Be Happier in Five Minutes

 
 original artwork (c) Jessica Lemmon 2019

original artwork (c) Jessica Lemmon 2019

You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
— Jim Rohn

Here’s some food for thought today! Look around. Are the people surrounding you a good representation of who you want to be in life? Are they kind, good-hearted, generous, happy (fill in the blank)? You have the power to drastically change your circumstances and surroundings at any time you choose.

Most of us walk around believing that our circumstances are in control of us. That if we wake in the morning grouchy we are resigned to staying that way all day.

Not true.

Really. It’s not true. If you’re feeling crabby right now you can change it in 5 minutes or less. If you’re willing to do that, keep reading below…

Be Happier in 5 Minutes

(1) Play your favorite song. Music has the power to change a mood. The song that always makes me happy is actually called “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

(2) Smile. Grab a mirror and give yourself a genuine smile. Or a silly one. Even a stupid one. Hold it for 60 seconds and you’ll feel that happiness become contagious. A doctor once did an experiment on clinically depressed people, and the only change they made was smiling at themselves in the mirror for several minutes a day. Guess what happened other than them developing smile lines and crow’s feet around their eyes? Not a single one of them could stay depressed.

(3) Read affirmations. If you’ve never written an affirmation, the formula goes like this: “I am so happy and grateful now that I am [verbing] _______.” One of mine when I traveled to California was “I am so happy and grateful now that I am enjoying the thrill of flying.” It worked. I wasn’t afraid to fly thanks to that affirmation. It’s important to keep the verb in the present (using “ing”) so that your mind understands that the happiness is happening right now, not in the future.

Do you have any tips to
be happier of your own?

I’d love to hear them if you do.
Leave them in the comments below.

 

3 Quick Fixes When You're Caught in a Comparison Trap

A version of this blog first appeared on jessicalemmon.com

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You are one of a kind.

It's true. There is no one in the world like you. No one does things exactly the way you do them because they don't have your exact genetic makeup, your history (for better or worse), or your insight. Isn't it interesting that every one of us spends a lot of time, energy and effort trying to blend in with our community? That we quell our uniqueness and instead try and duplicate the success by those around us?

Now, hear me on this one. Inspiration is fine and dandy! Don't think you can't ever study someone's graphics, the way they write, how they sing, or how they make a schedule and learn something from it. We all start by mimicking someone else. That's how you learned to walk and talk. Someone else has been there/done that already and there's no reason to start from scratch if you really don't know where or how to start. But know this...

Everything you need is inside of you already.

Which means that once we start implementing someone else's methods, there should emerge your own unique twist and way of doing things. For example, you might buy a printable form to help with your plotting like this one, but you also might implement your own changes because your method differs from mine. I love those kinds of changes. The tweaks and customizations that make it our own unique thing when it actually started out as someone else's. It's not a weakness that you can't design or plot or sing exactly the same way as someone else. It's a revelation. You found a method within a method that's your own.

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Whenever you look at someone in your field and notice they are successful, what immediate thought follows?

Do you think to yourself "good for her!" or is it more like "I'll never be good enough to have that." Or are you a mix of both, feeling happy for your friend but then sad when you compare her journey to your own? As I type this I find myself cringing. I hate admitting that I've been on both sides of that coin. It's definitely not something I want to think when I hear a friend's good news, but this is where I'm learning to be gentle with myself. It's impossible to prevent that first thought from popping into my head, but guess what? It is completely possible to select the one after that.

It’s impossible to prevent that first thought from popping into your head, but it’s completely possible to select the one after that.
— Jessica Lemmon

Who inspires you?

Is she doing good things for the world?

Is she inspiring others?

Well, guess what.

SO ARE YOU.

Here's something to think about: You will always be in someone's rearview mirror, but someone will always be in yours as well.

There is no race.

Stay in your own lane.

Keep your eyes on your own paper.

💛 You were fearfully and wonderfully made to plant and harvest your own unique dream, not duplicate someone else's. When that niggling thought that you're not enough attacks, just remember that the people you admire most are in your life to INSPIRE your progress, not hinder it. 💛

You will always be in someone’s rearview mirror, but someone will always be in yours as well.
— Jessica Lemmon

THREE QUICK FIXES WHEN YOU'RE CAUGHT IN THE COMPARISON TRAP

1. Get off social media. Social media feeds those ugly thoughts and if you're feeling down already, that's not going to help matters. Shut down for a day, a week if you can. Visit that beautiful thing called the OUTDOORS and look around. There's a world beyond what's happening on your screen and it's glorious. 

2. Do something for someone else. Nothing fills your heart more than giving, and it doesn't have to be big. Buy flowers for your grandmother. Take a friend homemade soup for dinner. Drag your neighbor's trashcans from the end of the driveway to the house. If you're too introverted for any of these suggestions, try driving without road rage, letting someone in front of you in line at the post office, or paying for the car behind you at McDonald's. Focusing on someone other than yourself is the easiest way to fix a "woe is me" attitude.

3. Write down three things you've done that you're insanely proud of. Don't just jot them down and forget about them, though. Read them. Marinate on them. Relive the feelings of joy and happiness and satisfaction at your achievements. If you have trouble thinking of three things, think of one. And then schedule time in your life to celebrate what you do well. Life isn't about achieving until you collapse and then getting up and achieving again. The celebration, those moments of NOT striving to get ahead are just as important as the striving.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

Bad Day Do-Over

Since these blog posts come from my own life experiences, I often try to learn something while in the middle of being ... well, less than Lemmony. I based this site on positivity and good vibes so on days where I'm grumbling about everything (yes, it happens), I try to step back and take inventory of where I am and what I could be doing better. Even when I don't want to.

Being in a bad mood tends to be addicting. The yelling and stomping around almost feels good. It's true! Tony Robbins might say it's because anger makes you feel in control and when there's little going on in your life that you can control, we resort to it as a last ditch effort to gain some.

So. The Bad Day. 

What do you do?!

I call a mulligan. A do-ver. A restart! No one says a case of the "bad days" has to go on for the entire day. What is time but a mythical measurement anyway? If you want to start over here's a tip.

Just freaking start over.

Your day may have begun with you waking up with a sore neck from your old pillow, but it doesn't have to control every move you make for the rest of the day. And if we are talking "vibes" here, let's not forget that what you put out into the world comes back to you. Your neck crick turns into a grouchy email from your boss turns into traffic on the way home from work that turns into you burning your finger while cooking dinner.

Conversely why not stop in the middle of all that justifiable anger and do a few things to restart you? How? I'm so glad you asked.

Dealing with it now

For when you're in the middle of crisis mode...

Peppermint Oil. I recently ordered some essential oils and what a difference it's made in my day-to-day. A few drops on the palms of your hands and a deep inhale an invoke calm feelings instantly. Lavender works well for this, too. I also love, love, love to use essential oils in my diffuser. Right now I'm diffusing a mixture of peppermint and pine which is the perfect holiday scent. (I recommend this one. I have two!)

Get moving. The easiest way to get out of your head is to do something physical. If you can, hop out of your desk chair and jog up and down the stairs or take a walk to the copier or kitchen. Most importantly, breathe. When we're upset, often we take very shallow breaths. Breathing shallow harkens back to the caveman days when we were hiding from big, scary predators and trying to make ourselves as small and quiet as possible. Your boss may be a bear, and chances are she isn't planning on eating you, but your body doesn't know that. Remind yourself by tapping into your relaxation reflex like so:

  1. Breathe in for the count of 4.

  2. Hold for the count of 4.

  3. Breathe out for the count of 4.

  4. Repeat 3 times.

Do something else. As a work-from-home writer I have the luxury of stopping my current task and moving onto something else for a while if I find myself in a rut. My go-to tends to be cooking, since I can run into the kitchen and chop a few vegetables and make a soup in record time. (Thank you, Instant Pot!) If you don't work at home, employ your creativity. Can you take a break? A lunch break? A gym break? Get the heck away from whatever problem is currently tangling your brain in knots and when you get back do that breathing thing we talked about.

Preventing it next time

Sadly, there's no foolproof way to keep away stress. But you can see it coming, which means yep... you guessed it. An ounce of prevention...

Limit caffeine. Easing up on the java has made a world of difference for me, but the choice to ease off didn't come without a lot of moaning and complaints! Now that I'm down to 1-2 cups of half-caff a day I see the direct correlation between my anxiety issues and coffee.

#sad

There is a way to get through it gracefully without feeling like you're giving up your favorite thing ever. 

  1. Drink Bulletproof Decaf Coffee. It's more costly than Starbucks decaf, but Bulletproof's decaf is healthier for you and it doesn't taste like turpentine..

  2. Don't drink coffee after noon. Going down to limited cups of coffee meant I could have them whenever I want, right?! SOMETIMES. Other times I'm twitchy until way past bedtime.

Know your triggers. Hormones? Your kids? Friday afternoon meetings? Anticipate whatever triggers your anxiety button and cut it off at the pass. I love this meditation album from Kris Carr to reset any feelings of ick. It's an instant do-over.

Take notes. If you don't know your triggers it might be a good time to employ a journal or Evernote to help you keep track of what the heck's going on. I've seen many bujo (bullet journal) pages for tracking mood, and there are lots of options for journals that help you track what you eat each day. You can also journal your feelings at night, either in "Dear Diary" form or via a gratitude journal. Erin Condren has an awesome gratitude journal I'm in love with. If you've never ordered from there but want to, sign up here and she'll send you a $10 off your first order.

I've worked hard for years to get my anxiety under control, but if I've learned only one thing it's that there's no way to fully insure it never happens again. There's only recognizing it, dealing with it, and being gentle with yourself when your attitude is less than stellar.

~Jessica Lemmon

 

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Staying Sane for Christmas

Dear Santa,

I'd like to maintain my sanity during Christmas. Will that fit in my stocking?

Love, Me


I don't know what it is about the holidays, but stress seems to ramp up for some (all?) people. This season of good cheer and sparkly tinsel occasionally coincides with some not-so-cheerful incidents like an illness, a death in the family, or a stressful month at work. Add in the shopping, the commercials and pressure to buy "just the right thing" and family members all vying for your presence on that special day and you may find yourself wishing you didn't celebrate Christmas at all.

 

So... how do you stay sane this Christmas? Worry not! I have a few tips...

 

(1) Compromise.

Ahh, everyone's least favorite c-word. During the holidays especially, the ole give-and-take can be a life-saver. This tip falls under the category of "choose your battles."

Your siblings want to do a gift exchange even though you planned on buying for each of them. Your husband's mother wants to cook her favorite (pot roast!) and you're a vegan. Whatever issue you're confronted with, keep in mind that digging in your heels might not be the best course of action. A creative solution could help. Agree to the gift exchange with your siblings, but ship the other gifts after the holiday with a note explaining that you wanted to give something extra special this year thanks to a big Christmas bonus. Bring a vegan dish to share to dinner at your in-laws, but assure your MIL that your hubs will eat enough pot roast for the two of you. 

 

(2) Pick one.

Does it make more sense to do all your holiday visits in one day? Then do that! I moved last year, so Christmas celebrations have changed since I'm the one coming to town to visit. The solution? I combine family visits into one day (this year, we're visiting on Christmas Eve) so that the husband and I can spend Christmas Day at home. Splitting our time between family members makes the most sense because we live far away, and they're in the same town. It also gives us a chance to sit around in our pajamas Christmas morning without having to pack up the car and travel on back-to-back days.

(3) Don't explain.

Here's a fun fact: You're a grown-up and therefore entitled to say no. Just because you've always done something a certain way doesn't mean you have to do it that way until the end of time. Don't want your aunt's calorie-laden dessert even though it used to be your favorite? If a simple "no, thank you" doesn't do it, simply repeat it. You don't have to explain why and you don't have to justify your decision. Be polite but firm. If it'll ease the tension at the dinner table, offer to take a piece home whether you plan on eating it or not.

Say you book a cruise over the holidays for your family. Your children are stoked, but your parents are ... well, not. Grandma and grandpa always see the kids on Christmas! Explain to the g'rents that this year you're doing something special but you're available before or after your trip for a special celebration with them. If this meets with resistance (and it might), just repeat yourself. The fact remains: you're not going to come over to their house for Christmas because you'll be on a very big boat in the center of the ocean, but you can come over on the 22nd or the 28th. Focus on the positive and once the date is agreed upon go forward with planning a fun, relaxing get-together.

 

I hope these tips help you keep your sanity during Christmastime, but if not there's always eggnog.

~Jessica Lemmon