Monday, April 25, 2011

Week 17

Word of the week:
op·ti·mism noun \ˈäp-tə-ˌmi-zəm\
1: a doctrine that this world is the best possible world

The weather in my neck of the woods:
Summer-ish weather here, with highs in the upper 80s while the dogwood blooms. Very weird.

Things that make me happy:
Chore lists

On my Kindle:
I loaned my kindle to a coworker for the long holiday weekend, so I'm reading a paper copy of Winter's Bone.

On TV:
Canterbury's Law

On the menu:

On my To Do List:
Storage Unit -- it's so full I don't know where to begin. Does anyone want a front-loading washer and dryer set? Honest. I can't afford to house them anymore.

In the craft basket:
I finished Vivian's scarf and am working on the second sleeve for Graeme's sweater.

Looking forward to:
House cleaning. I know, how nutso is that? But truly, it is on my list.

Tips and Tricks:
How to do Laughter Yoga

No words needed:

Lesson learned the past few days:
  • Listening to my children teaches me worlds, and teaches them they are worth listening to.
  • Organization frees our minds for less mundane activities than wondering what to cook, what to wear, or where things are.

Thought of the week:
Did you know that when you laugh and smile, your face sends signals to your brain that you are happy? Your brain literally responds to the nerves and muscles in your face to determine your emotional state. So what does this mean for self-management? When you're stuck on a frustrating or distressing thought, forcing yourself to smile counteracts the negative emotional state. If you work in customer service, or any time you need to look upbeat when you're really not up for it, making yourself throw on a large, legitimate smile (when your cheeks push upwards) will trick your mind into feeling the mood you need for the moment.

French university researchers measured the power of a smile by having two groups of subjects read the same comics page from the newspaper. One group of subjects was instructed to hold a pencil in their teeth while reading (which activates the muscles used in smiling), while the other group held the pencil with their lips (which does not activate the muscles used in smiling). Those who were unknowingly "smiling" found the cartoons far more humorous and had a better time while reading them than people in the group that weren't smiling.

You can also use smiling and laughter to lift your mood by watching a show or reading a book that you know you find funny. This can feel like an odd choice when you're feeling down, but it's a great way to override the negative emotions and clear your head, especially if your down mood is paralyzing your judgment. Smiling and laughter won't eliminate feeling down, and they shouldn't - every mood has its purpose - but it's nice to know you have an out when you need to put on a happy face. From Emotional Intelligence 2.0