Three Good Things 11.21.14 – Christmas tree, the Happsters, and stress on the brain

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Hey, Strangers! Pardon my absence… after an intense two-week training for work, I managed to get the flu and bronchitis. I was down for the count. My friends got my groceries, my pup stayed curled up on my lap, and I slept upright for six nights so I could breathe. Good times. Nasty things are going around – stay warm, stay hydrated, and don’t go places if you are ill! Nobody wants those germs! So, back to the Three Good Things, as inspired by A Storybook Life (who has an adorable new baby girl – take a look-see!).

Three Silver Lining Moments this week:

  • My tree is up! I won’t be around for a good chunk of December, so I wanted it up early. I used to have a *strict* holiday separation rule. I’ve since gotten over this. I enjoy wrapping all the holidays together once Halloween is over.
  • Greg comes home today, for more than a week! One month from now he will be officially graduated and back home for good. WOO!
  • My sweet baby girl who understood I was sick and spent her week curled up with me. Including the nights she could tell I was having trouble sleeping, when she curled up right next to my chest. My life wouldn’t be nearly as joyful without this face.

Three things I’m reading this week:

  • Cottage By the Sea, Robin Jones Gunn. RJG is my favorite author. I started reading her when I was about 12 years old, and her stories always put me in a happy place.
  • Oh, Mental Floss. How I adore your contribution to the world of journalism. This post is from April, but it’s so interesting! The most famous book set in each state. I’ve read some of them. Out of the four states (NY, NC, OH, GA) in which I’ve lived, I’ve read two of those books, NY (The Great Gatsby) and NC (A Walk to Remember). What’s your state’s book? Have you read it?
  • Happster‘s Instagram feed. Because I’m sappy like that…

Three things I learned this week:

  •  I watched a lot of Big Bang Theory. over the last couple weeks. One of my favorite scenes was this one from Season 7, where Howard sings to Bernadette. They did this in one take! I thought that was fascinating and completely impressive. Also, two former guest stars (Kate Micucci, Lucy, and Riki Lindhome, Ramona) wrote the song. Even if you’re not a fan of the show, watch below and tell me you don’t mist up at least a little bit.
  • I learned 7 Habits of Chronically Unhappy People. Reading this was a good self-awareness check for myself. I’m far from being chronically unhappy. I don’t even think I’ve ever had a period in my life where I can say I was truly unhappy with life. But to read these seven habits – believing life is hard, trusting noone, focusing on what’s wrong instead of what’s right, comparisons and jealousies abound, being riddled with worry and fear, and gossiping and complaining – was like reading a checklist of things I want to make sure a) I’m not doing, and b) that I continue not doing them.
  • I learned how stress changes the brain. I knew some of this information, especially the memory aspect, but in reading this article I learned that stress actually changes the chemistry in your body. Your brain shrinks, and brain cells die. I don’t know about you, but that’s kind of a wake-up call. Up to half of our happiness is in our control, based on various studies printed in Psychology Today and as discussed in Happy, my favorite documentary of all time. That means that even though things happen to me that have the potential to stress me out, I can control my reaction to the point where I don’t stress out my brain more than it already is. Stress can be a very good thing; it helps us with fight or flight. But through deliberate breathing, physical exercise, various modes of relaxation, or just going out and having a great night with my girlfriends, I can decrease the stress hormone coursing throughout my body so that my brain doesn’t shrink as a result of my being a reactionary instead of a responder.

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