good marriage

happiness

It’s amazing that happy couples can make love last. Is keeping yourself happy the key to a happy marriage? The good marriage sounds like a miracle when the divorce rate is high in modern days. First of all, do we have a definition of a good marriage? The book The Good Marriage has the answer.

What is a good marriage?

🤣Humor
😊Safe
😍The idealization of the other is part of every happy marriage
💋Satisfying sex life
😇Grateful to each other for the changes they had experienced over the years
💑Talk about what we want for the future and let’s see what we have in common
🗣💕Set some time for talking about the relationship
🤲Give more than you expect to get

😜Keep interests alive by trying new things
😎Distinguish between big things and little things, knowing what’s important
🤗Mutual protection is at the heart of marriage
😢Provide emotional nurturance
⚖Fairness was far more important than exactly how the chores were allocated

When coping with a crisis, what would a happy couple do?

The Good Marriage shows that they protect each other against self-reproach and they don’t blame each other. They also take steps to allow some degree of pleasure and humor. Make a safe place for conflict and make it clear that the fighting will not breach the walls of the marriage. Hope everyone has the intention to keep a good marriage.

Happy reading!

 

 

 

Wired for dating & love

happiness

Having good relationships with others makes life happier. What if we date mindfully? Dating is about getting to know other people and ourselves. In any relationship, appreciation is the key to better communication while complaint stops communication. In other words, relationships will be strengthened when we focus on the good. And vise versa. This is the essence and easier said than done.

I read two books, Wire for dating and Wired for love, by Stan Tatkin who is a marriage and family therapist. These two books share the same concept: understand yourself and your partner well in terms of the attachment style (anchor, wave or island) and build the couple bubble together.

Secure Anchor “Anchors are secure as individuals, willing to commit and fully share with another, generally happy people and adapt easily to the needs of the moment.”

Anxious Wave “Waves are generous and giving, focused on the care of others, happiest when around other people and able to see both sides of an issue.”

Avoidant Island “Islands are independent and self-reliant, take good care of themselves, productive and creative, especially when given space and low maintenance.”

I’m an island. But I find myself being wave and anchor sometimes. It doesn’t matter what attachment style we belong to. Most importantly, we can communicate with others in a way that fosters understanding when we are aware of each other’s attachment style.

How to date wisely?

I’m curious to know how would Stan Tatkin suggest people to date wisely. I’ve summed up some key points for you and take myself as an example to get the big picture.

Clear about what you want

First of all, let me try to create an imaginary ideal partner and be clear about what I want. My ideal partner is good looking, taller than me, fit and stylish. It’s most likely to meet him in the gym, cafe, bookshops, beach, and mountains. He is caring, generous and reliable. He has some long-term relationships in the past. He is financially stable and a long-term investor. He is an architect/entrepreneur/programmer/another professional. He loves reading, traveling, surfing, tennis, gym, yoga, photography, art, and design.

The fog of infatuation

It seems there is nothing we can do about the infatuation or the rosy filter we have for others when meeting new people. So simply be mindful of the infatuation and be aware of the chemicals or hormones in our body when we are dating. It might help us not fall for someone who is so charming too soon.

Familiarity

When I try to develop an awareness of my dating pattern. I notice that I like to date people who are narcissistic or egotistic. I guess this is because I am a self-centered person too. I also have a tendency to like people who don’t care about me and I tend to reject people who do care. Not being treated well feels familiar and I have misunderstood that’s love. It’s important to notice what feels familiar. A familiar but sick dating pattern can hinder me from finding true love. After noticing the old dating pattern, it’s time to create a new pattern dating people who are generous and caring. With repeated exposure to generosity and care, that will become familiar and attractive to me soon. Remember to focus on people who pay efforts to get to know each other.

Start the process of vetting

The screening I do myself may be good or bad so I need the deeper vetting from my friends and family. In the past, I skipped this step, which is a mistake. I will need at least 3 vetters suggested by Stan Tatkin: a family member, a female friend, and a male friend.  What’s more, I will also need an ongoing assessment to see if the partner is a good match.

How to build a couple bubble or a long-lasting relationship?

Building a couple bubble is like having a social contract between two people. The couple has a consensus to commit to making sure each other feel secure and fix any hurt feelings immediately. Creative negotiation and positive communication play an important role here.

Happy reading or listening!

And happy dating!

learned optimism

happiness

Learned optimism: ABCDE

I love reading books about positive psychology. I feel optimistic after knowing some inspiring psychology experiments and findings. Learned Optimism is a good read. I’m happy that I have learned the ABCDE model which is an optimism tool to help us achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

When I did a test about my optimistic level, I thought I’m very optimistic. But the results show that I’m very pessimistic indeed. I was so surprised! It took me a while to accept that I had been wrong about how optimistic I was. I decided to redo the test with the ABCDE model in mind to see if I would get a different result. The second attempt was definitely cheating. But I didn’t care. I was curious to know if there was any change. The second result is… very optimistic. Ha! I learned optimism theoretically.

How do I use the ABCDE model in real life?

A (Adversity): I have a writer’s block

B (Belief): I am not funny so I can’t write funny stories

C (Consequences): I feel bad and stop writing

D (Disputation): Everyone has a sense of humor, although it may be different from others. My friends and I have the same sense of humor. Everything can be learned. Things are hilarious when there is incongruity and the timing is right. (What I’m trying to do here is to disagree my belief by coming up with alternative thoughts and finding evidences to disagree)

E (Energization): I read articles or books and watch videos about comedy writing. I watch sitcoms and comedy movies to get inspired. I have more confidence to use the comedic device in my writing. I try to write again, edit the story, and make it funnier.

The ABCDE model makes me keep going with an optimistic mindset. I feel good to work on my goals without any negative thoughts. You can try ABCDE if you get stuck with something. Stay optimistic, dear! You’re welcome to subscribe to my blog for more happiness updates monthly.

Happy reading!

 

40% happiness

happiness

 

40% of happiness is our choice

The key takeaway from the book The How of Happiness is that we can control 40% of our happiness. 50% is determined by our genes. 10% is determined by life circumstances. The controllable happiness (40%) is about what we think and how we behave every day. In other words, happiness is a state of mind and actions that we can work on daily. It does take some effort to be happy but it is worth it. What else is more important than that?

The book offers many practical activities you can do to enhance your happiness. You can pick some activities that work best for you to practice and see what will happen. After all, happiness is a practice or a habit. I find that I have cultivated some happiness habits suggested in the book. For example, I exercise weekly and I spend time with family and friends. Express gratitude. Commit to lifelong goals. Meditate (live in the moment). Develop new hobbies. Keep a gratitude journal.

Recently, I have been keeping a giving journal. I want to jot down the small things I give to others and the great things others give to me. I have an urge to give more when I realize how little I have given. Like I have better control of how I use the money if I keep track of how much I have spent daily. The giving journal is effective to prompt me to be a more giving person. I become more aware of what and how often I give to others. This makes me happier.

How to see the big picture: Best Possible Self

The book introduces the Best Possible Self exercise to help us see the big picture of our lives. This exercise can also boost our happiness as it creates positive emotions. What’s your big picture? For me, I imagine my life in 3 years like this:

  1. RELATIONSHIPS: I have a loving life partner who stays with me forever and we grow together. I have many inspiring, funny and caring friends around me. My family is happy.
  2. HOBBIES: I travel at least 6 exotic places with surfing spots to enjoy life and nature. (i.e. Morocco, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Cuba, Bali, Philippine, Okinawa, Cairns, etc.)
  3. CAREER: My blog has 1,000 true fans. I read and write a lot of good stuff.
  4. HEALTH: I am healthy, happy and pretty.
  5. FINANCE: I have more than 1 million.

How about your best possible self? I would like to know! I’m sure you will be happy if you write to me. So please feel free to share it with me in the comments section now.

Happy reading!

Funny Memoir

happiness

How to be a woman?

As a woman myself, I find it very easy to fear of everything — wrinkles, uncontrollable emotions, the dark, insects, gravity, loneliness, outfits that make you look fat, irritating menstruation, not getting married, not having kids, and the list goes on. I can choose to be anxious about coping with life as a woman or choose to laugh about all of them (too many materials to make fun of).

I love Caitlin Moran‘s sense of humour and her unique perspectives on being a woman. She is a strident feminist who supports women to be herself. She shares her life from a teenage girl to a mid-thirties lady in a brutally honest and comedian way.

Her exaggerating metaphors and imaginary scenes are hilarious and her opinions on things are bold (She loves bolding her main points too!). Her book is full of references from pop culture, celebrities, bands, fashion, sex, and more. It’s totally FUNNY AND JUICY.

I don’t know how they would react to my £40 handbag. They might leap on to their chairs screaming and trying to hit my cheap handbag with a broom, as if it were vermin.

It is a good read for people who are annoyed by or being a woman or who want to understand women more and have a good laugh. The book is full of insights and amusing stories.

Happy reading!

 

give and take

happiness

Are you a taker, matcher or giver?

Yes, I am a matcher most of the time, unfortunately, and sometimes a taker or a giver. I feel the need to get evolved to be a giver after reading the book Give and Take by Adam Grant as giving wisely makes life happier. Yes, it takes actions and time to be a generous giver so it’s better that we really enjoy the process of giving. I’m trying to get there although I’m still far from the end of evolution.

How to be a cheerful giver?

Givers are generous folks who take other’s interests above theirs. Not many people can do that all the time I guess. I hope you’re one of the cheerful givers and I hope I can be one soon. Adam Grant advocates giving as he loves to see more successful givers getting to the top without cutting others down, finding ways of expanding the pie that benefit themselves and the people around them.

“When you meet people, regardless of who they are, you should be asking yourself, ‘How can I help the other person?’”

Perspective-taking

I must admit that my ability to imagine other people’s perspectives is very weak as I’m an introvert and I don’t practice perspective-taking a lot in real life. I always get stuck in my own perspective so I find myself not so helpful to others. Once upon a time, my boyfriend at the time asked me to help him to do his individual essay but I just promised him to help with the proofreading. He then asked another friend to finish it for him near the deadline. Since then, he broke up with me. This relationship let me realize that he is a matcher and I am not a giver. I failed to put his interest over mine and he failed to prioritize our relationship over his study. What if both of us are otherish givers considering our partner’s thoughts and interests to find ways that satisfy others without sacrificing our own interests?

Seeking advice

Adam suggests us to ask for advice, which is a form of powerless communication showing our vulnerability. In his opinion, advice-seeking has 4 benefits: learning, perspective taking, commitment, and flattery. For example, when I ask my senior how to get a pay rise, he will give suggestions for my situation (engage in perspective-taking) and help me if he is a giver (commitment). I will take new information (learning) from him and give appreciation (flattery) to him. This whole process of seeking advice is more like prompting the adviser to be a giver. It literally gives the adviser a chance to give.

The 100-hour rule of volunteering

In the book, Adam also mentions the 100-hour rule of volunteering — the optimal hour to give without burning out. It’s just two hours a week if we break down 100 hours a year. Research shows that happiness increased when people performed all five giving acts or volunteer work in a single day rather than doing one a day. And if you are burning out, you can recharge your energy by shifting your giving to a new domain where your contributions showing visible impacts.

Seeing everyone as talented

Adam Grant believes generous givers simply start by seeing everyone as talented and try to bring out the best in them. They don’t excel only at recognizing and developing talent; they’re also surprisingly good at moving on when their bets don’t work out.

There’re so many great stories about takers and givers in Adam’s book worth reading. Hope you will be willing to give more no matter big or small after reading this. If we measure success in what it has done for the people around us, being helpful to others with a sense of free choice is successful.

Happy reading!

 

 

LOL this is funny

happiness

What makes you laugh today?

I have no idea what my facial expression looks like when I’m not looking at the mirror, until more than 2 people said to me,” You looks so serious”. What? I have been wearing a serious look all day, all months, or maybe all years? I thought I have a happy smiling face all the time. Are there fights between emotions in my brain like the movie Inside Out?

The idea that I was not LOL all the time makes me panic. Then I watch comedies, sitcoms, and funny books. I also put on a pair of funny glasses and see things from a different perspective. It turns out people laugh at my stupid face.

Life is absurd. It’s better not to take it seriously. I want you to have a good laugh as that will make me laugh too. How? Yea, how exactly? I don’t quite know, to be honest. But,  here I’ve got some funny stuff, for you to judge if they are funny enough to make you laugh.

Funny graphic memoir

♦♦♦

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Have you ever read any weird comics from Allie Brosh‘s funny blog? I gave the book a try after Bill Gate‘s recommendation. I found it enjoyable to read and I couldn’t help laughing at her whimsical drawings and writing. Allie illustrated the anecdotes about her childhood, her dogs, her identity, her depression and her daily life in a hilarious and exaggerated way with her unique sense of humor. I love it! Life is not that boring if you see it in Allie’s way.

The Simpsons jokes

♦♦♦

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What’s your favorite Simpsons joke? The Simpsons may seem stupid, yet I love the smart jokes that make people can’t help laughing at. I tried to hack the joke writing secrets. Yes, I tried a bit, not hard. After listening to the audiobook of Springfield Confidential, I have a bit more ideas about how the Simpsons writers work: they use simple language to talk about the moment of shit and put a surprise at the end. 

The Simpsons

♦♦♦

The British sense of humor 

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The British sense of humor is more sarcastic and pessimistic. James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes is a good example, telling his autobiographical stories in a comedian way. He’s hilarious. You can definitely feel that when he speaks, not to mention his funny stand-up shows.

Happy reading & laughing!

 

create meanings

happiness

woman-wades-in-ocean-at-sunset.jpg

What is the meaning of life?

Most of us have asked this tricky question, especially in adversity or when burning out. Do you have the answer now? Some people are lucky that they are always clear about their life purpose. Some people discover their meaning of life while suffering. Some people are not sure about it yet and some may have changed their meaning of life. What is the meaning of my life? My answer, at this moment, is to inspire you to live a more meaningful life.

Many philosophers, psychiatrists, and writers have their unique views on the meaning of life. Among these different views, I can see a shared value regarding the meaning of life. In general, that is to do something loving for others. That’s it? That’s the truth about the meaning of life? Sounds too simple to be true. No matter what the truth is, we have the freedom to decide our own meaning of life.

live to inspire

Emily Esfahani Smith, the author of The Power Of Meaning, thinks our lives become meaningful when we have strong relationships with others, cooperate with others for the good of society, reframe our stories in a more positive way, and connect to nature or god. Her four pillars of meaning: belongings, purpose, storytelling, and transcendence, is psychology-driven and pragmatical for real life. We are doing these activities in daily life, aren’t we? Do we simply take a meaningful life for granted?

achieve, love, suffer, hope

According to psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankel, we can discover the meaning in life in three different ways: by achievement; by loving someone; and by suffering. When Viktor was suffering in the concentration camp, he found the meaning of life by treating patients and writing his classic book Man’s Search For Meaning. In his view, what human needs is the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task, to prevent existential vacuum (inability to find or create meaning in life). In other words, just do something of your choice that makes you feel fulfilled. What goal do you choose to live a meaningful life?

Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.

The more one forgets himself—by giving himself to a cause to serve or another person to love—the more human he is and the more he actualizes himself

work play love

Paul Thagard, a philosopher who specializes in cognitive science, summarises the meaning of life as work, play, and love in his book The Brain And The Meaning Of Life. Balancing these three areas can satisfy our psychological needs: competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Cool, keep working, playing, and loving. And most importantly keep balancing.

serve others

Many of my Christian friends’ meaning of life is to serve God by serving others. They choose to believe the meaning of life lies in religion. Philosopher John Cottingham also thinks so and he points out the spiritual benefits in his book On The Meaning Of Life: the care of the soul, the tranquility of mind, release from the false pursuits of egoism and material gain, a closer awareness of the mystery of life, an affirmation of its profundity and its blessings.

contribute & cooperate

Psychotherapist Alfred Adler’s finding of the meaning of life is to contribute to the whole and cooperate with others. I feel that his book  What Life Should Mean To You is more like preparing readers to be good parents. Because he stresses the importance of parents’ sufficient love for children (especially for children with imperfect organ, pampered children, and neglected children) can help raise a good person instead of a criminal.

final thought

After all, we are not alone in this world so our meaningful lives must involve other people. When it comes to your meaning of life, only you can live it for yourself.

Happy reading

live well

happiness

 

Why are the Danes so happy?

Danes are living a simple and slow life. They are happy because they have a good welfare model and a concept of hygge. Their welfare model is able to reduce risk, uncertainty and anxiety among its citizens. The Danish culture hygge is also the key to happiness. What exactly is hygge? The Little Book of Hygge, which is totally the bible about hygge, can give you a comprehensive explanation. It’s my favorite book about happiness! I’m grateful that a friend of mine gave this book to me as a gift. I feel hyggelig every time I read it. Plus, I love and admire so much about what Meik Wiking, the author of The Little Book of Hygge, has been doing! His job sounds like my dream job. He studies what makes people happy by focusing on well-being, happiness, and quality of life. He found the Happiness Research Institute to explore the causes and effects of human happiness. He is one of my favorite idols.

How to make a hygge corner at home

Meik suggests how to make a Hygge Emergency Kit to boost your hyggeness. That’s sweet. But I prefer to make a hygge corner at home more, where I can hygge every day and night. I guess everyone’s hygge corner is different and unique. What would you like to have for your hygge corner? I love to put the followings to mine.

Books — Reading is hyggelig to me and books are my brain food

Photos — awesome photos with friends and family are warm and sweet

Handwritten cards — birthday cards and Christmas cards are loving and human

Plants — who doesn’t like nature? I love greenery and flowers

Diffuser — life is good when smelling good

Music — something I can’t live without

 

Make your own hygge corner today.

Creative doing!

what makes you happy?

happiness

One thing to take away from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project — six-second hugging

Among all the stay-happy tips shared from the book, I love hugging longer (at least 6 to 20 seconds) the most! The science of hugging is remarkably magical: a 6-second hug can boost oxytocin (the happy hormone), lower blood pressure and cortisol (the stress hormone). How could you not to hug longer and more when long hugs make you and the one you hug happier and healthier? Hug away anxiety and worries. Knowing this happy fact isn’t enough, we have to really do it to feel the effect. Let’s hug someone for long every day! Start with your close ones. XOXO

Get inspired by The Happiness Project

When I first read the book The Happiness Project a few years ago, I was not very impressed and not very friendly towards the author, Gretchen Rubin. Because I was younger and egocentric back then and I didn’t understand how women with kids think and feel about life. I thought that it’s just a book written by a woman who can’t control her emotions and finds ways to make her life happier. However, when I get older, I understand how hard it is to stay happy all the time, especially if you are a woman. Because women’s emotions are greatly affected by hormonal changes. I can feel the need to stay happy now. LOL

The flower project

Gretchen Rubin’s one year project is to focus on doing different things each month. It’s short and sweet. I was inspired by that and created my first happiness project —  the flower project. It lasts about a year or so as I like to focus on one thing for a longer period and dive into it a little deeper. I started to love flowers when I was living in London where greenery and gardens are everywhere.

I was fascinated by the beauty and the variety of flowers and plants and I could feel the intense healing power of flowers. There was a time I felt it so deeply. That was when my kind landlady gave me a lovely garden rose inside the new room I was moving to. That move was a depressing change for me at that time as my good friend had moved out and I was moving alone from a big room to a small room. That single garden rose simply saved me from being too depressed. Sounds a bit dramatic yet it’s the power of nature.

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I wanted to learn floristry since then. It took me some time to research and decide how to learn. Finally, I opened an Instagram account @plantplaylist and recorded the flower arrangements I had made. A friend of mine who is good at photography has joined me later so we opened a new account @moonshinefolk to take some artistic shots. The flower project was so much fun and beautiful in my point of view.

What would your happiness project be?

Creative doing!