Feel less stress and more connection during the holidays. If you’re listening in real time it's Thanksgiving week. That means lots of food, family and expectations. And we all know what happens when our expectations aren't met. We're disappointed, frustrated and discouraged. So how do we navigate a season with so many expectations riding on so many factors out our control? If the expectations and demands of the holiday season stress you out, listen in as we share the greatest predictor of happiness, especially during the holidays. Surprise, surprise, this idea of social support is all about the PLAY THEORY principle, Look Outward.

Play of the Week: For the big holiday event, Look outward and find someone you can support or help out.  Then each day this week. share an uplifting, validating message or a note of gratitude with some one you know. If you keep it up for 3 weeks you’ll see long term shifts towards improved optimism. Yes the holidays can be stressful, and they’re also a great time of year to improve our over all feeling of well being and connection to offset the stress brought on by the increased demands on our time and resources.

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/an-eye-opening-psychology-study-found-this-to-be-greatest-predictor-of-happiness-especially-during-holidays.html

How long has it been since you’ve indulged in some good old time playing with play dough?  Remember the wonderful squishy texture that is so pliant without being sticky? Rolling it out into snakes or just squishing it in your hands over and over was so soothing. Clay is an amazing medium. Our brain is a lot like clay. Our thoughts make imprints that can be erased and rerouted if we are earnest about wanting to make changes. This episode gives some helpful tips in how to transform a negative thought or habit into something more positive as we Let Go of the old and Play with a new idea.

Play of the Week: Here’s our play of the week. Identify an unwanted habit or thought. Maybe it’s not putting the lid back on the toothpaste. Maybe it’s not drinking enough water. Maybe it’s a nagging little almost imperceptible idea that you’ll always fail so why try. Next make a plan to do something instead of what you've been doing. With the toothpaste, plan to hold the lid in your hand until you’ve squozen the toothpaste out onto your tooth brush, then your brain will be better able to remember to put it back. If its drinking more water- make a plan to fill up a water bottle with the amount you want to drink in the day and take it with you. If it’s that negative thought you almost don’t notice but believe, decide on a counter affirmation that you start you day off with, repeating while you brush you hair in the morning. Then throughout the day when the negative thought trickles into your consciousness, repeat the positive affirmation. 

https://declutterthemind.com/blog/neuroplasticity/

https://www.instagram.com/kindakindco/

What if instead of focusing on the negative aspects of our society we looked for the good?  One artist, Saira Siddiqui wants to help people see their world in a more positive light by inviting them to look for acts of kindness. Her Peace Dots Project invites others through out the world to track random acts of kindness in an attempt to increase our tendency towards positive self-fulfilling prophecies.

Play of the Week: Let go and play and share an act of kindness you observed or did on the peace dots website. Doing so will help you look for the positive and encourage you to be part of the solution rather than merely a herald of the negative. Go to peacedotsproject.com, and help kindness to shine! 

Find Peace Dots Project on instagram: peacedotsproject

When we’re feeling something awful it’s natural to want to escape and try to buffer from uncomfortable feelings. Some people escape into mind numbing social media or screen time. Some people drink alcohol that can numb negative feelings and increase feelings of well being. Others may turn to drug use, illegal or medically prescribed medications. Are there less harmful ways to deal with negative emotions and the strain of being somewhere we really don't want to be?

Play of the Week: Sometime this week you’ll face a disappointment or loss. When you find yourself trying to escape your current life experience by buffering with food, alcohol, social media, TV or other distractions, ask yourself if there's a positive way you can buffer from this pain? Also ask if you would be better served by being fully present with the pain at this time rather than running from it? Is there something you can can learn from this discomfort?.

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Nobel:Betrayed

Theres nothing like a stroll through a graveyard to remind us to stop wasting our time on things that lack real meaning in our lives. The light heartedness of Halloween helps us accept a heavy subject and can help us build the emotional strength needed to face our fears. 

Play of the Week: If Halloween is your mojo, go all in and really let go and play. Go big on your costume or decorating your house. Let your imagination run wild. If Halloween’s not your cup of tea, you can still enjoy the autumn chill in the air without the judgement of those who are part of the 10.6 billion dollars spent on this holiday. Instead of feeling irritated with others' choices and the aisles of cheap candy, be curious about why others are so invested in it. 

Mr Toad, the Frenchie's October Halloween Costumes

Who do you think is happier? Someone who was suddenly paralyzed in an accident or people who’d just won the lottery? Seems obvious right? You may be surprised to learn that according to a study by the University of Massachusetts, people who were paralyzed from an accident had more hopeful outlooks than people who’d won the lottery. How can that be? Listen up as we dive deep into 5 scientifically proven habits that build long term happiness.

Play of the Week: Our play of the week’s a bit of a doosey as we try to incorporate all  5 of the steps we can take to improve our mood. Ready? Take the initiative and try out a new form of physical exercise with someone else. Also do a kind act or some service and get enough sleep this week! 

5 Science Based Habits That Lead to Long Lasting Happiness

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