10 Reasons You Should Invest in Fun

 

happyrunningLife is full of stress. Whether it’s the pressures of work, driving in traffic, or not getting enough sleep, the stress we face on a daily basis is endless. More often than not, our leisure time is filled with zoning out in front of the TV, computer or mobile devices instead of indulging in play. The acts of laughing, smiling and having fun boost positivity and can actually make us live longer! Here are a few more reasons why we should invest in having fun.

Prolonged stress can put your health at risk from:
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart disease
  • Insomnia and other sleep issues
  • Weight gain
Aside from avoiding these negative side affects, the benefits of having more fun include:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved memory, problem solving and mental health
  • Fuel for your imagination and creativity
  • Fun fosters empathy, compassion, trust and intimacy with others
  • Every time you smile your body releases endorphins!

For all of these reasons, we should make time for pure fun every day! But what does it mean to invest in fun?

To invest means to use, give or devote (money, time , talent, etc.), by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns. I think we can all agree the benefits of fun can be considered a profitable return. Here are some examples of how to invest in having fun:

  • Host a regular game night with friends
  • Organize a night out or happy hour with colleagues
  • Play with your pets
  • Share jokes with friends or coworkers
  • Go for a bike ride or hike with your spouse

Devote time to playing in your leisure time, take your stress levels down a notch, and start living a happier and healthier life!

My Favorites: Veronica Mars & French Cooking

Favorites

So many small things were making me happy last week but this past weekend was another great one! I’ve been trying to get my hands on the first season of Veronica Mars. It seems like a show I would be into so I thought I’d give it a try. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t have it, Hulu Plus doesn’t have it and Amazon Prime does have it but I don’t have that so I was out of luck. I didn’t want to buy the seasons because I wasn’t sure whether or not I would like the show enough re-watch over and over again?

Lucky for me, the public library has all of the seasons.Unlucky for me the first season was checked out so I had to get on the waiting list. I only had to wait about a week and I picked it up on Saturday. Turns out, I’m loving it! I’m already about halfway through the first season!

Another thing making me happy this week is French food! Last week while doing my meal planning I realized that I didn’t have much going on this past weekend and it was a perfect opportunity to try something a little more involved. I love cooking and find being in the kitchen very relaxing. So I decided to try making Julia Child’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon. Then later in the week I found a recipe for crepes and realized I had all the ingredients so I decided to make Sunday a French cooking day! I made lemon crepes for breakfast (I adapted this recipe to make it more lemony) and spent the afternoon making a delectable Boeuf Bourguignon and both were a smashing success! I have a feeling I’ll be coming up with more ways to incorporate crepes into my weekly routine. My husband approved of both. It’s always nice when you hear a lot of “mmmms” when people eat your food.

Here are a couple pictures I captured of the delicious French meals:

Bouef Borguignon Lemon Crepes

So that’s what’s been making me happy, until next week everyone!

My Favorites – Perfect Balanced Weekend

Favorites

This weekend was full of friend gatherings and family time; and I even managed to sneak in some relaxation to recharge for the week ahead. In other words, it was a perfectly balanced weekend and it made me very happy.

I’m what’s considered an extroverted introvert. Meaning, among people that I know and feel comfortable around I’m an extroverted person but if not, I tend toward introversion. For this reason, I need to recharge my batteries with alone time on a regular basis. But there come times where I crave spending time with good friends. As it happens, I usually end up planning or participating in multiple friend gatherings in one week. Which might seem overwhelming but that’s how like it!

It’s oddly invigorating and feeds the soul to have a jam packed weekend full of love from friends and family. Generally when this happens though, the relaxation goes by the wayside but this weekend because of the timing of each event I was able to squeeze in reading, vegging, and my favorite from last week “Bachelor in Paradise”.

To top it all off, I was able to wake up early this morning and be productive before work which is a great start to the week!

And that’s what’s making me happy this week.

My Favorites: Book Lovers Day & Bachelor In Paradise

Favorites

Two of my favorite podcasts, Pop Culture Happy Hour and The Simple Show, as well as one of my new favorite blogs to follow, Modern Mrs. Darcy, have segments that are basically about what’s making them happy that week, or month. This is one of my favorite segments because I get tons of ideas for things to read, watch, listen to, or do from what is making these awesome people happy at that particular moment. So because imitation is the highest form of flattery, I’ve decided to adopt this segment for Happy Heather and post weekly about my favorite things. I’d like to start by doing this weekly because I think that will help me be in the moment and keep the things that are making me happy top of mind.

So what’s making me happy this week?

Last Sunday was Book Lovers Day and as a book lover myself I decided to treat myself to a trip to the bookstore to get a new book and spend the afternoon reading. I ended up with the book How to Be a Good Wife by Emma Chapman. This turned out to be the perfect book for an all afternoon, and evening, and night reading session. I read this book in just over 24 hours, reading more than half of it in one sitting on Sunday, a little more on my lunch break Monday, and finishing it shortly after I got off work on Monday evening. The story is a psychological thriller about a woman who begins to see things and the reader is left to figure out if these visions are true memories that she has suppressed for years or if she is hallucinating from mental illness. Great read, that made me very happy this week. I’ll talk more about this in my monthly Reading Challenge update.

Another thing making me happy this week is Bachelor in Paradise. I love everything about the Bachelor franchise and in this second season, I have not yet been disappointed. Here is the premise if you are not familiar. Previous Bachelor/Bachelorette hopefuls who were not so lucky in love their first time around (or second if they’ve been on BIP or Bachelor Pad before) come to an island and live in a house together. Each week selected individuals to get the opportunity to go on romantic Bachelor style dates, while the rest are free to make connections back at the house. At the end of the week, either the men or the women (they alternate every week) hand out a rose to someone they feel a romantic connection with. If you don’t get a rose that week, you have to go home. My favorite ladies of the season (so far because new ones are added all the time) are Clare Crawley, Tenley Molzahn, and Ashley Salter and my favorite guys are JJ Lane (surprisingly) and Jared Haibon. I’ve also enjoyed Joe this week because he’s completely crazy but I have a feeling I’ll be over that really quickly.

So those are my favorite things this week and I’ll continue to keep you posted as the weeks go on!

Breaking a Negative Cycle

girl-690717_1280With only 1% of Americans that truly LOVE their jobs and 70% feeling disengaged, it’s not surprising that many of us can fall into a negativity rut. Where this becomes dangerous is when we allow the culture surrounding us to perpetuate this feeling. Often times, the negative voice is the loudest, permeating the day to day culture and making it hard to break free. Whether you love your job, hate your job or like it well enough, harboring negativity can only bring you further down and can lead to feelings of apathy and dread when facing another work day.

In order to move forward, we have to be willing to step out and break the cycle of negativity. Every day, we have the power to choose not to engage in negative behavior, to be positive and cooperative. Here are five ways to let your positivity shine to combat a persistent negativity rut:

1. Smile and say good morning to everyone you encounter.
2. When tempted by the social aspects of venting together, disengage, step away and find someone to have a more positive interaction with.
3. Stop complaining. It’s hard but worth it.
4. Know that if you stumble, it’s okay – move on and try again.
5. Store happy vibes from other areas of your life and draw from them in times of need.

It’s easy to get bogged down, draw strength from your positivity and be an example to those Negative Nellies. You may not be able to change them, but you can change your own behavior and break free from negativity.

The Positive Impact of Tiny Miracles

Miracles are often thought of as extraordinary events that surpass all human or natural powers. We often hear stories of miraculous recoveries from illness or survival stories from terrible accidents or disasters but sometimes the real power of miracles lies in the everyday occurrences that have positive impact on our lives.

A tiny miracle might include a co-worker offering a helping hand when you’re feeling overwhelmed, or your children finally settling down so you have a rare quite moment in your day, or not encountering traffic when you’re already running late. These small things, if recognized can lead to a positive boost in our moods.

One of the top sited ways for increasing personal happiness is the practice of mindfulness. When exercising mindfulness, one focuses on being fully present in experiencing thoughts, feelings and sensations.  Being mindful enough to acknowledge the tiny miracles in our lives not only fosters a sense of goodwill for a more positive mindset but can also reduce the effects of stress.

For more information on mindfulness, check out the following links:

Psychology Today, Mindful.org

Launching Happy Heather

Over the course of several years, I have had numerous friends and colleagues tell me that I should launch an organizing and events service. Being organized is something I’ve come to be known for and I often get asked for advice and ideas. In response, I decided to launch Happy Heather!

If you’re offering a service, it’s best to start with a website so after dragging my feet thinking I couldn’t possibly launch a website on my own, I finally dug in and figured it out! In addition to the event and organizing services, as well as consulting I wanted to provide an outlet for advice, tips, and ideas. On this blog, you’ll find just that! If you have any questions you’d like answered or specific blogs ideas you’d like me to tackle, feel free to drop me a comment!

And so, Happy Heather is born!