How to change Big attitudes with Tiny turns.
You know that feeling when you are half way to somewhere and you realise you have forgotton something that you need. Or you cannot carry everything you need down the back in one wheelbarrow and must make two or three trips. And you think – Dammit now I have to walk all the way back. Lately when I have these realisations I am pleased.
All this has come down to a little plastic gadget my daughter has me wearing that counts my footsteps. There are a number of such bracelets, I don’t want to advertise mine as I am not in the business of advertising, and that is not the aim of this discussion, you may even have one on your phone but counting my footsteps has turned my attitude on its head. Now instead of being frugal with movement, efficient with my feet, time and motion and all that stuff, I think YES – extra footsteps. Better for my body. Now, I move even more. Instead of being annoyed that I forgot something and must walk all the way back up to the house to get it I think. Excellent – more footsteps!
Interesting isn’t it. Here is another one. Another small change that has changed my attitude immensely. I came across a Happiness Study. It was on a Ted talk. I can’t remember who is doing it or even what it is called as the app just says Happiness. They are collecting data on happiness. It is an app on my phone. It asks you questions two or three times a day, runs for 30 days and takes only seconds. The app asks you to grade your happiness right at that moment. Then a few other questions – are you alone – are you at work – etc).
It is not the app as much, it is an interesting change happening in me because of the app. I am thinking about it more. And I am happier than I thought. I am happiest alone and working on the farm. I am happy when I am blogging. I am happy when I am cooking. What has changed is my take on the WORD happy. The label. I am more focused on remembering whether I am feeling happy so I can report it than all the things that make me feel unhappy. And this change in conscious thought is changing how I feel overall.
Now, I realise that I am gently happy most of the time. If I were to grade my self as happy ONLY when I get that great shot of sublime happiness then my scale would always be in the middle. So – I am thinking that happiness has a lot to do with actually ALLOWING ourselves to be happy. Using the word properly. Looking inside our own heads all alone, with no-one judging and saying to oneself – this is OK – this is my normal – and I am finding happiness here today.
Yup. I am quite happy sitting here at sunrise writing to you.
The smallest changes in your daily life can create big changes in your attitude to that life. I am happy to be walking further and further every day to get about the same amount of work done. Happy is such a cheerful word! Fit is a good word too!
Change is possible.
No sunrise again – but there is light. So off I go into my world.
Have a lovely day.
Wonderful! I love this post.
Thats great! Enjoy the rest of your day! c
I mark my steps with my cell phone, reluctantly at first, now find myself getting in much needed steps most days, and then some more as the days wear on, and it has become a delightful and healthful friend, getting me outdoors, around the park, etc. – with the added bonus of shedding some pounds. No sun here, either, but, just the same the day has dawned. 🙂
These are such tiny challenges that can make huge changes. Do you think it is addictive? I think i am a wee bit addicted but it is a healthy addiction right?
Oh, yes, I do think this is addictive. I keep checking my steps and I have been known to run up and down the stairs to the second floor – just to reach the next level. 🙂 I find it to be a very healthy addiction.
I also have one of those gadgets that counts my steps and yes, I am addicted to it as well. It must be a healthy addiction because it’s making me move around more and in the process, I am working off my calories for the day. If I haven’t reached my goal by the end of the day, I walk around the house to achieve it!
Me too! 🙂
To be mindful of the details of our lives can be a good thing.
Details being the operative word in that sentence I think. The minatiae. There is a lot of happiness to be found in the details.
A balance, of course, is needed. Our minds are geared for it.
Happy is a beautiful word isn’t it? Content is also a nice median to be in. How I feel right now is content – not overly worried or stresed, just in a mode of doing what I like at a pace that is right.
But a part of me has to be sad…. today would have been Mom’s 80th birthday. Our first without her here. My beagle dug me a nice hole yesterday – so I put some sunflower seeds in it before closing it up and surrounding it with planters she can’t jump over. It is probably too early for sunflower seeds, but we will see what happens. BTW: I’ll bring Angel up when your ready to dig the garden, she does nice work although the holes may not be exactly where you want them. 😉
Today would have been my father’s 81st birthday. I think of him often, especially when I am trying to repair something around the house as he taught me many of those skills.
That is good. I think it is great when we think of the ones who have gone on before us. I would like to think that i will be remembered as fondly
Yes Angel can help! The wildflower swathe is designed, the seed ordered for the spring and it will go in in the spring as soon as it is dry and will be right where everyone can see it from the road. The first two years will be a lot of hand weeding though. How is Angel at weeding!?
Oh she would dig them all up – weeds and flowers I fear.
Today would’ve been my mom’s 102nd! She will be gone 10 years come September. I totally agree with you on being content. I think no one can be happy happy ALL the time but how lucky you are if you can be content with your life and all it’s ups and downs. I have found that I am quite content with my life at this point. Thinks could always be better but then again they could be way worse too.
I have seen the pedometer on my cel … I would have to remember to carry my cel at all times, which I don’t. Hope the sun makes a surprise appearance for you today. Laura
No sun again I think – in fact it occurred to me as I was carrying hay down the back for the cows that maybe Tolkein was in a similar winter when he wrote Lord of the Rings. With his dark clouds that never lifted. Though I know it was during war time but maybe that year had a dark, dark winter. c
Thanks for the happiness app suggestion and the Ted talk….
Thank you for joining in.. c
You are so true. Little changes make for big changes in the bigger outlook of life. Mom has one of those things too that count steps/tells her how many miles she’s wobbled throughout the day. You change your outlook when wearing that thing. You aim to walk more – to achieve more. Have an awesome day sweet friend. XOXO – Bacon
Maybe we should devise a pig one – and see how far you wobble every day bacon!
Snorts and rolls with piggy laughter. Let’s see…. to my bedroom – to the kitchen – to the television – to the sofa – to tinkle. I’m sure it would not be as far as you sweet friend. XOXO – Bacon
Mindfulness is a lovely thing. And it’s always lovely when you discover something about yourself.
And discover that I can change my way of thinking – strange that that surprises me
Like most Minnesotans, I distrust happiness. There is something about it that just doesn’t seem right or shall we say, seems seemly. It is not that we wallow in unhappiness, though we do, it is more that spending too much time being happy attracts the devils of misfortune and unhappiness – or as psychology suggests, the mind seeks the same level between happiness and unhappiness and will always reset itself if one gets too much of either – and who wants that? It’s just better to avoid the whole mess.
(In reality, we Minnesotans are a happy bunch but we like to hide it, least too many people move up here and bring their lousy attitudes with them). 🙂 🙂
This is interesting. I don’t particularly like the word ‘happy’ either – and I don’t think it should be the goal. I feel happiness is too fleeting. I’d rather be full of joy, which seems to me a more lasting state, and something deeper than happiness. Or satisfied, which also seems deeper and more lasting. I like what you said about distrusting happiness. I think because it is in our Declaration of Independence – the thing about the right to pursue happiness – I wish another word had been used. I think we Americans have a selfish attitude around the word happiness, like it is the only thing we should be seeking. Well if all we pursued was happiness, no one would go to work each day. It would be lovely if our work made us happy, but the simple truth is that for most people it doesn’t. Maybe this is all mixed up in my dislike for laziness, I don’t know – this is going down a road I didn’t intend. Anyway, all of this made me think which is always good. 🙂
Hmm, good thoughts and I think maybe we are agreeing. Happiness is the word the app uses which has made me think that the happy they are looking to hear about is not that wild wooping happiness but ordinary daily happiness you describe. There is a scale you adjust though, which makes me even examine the level of happiness. It is an interesting piece of research for me anyway. c
The founders wisely put the word “pursuit” before the word “happiness”, knowing that the pursuit of something is far more fulfilling than attaining it.
I see your secret ploy. Well done. Similar maybe the the Greek Mama’s spitting on the new babies head. Yes. I understand you now. OK! I hope you have a really horrible day – no sunbathing on the deck, it is too warm yet!
Thanks Cecilia, I hope to be gloriously miserable all day…. and darn well make sure all my neighbors, friends and family see and hear me being miserable.
I love your term ‘gently happy.’ That is maybe better than content, although I have a positive connotation to content, not the negative one of just being lethargic about things. I am usually content or gently happy, and when the big Happy comes along every once in awhile, it’s even better!
When my boys were growing up they got tired of me telling them that ‘All of Life is a Case of Attitude.’ But I believe that being mindful of yourself really makes a difference. And you can adjust your attitude, mostly. (Although having to do a stressful day job certainly can put a dent in the gently happy. Glad I don’t have to deal with that anymore. For that, I am Grateful).
On my classroom wall I had a sign that said 10% Aptitude 90% ATTITUDE. IT is not totally correct but it certainly made sense to my kids.
Lovely Lulu. I see a tween chicken. Are they faring well with their new compatriots? Changing an attitude can be difficult, but so has its rewards. In AA, they call it Stinkin’ Thinkin’ and gently encourage members to knock it off! ha For me, it is often housework that I have to change my attitude about, from dread to mild enthusiasm. Now, you have me thinking and it’s not stinking! Have a wonderful Day C.
The tweens are doing really well, they have their hiding places but are also out there with the big ones eating and drinking like crazy. I have overcome the housework problem by blasting the house with a talking book. I can clean for hours if the story is good. Stinkin’ Thinkin’ – a good saying!
Love today’s post! I think that taking the time to feel grateful can make us happy. And I love the app you mentioned, as it sounds like it can make one mindful of happiness, and gratefulness several time a day. How wonderful! And, thanks to you, I just put a ‘counting steps’ app onto my phone! The challenge will be to carry my phone with me everywhere. That’s the tricky part! XO
Carrying the phone is easier in winter, more pockets, plus you need to carry it in the house too to collect those footsteps as well. I Look froward to seeing how many steps you make in a day! You will be surprised. And the challenge of collecting footsteps will help you remember it. Report back tomorrow and no jogging on the spot while washing dishes!!
I’m fired up! 🙂
Oh dear, while I’m cooking (NOT my favorite activity) I often dance in place while waiting for this pot to boil or that pan to brown. I take it those steps don’t count? Bummer.
I used to wear a podometer as part of a phys ed project I was doing with my students. I found that it made me MUCH more aware. I’m retired now and don’t wear a fit bit type bracelet. However, when doing my chores I will park my manure truck in the centre of the paddock and then do my walking back and forth. I too love to think … a few more steps! We also have a habit now of parking on the outside of parking lots when we go shopping – and walk in to the store – a few more steps. The change to my thinking was permanent!
YES! Those are such good things. I park aways off too and you should hear the moaning from my Mother in Law. Merciful heavens! c
I do the exact same thing — park the muck cart in the middle of the pasture and then walk back and forth to it with my forks full of manure. My husband thinks I’m nuts. (yes I wear one of those gadgets on my wrist). I also volunteer to get the mail from way down at the end of the driveway — its endless. If I forget something upstairs (I’m forever forgetting things), I used to get pissy about it; now its an opportunity. Funny how that works.
Perspective is everything. No wasted steps vs more movement. Just lovely. A happiness app? Had not heard of that one. I have always wondered how you define happiness. I tend to use the word, content most of the time. I’d love to see that Ted talk. I watch many of them. Very inspiring. Have a terrific Tuesday with lots of steps.
The man who is running the program (you sign on for thirty days) is trying to answer that exact question. What makes us happy. or maybe what is happy. He has already found that when people are not busy they are more likely to have unhappy thoughts. Not rocket science. My Mum used to say if you are sad and cold – mop the floor. c
Your mum was a smart woman. 🙂
I’ve been reading all of the comments and thinking the exact same thing…. much of what can be described as ‘happiness’ is just how one defines the condition… and I think that varies to some extent depending on who you’re speaking with. To me, at least, the person with the optimistic attitude is far more likely to experience more happiness than otherwise and changing people’s attitudes is not the easiest thing in the world. If this study ends up defining specific things people can do to change their condition to one of happiness, then I would say it’s well worth the effort! ~ Mame 🙂
I’ve found extreme gratitude increases happiness a hundred fold. No study necessary. Thank you for your kind comment.
Love today’s post and the photos. I too wear a device to count steps and it is quite a motivator and, yes, it stops the grumbling when I have to backtrack to get something or make a second trip. I look forward to my daily visit to your world.
I lost my fitbit for a few weeks at one point (found it in the mud by a gate after a particularly rotton rain storm – it still works by the way) and told my daughter and she immediately said Oh NO what a waste of STEPS! and sent me another one straight away. Luckily it turned up after I found the old one so she could get her money back. But she (and my son) could not bear the idea of uncounted steps. I am still trying to get my head around that one! love love c
I listened to the Ted talk but did not download the app. I think I will, thanks for reminding me. My phone counts my steps and I love it.
It ‘ s only for thirty days which is good – and we are just contributing to a rather odd piece of research. I think that after this one is finished I am going to see if i can find other apps where they are doing scientific research. Though i cannot think off hand what they might be.. c
Reblogged this on Art-Colored Glasses and commented:
I am still lurking about in my book-writing space, having now pressed Publish on my fifth Blurb book and working on a number of those yet in progress. But it’s happy work. On that note, I commend to you my dear friend Celi’s superbly crisp take on happiness from her own blog:
Thank you ! And good luck with your writing! c
I love it when you let us know how many steps now and then. I too have a gadget and you inspire me!
Every step counts when you wear the gadget!! Isn’t that fun.. c
You definitely strike me as being happy most of the time 😉
“The smallest changes in your daily life can create big changes in your attitude to that life.” That’s a thought I’m going to carry with me throughout this year. Thanks for the inspiration Cecilia!
I most always feel happy, even when I am sad or scared or angry. I am also happy. It is really weird. And it is definitely more pronounced that I am older. And when I read that statistically I am likely to be even more happy at 60 and even MORE happy at 70 and even MORE MORE MORE happy at 80…well, how cool is that?
This post made me happy! 🙂
I love the word joy! I seem to fill my days with joy…it the little things…sunshine, sun while the snow is falling…making footprint in the snow, and true I have those not so full of joy moments…like slogging through mud, mud in the house…but on the whole I think I view the life with joy. Although…long and dreary days make me a little unjoyful!
Mindfulness.: an idea that has taken hold, well worth thinking about, provides lots of material for discussion.
Mindful, a quality, some would say a virtue (“He is mindful of the neighborhood children when he drives down the street.”) .
Mind, an action: (1) positive, “Mind the gap.” (2) Negative, “Never mind, I’ll do it myself.” Or “Mind your own business.” (3) neutral, “Don’t mind me, I’ll stay out of your way.”
So language and custom have developed a scale for thinking, being, and doing. I don’t know whether the sequence goes up or down, or even if there is a natural progression from one though the next to the third. But I like to think that doing brings more satisfaction than thinking, or even being. Mind you, it is not all that easy. “Mind over matter” sounds good, but I suspect that this phrase does not describe how we live.
One more thing. I’ve heard the advice, “Pactise mindfulness.” I used to think it sounded contradictory. But evidently it works for some, especially those who are not hung up on words.
(I wanted to talk about Sheila’s bunk bed pile, and that giant cow head mulling over something — pigs don’t seem to mind manners or what anyone else thinks,, while cows are so serious, thoughtful, almost melancholy — but it would have taken thousands of words, and I have already used up my allotment, I fear.)
Happy has always been my favourite word. I understand the happiness you are referring to. It is, and has always been in my nature to find the good and happy in what I do, to see & appreciate the best of things. Moreso even these days, since we reshuffled our day to day lives from city to country… this is not just where I ended up, it’s the life I chose, and I regularly pause and absorb the moments. I often ask the G.O. ‘are you happy’ as he goes about his day, as he doesn’t naturally possess this perspective so it’s also important for me to share with him…
Practically, having shifted from a sedentary occupation to an active lifestyle I also appreciate every step where my day takes me although I can be a bit footsore in the evenings. But happily weary, and nothing a glass or two of wine can’t fix ♡
Ahh….stepping, strolling, running, amble, trudge, hike, tramp, traipse ~ all wonderful words for unaided walking. I am just recently on crutches as I broke my ankle a week ago or so and cannot tolerate any weight bearing. For 8 weeks! Working on the farm in the snow is impossible. Even working in the house on crutches is a challenge and I am a grouch! Thank GOODNESS my sweet children are about and have taken over almost all the household and farm duties. My husband works off the farm but when he is home he frets over me, too. I guess it’s the perfect time to be injured, if there ever is a perfect time. The gardens are asleep under 3 feet of snow, our milk cow is not due to calve until May and piglets are due mid- March. So~ I really don’t have much to complain about.
Happy reading this post, now I’m going to walk to the fridge and eat something 🙂
Am reading a book at the moment called ‘The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country’. Interesting that some of the things you might expect to make you happy, are not necessarily the things that do. I’m only 1/3 of the way through the book and very much like it thus far, but if it is worthy I will put it on the Library Page.
I’m getting one of those doohickeys for my birthday… I’m getting more and more active and able to walk and even run a bit now. Lost 6 kilos since November, and now it’s time to get serious about moving – and steps are so easy, they’re just steps, not that horrible thing called organised exercise! I’m Happy to be moving well, Happy to be less lardy, Happy to be making things, Happy with my life. I don’t have any idea of Happiness as something I feel entitled to, nor as something that I consciously feel every day, it’s more a state of enjoyment of what IS. By the way, we went to see the movie Lion last night, and it’s WONDERFUL. Both of us in tears at one point, but such an amazing story (all true), and the scenery in both India and Tasmania was glorious.
Not that it matters I suppose, but am just reading all the daily papers and ‘Lion’ has just received six Academy nominations: good year to remind the world of our very capable film industry . . .
Indeed! And it is a quite beautiful movie to watch, let alone the moving and extraordinary story.
*big smile* reading this has probably given me the ‘push’ to finally get a fitbit I have been looking at for more than a year! Sitting down working for 10-14 hours seven days a week certainly does not lead to the desirable 20,000 steps a day or even half of that!! Friends in the same situation have successfully added 100 steps every day every week and are preening . . . ! Personally I love the word ‘contentment’ which to me has a solid meaning and a solid sensation – exactly what does ‘happiness’ mean . . . that said heartfelt laughter overcomes me multiple times most days: that surely must mean that happiness is bubbling inside . . .
oh hah! wish I had one of those step counters! The last few weeks we have shoveled, snow blowed and plowed every day for 3-5 hours. Just to keep our driveway ( 2/10ths of a mile long up a steep hill ) clear and safe for our access. I can only imagine how many steps I have taken and my sweetie pie also! and then you wrote about happiness…..I don’t have a device that uses apps ( flip phone only ) but I can relate- even tho we are shoveling like crazy we are happy where we are and thankful every day for our health, family and friends. Have a wonderful day.
Yes, I’ll have to check that app out. I think I’m generally happy. I try to give myself a smile in the morning and to e grateful and aware as I move throughout my day. Counting steps is a useful tool. I hope you can have a skip in your step. Enjoy your day.
I loved this post, hon! We really are on the same wavelength at the moment! How lovely that the Happiness app is doing what it promises and bringing you joy! xxx
How wonderful, turning a negative annoyance into something positive and helpful. Fit IS good! Perhaps more steps are directly responsible for elevating your happiness quotient? Thank you for a very thought-provoking post: )
[J] So, Celi, you’re a ‘cup half full’ person. That’s not a surprise. What’s a surprise is that it’s a surprise to you! Personally, I really cannot understand why some folk like to tell me I work too hard, and it’s ‘about time’ I started taking things easier. (What ‘time’? Of the day? The working week? The year? … My life? What are they trying to say!?) I’m not convinced this is concern for my welfare. I suspect it’s more that my activity and work disturbs their sense of entitlement to ease, idleness, and unproductivity. I enjoy my work. It makes me happy. And Denise and I pay our way in life. Work is happiness, not the lack of it!
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I love what you say about happiness; and also the mind shift about footsteps. I am happy right now because I am catching up on your January posts (after much time off-line at the beach). And I’m reminded how happy I am when I’m solitary and have time to think big round thoughts, like yours in this post. Thank you for being there.