Simple Love And Care Advice For Couples

Grams Wisdom 6

When I was 40 something I embarked on a new relationship. Only to find Gram had still more wisdom to share with me. Just a few months in she wanted to know was I happy and was I taking good care of him?

I admit to the desire to remind her that he was also a grown up and I hardly felt that at this stage of my life his care should be my responsibility. But I kept that thought to myself.

It seemed Gram wanted to remind me that in any couple’s relationship, what matters most is each other. Children grow and go, careers ebb and flow. If you can manage a loving caring relationship into old age, then fortune will have smiled on you.


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Take a vacation

Actually, Gram said “don’t stay home and paint the house.” Whether you are a couple or a family with children, everyone benefits from a change of scenery. You and your spouse or partner need to have some fun time together to rest and recharge or soon your relationship becomes tiresome and stale.

Consider tackling that large project over several weekends instead of during your vacation. Otherwise you might come home to a newly painted house after work every day, but as you roll into the driveway you won’t appreciate it. Instead all you will see are the difficulties you encountered, how tired you were at the end of each day, and the unkind things you probably said to one another.


Play to your strengths at home

Next, she said a peaceful happy home revolves around getting things done but not if one person is doing the lion’s share of the household chores.

I was told I should play to my strengths, choose and do the chores that I wanted to do. Have him choose the things he wanted to do. Share some tasks and negotiate any leftover chores. Then finally, pay someone to do what neither of us wanted to do.


The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else.
— Carson McCullers

What I learned on my own


Beware of Taking Each Other for Granted

Whenever a couple begins to live together or get married, everything is so new and exciting that you think it will go on forever. Unfortunately, day-to-day stresses and busy schedules can soon mean the excitement wears off and you feel like you are living in a well-worn rut. It’s like you’ve become roommates, not lovers, and have begun to take each other for granted.

It doesn’t have to be that way. The important thing to know is what bad habits are passion killers and avoid them. In fact, you could introduce some everyday habits that would prevent you from taking each other for granted. Here are some suggestions:


Learn Each Other’s Love Languages

The marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman has written a series of books titled, The 5 Love Languages. The five are:


* Acts of service

* Gifts

* Physical touch

* Praise

* Quality time


In the books, he states that everyone has a primary and secondary love language. Knowing your partner’s love language can help them feel appreciated and not taken for granted.

You might think you are being loving if you buy gifts or do acts of service, for example, but if your partner values quality time and physical touch, you will clearly not be speaking the same language.

Ironically, in many cases, one of the partners in a relationship will often become a workaholic because their love language is acts of service, but this will mean little to a partner who wants quality time with their significant other. The promise to "work less someday" often comes too little, too late, because the spouse waiting for quality time feels so alone and so taken for granted.

The workaholic partner can feel taken for granted as well: "I’m working so hard every day, and all my spouse ever does is complain I’m not home with them holding hands. Don’t they know I’m doing all this for THEM?"


Follow Through on Your Love Language Research

You can each take the free quiz online to determine your primary and secondary love languages. If they don’t mesh at all, it will be important to discuss what you can each do to ensure that the other person doesn’t feel taken for granted.

Here are a few suggestions you can work into your daily schedule as positive habits that show you care, but without taking up too much time or money.


Acts of service

This means doing the dishes, taking out the trash, feeding and walking the dogs, helping more with the children, taking the car to the car-wash, doing the cooking or the laundry.



It’s easy to give words of praise:


* I’m so proud of you

* Well done

* That was amazing

* You’re such a great cook

* You’re a great dad, helping out with the kids so much

* And so, on


The praise should be sincere and, if possible, specific to something the other person has done recently. This shows you are noticing them and not taking them for granted.



Little things can mean a lot:


* A single red rose

* Their favorite candy

* A piece of clothing you know they had their eye on at the mall

* A nice meal out

* A note tucked where it will be found later


And anything else that you know they would like.


Quality time

This can be tough if you have kids, but it is worth it to make the effort:


* Thirty minutes of chatting and hand-holding once the kids are asleep

* A regular date night

* A shared activity you both enjoy, such as a walk or a bike ride at your local beauty spot

* Walk the dog(s) together


Physical touch

In many cases, this will mean sex, but it can mean a lot of other things as well:


* Cuddling

* Holding hands

* Hugging

* Kissing

* Trading massages

* Showering or bathing together


And anything else you both enjoy.

Find your love languages and give these ideas a try - then see how it helps bring romance into your life rather than your having taken each other for granted.


I hope you enjoyed this small mix of my Gram’s wisdom with some of my own. If you found it valuable, please share it. I appreciate you taking your time to read this.

Rekindle Your Romantic Life

Activities to reawaken your romantic senses


Too many couples pay less attention to the romantic side of their lives while other aspects receive a higher priority. Sure, raising children, establishing a home, and getting ahead in your career are important for you both. And, life comes at you in seasons and it’s to be expected that some things or events just demand more of your time and attention at certain times.

Yet, putting your romantic lives on the back burner and living like roommates rather than as lovers is not good for the long-term health of your relationship. This is just as true if you are working empty nesters or an active senior couple who has fallen out of the habit of seeing yourself or your partner as a lover.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Romance and intimacy are all about making and keeping connections alive with your partner. Connections using your five senses can help.


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1. Hand-holding - is something most couples do when they are first dating, but an activity many couples stop once they’ve been together for a while. Yet hand-holding brings people together both physically and emotionally.

Walking down the street or in a mall or in nature holding hands connects you in terms of posture, pace and shared experience. Holding hands when you are sitting watching TV is also a way of sharing experience.


2. Hugging - Hand-holding can lead to hugging and snuggling, especially when you are sitting together.


3. Kissing – Don’t forget that kiss on the way out the door combined with a have a good day. What about your arrival home? Do you offer a kiss and a how was your day?


4. Sleeping in bed - Do you sleep far apart? Or even in separate rooms? Or do you tend to spoon and snuggle up? There might be some valid reasons for separate rooms (such as health issues) but if this is the case, do plan to make up for the physical contact prior to going to bed to sleep.


Taste and other connections

5. Sharing food can be very intimate and fun. Exploring new foods together can be an adventure and feeding one another bites from your plates is a lovely tactile experience.


6. So too are nostalgic things you like to do together that help remind you of how you became a couple.


7. Some couples "nest" by shopping together to choose things that will make their house feel more like a home.



8. Your taste in music can bring you closer together as you sing along to old favorites and new. Extra points if you have an “our song.”


9. Some couples like to have pleasant sounds in the bedroom, especially the sounds that wake them up, so they are not jolted out of their sleep each morning. Bird song, the patter of rain, and other soothing sounds can give you a chance to snuggle in bed before facing another busy day.



10. Shared smells can bring a sense of closeness. Perfume and aftershave are known for their allure, provided you don’t use too much of them and the other person likes the fragrance.


11. Scientists also posit that pheromones can affect how a couple reacts to each other.


12. Then there is aromatherapy. This ancient healing method uses highly concentrated botanicals known as essential oils to elevate the mood and re-establish balance and harmony. Citrus scents like lemon and neroli (orange flower) boost the energy. Lavender and cedar-wood are more soothing. Combine with massage for a romantic evening together.



13. Not everyone fills their house with photos, but it is always a good idea to have at least a few around the house to remind you of all the good times you have shared.


14. Some of the photos can be romantic, to remind you of what you first found so attractive about each other. You can include a wedding photo, and/or a snap from your honeymoon.


15. Some photos can be action shots of shared activities that should help you bond and make you feel closer.


16. Create a shared album online from the photos you take on your phone. Looking through them will remind you of all the fun and romance you’ve shared together.


I am a mix of both old and modern. I think it’s up to what suits the two people in love best!
— Shraddha Kapoor

Ideas for romantic date nights


Both men and women struggle with romantic ideas for a date night that puts romance back on the front burner, especially if they’ve been in a rut for any length of time.

Here are ten ideas that should work, and which don’t have to cost a lot.


1. Dinner for two

Depending on your budget, you could go out to your favorite restaurant. Or, you could plan to cook a nice multi-course meal, complete with wine and dessert, that caters to your tastes. Even if you are not a great cook, there are a lot of meal kit services that deliver everything you need in one package to make an (exotic) meal of your choice for a fraction of the cost of dining out.


2. Evening picnics

This is ideal when the evenings start to get longer. Head to your local park, beach or beauty spot with a picnic hamper full of your favorite treats. If it’s within walking distance of your home, you can share some champagne or even cocktails.


3. A late-night opening

Most museums and art galleries stay open late one night of the week. Take your loved one to the exhibits and plan a nice meal out or at home.


4. Movie Night

Go out or stay in with a pile of DVDs or streaming. You don’t have to see a romantic movie, but it can help.


5. Couples day at the spa

Some spas have couples' nights and special couples' rooms and other features to set a romantic mood for the evening. Choose from various forms of massage and other therapies. See if they also serve food and drink at the facility.


6. Trip to the gym

This may not sound that romantic, but the truth is that exercise elevates mood and gives a good boost of energy. Competitive couples can find it sexy to face off over various activities. Others find it fun to take classes together, such as spinning or Zumba.


7. Ballroom dancing

Even if you have two left feet, this can be an activity your partner will really enjoy and be fun and romantic as well. Dress up or down and bring your sense of humor and fun with you.


8. Sporting events 

Again, this is not always sexy or romantic for everyone, but spending quality time together on a shared activity makes it easier to get closer and bridge any gaps that have formed because you’ve been putting romance on the back burner instead of making it a priority.


9. A Concert

This is perfect if you both love music. If the price of tickets is very high in your area, look for open air concerts in the local parks.


10. An overnight getaway

Try a weeknight in a nice hotel, complete with room service and a trip to the hot tub. You can usually get an affordable room rate and won’t have to worry about anyone bothering you once you hang up that "Do not disturb" sign.

This is ideal for couples with children who can get a sitter or the Grandparents to look after them overnight while you lay the ground for the romance and intimacy that has been lacking in your relationship. Check Groupon and similar sites, or travel sites, for special deals.


Listen to each other - really listen


There is little in life more romantic than your partner wanting to confide in you their hopes and dreams. But listening is a vastly underrated skill.

Many people are in such a hurry to explain their ideas or express themselves they rarely let anyone else get a word in.

If you struggle with communication issues or if your partner is not as forthcoming as you feel they might be, perhaps it’s time to assess how good a listener you really are.


A good listener

Here are a few illustrations of the difference between a good and a bad listener.


Make time

We are all busy, so, "Have you got a minute," is often the way we open conversations with family and with friends. They mention what is on their mind, and your response is likely to be one of several things, all unlikely to be conversation openers, but rather, communication closers.

You might go into full problem-solving mode, but it’s important to consider not only the other person, but the reason they are speaking to you. Your partner might not want you to "solve" their problem. They might just want you to be a willing ear and really hear them.

You might respond negatively with an abrupt, "I really don’t have time for that now." The risk is in shutting down the conversation not just at that point, but forever.

A different approach might be to say, "I’m just finishing up something. Can you please give me X minutes, and then I will give you my full attention?"


Listen without judgement

Telling someone what to do after they have told you something is judging them and the situation. However, this is rarely helpful because we aren’t all the same, and what may seem like a minor issue to you could be a big deal to your partner.

A good listener will therefore not comment, or problem solve, unless they are asked to do so.


Repeat what you think you hear

For a bad listener, what the person says is not always what you hear. Again, this might be a value judgement on your part, such as that person is a complainer, is never happy, and so on. This devalues the person’s trust when asking for help, and real communication will not take place.

An alternative is to really listen to the person, and when they are finished speaking, to repeat what you think you have heard. You might phrase it like, "So what I think you’re saying is that you’re worried we haven’t been spending enough quality romantic time together, and you would like us to schedule a regular date night without the children around."



If you’re correct about what you’ve heard in the example above, you might be furious that they are complaining they are not getting enough time with you; you already think you have plenty of quality time, and so on. Remember, this is their perception of the truth and they hope you will be willing to discuss the issue and work with them to resolve it.

You’ll never know what’s on a person’s mind if they give you the silent treatment, so practice being a good listener and see how much your relationship improves

I hope you enjoyed this post and found it valuable as well as relevant regardless of your age. Please share it with anyone you believe needs it.

Prioritize Your Happiness

Are you wasting your precious time wishing that you had more things to make you happy? How’s that working for you? Life’s short hadn’t you heard. If it’s happiness you want then that’s the feeling you need to prioritize. Not the ephemeral feelings from a string of new things. So, to become happy it’s best you start with gratitude for what you already have.


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Happiness increases with gratitude

You may not realize that noticing the good things in your life can make you happier. But when you do, you’ll approach life from a much more positive viewpoint so that your daily tasks and goals feel joyful and less burdensome.

Here are four ways practicing gratitude can make for a happier life.

1.     It sets up a virtuous circle

The more you appreciate the good things in your life, the more you’ll see. And by focusing on things that make you happy, you’ll become more optimistic and expect to see good things! And then you have more to be grateful for and so on. Before you know it, you will have set up a lovely self-fulfilling cycle of positivity and happiness.

2.     You’ll attract more friends

People who are cheerful and optimistic tend to have more friends. Think of Big Bird and Oscar, the Grouch – who’s more fun to be around? Who has more friends? The person who’s cheery and singing, or the grouchy complainer?

3.     You’ll be more resilient

When you are grateful for what you already have it sets you up to be better able to deal with difficult times when they come along. Instead of focusing on the heavy rain during your drive to work, you are grateful that your lawn will be green without having to turn on the sprinklers.

4.     You’ll live longer

Perhaps the most surprising benefit of practicing gratitude is the impact it can have on your physical health. Gratitude primes you for happiness and being happy sets off a whole train of positive chemical interactions in your brain and body. Research has shown that happier people live longer, healthier lives.

The thing everyone should realize is that the key to happiness is being happy by yourself and for yourself.
— Ellen DeGeneres


Happiness provides health benefits

Instead of the stress chemical cortisol, which can lead to inflammation and poor immune response, your happy brain will increase levels of dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals lead to lower blood pressure and heart rate and improved immune function.

If you are happy you set yourself up for a better, more positive aging experience. Unhappy people are more prone to chronic illness, depression and even earlier death.

Encourages Healthy Living

According to studies, happier people are almost twice as likely to eat more fresh vegetables than people who state that they are not happy. Eating more produce will automatically improve your health over those who eat a diet high in processed food.

Provides Energy

When you eat better, you tend to end up with more energy. It’s hard to imagine it but being negative or sad can literally drain your energy out of your body while being happy can give you more energy.

Boosts Immunity

Eating better, moving more, and feeling happy will also increase your ability to fight off illness and disease because it improves your immunity. A study showed that people who report happiness tend to fight off illness faster than people who report sadness. They literally gave people the cold virus and the happy people were three times less likely to catch the cold.

Lessens Stress

If you’re happy, you’ll have a lot less keeping you up at night, to worry about, and therefore you’ll end up with less stress. However, it goes farther than that because happy people tend to report less stress even when they are facing stressful situations. Due to the strength that happiness gives you, you’ll experience less stress.

Protects Cardiovascular Health

Because you’re eating better and moving more due to your happiness, you are also protecting your cardiovascular health. You’re less likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke, or other issues related to heart health and the cardiovascular system.

Increases Longevity

Because you’re eating right, exercising more, and you’re feeling great about life, you will likely live longer. According to one long-term study that tracked the lives of 32,000 people to find out who lived longer, the people who report happiness, or the people who report being less happy. It's not surprising that happy people tend to live 14 percent longer.

Diminishes Pain

People who have chronic pain have a right to be mad about it or feel sad about it. However, the fact is people who report being happy tend to deal with their chronic pain (and other illness) better than those who were not happy to start with.

When you are happy, you’re more likely to eat right, drink enough water, and move. It’s mostly because you have more energy to do active things. For more information on nutrition see my past post The Right Nutrition Will Make You Healthier.


Happiness is its own reward

Many people believe that success will guarantee happiness. But delaying being happy until you’ve got that promotion, or a bigger car is a mistake. Tying your happiness to achieving your goals almost guarantees you’ll never be happy. Here are three reasons to choose happiness over success.

1.       Are we there yet?

Have you noticed that there are always more goals to achieve? As soon as you get that job, your eye is on the next promotion. Setting goals and achieving them is important but waiting to be happy until you’re successful is like chasing butterflies. There will always be another better butterfly just out of reach.

2.     Choose happy

There’s increasing evidence that happy people tend to be more successful. By focusing on being happy and living life on their terms, they are already successful. Choosing happiness in your current circumstances creates greater self-confidence. You will act and talk like you’ve already made it. And that sort of confidence is contagious and inspiring.  Simply by choosing to be happy you have a competitive edge!

3.     And the definition of success is…

Ask ten people for their definition of success, and you’ll get ten different answers. For some people, it is the consumer dream of an executive job, a fancy car, and a big house. For others, it will be the freedom to travel or paint or write or own their own business.

Probably the most important decision you’ll make is to work out what success means for you. And the most meaningful success is to choose what makes you happy. What is your passion? What makes you want to get out of bed in the morning?

It’s up to you to decide what makes you happy. It’s still okay to want to have the trappings of success but think about why you want them. Chances are it’s the feeling you want rather than the thing itself.

If you think making more money will make you feel secure, or enable you to travel or support your favorite cause, maybe there are other ways you can do those things right now? Maybe you can volunteer for your charity, or choose cheaper vacation options, or start a savings plan.

There’s no need to delay being happy until you’ve reached a level of material success. You can choose to be happy right now and find contentment in the things that already make you feel good!


Happiness habits for the good

There’s increasing evidence that it’s not enough to learn a new skill or sign up for the gym. To succeed you need to turn that skill or commitment into a habit. Here are four benefits of forming good habits.

1.     Habits are easy to create, and change!

It’s easy to form a habit, whether it’s good or bad. You can choose to form a habit of getting up early for a run or staying in bed. It’s totally up to you, and you can choose to change a habit any time you like.

You can choose every day whether to eat healthily or not. But the more you choose the positive option, the more it becomes second nature, and before you know it, you’ll be reaching for the smoothie instead of the doughnut.

2.     Reach your goals with good habits

Once you’ve set your goals, you can adjust your behavior to make it more likely that you’ll achieve them. Establishing a daily habit is the first step to achieving success

If you want to lose weight, you can choose to get into the habit of exercising and eating healthier. Running every day will mean you’ll become ready to compete in that triathlon.

3.     Habits keep you focused

Once you’ve set a good habit, it becomes much easier to stick to your plan. If something is part of your routine, you don’t have to convince yourself to do it every day. You can also build new habits onto old ones, such as making sure you do meditation or yoga routine immediately before you brush your teeth. That way you’re much more likely to stick to your commitment.

4.     Habits are foundational

If you want to achieve your life goals, setting positive habits can become your building blocks to success. Make it a habit to pay bills straightaway, and you’ll never pay penalties or jeopardize your credit rating. If you get into the habit of getting to the office early and clearing your emails, you’ll become known for your dedication and efficiency.

Interpersonal habits can be important too. So, don’t forget the people in your life. Make it a habit to acknowledge the things your partner does for you, or when your children behave well, make them feel appreciated.


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Happiness Begins Within You

Gram’s Wisdom Number 5

“Fix it or Forget it.” Is what Gram told me when I complained of an unhappy day or experience. She told me my happiness was within me and not for others to direct, that I must choose my own path, if I truly wanted to be happy. She said that I should fix things that made me unhappy where possible and forget those things I couldn’t control. Many happy years later we heard “Don’t Worry Be Happy” on the radio. She laughed and said to me that song carried the right message.

So, you might think you know what happiness is but is that necessarily true?

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What isn’t being happy?

1.     “Stuff” won’t make you happy (for long anyway)

You won’t find happiness in getting everything you want or having things your way. Money doesn’t buy happiness: in fact, getting a raise or a windfall can increase your dissatisfaction as your expectations expand to exceed whatever money you have. That new car or larger house will soon start to feel like not enough.

You get the same goal displacement when things go your way. It’s human nature to keep pushing the boundaries and asking for more!

2.     Happiness isn’t cloud 9

People who are happy don’t live in a constant state of ecstasy! Life isn’t like that. Some days you feel great, other days not so much. And everyone has seriously bad times, that’s just the way it goes. Happiness is way more than just feeling good. It’s feeling contented and satisfied with what you have while living a meaningful life.

3.     Happiness isn’t the end of the road

Happiness isn’t something you arrive at, or you achieve, and then it’s done. It’s not something you can check off your to-do list. Happiness is more like a habit or method you can learn, a special routine way you have of looking at the world and your relationships and being happy.


Happy people are at peace with the highs and lows of life and find joy and contentment whatever their circumstance.


Recognizing happiness

It’s within you

By the fact that you’re a human being and you can experience feelings, happiness being one of them, you know that true happiness does exist. You can probably write down many days and things that have brought happiness to your life over the years since you were born up until today.

Who is happier?

It’s amazing but while it’s easy to say that people cannot be happy unless they have their basic needs met. You’ll find that there are people all around you who do not have their needs met but who are very happy. That bears out as true when you study rich people and realize they are not happier than poor people overall.

It’s about appreciation

If you look at a list of the happiest countries in the world, you will realize that being happy isn’t about the stuff you have. The happiest people right now happen to live in Denmark. Most people who live there pay high taxes, live in small homes and tend to not be as consumer-driven as people in the USA, for example. But the USA is 17 on the list. That shows that happiness is not about stuff.

It’s about your path

You may believe that happiness is about reaching your goals too. But, it’s not. If you often say things like “I’ll be happy when…” then it’s not likely you will ever be happy. You can be happy today, before reaching your goals, if you enjoy the path taken to those goals. It’s honestly more about the day to day living, not the goal achieving moments.

It’s internal feeling not external circumstance

Now, of course, some things in life can really get you down. However, for happy people, even the worst events will not make them unhappy, at least not permanently. A happy person usually has the skills to navigate negative things about their circumstances. Dr. Gillian Mandich, a happiness expert, states that our circumstances account for only 10 percent of our happiness.

Many people who have struggles in life often pooh-pooh happiness and like to claim that true happiness is not even possible. The truth is there are different levels of happiness that you can experience in your life. A happy person isn’t going to be the same level of happy 24/7, 365 days a year.  It’s not a straight line. There are highs and lows that you will experience all throughout life but whether you are happy or not is all about your feelings.


“We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”

   Thomas Merton

So where does that leave you?

Studies have shown that happiness comes from a combination of factors, from finding deep satisfaction and meaning in your life, to appreciating the things that are good, not focusing on lack or what you haven’t achieved.

True, lasting happiness seems to depend on some things such as mindset, expectations and how you feel day by day.

·        If you put more store in relationships and connections with the people you love, you’ll be happier than if you expect possessions to make you happy.

·         If you expect things to go your way they often do, and if you notice the things, you’re grateful for, you’ll find more of them. If you need things to go your way all the time, then prepare for disappointment.


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Ways For You To Choose Happiness

More to happiness than positive thoughts

People may tell you to think “happy thoughts” or to think positively if you want to be happy. And they would be right, and, they would be wrong. Happiness is a mindset, a powerful feeling. If you want to be happy it takes more than just positive thoughts. It also takes positive action. 

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While the dictionary defines happiness as “the state of being happy” which gives you very little information about the idea or feeling of, or state of happiness. Let’s look at some different things that happiness can be, but realize that in truth, happiness is in the mind of the beholder.

You have what you need  

When a person is happy, they usually don’t even have any needs that aren’t being met to the level they want them to be met. It doesn’t mean that someone is not having a hard time it’s all about how you make what you have fill your needs.

You feel satisfied

When you are happy you tend to feel simply satisfied with your life. You think about your life and feel good about it. You feel very satisfied when you look around your life and see all the fortune you have whether it’s where you live, who you live with, or just about yourself doesn’t even matter.

You’re contented

A happy person tends to feel really content about the things in their life. They feel content about their job, their home, their things, their health – nothing is nagging at their mind about anything causing stress. But remember happy people do have stress, they’re just better at feeling content even when things aren’t perfect.

You feel peaceful

A happy person often feels a lot of peace surrounding their life and family. They tend to know that everything will turn out okay and are good at turning negativity into positivity.

You define your happiness

The truth is, happiness is how you define it personally for you. It’s not about getting tons of stuff unless you want that. It’s not about finding a spouse unless you want that. It’s not about having kids unless you want that. It’s all up to you and  your definition of  happiness.

It’s a journey

Happiness is not a destination that you get to one day and stay at. It’s a lifelong journey that will have many ups and downs and struggles. However, overall the ups and downs of life, you manage to feel good about it. In the 1989 movie, “Parenthood” one of the main characters, a mother, who is struggling states that she loves “the roller-coaster” of life while her husband is struggling and not as happy because he focuses on the downs instead of the ups.

How you act

When you are happy you tend to act in more positive ways over all. When happy, you eat better, you move more, you think differently. Don’t worry. You have it in your power to be happy where you are in your life right now.

Happiness is more than thinking positive thoughts. Happiness is having your needs met, but it’s not about having everything, or even the best, it’s about being satisfied with what you have while also being able to work for the things you want. While you do have to do more than think positively to really and truly feel happy, it does start with your thoughts. However, it will manifest with your actions. 

For another look at happiness see my past post, Acting How You Want To Feel.

Five ways being happy is important

You probably have happiness as one of your life goals, whether it’s explicit or not. It’s probably up there with being healthy, wealthy, and wise! There are some solidly good reasons why it’s important to be happy, and some of them will surprise you.

1.   Happiness feels marvelous

Happiness is wonderful purely for its own sake. When you’re happy, you feel energetic and content. All is right with your world, and you naturally want to spread your good vibes.

2.   Being happy is good for your overall health

When you’re happy, you flood your brain with endorphins and other positive hormones like dopamine and serotonin. Your stress levels go down, along with your blood pressure and your heart rate.

Happy people are more resilient in the face of life’s stress; they tend to be better able to roll with the punches and come up smiling. If you’re happy, you’re less likely to suffer from heart disease, inflammation, and chronic disease. You’ll age better and even live longer!

3.   Success doesn’t mean a thing without happiness

Every day you can read about successful, wealthy people whose lives are out of control due to the pressures of celebrity, drug addiction, or alcoholism. Their success hasn’t automatically meant happiness for them. So, if you think that being rich or having a new car or being famous will make you happy, think again. If you hate your life, no amount of success will bring you joy.

4.   Happy people have better relationships

Happiness is contagious and attractive. We see happy people as more trustworthy and stronger leaders. They are also likely to have a wider circle of friends, have better interpersonal relationships, and are more likely to have a romantic partner.

5.   Being happy makes you a nicer person

It seems that happiness and empathy are linked. Happy people are more likely to share their good fortune and help others.

Happy people are also less violent and more peaceful. Researchers think that positive emotions make us more likely to seek a win/win solution and change the way we think.  

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions”.

   Dalai Lama XIV

Four truths of happiness

Stop for a moment and think about what true happiness is. Guaranteed it’s not a new car or a big house. True happiness comes from within and isn’t dependent on possessions. You can find real happiness in the following truths.

1.   Happiness is found in a full life

You can be happy even if things in your life aren’t going the way you planned. A full life has ups and downs, setbacks as well as achievements. Happiness means finding meaning in whatever is happening around and to you. Being grateful for whatever you’re experiencing will make for a happier, more satisfying life.

2.   Your happiness doesn’t depend on other people

Often people put their happiness in the hands of others. They need external validation to feel good. But relying on other people’s good opinion of you isn’t a healthy way to live.

Check in with how you feel deep in your heart, do the best you can, and let other people worry about themselves.

3.   Happiness is not pretending

Social media is full of people pretending to have perfect lives. They don’t. No one does. The happiness you see on TV or your social media feed may be genuine, maybe not. But remember everyone is showing the best of their lives. Likely a lot of them are pretending to be happier than they are. No one is going to post their latest fight or talk about being fired.

So, the online world you see, that’s full of promotions, and happy families is an illusion. The real world is much more nuanced, and real happiness doesn’t happen in a bubble.

4.   Your happiness comes from within you

It might sound like a truism/cliché, but true happiness does come from within yourself. If you expect someone else to make you happy, whether it’s a partner, friend or child, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. And giving them an unrealistic and unfair responsibility. The only person responsible for your happiness is you.

True happiness comes from a deep connection to yourself, from self-knowing and self-acceptance. And once you have that, all your relationships will be energized and happier. 

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Achieve Your Own Personal Transformation

Big changes or small

People seem to want changes in their lives. They either want a new career, be able to lose weight, or simply accomplish something different than what they have done before. They want to go through some personal transformation. But is it even possible?

Transforming yourself isn't easy but it's worth the effort.png

Think about the number of times you have made New Year’s resolutions. Were any of them successful? Many people simply stop doing them because they know it’s an exercise in futility. Then, you have those who try over and over again to lose weight. They try one diet after another and after a few months gained most of the pounds back again.

Is there a secret?

On the other end of the spectrum are people who have overcome major obstacles and have thrived, never looking back from their new situations. Could some of us be wired differently than others?

Most people are capable of transforming their lives. If that weren’t true, you’d have way fewer success stories in the world. It depends on how badly people want to make changes. Sometimes, people simply aren’t ready for a change.

Other factors

Your environment also plays a huge role in determining success in implementing changes. Keeping yourself involved with negative-thinking people who discourage change makes it very difficult to succeed. If you truly want to transform, align yourself with people who want to help you succeed.

People are different. Some people can create transformations easily and without any help or encouragement from others. They have strong wills and keep going until the change becomes part of their lives. Others need help and encouragement.

Your background

Your upbringing is likely to be a factor in how well you adapt to change. If your parents preferred the status quo, you'd find it difficult to implement changes at first. Bear in mind, there are plenty of people who break away from the mold of their families and make changes in spite of their family backgrounds.

The best advice you should follow is never give up. If something doesn’t work out, try something else or look at the situation in a different way. Learn from your mistakes and failures and continue until you are where you want to be. Determination and persistence are your biggest allies when making your transformations. Never let anyone stand in your way of something you truly desire. Granted, it’s never easy. If it were, everyone would change easily and change would not be scary.


Resources can help you change

When you look to transform your life, having great resources helps you quickly accomplish this goal. Use the following references whenever you want to enact change.

Whether you are looking for a specific aspect of your life to transform or you simply want to learn more about the transformation process in general, look at While this website will often point you to Amazon and Kindle, it gives you further insight that may not be available directly on Amazon. It is a forum about books published on Amazon. You can get a better feel for which books to target. Of course, you should check out Amazon and other booksellers as well.

Trans 4 Mind

The tagline for this website is “Personal Development Resources”. The website itself does not contain much in the way of resources. It is more a catalog of books that are available (mostly from Amazon). The good news is they are not using affiliate links to make money from the recommendations. It is unclear whether they are using this website to endorse the authors. Still, it has value in seeing the various titles that are available in many facets of personal transformation. You can use this website as a starting point for other research. Source:

It’s usually not recommended to use directly as a source. However, one great aspect of Wikipedia is the resources that it links to at the end of each article. In many articles, the number of links are extensive and usually quite relevant. It is another great resource to use for your research.

Psychology Today

This website had several resources on transformation. Keep in mind that many of the resources are geared towards the transformation of negative behaviors such as anger management, stress reduction, etc. Also, do not expect to be “cured” from the information provided on this website. The goal of the site is to set you up with a qualified professional aimed at helping you in your transformation.

There are free and paid courses available on It is worth a look at some of the free courses and then you can decide to try paid ones after. At the time of this writing, there are 70+ free resources related to personal transformation. Source:


If you are looking for a topic or area for transformation, use an advanced Google search with the operator “inurl:”. This operator makes sure the phrase is within the URL, which means the website is targeting that phrase. For instance, if you wanted information on how to stop smoking, try:

Inurl:stop smoking


Who do you want to be?


Have you hit a roadblock?

If you are unhappy where you are in life, it could be you are not creating the right vision about yourself. Think back to recent thoughts you had. Were they negative thoughts or feelings like you’ve hit a roadblock?

Shift your focus to a life that you want or the person you want to become. If you want to have a life like an idol of yours, read about how that idol has become a success and use that as a guideline to help you accomplish something similar.

Create a positive image

When you create a positive image within your mind, it will set up neural pathways to help you reach your goals. The more you reinforce this mental image the more pathways will be created. If there is information available online that can help you with your vision, use it to your advantage.

When you have determined your vision and the steps to help you get there, continue imagining that vision. Do this daily. Your brain gets so used to this vision it becomes a subconscious process.

Tweak your plans

Of course, you can alter your plan or your vision. There may be something you thought you wanted, but as you progress, you find this isn’t the case. There is nothing wrong with that. If this happens, create another vision and move on from there. Your brain will form pathways for this new vision.

If your vision is fine but the plan is not getting you where you need to be, don’t be afraid to make changes. Plans are guidelines only. They can be changed as needed. This can happen as new information comes to light along the way, information which wasn’t available when you first started.

Tune out the naysayers

Be prepared for criticism while creating this new vision for yourself. It is yours and yours alone. People may not understand what you are trying to achieve. Hold to your beliefs and prove them wrong. Your critics are not the ones who have to live with the vision you make for yourself.

You will find when you reach your goals those same critics will suddenly be on your side. They will even claim to have been there for you all along. It’s annoying, but that is how people behave. Just move on with your vision and let them think whatever they want.


Helping your transformation


Get help

Your changes, or transformations, could be major and may take immense effort. Will you know what changes are needed and how to go about them? If not, you may consider finding someone who can help.

While hiring a professional coach may seem an obvious choice, it’s not the only choice. You may already know someone experienced who can help you. Perhaps you have kept in contact with a teacher you admired while in school. This teacher could serve as a mentor or at the very least, point you to qualified people who can help.

Don’t rule out friends and colleagues. There should be plenty of people in your own circles who can provide guidance with the changes you seek. If nothing else, they can provide moral support and encouragement.

Be cautious

While it’s okay to do research online, be cautious of the results. You’ll see plenty of self-proclaimed experts passing themselves off as coaches or mentors. Their fees will be hefty, but it may be unclear if they can help or have the proper credentials. When you see someone who you believe seems capable, try to find others who have worked with them. Seek out advice from your network of colleagues and friends.

Lookout for scams, which you’ll find plenty of in your search. Use the internet to see if any red flags pop up when searching for professionals. If there are a lot of results reporting these listings as scams, you should move on. If the listings you investigate don’t come up as scams, this does not mean they are in the clear. It could mean the listings are new. Many scammers will shut down one site when they get flagged for being a scammer. It’s difficult for law enforcement to keep up with these.

Is a guarantee offered?

Never pay for anything without knowing what you are going to get. Consider paying using PayPal as they offer some protection should the service not deliver what was promised. You have 45 days to make a claim. The scammers do not want a record of their activity, so you probably won’t get contested when you make the claim. Of course, it is highly likely the scammer won’t even allow the use of a payment processor such as PayPal. You should consider this a major red flag.

There is never a better time to begin your own transformation journey than right now. These tips should help get you on your way.

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Further Lessons Learned From Titanic

Gram’s Wisdom 4

You may recall the post I did a year ago Lessons I Learned From Titanic if not check it out. The reason I have for revisiting this is that there were additional lessons I had learned from Titanic that I wanted to share. It seems only right that as it was Gram taking the 5 year old Joyce to see “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” thereby setting my feet on the path of all things Titanic, that these lessons be included in a Gram’s Wisdom post.

So, on this 107th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, in no order, and because they are still relevant today, are more lessons I learned from Titanic.

Titanic Museum Belfast, Ireland

Titanic Museum Belfast, Ireland


Share your gifts

You owe it to yourself to share your talent, your skill, or whatever unique gift that you possess with others. When you do it’s a win-win for everyone. What you create be it art, a welcoming home, or handcrafted goods from your garage serves not only to enrich your own life but the lives of those who have heard about or seen what it is you have created. Now the real magic of this is in the ripple effect of those whom you touched with your gift. These people seeing your example, feel themselves empowered to share with others their own special gifts.

The Band on Titanic shared their talent with their fellow passengers throughout the voyage. Their gift provided a sense of calm on a night when it was sorely needed. Though their last tune is still disputed by all accounts it’s agreed that they played until the very end.


Go above and beyond

Going above is taking that extra step whatever it might be. Yet, a lot of people will only do so if it’s easy or convenient to do at the time, or if they can’t say no and feel guilted into doing it for some reason. While to go beyond is to do the thing no one else does or wants to do except on rare occasions or in times of dire emergency, because they are usually dirty, ugly, or frightening to perform.

The stokers, and engineering crew of Titanic remained at their posts keeping the electricity so vital to the pumps, the elevators, the lights, and the all-important telegraph working as long as possible. Their selfless sacrifice allowed more passengers to safely depart the ship than would have otherwise been possible.



While Titanic carried what was considered a microcosm of western society on her maiden voyage there wasn’t the kind of structure that we would recognize as being community. Instead community at this time still meant those who lived near you, where you received your education, your class of people, your religious affiliation, and the kind of work you performed. So little interaction between people not part of “your” community took place.

Much would begin to change this night when mostly women and children from all walks of life would climb into lifeboats together with just one thought in mind, survival. The dissolution of class and clique over the next few years may have come as a surprise to many people. Though not to these survivors who had shared a sense of community for ten cold wet hours with others who would forever have more in common with them than anyone else.


Never stop innovating

Life isn’t meant to be set in stone with one set of perfect plans that leave you no room to alter or change your course. We don’t live in a vacuum that allows for that. Instead every choice made, every right or left turn, carries you nearer to or farther from your plan. But whether your plan is for what you do or who you are, there is always room for improvement. This doesn’t mean you should be in a constant chase for perfection which is exhausting and impossible. Yet, sit on your laurels, after doing something once and see how quickly your ideas become old hat and you become redundant as you fall behind the pack that is innovating.

Thomas Andrews, Titanic’s architect knew this as well as anyone. The tweaks to Olympic became reality on her sister ship Titanic. So, just as he had previously, he now set sail on Titanic’s maiden voyage to make any additional changes or refinements that he felt would be an improvement to her design, function, and comfort.


My book recommendation this year is Titanic and Her Sisters Olympic and Britannic. The authors are Tom McCluskie, Michael Sharpe, and Leo Marriott. It is a coffee table book with photos on every page and enough information about the three ships to make anyone who reads it feel knowledgeable about the construction and careers of the ships.


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Learn How To Say No

Learn to say no as a part of better self-care

There are too many nice people in the world today…or so it might seem, with the number of “yes” folks you run into on a daily basis. However, what about the lesser heard “evil sibling”, the word “NO”?

As a child, you were raised to be considerate to others, and to accommodate them as much as possible.

How do you know exactly when enough is enough? And more importantly, are you saying no to yourself by saying yes to others every time? Chances are that is exactly what you are doing, even if only subliminally.

Take back your time Say no to time wasters.png

A no to others is a yes to yourself.

Wondering when is the time for you to use your no’s effectively? Take a look and see.

Adding to your stress

Not being able to say no can greatly contribute to elevated stress and really quickly! Doing too much fuels feelings of overwhelm that cause chronic stress, and people who cannot say no are usually the first to fall victim.

It is important to understand your own boundaries and limitations, and while helping others is important, you absolutely must take care of yourself first.

This means sometimes saying no to friends and family, in order to maintain an optimal level of energy, health, and wellness for yourself.

Feeling you must

This is by far the most common cause of resentment in persons, since you are basically “forced” to say yes whether or not you want to. Maybe the person asking did a major favor for you in life, maybe it is a family member.

You feel a sense of obligation to always be at the beck and call for whatever that person requests of you, but you need to ask yourself “when is my bill paid in full?” will you continue to feel a forced sense of obligation forever?

This constant obligatory situation builds resentment, and resentment can literally make you physically ill!

You need to let them know you have to put yourself first, by doing what you need to do. If an issue arises, it may be best to sever ties and remove a toxic person from your life.

Staying up too late

Though it is fully understandable the need to unwind after a tiring week’s work, there is absolutely no justification for staying out late and drinking on a weekday when you have responsibilities to meet the next morning! It is more than likely the result of friends asking or guilting you out even though your better judgement says no.

You’re not doing yourself any favors as you will be sleep deficient the following day, not to mention likely hungover and miserable. Saying yes to that, is saying no to your well-being.

Enabling bad behavior

It has happened to all of us before, from your child asking for something, hearing no and slowly breaking you down, to much worse influences on your life.

From friends begging you for a loan, to unnecessary spending, while it may seem OK or insignificant at the time, it enables bad behavior and disrespect over the long haul.

When you say no, it needs to stay that way. You will gain infinite respect for having unbend-able beliefs and will be looked at as a pillar of strength.

Doormat behavior

There have undoubtedly been numerous times when you sat quietly seething while something (or someone) boils your blood to the point of an eruption, yet you show no outward emotions. This can range from a boss berating you in the office, a bully, or a random stranger who finds it appropriate to assert their dominance over you.

By allowing it, you are doing just that, rolling over and assuming the fetal position. Open your mouth, demand your respect and speak for what you believe in.

 “You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.”  -Lori Deschene

When you must temper your “NO”

Being agreeable

You want to be as helpful as possible at work. People are always coming up to you to ask for your help. Your boss gives you tasks because she knows you’ll get the work done on time. Your colleagues hit you up because you are one of the most knowledgeable people on staff. The trouble is, you then have a difficult time getting your own work done. When this happens, you need to learn how to say no.

There are ways to say no that won’t make you seem like the bad person. One great way to do this is to let people know you have other tasks and that you can get to their tasks after you complete yours.

Not when they are lazy

It is fine to help people out, but you should avoid doing their jobs for them. If someone asks you to do something simply because they don’t feel like doing it, you need to take a stand and tell them this is unacceptable. You should begin by asking why they can’t get to it. Perhaps someone else has given them more tasks to do. You need to show them how to say no to those other people.

Some people are, simply put… slackers. They try to pass off all their work to other people. When you find one of these people, confront them. If you do this early on, they will lose the control. This also demonstrates to your other colleagues that you won’t let a slacker have control, and they should follow suit.

Compromise is good

You’ll have a tougher time telling your boss no. She’s the boss after all. However, you do need to let her know that your plate is full and try to compromise. See if you can get a priority of the extra tasks your boss is piling on. Also, if others on the team are currently freed up from their tasks, see if they would be willing to take on those extra duties.

Keep your cool

It’s important to never become angry when others approach you with more work. Smile and find out why they are hitting you up for the extra work. It could be they are not aware of your schedule. You can produce your to-do list if this is the case.

By staying calm, you keep the control in your corner. If you blow up at people, they are going to consider you volatile which makes it difficult for them to compromise with you. It’s rarely a situation in which you will come up the winner. It is okay to be firm with people when you discover they are simply trying to pass work off to you.


NO” is not a bad word. It has been criminalized via society and the illusion that things must be OK all the time. You will only end up feeling put upon by others, and resenting yourself for being weak, and not ever doing what you want to do by allowing others to always walk all over you. You need to look after yourself before you look after anyone else after all, and lead by example!


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