious. Calm. Cool. A little numb. Open. Collected. Grounded. All at once.

Maybe it's the Gemini in me that's enabling so many different things to be going on. But this HUGE deal is just taking some time to integrate.

Much love,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Panicking outloud

Help! I'm feeling worthless today. I know that's completely ridiculous. But it's one of those days where I'm not feeling like much. This is triggered when I fall behind on all my to-do's. Like for example, I'm handing in my homework late, I haven't figured out what I'm doing for my birthday which is in six days, I don't know how I'm going to celebrate my graduation tomorrow, I haven't called my grandma in weeks, and, and, and... (I thought there was more but I've run out of things).


Now that I wrote this out and took it out of my head it's not so bad. (You're witnessing real time positive intervention here)...I'm not completely better...but I do feel more silly than worthless.

They say you teach what you need to learn...I guess I'm in the right place. I've got a lot of work to do!

Isn't it amazing how easy it is to spiral into negative emotion by the smallest of things? I decided to write this as way to get out of my head. Which is where all the action is.

I'm taking deep breaths. And will commit to stop "shoulding" all over myself for the day. That's the best I can do for now.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Softy shmofty: Happiness is hardcore!

Let me just set the record straight with just a few good factoids here about happiness:

1. Happier people LIVE longer and healthier lives
In a study with over 2,800 men age 65 and older, those who tested higher on positive emotion were HALF as likely to DIE and HALF as likely to experience disease (hello?!?).

2. Happier people make more money and set bigger goals
In a study with 272 people, happier people received better evaluations from supervisors and higher pay. In another study, both children and adults who were induced into positive moods (by watching happy movies or looking at positive images) selected higher goals, performed better, and persisted longer than those who were not in a good mood.

3. Happier people have more fulfilling relationships
In a study with 222 college students, those who were considered "very happy" spent the least time alone, the most time socializing, and were rated to be in fulfilling relationships by their friends and self.

4. Happier people have better sex
Yes, it's true! There are studies that support this. But damn, I can't remember where I read I'll get back to you on this one if you're interested.

5. Happier people are happy!
This is the funniest thing of all. That I feel compelled to write a blog that DEFENDS HAPPINESS! Sometimes I tell people I study happiness and they look at me like "what? ha." People...WTF. Experiencing happiness is what makes life worth living. Somehow we forget that. We forget that our mission in life should be to make ourselves happy. Some think that pursuing happiness is selfish. Some think it's impractical. Some think it's soft. But it's not. And best of all, when you're happy - you make the world happier. You make others happier.

Here are two of my fave quotes on that:

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
-- Howard Thurman, Dean of Theology and the chapels at Howard and Boston universities for more than two decades, and in 1944 helped found the first racially integrated, multicultural church in the United States.

"When you find your piece in the puzzle, you enable 10,000 others to find theirs." T Harv Eker

With much love,

Sources: For more great studies and info, read Martin Seligman's book, Authentic Happiness. He's coming out with an evolved theory on positive psychology - but this book still holds major gems on the science of happiness.