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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Last week, we wrapped up another successful county fair.  I am always so impressed with the way that so many people work together to make the county fair a success.  From crowning the royalty to recycling the recyclables, from  show choir  to  demolition derby, from  open class competitions to livestock shows from  food tents to 4-H projects,  volunteers and fair staff come together to insure that it all gets done.Group of youth at fairgrounds smiling

But what I really love most of all is the community that I witness as I walk through the buildings, barns, and on the midway.  It’s a time when people are engaging with others in face to face conversation, catching up with friends over some delicious food, and children are laughing and playing together.  It is truly a place where for a week we celebrate one another, jump in and assist as needed, and seem to go back in time to another era.

Building community is a vital part of our development.  A community can be defined as “emerged as a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings.” Where is your community? Where do you find others who support you, help you, laugh with you, cry with you?

Girls standing in a line at a county fair with girls on their shoulders

GirlsHealth.gov offers some suggestions to become a better member of your community.

  • Treat others well.
  • Show other people respect even if you have beliefs that are different
  • Get to know people before making up your mind about them
  • Stand up for your beliefs
  • Be someone people can rely on to do a good job
  • Volunteer at places like a nursing home, homeless shelter, food pantry, or humane society
  • Help a neighbor or someone else who could use a hand

Each night as you go to sleep, can you look back on your day and be happy with your actions towards yourself and others? Being a part of a community, whether small or large, is a sign that you are never alone. I hope you have found a community that brings a smile to your face and fills your heart with laughter like I have.Male and Female youth smiling holding sticks

Written by: Jami Dellifield, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Hardin County

Reviewed by: Susan Zies, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator,Wood County

References:

MacQueen KM, McLellan E, Metzger DS, et al. What Is Community? An Evidence-Based Definition for Participatory Public Health. American Journal of Public Health. 2001;91(12):1929-1938. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1446907/  

Girlshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.girlshealth.gov/relationships/community/

Photo Credits:

Kim Wooley Camper, Cheap $hots Photography, https://www.facebook.com/Cheap-hots-Photography-Kim-Woolley-Camper-138367259532875/ 

Kolt Buchenroth, https://www.facebook.com/hardincountyfair/

 

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While on a recent family vacation in another state, my sister ended up in the Emergency Department at a hospital. She had multiple fractures in her foot and ended up in a cast up to her knee. This injury was the result of her long term Type 1 Diabetes. She recently had a heart stent put in and had been walking about a mile a day – for her heart health. Little did she know that she had multiple fractures in her foot. Now it made sense that her foot swelled so much each evening.

This experience showed us the kindness of strangers that I want to share. We experienced several random acts of kindness during this time. Research shows that random acts of kindness and generosity increase happiness in the giver. The medical staff fit her with crutches and instructed her to keep weight off her foot. This sounds like an easy task but it can be challenging to maneuver crutches. She was able to get around but still struggled with the crutches.

Kindness

The next day she wanted to sit at the pool by the beach to watch family members parasail. If you are mobile, this is easy, just walk in and sit by the pool. It isn’t so easy if you are on crutches. But…. we experienced another act of kindness – a little boy (approximately 10 years old) stood there holding the gate until my sister could get in. A puddle of dirty pool water was inside the gate; his sister saw it, took her towel, and dried the cement so that Debbie didn’t get her cast wet. I looked at the mother and said she doesn’t have to do that with her towel – their mother said, “that’s ok” and let her do it. I was so touched that they knew the importance of being kind to a stranger. Someone in their family taught them to think of others.

Another instance we experienced included having a Physical Therapist Assistant ask if we needed help with the crutches as my sister made her way to the restroom on our drive home. She said the crutches are not the right height for her and asked if we wanted her to adjust them so that they fit. We said, “of course, we need all the help we can get” and she sat down on a bench, took the crutches and adjusted them on the spot. This made it so much easier to maneuver. We told the PT Assistant thanks for asking and she said sometimes she isn’t sure if she should interfere – we told her, yes! Her act of kindness helped us and we were grateful.

Another act of kindness included people holding the doors open as we struggled to move around with the crutches. This happened many times over our last few days of vacation.

Why is it important to share these experiences? As parents or grandparents, you can foster kindness in children. This short YouTube video featuring Dr. Christine Carter, “Raising Kind Kids” from Greater Good Science Center UC Berkeley shares a few key suggestions to encourage kids to be kind.

Are you ready to experience happiness by giving to others? Take this “Random Acts of Kindness” Challenge by doing 5 random acts in one day. Record how you feel and comment on their page. Another fun option is to pass out these Smile Cards. Complete an act of kindness, leave the Smile Card and keep the spirit going!

What are you waiting for? Try kindness today!

Writer: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Tammy Jones, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Sources:

Breines, J., Three Strategies for Bringing More Kindness into Your Life, retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/three_strategies_for_bringing_more_kindness_into_your_life

Carter, C., Raising Kind Kids, Greater Good Science Center, University of California, Berkeley, YouTube retrieved from: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/video/item/raising_kind_kids

Random Acts of Kindness Challenge, Greater Good in Action, University of California – Berkeley’s Greater Good Center, retrieved from: UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.  http://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/random_acts_of_kindness

Smile Cards, KindSpring.org retrieved from: http://www.kindspring.org/smilecards/

 

 

 

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springhealth

Spring has arrived!  Imagine warmer days, flowers blooming and the smell of fresh cut lawns!  It’s also the perfect time to take inventory of our health.

  • Schedule appointments and health screenings.  Talk with your doctor to determine a health plan that works for you.
  • De-clutter your medicine cabinet.  Medication should be stored in a dry, cool cabinet.  Check the expiration dates of all medications.   Check with the drug stores or police departments to learn how to dispose safely of old medications.
  • Discard old makeup.  Most products have a one year shelf life.  Throw out products that have an odor or separation of ingredients.
  • Find your calm.  Learn to decrease stress instantly.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing, envision a place that is peaceful.
  • Choose in-season, local produce.  Visit a farmers’ market and gain nutritional benefits with spring produce.
  • Go outside-talk a walk and benefit from physical activity and the wonders of the arrival of spring.
  •  Improve your happiness – get rid of clothes in your closet that don’t flatter you.  Get rid of the stuff you don’t want.  Research reveals that helping out others improves our happiness.

Take these steps to help improve your overall health and enjoy spring!

Author:  Beth Stefura M Ed, RD,LD.  Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, Crossroads EERA, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, Heart of Ohio EERA, rabe.9@osu.edu

Sources:  http://www.webmd.com/allergies/spring-clean

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It seems “Happy, Happy, Happy” is sweeping the nation with nearly twelve million viewers of the popular reality television show, Duck Dynasty. Happy, Happy, Happy is the motto of Phil Robertson, one of its cast members. No, I’m not advocating you watch more television; or even take up duck hunting; however, there is something to be said for Phil’s “happy, happy, happy” approach to life. Perhaps you know people who are always happy. MP900386362

Which poses the question . . . are you born with a happy attitude set-point, is happiness a learned behavior, or a product of our environment/upbringing, and/or a combination of all of these?

Research has shown that our talent for happiness is, to a large degree, determined by our genes. Psychology professor David T. Lykken, author of Happiness: The Nature and Nurture of Joy and Contentment, says that “trying to be happier is like trying to be taller.” We each have a “happiness set-point” he argues, and we move away from it only slightly.

In short, we may be born with a happiness “set-point,” as Lykken calls it, but we are not stuck there. Happiness depends on how we manage our emotions and our relationships with others.

There are two types of people in the world; those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves. Unhappy people believe they need to obtain certain material items or levels of achievement to be happy. A few notable differences between happy and unhappy people are as follows:

1. Happy people make an effort to surround themselves with positivity; they do not enjoy being around people that send out negative vibrations and who deflate their mood. Happy people make a conscious effort to engage with other happy people so they can have healthy and positive friendships and relationships.
2. Happy people do not waste their days being jealous of other people. Happy people have no need to desire everything that someone else has. They are purely content with their own life and who they are.
3. Happy people take time for themselves. It is imperative for a happy life. Happy people make sure they put aside 10 to 20 minutes each day for personal time because they know how important it is for stress reduction and general well-being.
4. Happy people don’t sweat the small stuff. They believe they can overcome most obstacles that life presents and they do not put themselves through any unwanted stress over issues that can be solved.
5. Forgiveness is a fact of life. Happy people find it easy to forgive and move on. They realize the damage of holding on to anger and how it can affect general health and quality of life.

Happy people like Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty do many things differently and they make sure they do everything wholeheartedly and with great effort. They are passionate people who usually have a big smile on their face and live their lives to the fullest every day.

Choose to be happy. Push the “delete” button on negative thoughts and “evict” those individuals or thoughts you have allowed to live “rent free” in your head/life to keep yourself positive. You will have less stress and enjoy life more.

References:

Jett, Pamela (2012). National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Annual Meeting, Columbus, Ohio, Keynote Speaker

Lykken, David T.(1999). Happiness: The Nature and Nurture of Joy and Contentment by St. Martin’s Press, New York, New York

Valeo, Tom. Choosing to be Happy – Strategies for Happiness: 7 Steps to Becoming A Happier Person, Web MD

Written by: Cynthia R. Shuster, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Perry County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

Reviewed by: Elizabeth Smith, M.S., RDN., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-Ed, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension Office Associate, Morgan County, Buckeye Hills EERA.

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mountain climbing
According to the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service’s family life information, our personal journey can be successful with effort. It is not something that happens by accident but requires work and making many daily choices. The information from the website http://www.arfamilies.org highlights seven topics to consider and work on along the path as we strive to complete our journey.
*Let’s start with Enjoy Today! In the daily grind of life do we focus our attention on the obstacles along the path or do we focus on the beauty that is around us? How much more fun is seeing beauty rather than a roadblock?
* The second topic looks at the gems in our past. This area centers not only around finding the gems, but on cherishing those past gems. Remembering the good aspects of your life history rather than the negative or disappointing aspects can help lead us on that positive life journey.
* A third point deals with the future. Being excited about the future and hopeful about what is to come can be difficult. Looking for and expecting to find good things often leads to finding good things. When we are tempted by anxiety and fear, the more hopeful we are, the better the outcome usually is.
*Really examine your strengths and weaknesses. When we use our strengths and manage our weaknesses we challenge ourselves to do the things we love to do.
*Service can certainly lead us on the path to happiness. When our focus is primarily ourselves, our world becomes narrow and limited. When we turn our energy and attention to others the satisfactions of our lives expand.*Growth and continuing to grow is a sure sign of progress in life. Finding new projects, experiences and ideas to fill our life rather than stagnate and get stale is critical to happiness.
*Finally, our compass must accompany us on our journey. This is our conscience. The Arkansas site defines the compass as the compassion, honor and kindness we hear from that little voice in our head.
Taking the time to make these choices helps us create the best possible choices. For some writing is helpful in this process. More information and sample journal pages for use are available at the website http://www.arfamilies.org. Start on your life journey today and expect more happiness to await you.

Source: http://www.arfamilies.org

Author: Elizabeth Smith, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension.

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