Creating Happiness: Feeling Grateful

Feeling gratitude

Expressing gratitude to someone is a gift that rewards both the giver and the receiver. Whenever you feel gratitude for someone or something, expressing it – through a simple thank you or kind gesture – will open your heart to a bit of happiness.

A decade of gratitude studies show that people who give thanks increase positive emotions, reduce risk of  depression and improve their relationships, just to name a few benefits. Even in the midst of down times, you can always find something to be grateful about, can’t you?  Something good in your life. In fact, research says that practicing gratitude will help you through the bad times.

Of course, it may be hard when things feel so bleak or dreary or dark. Or maybe you are grateful for something that at first was a cause of sadness and despair, but over time has become the catalyst for something so much better. A break-up of an unhappy union leads to a healthier relationship with someone else. A job loss leads to more fulfilling one.

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In the midst of my own divorce, I’ve been finding so many things to be grateful for. My two beautiful children. A supportive and respectful ex-husband and co-parent. A roof over my head. Friends who have supported me. Rediscovering the strength and grace of my own body through yoga and exercise and good eating. And yes, I am so grateful for this creative business that has enabled me to grow in so many ways over the years.

Need help in expressing gratitude? Read this article about six habits of highly grateful people from the Greater Good Science Center.

p.s. If you liked this post, check out my other blog posts in my series: “Creating Happiness.”

Creating Happiness: My Top 5 Resources to Spark Joy

 

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1. Dr. Christine Carter / Happiness Expert and author of Raising Happiness

Raising Happiness was one of the first happiness/self-help books that really resonated with me. Probably because when I found it, I was a new mom raising my own family and knew how important happiness is to a child and how important your parents’ outlook on life can affect their children. It’s a parenting handbook based on real science.

2. Zen Habits / Leo Babauta

If you want easily digestible nuggets of happiness tips, read Zen Habits. His blog is uncluttered – free of ads or distracting images. Just large text on a white background. This blog definitely lives up to its name. I was also fortunate to receive his book, Zen Habits (seen in photo) as part of Leo’s recent Kickstarter project.

3. Tiny Buddha

I discovered Tiny Buddha when I was searching for quotable sayings on happiness. Many of my quote graphics are culled from Tiny Buddha’s huge collection of inspiring quotes. I also just love the image of having a pocket-sized Buddha on hand to ask advice when life gets hairy.

4. Quiet Revolution / Quiet by Susan Cain

The bible for introverts, Quiet made it clear that being soft-spoken and introspective is a superpower. The world needs and should cherish introverts! I also LOVED her TED talk.

5. Life is What You Make It / Peter Buffett

A random library find, this book by the son of billionaire Warren Buffett, found me at just the right time in my life. As I contemplate re-entering the work force and deal with a divorce, this book reminds me how important it is to forge your own path by following your passions. Don’t settle for the easy path. Discover your own joys and strengths by trying new things. Failure is welcome because it whittles your choices and helps you find the right path.

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BONUS

The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up / Marie Kondo

Growing up in a cluttered home, it is no surprise that my current home is a disorganized mess most of the time. Books, clothes and yes, years of accumulated craft supplies, make my living space very un-zen and disorienting. I love this books philosophy of getting rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy in your hearts. It reminds me of my yoga class, when my teacher tells us to exhale anything that doesn’t serve us. To let go.

Disclaimer: Even though I am still reading this book and have yet to implement the “KonMari method” my 10-year-old daughter, who read the book cover to cover, is already a convert and has re-organized her younger sister’s clothing drawers!

 

Creating Happiness : Just Do It Already!

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Happiness…..in so many words

While thinking about what to write for my first post in my new blog series – Creating Happiness, I knew I *had* to start each post with a quote. I’ve been posting these happy nuggets for a few years on my blog and various social media channels, like Pinterest. I’m so happy to combine my love of a well-turned phrase with my self-taught Photoshop skills (I’m old school and still use CS2!) into creating these little graphics.  This particular quote by Benjamin Disraeli, which I found on The Positivity Blog, is very appropros for this inaugural post.

I admit, being proactive has not always been one of my fortes when it comes to certain things in my life.

Plagued with a touch of social anxiety and a whole lot of shyness, inaction can be the safe haven where I hunker down. But, when I do take action, even if it is just a small action, I almost always feel better. Dare I say happier for having done it?

It has been exactly five weeks since I announced that I would be writing a blog series.  Yes, it has taken over a month to set pen to paper, so to speak, and write a post. And the simple act of typing this post – hearing the quick taps of the keyboard and feeling the wheels in brain turning – are making me perk up.

I am not going to reinvent the wheel and claim to solve your happiness woes (what an oxymoron!), but I will share my experiences and the stories behind my art.

 

Things that made me happy this week

Making this:

This song:

 

 These two:
Doing this:

I hope as you read these posts, you will share what makes you happy with me. I’d love to hear what other happiness seekers are doing.

xo,
Cathy

Creating Happiness: A New Blog Series

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I was one of those kids who looked at happy people and scratched my head. Why were they so happy? Luck? Genes? Incredibly loving parents who did everything right? Over the years, I’ve realized that happiness is something you can learn. Something you can instill in your kids. Something you need to nurture every day. Barring clinical depression (which I absolutely recommend therapy and medication and professional help), I believe happiness is a skill that can be practiced every day. Like a flexing a muscle.

Because finding happiness is so important to me — and because it influences a lot of the art that I make, I’d love to start sharing my own happiness tips, inspiring quotes and other gems I find with you! Because I struggle with sadness at times and boosting my own happiness, I create things that are light-hearted and uplifting. Yes, it makes me happy!

Teal and Mustard Hoop Art with Felt Flowers