10 Habits of the Happiest People

Happiest people
Why are some people happy all of the time? The happiest people have habits that raise the odds of feeling happy. Unhappy people have habits that result in less desirable feelings. It can be that simple. If you’re not as happy as you’d like, take a look at your habits.

Those that are happy share many qualities. Adopting these same qualities will yield positive results.

Habits that lead to happiness are enjoyable to implement:

  1. Optimism. Obviously, if you believe good things will happen, it’s much more likely that you’ll be happy. Expecting the worst does nothing to improve your mood! Realistically, it’s not even important to expect a positive outcome, only to believe that everything will be okay.

  • Optimism is also a form of belief in yourself. If you believe that you can handle any outcome, you can be optimistic and have the mental freedom to be happy.

  1. Altruism. Doing things for others provides multiple benefits. You can see firsthand that you have a lot to be grateful for. You can feel good about yourself for assisting others. You have a good reason to get out of the house. You also feel useful.

  • Make a list of at least three ways you can help others that will also fit into your schedule.

  1. Gratitude. Do you realize how many great things and people you already have in your life? By maintaining focus on the things you don’t have, you’re making yourself unhappy. Experiencing gratitude helps to create feelings of happiness.

  2. An exciting future. Maximum happiness requires that you have something to look forward to. It can be taking that road trip that's been on your bucket list since forever, the birth of a new grandchild, Christmas, a vacation, or a hot date on Saturday night. Have a few goals that give you a reason to be excited. Have goals that are both short-term and long-term.

  3. Success. Spend some time doing things that you’re good at and provide you with a feeling of satisfaction. It feels good to do well at something. It doesn’t have to be a competitive event. You can hit golf balls at the range or play the guitar and feel great about yourself.

  • Make of list of the things you excel at and try to spend at least a little time each day doing one of them.

  1. Resilience. It’s impossible to avoid challenging times. Sooner or later, something will happen that threatens your progress, success, or happiness. Resilience is the ability to continue forging ahead. Some people have a knack for making obstacles seem bigger than they really are. Others are able to maintain their composure and continue making progress.

  2. Reasonable expectations. When your expectations are overly optimistic, you’ll routinely experience disappointment. When your expectations are consistently low, you won’t feel very optimistic. Neither is a recipe for happiness.

  3. Forgiveness. How can you be happy while holding a grudge? Forgiving others quickly and easily make happiness possible. You might feel that some people don’t deserve forgiveness, but what is the alternative? Making yourself unhappy.

  4. Authenticity. Spending your time pretending to be something you’re not is a challenge to your self-esteem. Happiness is allusive if you don’t feel comfortable being yourself. Allow your uniqueness to show.

  5. Presence. Thinking about the past leads to regret. Thoughts of the future lead to anxiety. Keep your mind in the present if you want to experience happiness on a regular basis.

There’s nothing complicated about happiness. Forgive others, be yourself, give of yourself, and be grateful for the things and people you already have. Having an effective set of habits will result in feeling more happiness.

 


Create Your Own Bucket List

Bucket list
How many things have you done in the last five years that you consider to be meaningful? You can bet that you’ll have even more meaningful experiences over the next five years if you create a bucket list.

You might consider a bucket list to be silly or something that you should have done earlier in your retirement, but it’s never too late to start examining your life and prioritizing your time.

Create a bucket list that fills you with enthusiasm:

  1. Start with childhood. You had a lot of great ideas when you were a child. You’ve forgotten many of them or dismiss them as silly childhood dreams. Now is the time to dust them off and reconsider. What did you want to do and see as a child?

  2. Check out other bucket lists on the internet. You’ll be amazed at some of the things you’ll find that you’ve never considered. Get inspiration from others.

  3. Brainstorm. Take an day to work on your list. Turn off all your electronic devices and allow your imagination to run wild. Write down everything that comes to mind without judging it. You can evaluate your list at another time. It might be easier to come up with ideas if you consider particular categories one at a time.

  • Travel. Where have you always wanted to visit? Consider places near and far. Maybe there’s a famous burger joint in the next town or a state park you’d like to visit. Remember that the world is big, but largely accessible. In one day, you can find yourself anywhere on Earth.

  • Sports. Have you ever wanted to try hang gliding or learn how to ice skate backwards? Run a marathon or try deep sea diving?

  • Adventure. Ride a camel across the desert? Fly in a helicopter? Try your hand at zip lining? Ride across the US or Canada on a motorcycle? Swim with dolphins?

  • Events. Maybe you’ve always wanted to attend a Super Bowl or watch the Rolling Stones live. Do you have a favorite comedian you’d like to see? Watch the northern lights? Watch a famous opera or ballet?

  • Creativity. Write a book or song? Learn to play the banjo? Take salsa dance lessons?

  • These are just a few ideas. What other categories come to mind?

  1. Give yourself a week to continue adding to your list. You’ll find that new ideas pop into your mind at random moments. Keep adding to your list and don’t worry about the length. You can pare it down to size later.

  2. Ask your friends for ideas. Find out what your friends have put on their bucket lists. You’ll get a few more good ideas, as well as a few suggestions.

  3. Prioritize your list. Rank your big list from most desirable to least.

  4. Make plans for this year. Starting at the top of your list, which items could you do this year? What do you need to do to make this happen?

  • Decide what you can do to overcome your limitations and put your plan into action. Once you’ve set an objective, it’s important to take a first step as soon as possible. Show yourself that you’re serious by making preliminary plans.

Now that you have a good bucket list, get busy crossing off items from your list! Making a bucket list is valuable because it requires you to think and prioritize. Think carefully and rank your list items. Creating a bucket list can help ensure that your life remains exciting and fulfilling in retirement - and will, hopefully, leave you with fewer regrets at the end.


What's happening in Greater Manchester this week?

Manchester retirementThere's always something happening in Greater Manchester... here's a round-up of some of the activities and events coming up for week beginning 22 June from our Manchester Retirement blog:

Fancy a dance?  Then put your dancing shoes on and get yourself over to Fallowfield on Wednesday morning to try out one of the Dance for Everyone sessions.

Is walking more your style?  Manchester and Salford Ramblers have an evening walk (Reddish Vale) and a Saturday walk (Macclesfield Forest) coming up this week...

Walking Football's becoming very popular - did you see the feature on 'North West Tonight' this week?  There are Walking Football sessions available in Swinton, Irlam, Eccles, Ordsall, Wythenshaw, Collyhurst and Levenshulme.  (If you know of any more, leave a comment below and I'll post details.)

Manchester International Festival is coming up - have a look at the programme events and plan which ones you want to attend before it all kicks off on Thursday 2nd July.

If you like to chat about art, you'll be in good company on Wednesday at one of Manchester Galleries' Art Bites Discussions.

Refugee Week (which is actually more like Refugee Fortnight) is still running at IWM North until 30 June -  explore real stories of people forced by conflict to leave their homes. Hear why Saranda Bogujevci, who escaped from Kosovo to Manchester, won the Anne Frank Award for Moral Courage and discover how aid worker Emma Kay helped people fleeing from NATO air strikes on Albania and Macedonia in 1999.

Finally, 'Ageing in Cities', a seminar co-hosted by the OECD and Manchester City Council, takes place on Friday 26 June 14.00 - 16.30 at Manchester Town Hall.

See you at the Manchester Retirement blog for more information on all the above.  Oh, and, if you have a Kindle Unlimited account, don't forget to pick up your copy of our Retirement Life Inventory, free of charge.  (If you like it, please leave some feedback!)

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Are you retired and living in the Greater Manchester area?

Manchester retirementIf you live in the Greater Manchester area of the UK, check out our Manchester Retirement blog...  it contains details of a wide range of leisure, wellbeing, education and voluntary opportunities that should keep you out of trouble!

Posts this week include:

Get Active with Active Lifestyles - run by Manchester City Council  and offering a range of weekly physical activity classes across the city suitable for older people.

Front Row: Film Showings for the Over 50's in Newton Heath

Volunteer Centre, Manchester  - provides information, support and training to Manchester residents who want to volunteer.


The Association of Retired Single Women

Ann_woman runningThe Association of Retired Single Women is a private Facebook group for... well, retired, single women, funnily enough!  Just request to join the group and I'll approve your application as soon as I spot it - well, as long as you're retired, single and a woman, of course :)

 


Hooked!

Jewellery makerMy name is Ann Harrison and I am an addict.  A couple of weeks ago, I discovered the Jewellery Maker channel, http://www.jewellerymaker.com and I've been hooked ever since! 

If you're looking for a new hobby, with the opportunity to, potentially, make some money from your jewellery designs, have a look - but be prepared for the impact it will have on your bank balance. Gorgeous gems and beads, inspirational designs, free tutorials, in-studio designers - all guaranteed to suck money out of your purse (and as a business owner, I can recognise a very clever business model when I see it). 

This is a hobby you could turn into a retirement business, you can share it with your grandchildren on a rainy afternoon, or you can make beautifully-personalised gifts for friends and family. 

If you're looking for an outlet for your creativity, this could well be it!  (And no, I'm not an affiliate - although I would be if they had an afiliate program!  Attention jewellerymaker.com - you're missing an opportunity there!)


Why Weekend Getaways Can Be Better than Extended Trips

Sometimes, the more you plan, the worse off you are. Have you ever noticed this in life?  You plan and organise and wear yourself out trying to make sure that everything's done and in place - and then something goes wrong to mess up your orchestrations, right at the last minute! And then there are the times where you're as spontaneous as you ever will be and everything just simply falls into place.  I think that's called 'Sod's Law'!  (Well it is here in the UK, anyhow.)

Sometimes the same can be said for weekend getaways, as opposed to extended holidays or vacations. There are several ways that an extended vacation can go sour when compared to one of those spontaneous weekend getaways.

For starters, planning an extended trip is just that – a lot of planning. Sometimes, by the time you're done, you're experiencing VPB - vacation planning burnout. In addition, there's all the preparation you need to do before going on vacation. Perhaps, you have a pet you need to sort out, a home that needs looking after, a garden that needs watering... and the list continues.

Next, if you're like most people, you like to come home to a clean home - which means you feel compelled to clean your home from top to bottom before going on an extended trip. And then there's the packing. Most of us tend to over-pack, especially if there are grandchildren going on vacation with us. Medications, extra bedding, toys to keep them occupied and extra clothing - just in case - are all waiting to be organised and packed.

Then, of course, if you're going on an extended vacation, there may be paperwork involved - such as a passport or birth certificate or visa. And don't forget the traveller's cheques and currency!  Let's face it... extended trips can be wearisome and make you ache for home (sometimes before you even set off!).

On the other hand, a weekend getaway takes a lot less planning and a lot less packing. You could probably get away with throwing a couple of things in a bag and just going with the flow on a weekend vacation.

In addition, the natural tendency on a weekend trip is to enjoy and savour every moment because you know it's a short-lived getaway. You're traveling lighter, have less planning and have a lighter, happier attitude along the way.

Typically, extended holiday destinations often tend to be the ones that are the most visited. You're more likely to find traffic jams, more tourists (as opposed to 'locals'), and larger crowds during longer trips. During weekend getaways, you have so many more opportunities to find destinations that are off the beaten path.

In addition, the cheaper cost of weekend getaways (instead of one long, expensive trip) offers you the opportunity to take more trips and explore a little bit of everything - the mountains, the countryside, the beach - almost like a buffet or smorgasbord of travel.

So next time you're feeling in need of a break, consider a short-lived weekend getaway instead of the usual extended trip.  You may just find yourself returning refreshed and rejuvenated, rather than harried and hassled and in need of another vacation!
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The-Trip-Planner-FLATWhether you have a long trip in mind or just a couple of days rest and relaxation, check out our immediately downloadable collection of checklists to help you plan the perfect getaway.  It's called The Trip Planner - you can choose the UK or US version and use it over and over again, no matter how many trips you're planning!

Pick up your copy of The Trip Planner here


Finding top boarding kennels for your pets

Every owner of a pet dog or cat has to face the possibility of boarding their animal at one time or another. And if you're planning plenty of trips in your retirement, this could be you - and sooner, rather than later!  

However, the prospect of boarding out their beloved pet makes some pet owners anxious - how do you know if they're treating your beloved kitty well? And exactly how do you find the best boarding kennel for your pooch?

Here are some tips and ideas on what to look for in a top boarding kennel for your fur baby:

Determine What's Important to You

Pet owners have different ideas about how their pets should be treated; what's important to one pet owner may not be to another. This depends on factors such as pet temperament, owner expectations, physical characteristics (such as long hair), breed of pet, etc. So sit down and make a list of what matters to you in a boarding kennel. Maybe it's daily exercise, how much freedom the pets have, or the kennel's grooming practices.  

Pay Them a Visit

If possible, visit a prospective boarding kennel unannounced. Just walk in and look for some key characteristics, such as:

  • Is there a staff person available?
  • How do the staff members act toward your dog? Do they greet him/her? Do they have a nice way with your pet?
  • Are staff members willing to answer your questions and take you on a tour of the facility?
  • Take a look at the pets that are there - although some pets are anxious no matter what kind of care they receive, look around and see if, overall, the pets seem happy and content.
  • Look to see if the pets have plenty of water and food.
  • Especially look for sanitary conditions. Cat boxes should be clean, and dogs' kennels should not have faeces or urine in them.
  • Look for adequate ventilation and light.
  • Are the cats kept well away from the dogs? Cats can get very anxious if they are constantly subjected to the sounds, sights, and smells of dogs.
  • How does it smell? A clean, well-kept kennel should not reek.
  • The facility should also not be too cold or too hot, and exercise areas should have a weather-protected option in case of rain or snow.

What to Ask

Here are some things you might consider asking the staff about their kennel.

  • If pets get severely anxious, what will you do? 
  • What is your protocol in case of illness or injury of the pet?
  • Do you have a vet on site? If not, which vet do you use?
  • Do you provide special foods for pets with food allergies? If not, may I provide my pet's food and treats? 
  • How often are the pets exercised?
  • How often are the kennel areas cleaned?

Cost

Like hotels, some kennels are going to have more amenities and will, therefore, probably cost more. But others cost a lot without offering any extras, so make sure you do some price comparison. Here are some things to keep in mind as you compare prices:

  • Do you charge for a full day if I pick my pet up in the morning?
  • Are you closed Sundays?
  • Do you provide toys, blankets and bedding, or do I need to provide those? 
  • May I offset the cost by providing my pet's food and treats

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And if you've made the decision to keep your pet in their own home and hire a petsitter for your beloved furry friend instead, check out our 'Trip Planner Checklists' - which includes a page you can complete with instructions for your petsitter about caring for your pet in your absence...

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