Plan a Nice Little Surprise, by Gretchen Rubin
“Studies show that we react more strongly to an unexpected pleasure than to an expected one. The brain gets a bigger thrill when some little treat comes as a surprise, whether it’s a dollar found in the street, a free cookie sample, a gift for no reason, or an unexpected compliment from a boss. And not only do we feel happier, but these little boosts of happiness also make us temporarily smarter, friendlier, and more productive.
Try to plan nice little surprises for the people who are important to you—something as small as bringing home a favorite dessert, doing a chore without being asked (how long has that light-bulb been burned out?), suggest a fun outing, or send a quick, loving email.
Resolve to “Plan a nice little surprise.” By acting in a thoughtful, loving way, you boost your feelings of tenderness towards the people in your life, and they feel more beloved by you. And that contributes more to happiness of home than practically anything else you can do.”
This is day 9 of the 21 day relationship challenge. You can follow all 21 days for free by following one of these Happiness Project links. They’ll be emailed to you directly, 1 a day. I have read The Happiness Project, and am now reading Happier at Home. I like Gretchen Rubin‘s voice. I think these books are decked out with lots of happiness gems. (Click this link to access a sample chapter.)
Happier at Home
Want to share your thoughts or experiences about this resolution? We can all learn from each other. Join the conversation on The Happiness Project blog.
Small gestures make a big difference.
So, add comments~! What gestures are you making?
My husband and I do this thing we call “playing games”.
It is kind of goofy, but it makes life a bit more fun.
So, the basic idea is, we turn almost any slice of normal life into a game. Over 20 years of hanging out together, we’ve accumulated quite a number of games. Some of them he came with, like s.p.e.l.l.i.n.g. words in mid-sentence. (I think his Mom started that when he was young.) Some of them are more recent. The fastest gardener; the biggest weed. Dish washing competition. Inventing vocabulary words is classic fun (ex: optomatopoeia – kinda like a word picture). We also make up new words to songs, and sing a lot while doing daily tasks.
Cycling is our preferred form of exercise. (Seriously, it is the kindest form of exercise I’ve found; one can even coast sometimes~!) All forms of exercise can become mundane, even riding a bike. We try to vary our routes. But, if we’re only going on a short ride on our lunch break, there is only so much variation we can access. To add intrigue, we play games on our bikes, too. We spot things. We look around and observe. Thankfully, in Pennsylvania the landscape changes frequently. We get to see the farmland go through the seasons. The flowers and trees have seasons, too. The most fun is glimpsing the wildlife. A chipmunk standing tall on a log. A storky-crane in a new puddle left by the most recent rain storm. The snapping turtle floating on a log in Green Pond. Today I saw 2 baby deer in a corn field. Cute!
BUT…. the favorite spot, the one we keep count of is…… groundhogs. We’ll each shout out so the other can share in the victorious hog spotting. If the ground hog is toward my front right, I’ll shout, “HOG, 2 O’CLOCK”. Then Brook knows right where to look. Last Saturday we saw 3 groundhogs at our front left. We called that the 10 o’clock hog ride. He who spots the most hogs gets honored recognition for having “hog eyes”, or better yet “serious hog eyes”. We also like to come up with expressions to describe the magnificence of the hogs. Fast and stealthy is the running ground hog. Strong and majestic is the one who holds his ground. The groundhog in this photo is obviously soulful and reflective… and SO handsome~!
Yes, I might have just shared a blog that reveals how quirky we can be. OR… or…… maybe this is a reminder to some, or an invitation to others to play more games and see the mundane tasks in life (like exercise & housework) get a bit more interesting. It really is about mindset, and “playing games” lightens life.
Happiness tip: be playful~!
“Anything one does every day is important and imposing and anywhere one lives is interesting and beautiful.” – Gertrude Stein
Perhaps I will share a few more of our games over time (like “well maybe…”, and “6-Kississippi). But, how about you? Do you dance when you dust? What games do you play to keep life happier? Add a comment so we can play your games, too~!
If you are anything like me, you may find yourself trying to multi-task quite often.
I walk up the stairs, and try to group several things that need to be done up there. When I run errands, the same. I’m so busy all the time. Can I have a conversation with my husband while I am cooking? Sometimes he needs strong eye contact. It doesn’t always work to multi-task. BUT…. I have found this healthy triple-combo, sure to make people feel great.
Three beneficial things all at once~!
It only takes a few minutes, but makes you feel great.
Did you just do 5 things at once?~!
WOW… you are SO GOOD at this~!
Brook and I went to visit some friends last night.
Time spent in friendship is part of what makes this time on earth so precious.
A Perfect Day for Dreaming…
The weather is perfect today.
Daytime high was around 70 degrees. Light breeze, blue sky, flowers blooming. Perfect.
I am dreaming of having a vacation. I think I’d like to go to Cape May, NJ. I have been to the Jersey shore a good number of times. But, I have never been to Cape May. We need to stay in a place that will allow dogs. We also need an accessible room. Our schedule is very busy coming up. We’ve been looking for a chance to make a short escape… to leave our busy-ness & our business behind for a few days. I wonder when we can make that happen? I hope soon. But, in the meantime, I am getting a lot of mileage out of just simply dreaming about the vacation to come. Gotta enjoy the PROCESS…. relish each day, the dreams and hopes, as well as the planning, then the anticipation, too~!
Most of life isn’t the vacation, but the days in between.
I think it is fun to try something new.
My husband does, too.
He saw this dragon fruit in the supermarket and it piqued his interest. He asked if I thought we should try it. We both thought, “YES”~! We had never tasted it before. So here it is. Our dragon fruit adventure~! And we made directions so you can try it too, if you haven’t ever done so. It tastes a bit like kiwi, but more mild, less acidic, more floral. Subtle, sweet…
This is a simple way to have an inexpensive happiness adventure. Buy something you’ve never tasted before. It is funny how you can’t always describe it. There are few words to describe a unique flavor~!
How to remember a friend…
A most precious person in my life gave me forget-me-nots a number of years ago. We planted them together in a garden in my back yard. It was a special day with a great woman, who has been a heroine in my life. The seeds have spread, and these pretty blue flowers are blooming crazy in my back yard. Do I need to mention that I am most definitely remembering her~!?!
Isn’t this a great way to keep a friendship alive in your heart. Plant a memory~!
Today I sat outside with my face facing the sun. I had to take the dogs out. But, it was good to get something for myself while I was out there with “the boys”. With increased time spent in sunlight, people find they have increased energy levels and alertness. So, taking the dogs out doesn’t have to be just a chore. It can be an energizing time reversing seasonal affective symptoms, and bringing peace and happiness. Find a way to let the sun hit your eyeballs during the day~! A few minutes goes a long way, and boosts our Vitamin D, too.
Meet Boaz, “the baby”, our little teddy bear dog. Oh, because people often ask: he is a chocolate Pomeranian.
Remember to be grateful for a few of the pleasant things that happened today.
It really was a lovely day~! Maybe write a few wonderful things down on a piece of paper, look at it again tomorrow, put it in recycling, and then start over again fresh, keeping an eye out for more good things every single day~!