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How to Stay SANE During the Holidays

The holidays are a stressful time for many. Many of us feel pressure to be everything to everyone, show up with a smile on our face, do our best to avoid conflict, and keep it all together.
I know for my best friend, this is the first Christmas without her dad, and there is no advice or words of wisdom that makes that OK, or any easier.
Compassion.
It’s very easy to put ourselves last at the holidays, making sure it’s brilliant for our kids, spouses, parents and co-workers, and silently suffering inside. All the ads make the holidays look like fun, a time to relax and receive, while the essence of the holidays is gratitude and compassion. Compassion all around, for ourselves and others…many send out holiday cards full of smiles, while on the inside they are hiding their truth. Imagine if we were all honest for the holidays? We didn’t over spend, over visit, over party, over sob, we just showed up real and gave ourselves a big hug. Wouldn’t that be nice? And because we live in the real world, here are a few things we can do to avoid the obligatory stress and overwhelm.

Self Care! Stay to your healthiest routine as much as possible. If you exercise daily, make that a priority. Get enough rest, stick to your normal bedtime, eat healthy, maybe even do a ‘before holiday detox’ in preparation for the temptations to come. Damage Limitation!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate. You don’t have to wear a cape. (Although all my bf’s know…I love a fabulous cape!)
Don’t be afraid to say no. Be authentic. If your schedule is full, it’s full. If you’re exhausted, take a rain check. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give anyone. It’s when we try to do it all, we loose our sanity, our health suffers, mental and physical, and we can fall into resentment.

Have a happy and a healthy…plan ahead as best you can, and have compassion for yourself. Any decision is the right decision when it comes from your heart. Check in with your truth and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel, and how lovingly you show up. Truth is the prettiest dress on the rack!

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Joy

We tend to put off our joy, as though it’s a special treat that we only deserve once in a while. And what ends up happening is we get to the end of a chapter in our life, and remark “I wish I would have done that when I had the time.” We always have the time, the issue is we don’t make the time. We’re saving it for the right time, which never comes to pass.

Joy is the practice of being light-hearted. It is our natural state when we let go of the reasons why we don’t deserve happiness. When we lighten up and let go of our stories, we experience joy. When we are present, we experience joy. When we breathe mindfully, we experience joy.

How can we bring more joy into our life now? Make joy a priority. Write a bucket list of short term goals, ones that you can incorporate into your life now. Commit to incorporating one item on your list into your daily or weekly schedule. Ask yourself the question, if I were enjoying my life 10% more right now, what would be different? Robert Holden, my teacher, and creator of the Happiness Project, asks this question in his 8-week happiness course.

It’s the little things that create the big feelings. We spend so much time waiting for the right time to take the cooking class, read the book, play tennis, and build the treehouse, that our joy lives on the back burner. The right time never shows up, because our happiness is rarely a priority. Yet when we are happy, and we make joy a priority, we are better company, a better friend, wife, husband and daughter. Joy is our birthright, and making joy a staple is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, and to the world.

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21 Day Gratitude Challenge

Gratitude sounds like something we all ‘should’ have or ‘should’ experience. Gratitude is passion, it’s an attitude, and it has the power to change your life. When you are in the state of mind of gratitude, you are open to possibilities. You are allowing yourself to be in the flow.
It’s all about the feeling. When we are feeling deep appreciation, we are feeling love, and love is our innate, natural state. When we feel love, we are home.
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it’s very easy to get caught up in what we don’t have, what we desire, and what we think is missing. And in that wanting we are actually projecting a state of lack. We are blocking ourselves from having what we want. Gratitude is loving, and it feels great. It takes our focus from lack to fullness. It is our greatest tool in building our dreams.
Swap the gratitude list for a gratitude experience!

TIPS:FOR PRACTICING GRATITUDE:

1) Write a daily list of what you are grateful for and WHY

2) Allow yourself to experience the WHY…really feel it!

3) practice the attitude of gratitude

Start the 21 day gratitude challenge with us on Facebook. Let us know what you are grateful for and WHY. Let’s do this together and make the state of gratitude our natural state of being. As you do this…watch your life become better and better!

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Being Authentic

Being authentic is a key ingredient in the delicious recipe for happiness. What does it mean to be authentic? It means to be the true you. The you who is not afraid to make mistakes, show imperfections, have an imperfect family, be vulnerable. It’s the you that is not concerned with judgements, but more concerned with being real, living an authentic, true to yourself life, and showing up raw and undressed.

Being vulnerable is so refreshing, it’s saying yes to your true self. It’s not being concerned with image, but being concerned with truth and honesty.

Authenticity means we live our life listening to our heart, following our instincts, and doing what feels in the flow.

I realized I was a professional people pleaser and doormat when I started on my journey to live my most authentic life. And authenticity came with a price tag. I did lose a friend or two when I said no to things I would have normally jumped ‘how high’ for, and started loving myself more. I realized pleasing others in fear of losing them was not very loving at all, and being honest was really the most authentic
way to show up in life. Not everyone appreciates when you step into your power, and that’s OK. It’s very freeing to just be OK with being you.

How can we be more authentic in our life now?

1) By allowing ourselves to be vulnerable

2) Consult your heart. Am I being authentic or am I making this choice to please others or avoid conflict or judgement?

3) Don’t be afraid to say no 

Sometimes we live a life that’s not true to ourselves to avoid conflict and judgment. The cost of living to ‘save face’ has an outrageous price tag. Being real frees us from binding ourselves to others beliefs and values, and allows us to be in the flow of life, and be happy!

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Keeping our Ego in Check

The ego at times gets a bad reputation. And it’s not at all bad. It gives us our personality, our passion, our drive, our desire to help others, create and participate in the world.
It can be the source of problems when we believe it’s desires will bring us happiness. Things in life can encourage our happiness, but no-thing in life can make us happy. Not even my handsome hubby. He’s really pretty perfect for me, and if I rely on him for my happiness, i’m in big trouble. Who would want that responsibility anyway?

Our ego is taking over when we become attached to it’s insatiability. When we believe “I’ll be happy when…” we are allowing our ego to be in charge. Temporarily, we may experience an elevated level of happiness, like when us ladies get a new pair of fabulous shoes, finally buy the car we have had our eye on, get that dream job…yes, all those things can bring us joy, yet the joy will be fleeting. You know what I mean. I’m sure you’ve all had had the experience of getting that thing you desire, feeling really psyched for a little while, and then returning to that same level of happiness you had before you got the ‘thing’, now desiring a bigger one, or a newer one, or a different one. Why? Because things don’t bring us happiness. Happiness comes from within.

So how do we keep this insatiable monster in check? We recognize when it’s ruling our world. As long as we’re aware, the ego is no problem. Like I said, it does provide us with passion, drive, desire and creativity.

Here are a couple of simple ways to check in to see if what you desire is ego driven, or authentic.

1)Check in with your heart:

Is it good for me?
Is it good for others?
Is it for the greater good?
Is it coming from a selfish space?

2)Look at the situation from an objective standpoint.

Take yourself out of the equation.
Would you still respond in the same manner if there are no strings attached?

3)When it comes to love, does the love come with conditions?
I only love you when you buy me flowers, I only love you when you love me in a certain way. I only love you if you have a good job. I only love you when you are in a good mood.

When we are not concerned with gaining approval, being right, having the last word, or gaining a certain title, we not letting the ego get in the way of our happiness. There is nothing wrong with desires and goals, it’s just a matter of being aware of the source. Being aware takes the pressure off of yourself and others, creates healthier relationships, and more authenticity.

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Self-Acceptance

There was a time in my life when I was super hard on myself. I was convinced I had to be a size 2, have the approval of others in order to be OK, and stayed in toxic relationships for fear there was nothing better.

This unhealthy behavior caused me a heck of a lot of stress, and kept me quite busy. I was afraid to gain a pound so I would decline invitations to parties for fear I would not be able to control myself (exhausting), I worried all of the time what others thought, and spent most of my time babysitting my relationships for fear they might shatter. And, I stayed in friendships and romantic relationships for all of the wrong reasons. And then I stopped. I stopped when I realized my self-acceptance was lacking, and I was at the mercy of others for approval.

My life has become a heck of a lot easier now that I know I’m OK as-is. The only approval I need is my own, and I’m always one thought away from self love. As-is gets a bad rap because we think there’s something wrong with just being OK with yourself regardless of our circumstances. But here’s the truth, the most important life-philosophy is the philosophy you have about yourself. How you view yourself has everything to do with how you view others, and the relationships you create, what you feel you deserve and don’t deserve, what you get and don’t get. You see, not accepting yourself is like building a house on quicksand. Good luck with that! In order to build a solid house, you must have a solid foundation. The same goes with life. In order to have a happy life, we must build a foundation of self-love. If we are constantly beating ourselves up, we will find we beat up our relationships too and spend most of our time cleaning up a mess that we created due to our feeling of self lack. So, the million dollar question is, how do we begin to be alright with ourselves after a hundred (I’m exaggerating) years of dis-approval?

Stop the lies and start praising!

A few tips to begin on your journey of As-Is is ALRIGHT!

1) First thing in the morning, write a list (keep it by your bedside table) of 3 things you like about yourself. Each day find 3 more things that you can stand by and be proud of…yes…about you! Don’t be shy…brag…get silly with it. If you have really good nail beds and that’s all you can muster up one day…cool!

2) At night before bed, write a list of ‘what went well today’. My husband and I do this together most every night. Write at least 3…see if you can get to 5. So often we focus on what’s going wrong in our life. When you remind yourself what went well, you put yourself in a good frame of mind before bed, and you feel good…and that’s the goal! (feeling good!)

3) I am enough! Put this everywhere! On your mirrors, post it notes at your desk, screen savers, reminders in your phone…plaster this sentence all over the place and say it out loud. I AM ENOUGH is an incredibly powerful statement, and it’s a fact! Most of us just don’t believe it. SO, with reminders everywhere, it’s possible to change how we feel about ourselves.

Try out these tips to get rid of the old stories and welcome in some new, fresh, clean thoughts. When you change how you feel about yourself, the world around you changes. Remember, you can’t give away what you don’t have, so if you want to have loving relationships, it’s got to start with loving YOU!

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