Today I am grateful for all of the people that make me happy, and the opportunity to spend the day celebrating with good food and drinks with the people I love.
Being optimistic is essentially maintaining a positive outlook for longer than a negative outlook. And the key to doing that is being resilient and persevering, according to an interview with Margaret Wheatley for The Intelligent Optimist magazine. Basically in order to be optimistic you need to understand that there will be bad days, experience them, and then bounce back. It’s looking at the annoying bad things that happen, accepting them, and moving along. The sustained frustration at negative things in life is at the basis of pessimism. Instead of getting mad that bad things happen, accept the setback and failure. They are an inescapable part of living. Understanding that bad days will pass and taking the lesson in them for what its worth rather than dwelling on the negative repercussions of the event is the difference between seeing things as glass half empty or glass half full.
It’s Thanksgiving week, and that means that those of us in the United States have lots to look forward to – spending time with relatives, eating loads of delicious food, and relaxing with a few days of work. Then, of course, there is the added bonus of cute animals in Thanksgiving themed costumes. Check out these outfits.
- 13 Dogs Dressed as Turkeys
- 10 Dogs in Thanksgiving Costumes
- 25 Cats Wearing Thanksgiving Costumes
- 13 Unamused Cats and Dogs Dressed as Turkeys
Just another thing to be thankful for!
People tend to make the best decisions when they are calm, cool, and collected. It’s why people often advise you to sleep on major choices, to give the emotions surrounding a big life change a chance to dissipate so you can make a selection unbiased. Now new research published in Psychological Science found that people who have high levels of emotional intelligence might not need to wait to make clear headed decisions. So what does it mean to have emotional intelligence? Psychologists use the term to classify people who are able to identify and control their own and others’ emotions. Basically, they can recognize an emotion, the source, and act appropriately.
For example, a person who hits traffic on the way to work might be pretty pissed about the glitch in the day. If this person has high levels of emotional intelligence, she’ll be able to recognize that she’s mad about the traffic, and not take it out on her coworkers, or make rash decisions in meetings that day because of the emotion. This type of person can separate emotions that relate to the situation at hand, and emotions that don’t. They don’t necessarily make decisions in an emotional vacuum, but are able to only pay attention to the feelings that matter, ignoring what happened earlier that day or later that evening. This leads to better, cooler-headed decision making. And if you’re curious what youre level is, check out an Emotional Intelligence Quiz from Berkeley to find out.
The Atlantic interviewed Marian Cannon Schlesinger, a 101 year old wife, author, and illustrator to hear her recollections of JFK’s assassination, mine her memories, and learn her overall wisdom. There are so many interesting points, I just had to take a moment to summarize my favorites. Among the messages she delivered, one of the main gems was for young women of today, telling them to, “Just go ahead and do your thing no matter what.” This advice is so needed this time of year when people run themselves ragged trying to make it to every holiday dinner, every cookie swap, and every party. It is a gift to be able to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, try to remember it as such, and just do your thing – read: go to the events you really want to go to, and nothing more.
Another thing to take note of, “It doesn’t really matter if your house is that dirty.” When things are busy, the dust will still be there in the corners waiting when things settle down. Try not to freak out about it. “There have always been strong women.” Feminism wasn’t invented by modern ladies – all of those females on the Oregon trail were pretty powerful too. Her tricks on living to 100 are having a cup of coffee in the morning, and a drink every night. And when you’re having trouble figuring out how to live a full life, “Just keep going.” Such simple words, such true advice.
One of my favorite things about crisp fall days is that I can get up and go for a run in the morning before work, logging some outdoor time and getting my workout out of the way before I even really start my day. Since the temps have dropped drastically in the past couple days in NYC, I have been logging more time on the elliptical, and missing jogs along the water. The cold weather has scared me indoors, but with Popsugar Fitness’s tips on running outside (that I read about on Self), I’ll be back out before the end of the week. If you like exercising outdoors, here’s how to do it in the chilly temps.
- Stock up on warmer gear: I have an adidas fleece lined hoodie, lululemon running tights, earmuffs and gloves that I wear out, with a longsleeved tee layered underneath for really cold days. The muffs keep my ear buds in place, and if it’s really cold, I have fleece lined leggings I put on instead.
- Motivate with good tunes: If it’s still dark when you get out running, make a get-pumped playlist to blare while you’re getting geared up. I also like to chug a cup of iced coffee to give me a little boost once I get out there.
- Put out the close you’ll wear before bed: I don’t go as far as sleeping in my running clothes, but I do make a little pile right down to my socks so I can roll out of bed and into the outfit before my snooze alarm goes off again.
- Heat Up First: Do some light warm-ups inside before you head out into the chill.
- Reward yourself with a warm breakfast when you get home: I make mini quiches in my muffin tins that I can pop in the microwave for a fancy meal before work that only takes about a minute to heat up
- Buddy up: If your friend is waiting for you at the running path, you won’t leave them hanging out there all alone in the cold.
Then just mix this in with your regular gym routine to keep from getting bored all fall/winter long.
When I was younger, the most common refrain to come out of my mouth was, “I’m bored.” Needless to say, it drove my parents absolutely nuts, and the most common thing they told me to do was learn how to keep myself amused. Usually I just wanted annoy someone enough with my complaints that they would cave and come play the chosen activity with me, but I have always liked to be entertained, and often do multiple things at once to keep things interesting enough. If I am watching tv, I like to play a game or crochet a scarf at the same time. If I’m running on the treadmill, I listen to music, watch tv, and flip through a magazine. The constant, ever-changing options for entertainment are a big part of the reason I like living in NYC. Well, as it turns out, I wasn’t just a difficult child. I was just exhibiting the signs of active boredom pursuing people to join me in the new activity I had found that was more interesting that my previous.
Boredom is actually a nuanced emotion, and there are now five different types that have been identified. Boredom can occur while fidgety or while calm. It can have positive or negative associations. The categories and their associated characteristics are:
- Indifferent Boredom: People with this type of boredom feel relaxed, withdrawn
- Calibrating Boredom: People feel uncertain, and are receptive to change/distraction
- Searching Boredom: People with this type of boredom feel restless, active, pursuit of change/distraction
- Reactant Boredom: People are highly motivated to leave a situation for specific alternatives
The fifth type that is recently diagnosed is called Apathetic Boredom, and is a more unpleasant form of the emotion that is most similar to learned helplessness and depression. And, as it turns out – people don’t typically experience all of the types of boredom throughout their lives. The recent research found that each type may be linked to a personality disposition making a person more likely to experience the same type of boredom over and over again. So, the next time your friend insists that you leave the happy hour you’re at for another with trivia, instead of getting annoyed just feel self-satisfied that you know they’re experiencing a particular type of boredom and go along with it. Sometimes when people get bored, they come up with the best ideas for new activities.
I have always loved arts and crafts. As a child, I spent afternoons at my Grandma’s house making little boxes from old greeting cards, and evenings at girl scouts making handmade Christmas decorations. I devoted myself to creating complex sequin patterned sweatshirts for everyone who would wear one. I still regret the day I decided to get rid of my bedazzler. I just like making stuff, especially when it’s pretty sparkly stuff. So, imagine my delight when craft-based organizations for adults started springing up here and there. There is the new Bars and Crafts workshops put on by Aye Kay Art that have little projects you can make while having a beer with your girlfriends. I made my own custom iPhone case last week, and it was a blast. And now, there is a home delivery crafts service for the busy DIY’ers out there like me, who just don’t have the time to sit and peruse craft books to find the projects they want – let alone go buy the materials.
It’s called For the Makers, and it’s like Birchbox for crafters. You can subscribe for $29 a month, and then receive the materials, tutorials, and techniques to make 4 chic DIY projects selected by the collection that interests you. Or you can join with a free account and buy just the projects that interest you. The collections cover a range of styles from those who love the Shiny & Bright to the ocean inspired Seafarer Collection. And it’s not just chintzy stuff. They’ve worked with some of your favorite brands including Kate Spade, Anthropologie and Marc Jacobs to figure out how to find the best materials to make the prettiest things. I love the concepts, and the projects, and it’s just like girl scouts where they do all the legwork for you, and all you have to do is sit down and enjoy the craft. Now will someone gift me a subscription for Christmas please?
It’s National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as participants call it), and hundreds of thousands of people are taking their first or twentieth stab at creating a novel. But as those of us who write, either for a living or for fun, know – sometimes it’s hard to get yourself to sit down and put a pen to paper. It’s even difficult to open up that laptop and start typing after spending a day working on a computer. If you just have writer’s block, Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem! has tons of tips on how to slog through. At a loss for a detailed plot map? Even Margaret Atwood will tell you that sometimes you just need to make it up as you go along. If you need even more motivation, it turns out that writing can be good for your health in a few key ways.
If you write the old fashion way, with a pencil and a notebook, you can actually improve your memory and learning skills. The act of writing can help you retain information more effectively. If your book is loosely based around a difficult event you went through, writing about it might speed your emotional and physical healing. People who journaled about their wounds actually physically healed faster than those who didn’t. This benefit extends to people battling cancer. Writing has been shown to help reposition the attitude that patients need to fight the disease. With Thanksgiving around the corner, this next benefit is even more timely. Writing down things you are grateful for can help people feel happier or more optimistic about life. If you’re stuck as to where your characters should go, try marking down one or two “thankful fors” and it might just get the creative juices flowing. Then finally, writing can help you sleep better and longer which can make you more resistant to all those bugs flying around, and it can lower stress levels and blood pressure. As cold and flu season ramps up, even if you can’t do convince yourself to write for creative purposes, do it for your health!