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Hi, everyone. It’s been a long time since I’ve been here and I have so much to share, but I wanted to welcome you to the new title of this podcast called Happiness Hacks, and it’s formerly Stories from a Quest to Live Happier. So, you’re in the right place, just changed the name. The format is going to be the same. Just wanted to update the name and I’ll give you more on that in a little bit.
Hi and welcome. You are listening to the Happiness Hacks Podcast, and I’m your host, Nancy Jane Smith. I’m a licensed professional counselor, and in this podcast, I share my stories, my lessons, and the hacks I have learned, and I continue to learn as I quest to live happier. Show notes can be found at live-happier.com/podcast, and this is episode 51 called Own It.
Hi, everyone. I’m so excited to be back. It has been a long time, I think the end of 2016, so we have missed all of 2017 on this podcast, and I appreciate everyone that’s continued to listen and catch up on the past episodes, and I’m very excited to be back with episode 51. 2017 has been a roller coaster of a year for me. I lost my dad at the end of January, which has been extremely challenging and very, very sad. He was a pivotal part of my life and to lose him has been very jarring, and it taught me a lot of lessons about grief, and I will give you more on that in later episodes.
I’ve also re-did my website. So, there is a brand new live-happier.com that you can check out when you have time and a second. Please head over there and see what’s happening and I’m going to be doing a lot more when it comes to ideas around overwhelm, and guilt, and getting off that treadmill of life. It’s in the same vein that I’ve been working, but it’s just a little more crystal clear for me, and I’m excited to be here.
That is why I changed the name from Stories from a Quest to Live Happier to Happiness Hacks because I have found that the idea of Happiness Hacks is something I resonate with because happiness is practice and so every day, we have to show up in our lives and practice happiness. So, that’s why I came up with Happiness Hacks as a way to illustrate that philosophy in that title. Same format. These are still going to be short little 10-minute podcasts. Nothing intense, but just little ways to get across how I am living happier every day and trying to do that even in the midst of grief, and change, and transition. This process is a practice, and we have to show up for our lives, and that is the whole philosophy behind live happier, which brings me to episode 51 which is called Own It.
The reason I wanted to do a podcast called ‘Own It’ is I think that a lot of times, what gets in our way with living happier and happiness, in general, is that we don’t own where we are. So we get really sidetracked in the idea of where we should be. I’ve done a podcast on that before. I think it was episode 15, or something that talked about the danger of I should be happy, and a lot of us have that. Oh, I should be feeling better. I should be happy. When we wake up and we feel bad, or we feel sad or angry or lost, we will ourselves into feeling something else. We’ll immediately be like, “Oh my gosh, I should be thinking positive,” or, “Oh my gosh, I should be grateful for my life,” or, “I should be in a different place.” In reality, we need to back that bus way back and own where we are first.
Okay. So, let me give an example of this. You wake up, and you are feeling tired, and you walk downstairs, and you have your coffee, and you’re going through your day, and you’re just like, “Wow, I’m just tired and grouchy. I’m feeling a little off.” Immediately, for a lot of us what happens is we’re like, “Well, you shouldn’t be tired.” You got enough sleep, or maybe you didn’t get enough sleep and so you’re a bad person because you didn’t go to bed early enough.
You pile on all this meaning behind the fact that you’re tired and I really think the key is just admitting, “You know what, I’m tired.” The meaning doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if I went to bed at three o’clock in the morning or if I went to bed at nine o’clock at night. I am still tired right now, and so I need to do something about the fact that I’m tired. But when we attach all this meaning and judgment to whatever it is we’re feeling, we just compound it tenfold. So, if you wake up in the morning, and you’re feeling off, and you’re feeling grouchy, and you’re just like, “I’m just not feeling this,” give yourself a pause to be like, “You know what, I’m not feeling this today. I’m feeling grouchy, and that’s okay. This is my reality. This is what I’m feeling.”
Now, given that, what can I do to help myself do the day? If I’m tired, what can I do to power through the day? Maybe it’s drinking extra coffee, not always advisable. Maybe I got a couple of meetings at the early part of the day, so I’m going to power through and drink a bunch of coffee. Maybe at lunch, I’m going to close my door, and I’m going to take a nap. I’m going to give myself a 20-minute power nap, and that’s how I’m going to rejuvenate myself. Or I’m going to make sure tonight I go to bed early, and I take time to read, and I’m relaxed, and so I sleep better. Maybe it’s been a long-term problem, and I need to go to the doctor and figure out what’s going on here.
Once we can own, “This is what I’m feeling,” and take out the judgment, and the criticism, and the why’s, and the what’s going on, we can then figure out how to problem-solve it. Just because you’re tired and grouchy, that doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want, like kick the dog, or scream at the kids, and the day is yours to be grouchy. No, I’m not giving you permission to do whatever you want. I’m giving you permission just to ownr the fact to feel that feeling.
The action you take is a different story. Whatever you decided to do, once you own it, that’s the piece that we immediately go into problem-solving and judgment rather than backing up the bus way back to say, “Wait a minute, I’m tired.” That doesn’t make me a good person or a bad person. It doesn’t mean I’m lazy or I’m productive or whatever. It just means I’m tired. It’s all that means. It just means I’m angry. It just means I’m sad. It just means I’m frustrated, whatever it is.
Earlier this week, I had to go to the grocery store on Saturday afternoon. You know, I hate going to the grocery anytime, but Saturday afternoon is especially awful because everyone’s at the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon. I just needed to run in and grab some cat litter. So, I go to the grocery store. I get my cat litter; I’m standing in line. I’m annoyed. I had worked all morning, and I was just tired and hangry, as my husband would say, ready for some lunch. As I’m standing there, I’m just getting more and more frustrated because the line is forever and people are just stupid. Why are all these people here? I’m just generally feeling awful.
I kept saying to myself, “Come on, it’s no big deal you’re at the grocery store. What’s the big deal? Stop being so judgmental. Stop being so,” whatever. Finally, I said to myself, “You know what, let’s just own this. You hate the grocery store, and you hate the fact that you’re here, and you’re frustrated.” Okay, check. Got it. We own it. Now, what are you going to do about it? You’re stuck in this line and you can either stand here and be grouchy, or you can stand here and figure out another way around this.
That week’s weekly ritual, last week, I was practicing gratitude, and so I stood there, and I looked around, and I’m like, “What can I be grateful for at this moment?” In my grouchy mood, I couldn’t come up with anything. I got nothing, people. There is nothing I’m grateful here. I’m so annoyed at the world; I just can’t figure it out. Finally, after racking my brain for a little bit, I decided, “Okay, I am grateful that I can come to one place and get all my food. That I don’t have to make a trip to the butcher, and a trip to the baker, and a trip to the farmer’s market. All can come right here at this store.” That was the thing I was grateful for.
Once I started switching my mind to okay, what am I grateful for? and let’s really take it basic. I’m grateful for the people that farm for my food. I’m grateful for the people that raise the beef. I’m grateful for the people that make the cat litter, so we don’t have to deal with it. I started to dig in a little deeper, and I was able to play that little game, and get out of my head, and improve my mood a little bit. By the time I got up to the clerk to check out, I had this great interaction with her, and she was friendly, and we just hit it off talking about cats. My grouchy mood had dissipated a little bit.
Because I owned the fact that I was grouchy, I wasn’t just beating myself up for it; I was able to flip the switch, so to speak, and become less grouchy. I think we have to do this important step of owning it and giving ourselves permission to feel the feeling. To feel whatever it is we’re feeling and then take action. Not pile on the judgment, and the criticism, and the figuring out what’s going on, but to be just where we are for a moment, owning what’s happening, and then we can move into gratitude or positive thinking or changing our thoughts or whatever the trick is at the time. But if we immediately jump into those areas, we tend to immediately jump into criticism and judgment which just makes it worse. That is my Happiness Hack for this week. Own it. Just simply own where you are and give yourself permission to be there.
Weekly Ritual Segment:
One thing that has really helped me Live Happier is adding regular ritual practices to my daily life so each week I am going to be sharing a ritual with you and challenge you to complete it
This week’s ritual was inspired by the dishes in my sink yesterday. I HATE doing dishes, so and I decided to put on some good music and dance while doing dishes. It made the task 10000 times better. So this week take a break, put on some good and do a little boogie.
Check out my Instagram where I share my daily check in with the weekly ritual practice. It is a helpful way for both of us to stay accountable to the practice.
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