Last week we began the series on the Friends Essential.  This may be one of the most taken for granted subjects that we cover.

The first two “Habits” really brought my friendships to mind.  We probably all know LOTS of people.  I know that I have a lot that I look forward to seeing, chatting and giving them a hug when I can.  Read those first two habits again though.

If you have suffered a tremendous loss, if you have been emotionally or spiritually devastated, if there is something intensely personal that you need to talk to someone about, would you feel comfortable calling any one of these people? 

When I stop and think of people I can trust with my love, my spirit, my anger and frustrations, my.very.life… that list shortens quickly to a very select few.  These are friends I could call in the middle of the night because I need a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.  A friend who accepts me unconditionally for who I am, but loves me enough to question me if I am wrong.

I believe God puts people in our lives, sometimes for a time and sometimes forever.  My list is now short, but oh so precious!  A true friend is PRICELESS and should be cared for as such.  

Pray Unceasingly!!

In His light,

Lois

7 Habits of Highly Happy People 

Sean Foy

“Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.” John Lubbock

What is happiness? And what makes someone happy? The World Happiness Report and the happiest countries on earth have identified and encourage the regular practice of 7 specific “happy habits” or what I call “happy moves” to consistently enhance one’s happiness.

According to researchers, happy people:

Live longer

Have lower risk of heart disease

Have lower blood pressure

Are less stressed

Less likely to be sick

Sleep better

Have stronger relationships

Stronger sense of meaning and purpose in life

Have greater emotional wellbeing & are just, well, happier ☺

Consider the following “Happy Moves” this week to boost your own happiness- they are guaranteed to put a smile on your face:

1.Nurture Your Relationships: 

If there were one thing you can do to immediately boost your happiness-it would be to share your heart with the one’s you love. Actually, to be more accurate, “the one you love”.  Researchers have uncovered it’s not the number of relationships that matters most rather it’s the quality and level of connectedness you experience in your relationships. 
This week, be intentional and select one individual, you care deeply about, and once a day compliment or say “thank you” for something you appreciate about them (such as their smile, compassion, sweetness, resilience, encouragement, hope, faith and or help). You’ll be amazed how much this simple “happy move” will increase your connection with the one you love this week.

2. Cultivate kindness: 
Overwhelming evidence demonstrates that caring for someone other than ourselves creates a happier and more positive environment. Researchers at the University of California Berkeley have implemented a science-based strategy to help all of us “cultivate kindness” in our lives.

Write down the names of three-six people you turn to when you are hurting, in distress or worried.

Then write down three-six positive qualities you admire in these individuals.

Next, recall and visualize a time when you were distressed or worried and how these individuals comforted you and showed you kindness.

Lastly, write down a brief description of the way this experience made you feel and watch your kindness grow!

3. Let it Flow: 
Ever found yourself losing track of time? According to researchers and sports performance specialists, if we are deeply involved in trying to accomplish a goal or an activity that is engaging, fun and or challenging (and our skills are matched for the task), we experience a pleasurable and joyful state called “flow.” What makes you lose track of time? Make it a point this week to engage in a hobby, task, project, cause, relationship and any aspect of life that challenges, inspires and ultimately you have the skills to accomplish. Watch how time flies by and how the state of raised happiness becomes a reality.                                    

4. Schedule Sacred Moments-Invest in Your Spiritual Engagement and Meaning: 

Many studies indicate a close link between happiness and our spiritual lives. For centuries, societies across the globe have engaged in practices that elevate one’s faith, perspective, hope, social support, meaning and a greater sense of purpose in life- all which have been shown to increase one’s happiness. So, this week, intentionally focus on practicing a “sacred moment” during your day.  Take a few minutes to pray, journal, read a devotional and or listen to a favorite set of worship songs.   
  5. Focus on Strengths and Virtues: 
Did you know, people who focus on their innate talents, strengths and virtues are six times more likely to be more engaged in their work and happier, according to years of data from Gallup researchers. For years many of us have believed strengthening our weaknesses was the way to improve our lives. Now current research overwhelmingly demonstrates just the opposite. Focusing on one’s strengths & virtues builds your happiness. So this week focus on what makes your feel energized and strong, what you feel competent doing, and what those closest to you say are your greatest strengths.

6. Look on the bright side- build optimism and gratitude into your life: 
Optimistic and grateful people have been shown to demonstrate more positive attitudes, a greater sense of belonging, greater ability to handle stressful situations and a significantly higher level of happiness. Optimism and gratitude have also been associated with greater immune functioning, prevention of chronic disease, improved self-esteem and greater life satisfaction and much more. So this week, pick three great things you are thankful for and post them on the “World Gratitude Map” (HTTPS://GRATITUDE.CROWDMAP.COM), on your Facebook page or in a journal.7. Move to boost your mood:
One of the greatest learning’s, I think I’ve ever had, related to exercise is when I heard the phrase, “motion-dramatically impacts emotion”. We know exercise releases endorphins that have been proven to make us feel better. So this week, the simple act of moving is not only good for your body-it’s also good for your “smile”. This week, get on the move, go for that walk, do some squats in your office, or better yet, try to do something that brings a smile to your face! You’ll be happy you did! 

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