Tuesday, April 10, 2012

10 Ways to Create Joy Everyday

Even when I am having a Debbie Downer kind of day, I try to create little moments of Joy for myself.  I am typically joyful when I bring joy to others.  Since I encounter many people everyday because I work in an amazing amount of school buildings each week, I have many opportunities to create moments of joy.  Here's how I roll.

1.  Smile.  It may seem sort of a simple way to start, but a genuine smile can make others smile which makes me smile more brightly.  Popping into a classroom with a smile on my face can help to change an atmosphere.  It might even make that stressed out secretary smile as well.

2.  Compliment.  I think I once read that it takes 17 positive statements in order for someone to get back to equal with their self-esteem after one negative comment.  I try to point out small things like clothes, hair, bulletin boards, etc.  But, also look for greater compliments, like how people are behaving or executing their joy duties.  Compliments usually lead to smiles (see number 1).

3.  Ask a question and redirect if necessary.  I like to ask, "How is your day going?"  This can be risky, because there is always the chance you will get the answer of "horrible!"  If the answer is positive, share that joy and validate the answer.  If the answer is negative, validate the feeling and redirect with something like, "Well, there's only 30 more minutes until dismissal, I'm sure you can make it!"  OR "I'm sure the day will get better; remember, at least one good thing happens even on a bad day."  Sure, some people will be annoyed, but most will latch on to your positivity!

4.  Do something silly.  Yes, I said silly!  This can break tension in a classroom and make people smile.  Yes, they may be smiling because they think you are insane, but still smiling (see number 1).  I usually sing silliness.  This is usually an impromptu greeting in the classroom or making up a random song about something happening in the moment (like singing, Hello Miss so-and-so, how are you doing today?).  Bonus:  Sometimes people sing back to you.  That makes my day!

5.  Leave notes.  Sometimes it's an email, text message, card, or note on a dry erase board.  But, I love to leave notes.  Even if it is a thanks for a great meeting or a gracious thank you for allowing me to use a space for therapy, notes can make someones day. 

6.  Say thank you.  Many times, people are taken for granted.  Even getting someone to unlock a room for me in a building for the bazillionth time deserves a heartfelt thank you.  It can go a long way.

7.  Listen.  Sometimes, people just need to vent or have someone listen to them.  Take a moment and listen.

8.  Keep your promises.  I have to admit, that this one is sometimes hard for me.  My "to-do" list gets so long that some of the lofty promises I make cannot be accomplished (I need to be more realistic instead of idealistic!).  When you are there for someone, trust increases along with joyful moments.

9.  Bring a treat.  Sharing a meal or snack (or chocolate!) is usually a joyful moment.  I wish I was in buildings more often so I could bring more snacks to my coworkers.

10.  Pray.  Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking.  I work in public schools where prayer is totally taboo.  Well, I tell people I will pray for them (usually after number 7).  And, I follow through.  Hopefully, this will result in joy!

How do you bring JOY to your day?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Give Me Liberty or Give Me...

Contraception?  Seriously?

I have been waiting to post about the HHS Mandate for a while.  I sort of wanted to sit back and see what happened.

Oh, and I see what is happening.

I don't know why we are all shocked.  It's just our mega-government once again dictating to us what we can and cannot do.  The government is trying to push the us to the limit of religious freedom to see how we respond.  If we are passive, the government will continue to push further next time - and so on.

As Cardinal Dolan has stated time and time again, this is not about contraception.  That talking point is a distraction to try and make the Catholic Church look "anti-woman" to the rest of the populous.  It's all about freedom of religion.  And, all of a sudden, I feel like I have something in common with the Patriots who fought for freedom against King George.

Even though my view of contraception is not in step with mainstream culture (geez, can you just have some self-control and close your legs once in a while?), when did it become a "right" for women to receive contraception?  Oh wait.  It's not.  You have a right to pursue happiness.  If happiness for you includes contraception (which I do not agree with) then, by all means, use your money that you earn to purchase such contraception or procure a job that provides it for you.  That is your CHOICE.  Don't take away a Church's or Company's choice by mandating them to go against their own beliefs or conscience.  

How do you feel about the attack on religious freedom in America?