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Monday, May 6, 2013

10 simple things…

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Hello my friends.

I stumbled on this wonderful article at Apartment Therapy and the minute I saw the first “simple thing” I had to share it with you. According to THIS article, our smallest habits in our home can have a powerful impact on our happiness. That’s because our homes are an extension of ourselves.

For example. Do you make your bed each morning? I don’t. But after reading this article I actually have a different perspective about my messy bed.

Here’s the ten things that might inspire you to make a few changes in your life.

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1. Make your bed

Gretchen Rubin, author of the bestselling book "The Happiness Project", explains that making the bed was "the number ONE most impactful change that people brought up over and over" when she was researching her book on what inspires happiness. Isn’t this interesting? Evidently making our beds is considered a “keystone habit,” which is a habit that spills over to other productive habits. It starts your day off on the right foot and encourages you onward.

Three minutes. That’s all you need to devote to this task in order to lift your spirits.

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2. Bring every room back to "ready."

Here’s another quick improvement to your mood. Because clutter is known to cause stress, the idea is to be your own best friend by creating a nice ‘welcome’ when you return home.This doesn’t mean you need to be a neat freak. Just take a few minutes before you leave the house to get your room to a state of “readiness.” Pick up. Put the shoes away. Wipe up the counters.

When you walk in the door it will be a mood changer. The author recommends this Seven Step Path to learn more.

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3. Display sentimental items around your home

This seems like a no-brainer but when we surround ourselves with sentimental objects that remind us of good experiences we feel better. So be careful not to lump those special, little mementos into the clutter category.

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Studies tell us that it’s our relationships that are the foundation of our happiness so when we decorate with meaningful objects we help create that warm, homey feeling. 

Does your home tell your story?

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4. Start a one-line-a-day gratitude journal

People who keep gratitude journals are happier. This is what research tells us. Before bed, simply jot down one happy memory from that day. (If you have kids, you can ask them, "What was the best part of today?") Reflection is an important part of happiness, and pausing to reflect on a positive event from each day cultivates gratitude

The author recommends buying  Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach, to guide you.

 

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5. If you can't get out of it, get into it.

Cleaning dishes is a good example. Obviously, dishes can’t clean themselves so there’s no avoiding them.

But we have the power to transform our mundane housekeeping into something worthy of our time. Begin by being in the moment. Feel the soothing, warm water on your hands. Enjoy the tickle of the tiny bubbles. Turn on the music to make it fun. 

And try to practice gratitude.When you’re cleaning the dishes it’s a perfect time to be thankful you have a sink to stand at and dishes to wash. And the food that’s stuck on the plates? Well, it’s a wonderful thing to have food to satisfy our hunger, isn’t it?

 

6. Before you get up each morning, set an intent for the day.

In The Art of Happiness, the Dali Lama recommends this daily practice. Choose your attitude each morning and make this a positive habit. It only takes a few moments to settle on an affirmation for our day.

What will it be?

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If you can’t decide, use this one from the Dali Lama to get you started.

 

7. Do small favors for housemates, expect nothing in return

Mow the lawn for your husband, but don't expect him to pat you on the back. Make the bed for your wife, but don't try to get bonus points for it. Take the trash out for your roommate, just because. The ability to cultivate strong, healthy relationships is one of the biggest contributors to health and happiness, but when you start to keep score, the benefit is lost.

It's a well-known fact:

When you do good, you feel good.

8. Call at least one family member or friend a day

You can do this while you clean, while you make the bed, or while you walk the dog. Texts and emails do not count! Make an actual phone call to a loved one, just to chat and catch up. We humans are social beings and studies show that even when we don't feel like it, even if we are naturally introverted, socializing with our loved ones makes us feel better

 

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9. Spend money on things that improve your experiences in your home

Save money for a new grill for parties or a new DVD for family movie night — something that will encourage you to have people over and entertain.

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Plan a summer barbeque, invite your closest friends, kick back and relax. (And don't forget to print out the pictures to remember the good times.)

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10. Spend a few minutes each day connecting with something greater than yourself.

Whatever your spiritual beliefs may be, studies show that connecting to a higher power is correlated with happiness.  Before bed, spend just a few minutes contemplating something larger than yourself. Pray. Take a walk in nature. Write in a journal. Create a sacred space in your home. (Or if spirituality is really not your thing, create a home spa: light some candles, soak in a hot bath, delve into a good book… are you feeling better yet?)


Well?

Do you already do most of these 10 things?

xoxo

Leslie

 

via Apartment Therapy

I’m sharing this post with these friends:

 

 

 

24 comments:

Coastal Cottage Dreams said...

Lovely post, I do make bed everyday and straighten up the downstairs every night before going to bed.

I really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing!

simone antoniazzi said...

Ooh, this is exactly the type of post that appeals to the organised planner & declutterer in me!! I love these kind of suggestions :)

Some great points here.....I so agree with Gretchen Rubin's making the bed suggestion. I always feel better if I do this first thing in the morning, it seems to mean so much more to me than just having a tidy bed. If its done before I leave for school in the morning I feel so on top of things!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

Exceptional, Leslie! What a wonderful post! I'm a bed maker! If my bed is not made my whole room feels messy!
I love the idea of setting your attitude for the day.
Thanks!

Lori said...

Such simple things that would make a huge difference in our day to day ~ see ~ you made me think again and go hmmm.... xo

Blondie's Journal said...

I am really loving this post...And I know there are things that I can improve on (going back to a gratitude journal, setting my attitude for the day, calling a loved one once a day). I can see that these things all involve enjoying life!

The things I already do, and for all the reasons the article says, like making the bed every morning, cleaning up the house before I leave, are truly what makes my inner "Organized self" happy. I often wondered why these things were so important to me, especially when someone would say they never make their bed! I guess I just need a serene, pretty space to escape to once in awhile and that brings me peace.

I love this post and I'd love to read the article. Thank you so much, Leslie!

XO,
Jane

XO,
Jane

Sarah said...

Leslie, as always you've given us wonderful food for thought. I'm one who makes my bed every day and tries to keep clutter put away. The dining room table always seems to catch the daily mail, packages, etc. Love the idea of calling a friend or family member a day. I'm going to start that one!

Debe said...

Just caught up on your blog after being entrapped by life....will make my bed tomorrow & maybe on Wednesday too. Bought a book, love the chalk...wish I could copy someplace here...the quotes resonate! Just love your POV and think my reality is just fine regardless of how many beautiful blogs I read. Just wanted to say good night and keep on doing what you do. Blessings...

AntiqueChase said...

I do make the bed everyday... and of course display sentimental items :)

Down to Earth Style said...

What a great post. I need to print this out as my daily 'to do' list!!!! Good reminders....making the bed really is a chore that brings happiness. Nothing like climbing into fresh sheets after a long day. I love to do this for my kids. Rooms feel put together and relaxing.

Art and Sand said...

Always make the bed- before I hit the shower.

Usually straighten up before I go to bed.

Definitely have family treasures spread throughout the house.

Take time each day to be thankful and reflect.

Am bad about calling my busy daughter and my sister who is spending most of her time in Europe lately- working. I was good on this one until you said texting and e-mail don't count.

We are planning a big party for June - remember you can come. The caterer is the cook at our favorite Mexican restaurant and I just ordered YUMMY cupcakes. You know you want to take a 6 hour drive!

It looks like I'm doing pretty good 6:10. I can't remember the other 4.

As always, you find the best articles and have the best advice.

The only interesting thing I read today was an article about the crazy names of NPR reporters. It was great.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Great suggestions. I love this list. Your pictures are wonderful too. Thanks so much for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

michele said...

i do! i do! it all resonates as truth for me. #11 for me would be invite a pet into your home who will teach you more than you can imagine about unconditional love and pure joy.

love to you, beautiful blogger.

michele

anangloinquebec said...

Oh I never make the bed but I just might now! I actually think it makes sense but our bedroom always seems to be a catchall...better change that. Great suggestions and a couple I started doing in the past year. I know that I always feel better when I come home to a "tidy" house. I am in no way a neat freak but I have learned that I do appreciate a certain amount of order while I admire a certain amount of bohemian freedom.
Inspirational post Leslie.

Dayle @ A Collection of This and That said...

I so agree with all of these and making the bed is something my mom forced me to do at home and now it's just a habit, but I do find that my spirit lifts whenever the bed looks tidy. I can't explain it, but it works.

I need to work on #6 and #8. I've become too accustomed to texting and emailing. I usually talk to my daughter at least once a day, and I do call my parents several times a week, just to hear their voices, but I need to be more mindful of calling instead of texting.

Great post, Leslie.

Violets Are Blue said...

Thank you for posting this. I need this in so many ways right now. I am in the middle of what may/could be a life changing event. I stand to lose a lot of personal and financial security with this change. The future is scary and I find that life just keeps going along with me in it. I am trying to find my way through it with support both personal and professional. Having steps will help me feel in control of myself and hopefully will help me find my strengths again. This is a wonderful post for me to use each day. Heartful thanks. Patty/BC

Heather - New House New HOme said...

Wish I could say I make my bed EVERY day, but I don't. It does feel so much better when I do. Keeping a neat house is essential to my happiness at home. A garden is important too. That's my greater thing - the power of nature.

Thanks for reminding us, Leslie, of some of the small essentials to happiness.

I'm off to make my bed! Even if it is 5 PM>

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Leslie...it really spoke to me today!

Leslie said...

This is wondeef! Yes.. I do some but not all of these things. Such a great list snd one we should all keep on hand. I doeak with my mom almost daily, have pets, make the bed.. I think as time goes on we sort of do these things as we learn how to prioritize and get the must out of day to day living.

Gypsy Heart said...

Beautiful post, Leslie! I started keeping a gratitude journal eons ago when Sarah ban Breathnach first began appearing on Oprah. I've read "Simple Abundance" over and over, even though I have several of her books. Her writing resonates with me and I never tire of it.

A good friend of mine sets an intention each morning when she awakens. I am working on this! I do think it makes a positive difference when I do it.

Making the bed? Rarely...I used to do it each & every day but not now. Sometimes I like to lie down and watch a movie or read and that's the most comfortable spot. :)

I so appreciate YOU and this post!
xo
Pat

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Great post Leslie! My beds have to be made...it would through my day off if that makes any sense!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Wonderful post! I have to make the bed and leave the house in tip-top shape before I go to work or go out of town. It gives me peace of mind.

Now it's time to pull out The Happiness Project that our oldest daughter gave me after reading it last year. She was quite motivated by the book.

Lynn @ UpCountry Olio said...

Great ideas here! It's amazing how little time some of these things take (like making a bed for example) but what a big impact.

Thanks for reminding us to take care of the little things.

-Lynn

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

So many crystalline things here. Many of them I practise, and sometimes wish I'd found these things out earlier. I always prepare my house for reentry, tidy my bedroom before I go out. That doesn't mean my house isn't a pigsty! But gratitude, beautiful moments relived in picture frames, a call to my Mum, even the handbag I just bought myself, they all help bring deeper understanding to the value of our days. Thanks for bringing around this quiet, soothing moment. Xxcat

Jeanne @ Collage of Life said...

I love your posts Leslie...always so inspiring. I was happy to see that I do a couple of these on a regular basis. I always thought I needed to loosen up a bit..happy to read I have a few of them right!
Best wishes for a lovely weekend..

Jeanne xx

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