Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Happy for No Reason"

I recently saw an interview with Marci Shimoff, author of “Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out.” And she said something really interesting. We all have a happiness set point. And it means that no matter what happens to us in life, we tend to settle around the same happiness level unless we do something consciously to change it.

She said that our set point is 50% genetic (we’re born with it), 10% circumstances, and the other 40% is due to our habits of thoughts and behavior. That 40% is the part we can change. She said we have 60,000 thoughts per day, and for the average person 80% of those are negative. Sooooo…

We’ve got to stop the negative thoughts! And we’ve got to replace them with positive thoughts.

The road to publication and the business of writing can be difficult. None of us is immune to rejection. And then there’s the negative feedback (those painful contests score sheets and tepid or even bad reviews). Even when things are going great, we worry about what’s ahead. We wonder if we can keep producing good manuscripts or if we'll ever sell again. But we have to plow ahead, to keep our chins up and tell ourselves that we’re strong, we’re good at what we do, and we’re going to be successful.

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking I’m a wannabe therapist. It seems with every post I’m trying to force you to do self-reflection. But actually, I think I'm more of a wannabe cheerleader. (Yeah, you guessed it. I was in band in high school.) So here I go once again with a self-help assignment. So sorry! But you have to do it anyway (yes, I can be as mean as Ruthy). :)

Come up with two or three affirmations you’re going to tell yourself this week (and maybe post them on sticky notes on your bathroom mirror). I’d love to hear if changing your self-talk worked for you! I'd also love for you to share what you've come up with.

Gosh, I guess I’ll go first… I’m organized. I’m competent…

I’m skinny.

What? That one doesn’t count? (Don’t you wish we could “self-talk” the pounds away?!) Okay, a third affirmation: I’m creative.

I will succeed! And so will you. Now your turn...

Rah Rah!
Missy :)


  1. Okay, Missy:

    A.: No way in the world are you as mean as me, but nice try. And stop trying to steal my place at the head of the line as the meany-pants Seeker! Sheesh, woman.

    B.: This is a great post about self-affirmation. I have a newspaper article taped above my computer that confirms what I always believed, that enthusiasm and exuberance are to be treasured. The article is a review of Exuberance: The Passion for Life by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. I like reminders that embracing the positives in life IS normal, and that people who don't do that on a regular basis need their butts kicked into high gear.

    C. Food: Next to God and make-up sex (hey, hey, hey, I'm married, okay? Have been, like, FOREVER.... You don't get six kids by accident. Get over it, already!) food is worth getting exuberant about. To that end I brought a host of freshly made Tim Horton's things... Bagels, donuts, timbits (I could eat a hundred of those suckers), tarts and croissants. If you're on a diet, there's a bowl of fresh veggies and fruit, no dip. Gotta help our dieting Seekers and friends. Getting into shape is a noble cause.

    I'm expecting Ann to bring the coffee. Anyone up for bringing cold drinks today? All donations are welcome in Seekerville.


  2. Studies show happy people fight infections faster and tend to live longer than grumpy people.

    Life's circumstances can plow through a person's level of happiness, but if we learn to express joy in all circumstances, those overwhelming times may not seem as bad. Easier said than done, I know. :-)

    I'll contribute blueberry pancakes for those early birds wanting breakfast. Real maple syrup or the store bought stuff? I have both!

  3. OMG I love this. But must admit it reminded me of my weight set point at first. He he.

    I keep saying these things of late to get my career shook up and to help me conquer the fear of that shaking up:

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    If you always do what you always do you will always get what you always get.

    They certainly helped me in my job hunting in May.

    Of course so it saying, I have the mind of Christ repeatedly.

  4. Tina's words of wisdom are also posted above my computer. Smart gal.

    And Lisa, hey! Bring on the real maple syrup, Cupcake. NY is the second biggest producer of real maple syrup I do believe, and I make a GREAT NY style baklava with real maple syrup...

    To die for.

    I'll bring some by later.


  5. What a great post, Missy! Everything you said is so true. The negative self-talk can turn you into a completely depressed person.

    It's funny, but I've always been a pretty negative person (unfortunately), but when it comes to my writing, I established in my mind from the very beginning (or 5 1/2 years ago, when I first started back writing) that I am a good writer who was going to keep getting better, and I was not going to quit no matter what. There have been some really low points this past year, but I somehow just couldn't bear to consider quitting. I was doggedly determined. Still am.

    As for the other areas of my life, I'm still working on being more positive in my attitude! It's hard to change the way you think, but it is possible.

  6. lol Missy,
    I'm skinny and wish I had some curves!

    Thanks for the post!

  7. Missy, wonderful post!!! We all need reminders to think positive. Sometimes I excuse my negative thoughts as just being realistic. But our thoughts shape our reality. I try to remember God gave me the talent and desire to write. He's in control so anything is possible. Isn't that awesome?


  8. I find this extremely uncomfortable.

    Like bragging.

    I will have to consider whether to play or not.

    1) I make good use of idle hours caused by insomnia by writing books.

    2) I have excellent reading comprehension skills (and have the assessment tests to prove it)

    3) I make excellent lasagna
    okay enough for now.

  9. Our regular coffee is 100 percent Colombian, Italian roast. Flavor of the day is French Vanilla, DH's favorite.

    That's really interesting about a genetic component to happiness. I can see that in my extended family and DH's. Some of our relatives just seem to lean toward melancholy no matter what.

    1. I can stay sane for six more days until school starts.

    2. I can balance work and family. Work includes the house, the restaurant and pinch-hitting on the farm.

    3. God has a plan for me, my family and the stories he's given me. I wish his plan included a housekeeper instead of DD and I trying to make order out of a houseful of farmers and farm boys. We girls must stick together.

    I stood my ground but screamed like a girl and that stopped him. That and DH jumping in front of me. (My hero)

    The bull is hamburger, now.

  10. Oops, there's a mysterious fragment that floated in from my clipboard or something -- can we edit our posts?

    Let me explain. We loaded up cattle yesterday, including the herd bull, who didn't want to go and didn't want us out there messing with his cows. He charged me, and then as I said above, I screamed like a girl and that stopped him for a moment.

    I am just happy to be here, given that we were out in the open pasture with no place to go if he went medeival on us. (Poor planning and all. We walked out there thinking it would be quick and easy. Not. Not even a buggy whip in hand. Next time I'm taking a ball bat.)

    That's another affirmation -- God answers prayers.

  11. I'm finally here this morning! Of course Ruthy gets the early bird award. :) Thanks for bringing food I've never heard of. Timbits?? What on earth is that? But hey, never mind. I'm already having a doughnut and carrot stick. :)

  12. Good morning, Lisa! Great point about the immune system boost we'll get from being positive!

    Definitely the real maple syrup! It's why I love to go get Frech toast at Cracker Barrel. :)

    Hey, Ruthy, is the real thing as expensive up there as it is here? I buy a bottle every now and then, but it's like $6-8 for a small bottle!


  13. Hey, Tina. Yep, I thought of the weight set point, too! I did that diet years ago. :)

    I'm glad you mentioned the mind of Christ. One of the other affirmations I thought of was that I'm made in God's image.

    Oh, and Psalm 139:14-- I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made...


  14. I know I'm one of those afflicted with a genetically melancholy personality. Always wanted to be fun and bubbly. SOOO not happening!

    And even though it's terribly hard for me, I do believe in positive self-talk. For one reason, I've experienced firsthand the effects of NEGATIVE self-talk! (And so have my loved ones--BTW, thanks for putting up with me!)

    My favorite affirmation comes from a Beth Moore book:

    "God is who He says He is. God can do what He says He can do. I am who God says I am. I can do all things through Christ. God's Word is alive and active in me. I'm believing God!"

  15. Give me an "M,", how 'bout an "I," throw in an "S", maybe two, and end with a "Y" and what do you have???

    A great post!!! I just LOVE encouraging posts, Missy, so thank you for a great one! And, no, you are not -- nor ever could be -- as "meany-pants" as Ruthy. The woman is a professional who should be wearing a disclaimer, "Don't try this at home." :)

    My affirmations?

    1.) I am not anal (as I spellcheck this post seven times ...)

    2.) I do not have a double chin (at least not after my husband get's done Photoshopping my pix!!)

    3.) My character in book 2, A Passion Redeemed, is NOT a slut (despite what my editor thinks!) :)

    Ooooo ... I feel so much better! Thanks, Missy!


  16. Melanie,

    Great job on keeping positive in your writing. I think it helps that people are always telling other writers to keep at it, to be persistent, etc. From the beginning, I've heard things like, "You can't sell a book until you submit a book." or "You'll never finish a book until you put your rear in the chair and just do it." Also, "If you give up, you won't ever succeed." Those kinds of things have always echoed in my mind. Part of what I speak about at speaking engagements is how stubborness and persistence finally paid off. And of course, I had to wait for God's perfect timing. :)


  17. LOL, Jessica. I'll share. I'm very generous. (If only I could!)

    Or you can just partake of all Ruthy's yummy offerings around here in Seekerville. :)

    Thanks for stopping by this morning.


  18. Thanks, Janet. You know, there is something to be said for being realistic. For example, I know I probably won't ever write 8 books a year (at least not while I have children still at home). That's realism for me. But we can't tell ourselves things like "I'll never make a first sale," or "No one will ever like this story." Those type things are spoken out of fear and/or discouragement. Those are the type things we need to watch out for. With God, all things are possible!


  19. Mary, you're such a braggart.

    Bwaaaa!!!! Had to say that. You set it up so perfectly. :)

    Seriously, you did good on the assignment! Taking your insomnia, which probably drives you crazy, and turning it to a positive. Nice job.

    By the way, when are you going to make me lasagna??! Love it!


  20. Ann, what a scary moment! This city/town girl can't imagine being charged by a bull! :) I'm glad the girly scream stopped him! LOL

    I love your 3 affirmations! I'm in with you on the one about school starting. LOL Mine go on Friday. (I feel like such a horrible parent saying that, though! But they've been fighting like crazy lately. It's time to be back with friends.)

  21. Well, Myra, that genetic component is supposedly only 50%. So just think how much your affirmations can help!

    I love the one you shared. Thank you!


  22. Oh, Julie, you have me sitting here dying laughing! (My dau thinks I'm crazy.)

    Great job on the assignment. LOL


  23. Wow, what a great post. I do believe it's part genetic and then not....part of the nature vs nurture debate I guess.

    Affirmations: I'm organized, determined, and a supportive wife to my hubby of 12 years.

    Great blog, I'll be back!!! Have a great day everyone.

  24. Hi, Sheri. So glad you stopped by!

    Great affirmations. Thanks for joining in the "assignment." :)

    Okay, I'm finally going to go make coffee. I'm in desperate need of caffeine!


  25. I talk to my self all the time, and self says she's doing well.

    Okay, three affirmations...


    ONE::I am confident enough in my feminity to let a man carry the heavy boxes to a moving van, put gas in my car, and pay the bills. In fact, manual labor begins with man for a reason.

    TWO::I'm so luscious I have curves on my curves. Yeah, baby!

    THREE::I can cook so amazingly that my kids don't beg for fast food. Not to mention I'm such an fabu mom that my kids can chew with their mouths closed and can properly hold an eating utensil.

  26. Timbits are donut holes from Tim Horton's, a Canadian breakfast franchise. Tim was a famous hockey player who started a fast-food restaurant chain featuring breakfast food and coffees. How can anyone not love that? Being up north, we got some that drifted in over the border.

    You'd love timbits, Missy. Small. Fresh. You can eat them like popcorn.

    And hey, Jules...

    My dear...

    My friend...

    YES, Missy COULD be as mean as I am if she really wanted to be...

    It would just take a heart transplant, is all! LOL!

    A Southern gal once told me that we northern girls are to be envied because northern girls can tell someone to buzz off, and it's okay. Southern girls... a whole different code.

    But I've seen Fried Green Tomatoes and listened to "Goodbye, Earl" by the Chicks, so I know that Southern girls are just sneakier...

    And deadlier.

    And they eat their prey.

    And feed it to strangers, slathered with 'cue sauce.

    That's pretty mean, but direct and accomplished. My hat's off to them!


  27. ROFL, ruthy!!!

    Yeah, don't tick me off. Unless you want to be on the menu.



  28. Hey, Gina! It's good to hear your voice again.:)

    I love that--curves on curves! That'll be my new description of myself. :)

    I'm still working on the kids chewing with mouths closed. (sigh)


  29. I actually believe that Missy IS really mean.

    but she is also sneaky.
    So we don't always notice.

    Nice work, Missy.

  30. Man, Mary, you're giving away my secret. Hush!

    Missy ;)

  31. Hi everyone,

    Great post! First let me say - MENOPAUSE sucks! Okay, got that negative thing out there. I have become a very irritable, grumpy person lately (PMS X 100) and I'm told it's just the beginning!! OW! I catch myself so often thinking negative things. I think I'll just put affirmations on my forehead! That way my menopause brain won't forget them! LOL.

    And hey Ruthie, I'm so impressed that an American knows about TIMMIES! We are addicted up here. The BEST COFFEE EVER - way outdoes Starbucks. And timbits are a brilliant way to make us weight conscious girls not feel TOO guilty when we indulge. What's one little bit gonna do?

    Okay affirmations: 1) I am a good writer. 2) I am a good person. 3) I can handle the stress life brings me!

    Thanks, Missy.


    Sue (from Canada)

  32. LOL, Sue! I can just imagine what your family will think with words stamped on your forehead. :)

    Great affirmations!!

    But don't you have to eat more than one or two Timbits?? I would think they'd be ordered (and therefore consumed) by the dozen! ;)


  33. Okay, FORGIVE ME, but this just has to be said.

    A treat called Tim Bits. from a guy named TIM and they are tiny dough NUTS.

    I have the most obscene possible ideas in my head.

  34. When BIL is feeling generous he breaks out the Tim Horton coffee. That's after he and SIL have cleaned our clocks at euchre.

  35. thank you, Missy. A great encouraging message on getting rid of negative self talk. I sure did need this post. It's been awhile since I visited here. I'll have to come back more often.

  36. Mary, thanks for jogging my memory...

    How's hubby doing, dear? Glad to have him home again?

    Just wondering when the word Timbits becomes something risque in Nebraska. Yee gads, girlfriend, we need to talk!

    And Susan Anne, WNY has Tim Horton's all over the place. Their franchises have sprung up in all the suburban towns, and some have several. I only wish they had flavored creamers for their cappuccino, which is typical 'mix' style, but reasonably priced and goes well with Timbits.

    (Mary, don't even GO there. Seriously.)

    Ann, we had a young bull that tried to thrash one of our boys when he was feeding them, or some such... Luckily he got thrown clear of the pen because I had no idea it was happening at the time. Pretty sore and sorry afterwards!

    Whenever our oldest daughter handled that bull, she wielded a baseball bat. She was like this lethal blonde from a James Bond flick because she only took so much nonsense and then it was her way or the soup kettle.

    And because he was nasty tempered he ended up as beefsteak. Can't be breeding a foul-tempered bull.

    (If humans followed that logic, the world would be a calmer, happier place. I'm just sayin'...)


    Pat Jeanne, welcome back! Yay, to see you!


  37. Mary,

    I'll never eat Timbits again without thinking obscene thoughts. LOL.
    (Come to think of it, there is a resemblance).


  38. Pat, it's good to see you back!

    I'm back from a cookout held at church for the youth who are heading off to college this week. Going in many different directions. Lots of teary-eyed parents tonight. The kids were all pretty subdued but seemed excited when I asked how they were feeling. There'll be a lot of adjustments over the next few weeks.

    For us, we'll soon be a family of 4 when we go to restaurants. :(

    Oh, I'm supposed to use postitive self talk! Turn that around to saying we won't have to stick a chair on the end of tables anymore. And we won't have to wait longer for bigger tables.

    :( Sorry, I still can't smile.

  39. That bull made 816 pounds of hamburger and assorted other cuts. >:-> (evil grin)

    Big time answer to prayer, though, that nobody was hurt.

  40. 816 pounds?? That would feed an army! LOL


  41. ok i need to get happy as im still fighting a blocked ear (having the issues we had yesterday sure didn't help). But im excited i got on the scales knowing i had put on weight and would be heavier than last time and guess what I have lost almost 2 kilos since last time i looked thats about 4 pounds. I had to recheck i could not beleive it so
    I am getting skinnier,
    My dress for the Wedding Will be finished.
    I will clean the spare room by the weekend. Hows that.

    Oh following on from Julie,
    I will not picture someones head as i chop the wood dispite how good it felt last time! (its such a good way to get rid of anger and annoyance and it was justified anger chopping wood stopped me doing something I may regret.)

    I have another packet of timtams to share (they say i have to take the antibiotics with food and timtams count right!)

  42. Hey, Jenny! I'm sorry to hear about your ear. But congrats on the pounds/kilos! :) What a nice surprise, huh?

    Great affirmations! :)


  43. Thanks Missy it was a surprise.
    the ears been blocked for about 7 - 8 weeks now. i had one lot of antibiotics which helped but didn't clear it just helped with the presure. am on stronger ones now and I have felt slight improvement. but still not popping hopefully in the next day or so. thats what im praying for.

  44. Positive Self-talk, huh?

    Okay here goes...

    I AM an annointed and successful writer!

    My books are selling exceedingly and abundantly more than I can dare to dream, think or imagine.

    People are blessed by my stories!

    Positive enough?

    I've been practicing these things since reading/listening to The Secret in which Marci is a featured speaker.

    LOVE IT!

    Oh, and I'm skinny too ;-)

    Great Post.

  45. Thanks for sharing, Pam T.! Great ones.