Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Happy Emoticons

loved this video, maybe also cause I chat so much lately (or better said since I am in Germany). Very simple, sweet and perfect for happymaking

XXX, yours Q<=

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nighty Night

This post is dedicated to all the sleepless friends and colleagues :-) Let's start with WHY: I am a very well scheduled person and I always go to bed around 10-11pm in order to get my 8h sleep. It's not a because I am a boring person -as some do think- but because the best time to sleep is between 11pm-1am. After this you'll only rest more or less. Also a good sleep is the key to ever lasting health and beauty (got you :-0). The other reason for me to do that is that when doing diffrent my body highly suffers. Now I don't refer to a party once in a while but to an experiment I lived some years ago. It was my first job in Germany and I was supposed to work at McDonald's for 3 months, night shift (7pm-4am), no vacation (guess that's what foreign students get :-0). Unnecessarly to mention that sleeping from 10am-3pm didn't help as there was so much light and noise and my body couldn't accomodate. Also feeding myself during night time led to 10kg more. Some grey hair also showed up and from that time I decided to never do that again. Of course after coming back home my body recovered and I was happy again:-)

Now that was just an example of why I cherish sleep and even try to take a nap during weekends :-) But what if you want to sleep and can't? Research suggests our sleep patterns are determined by our genes; about 10% of us are morning larks (like ME :-)) and 10% night owls, with the rest of us somewhere in between. You have as much chance of changing this as you would changing your eye color.

We wake naturally many times during the night, as each sleep cycle of about two hours ends. Plus, our body clocks aren’t programmed to make us feel sleepy and alert only twice in each sleep cycle. Animals — and human babies — often naturally sleep and wake many times in a day; and in hot countries, it’s normal to sleep for five hours at night and three in the afternoon as a siesta.At night, the body normally shifts from deep sleep to the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of light pre-waking sleep from 3am onwards. REM sleep prompts the body to wake up, so it is normal to have up to 60% of REM sleep in the second half of the night.

Once we’re in the pre-waking phase, signals in the environment can also easily disturb sleep — a boyfriend snoring (not mine :-)), the cat jumping on the bed, needing the loo, early summer dawn breaking or being too hot (for instance, during menstruation, a woman’s body temperature rises and she is more likely to wake).

Assuming we now understood some phisical causes of waking up during the night and not being able to fall a sleep, I would like to present you now some tips on sleeping better :

  1. Worries and concerns with life, finances, work, family or relationships all wrestle for attention in the brain and prevent the physiological and chemical changes necessary for sleep to occur. Try switching off!
  2. Most people seek and are sedated by entertainment and then are forced to deal with the issues in their lives once the only voice that can be heard is their own in the quiet of the bedroom.So shut down the TV, clean your thoughts and then go to bed!
  3. Right atmosphere: light in the room, noise and comfort. If a person is not comfortable, they are too hot, too cold, or can feel the springs in the matress then sleep will be difficult.
  4. Medical conditions, alcohol or medications also have their influence on how readily the body can prepare itself for slumber.
  5. Go to bed when you're sleepy-tired, not when it's time to go to bed by habit.
  6. Wind down during the second half of the evening before bedtime. More specifically, 90 minutes before bed, don't get involved in any kind of anxiety provoking activities or thoughts. Don't open your mail, email or watch the evening news. Those events are not always anxiety producing, but you never know when they will be.
  7. Practice breathing with your abdomen, using low slow evenly spaced breathes that make your belly move more than your chest. Focus on tightening then relaxing major muscle groups, starting with your toes and ending with your forehead.
  8. Your bed is for sleeping, if you can't sleep after 15-20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing.
  9. Set your room temperature to be cool rather than warm.
  10. Don't count sheep; counting is stimulating.
  11. Exercise in the afternoon or early evening, but no later than 3 hours before bedtime.
  12. Don't over-eat; and eat 2-3 hours before bedtime. And don't eat meat in the evening! Meet needs much longer to be digested. Milk &Honey> Yes it works ;-) with almonds also. Or tea.
  13. If you awake in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep within 30 minutes, get up and do something else. BUT: Avoid turning on the lights or working at a computer. Light entering your eyes will stimulate your brain's day/night balance and keep you awake.
  14. Avoid all coffee, alcohol and cigarettes 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  15. If you have disturbing dreams or nightmares, use your mind's eye to "add" and ending that you prefer. It sounds a bit weird, but force yourself to imagine a whole different ending scene. Write the replacement ending in a notebook if you can't hold onto it. Or say a prayer and switch off again!
  16. Listen to calming music reading something nice before sleeping.
  17. Take a shower before going to bed. Water massage will relax your muscles.
And of course, if sleep problems persist, contact your physician as it may be from some drugs you are taking or who knows why :-) Hope you'll sleep better tonight. Nighty Night!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Virtual Happymaking with Friends

Love hurts! says the song and now I think it means any kind of love...not just romantic relationships, but friendships also. I also think I lost a friend yesterday but well we won't study this particular issue :-) especially as I also consider nothing gets lost and people telling you suddenly they will no longer talk to you will sooner or later feel sorry about it and come back to you.

So this post it's about friendship and long distance relationships with friends and NO no virtual worlds and no Second Life although I named it "virtual" :-) Just plane emails, chat and whatever we use to connect with friends living far away. I could think about some advices regarding long distance friendship and how to make it work so here they are:
  • YOU keep in touch: don't always expect to be contacted and be just the "Reply to" person. After all it's not a dating game and you don't really appear to be lame if you make the first move.
  • Answer back: we spend so much time answering all kind of emails and always postpone answering emails from friends asking us how we are doing cause we sort of imagine they would expect some 1000 characters email. They are not and a "I am doing fine, nice to hear from you" wouldn't hurt more than no answer at all. And yes, we are all busy so being busy DOESN'T make you special or excuses you :-)
  • Avoid contradictory chat (touche :-) ) yeap, don't discuss things you wouldn't talk about with your mother over chat. If she wouldn't understand it nobody will. Ask for a Skype call or just a call if possible (another reason for using skype or something else- do ask your friends to make an account). People tend to make very FINAL decisions if they are not talking to you, like: Never ever, Forget me, and so on. I guess cause it's easier for them to write them instead of saying them. So if you really want to avoid premature goodbyes just CALL!
  • Leadership lesson no 5 in the book I am reading: Think Twice before you Act and especially Overreact! That being said again no "funny" emails and ever lasting break ups over email (and that's happening in some cultures more frequently..unfortunately) Get serious people! Count till 50 and hold that thought before clicking on SEND.
  • Try being there: if you asked a questions once, even not to the same person expect to be asked also. After all friendship it's all about helping each other, that being said for people thinking about it as if this would make friendship a less sacre thing.
Well then the big news is FRIENDSHIP is a common thing and it's a feeling we all should have. Being helpful, careful and nice shouldn't just be towards preferred persons. I know we do that more or less also cause sometimes friends feel like they are less special if they are not the best friend or so. In this regard I must also say that I don't have BEST friends: I do have many friends, they all are special to me and have their own place in my heart but wouldn't treat one differently just because I keep them 2 inches lower from the center of my heart :-) (won't get into advanced discussions on freidnship in our times as this is for awake people and I am somehow in a sleepy mode so maybe I couldn't make you understand me now :-)) So just be good to everyone and don't do anything you would regret later on!

That being said: GOOD Morning, my friends! 4.28am now in Hannover ;-) Back to bed!
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Animal Are You?

After having an "intelligent" discussion I realized foreigners don't know what a VEVE is (VEVE comes from the Romanian Veverita = squirrel= Eichhörnchen in German :-)). And I don't mean they didn't know what veve as word means but why we call people squirrels and why so frequently, cause everyone has in his circle of friends a squirrel (veve, wewe, weawea...or something). Will come back to what defines a squirrel person later :-)

Now second observation: we DO use lots of animals to classify people in my country :-) For example there is the:
  • wolf- bad boy, eats meat frequently when going out, lonely, etc
  • miercat - curious and just looks like that
  • marmot - now marmots are nice :-) they are serious, work hard are creative and can make chocolate and wrap it nicely like in the Milka ad (which by the way is called Paul, nice name for a marmot :-))
  • groundhog - tries to keep everything for himself, collects things, hides them, funny person usually
  • frog, cow, dog, kitty and bunny which are pretty much self explanatory :-)
And of course there is the squirrel: again collecting things, suspicious, eats lots of peanuts, fluffy hair, usually not very tall :-), funny, friendly, loves mountains, has very small feet (size 35 or 36 for Europe) and of course eyes and eye lashes resembling to a squirrel :-). Now what would be such a lesson without an example :-)

So here we have Corina, my favorite veve and loving friend who voluntarily requested to be included in this happymaking session. So to prove why she has such a "squirrelish" behaviour here are some pics:

1. YES, squirrels are convinced they know best :-)...or is it cause she was in her natural environment and playing in the snow?
2. after all they are wild animals and party like you see below :-)3. they hide their food and drinks from hungry some beers (and their repository never gets full..wonder why :-))
4. they always think about something, I would say FOOD 80% of the time :-)
5. and last but not least they consider themselves special and there is NO squirrel resembling to another. So if you have a squirrel around make sure SHE know she is the MOST special one. Ours is pink and is very proud with her pink attitude :
That was it :-) Hope this can help you understand our fun with identifying people as certain animals and maybe identify some yourself :-) #happymaking

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What makes teenagers happy?

High school wasn't that long ago for me :-) so I never really asked myself what makes teenagers happy these days. I noticed however they all tweet, have an ipod, dress pretty Gothic and get drunk too much. But as I can't judge them only from what I see on the streets, I decided to run a small check. So I ended up reading this nice article on what makes teenagers happy:
So you’re between the ages of 13 and 24. What makes you happy? A worried, weary parent might imagine the answer to sound something like this: Sex, drugs, a little rock ‘n’ roll. Maybe some cash, or at least the car keys.

Turns out the real answer is quite different. Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey — more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 — conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people.

Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a significant other. And even better for parents: Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.

Alcohol users are slightly less happy than those who don’t drink. The differences are more remarkable among 13-17 year olds; just 40 percent of those who drank in the last seven days reported being happy with life, versus 68 percent of those who didn’t. And 49 percent of illegal drug users reported being happy with life, compared with 66 percent of those who didn’t use drugs.

You might think money would be clearly tied to a general sense of happiness. But almost no one said “money” when asked what makes them happy, though people with the highest family incomes are generally happier with life. However, having highly educated parents is a stronger predictor of happiness than income.

Soul: Close to half say religion and spirituality are very important. And more than half say they believe there is a higher power that has an influence over things that make them happy. Beyond religion, simply belonging to an organized religious group makes people happier.

Also confirming existing research, Twenge says, is the finding that children of divorced parents are somewhat less likely to be happy. Among 13-17 year olds, 64 percent of those with parents still together said they wake up happy, compared to 47 percent of those with divorced parents.

And parents, here’s some more for you: Most young people in school say it makes them happy. Overwhelmingly, young people think marriage would make them happy and want to be married some day. Most also want to have kids.

Finally, when asked to name their heroes, nearly half of respondents mentioned one or both of their parents. The winner, by a nose: Mom.