Archive for November, 2015

Happy Gratefulness Week!

November 23rd, 2015


Thankfulness and Gratefulness:

This week is the USA’s biggest weekend celebration: Thanksgiving. ‘Tis the season to be thankful, to be grateful. But did you realize it would be good for your health and well-being to really take time and count your blessings?


According to many studies, this is true. Even the New York Times says so:

Even though your (and my) life is sometimes hard, it is important to make that shift from pity party to thankful thinking. Sometimes this is hard, so I have taken a Mashable (American Greeting) blog and put my own twist to it:

Five things to do to be more grateful:

1-Visit someone that has made a positive influence in your life and specifically thank them. I was thinking I might try one a week before Christmas—tea is always good at these times, which reminds me of “A Cup of Christmas Tea”, a wonderful book/poem about relationships: – the gratefulness journal and jar I have already talked about in previous blogs, so I won’t go there.

2-But do remember to smile– your body will feel happier, but the Mashable article and the NYT say so- and I tried it our, myself and think it works. So smile. The world may just smile with you, and even if they don’t, you will feel better.

3-Set a gratefulness alarm. My nephew-in-law takes a photo every day at 3pm and it’s become a kind of portfolio of his various projects. He posts the pics on Facebook—and I am pleased to see them. We, too, could do this: take a photo every day at a certain time of something that we are grateful for. The dog, the warm sofa, the cookies on the table.

4-Keep track of how many times you grip in a day/in a week, and for every complaint, think of two positives that have happened. Keep everything in a positive balance. It is very easy to get into the negative thinking habit and this little exercise might help to keep you thinking more positively.

5-Thank the postal carrier, the garbage collector, or whoever else you may feel is overlooked, but essential to our lives. I think I will thank that bus driver for opening the door and waiting for the elderly woman who was slightly late … I like this one a lot!

Of course, it is also a good idea to take time this weekend, even if you don’t live in the USA, and think of all the things that you are thankful for and give thanks. Really thank God for those blessings, great and small. To end this, I would like to quote a poem I have read a few times and I find it appropriate for the season, it’s Manley Hopkins’s “Pied Beauty”:


Glory be to God for dappled things —

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;

And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.


Besides the NYT, here is the Mashable article:

Should you be interested in reading more about me, you can find me at



We are learning beings

November 19th, 2015

What I have learned in the past two weeks:

I have been home to say the final goodbye to my mom this past week. It has been hard and good at the same time, as often these kinds of turning points in life are. We need to take them as they come, walk through them and learn from them. I have learned a lot from this past month or so. Here are some of the things I have learned:

Being there is more important than getting it done

I didn’t do much while I was home. I am a list person, a doing person, and the list was rather small for the weekend of my mom’s funeral: get photographs copied, let my nieces put them up on poster-board, and shop for cookies and flowers with the family. But the fact that I was there and a part of the conversation, of the process was really important- for my siblings, for my nieces and nephews, and especially for me. I was just there, being me. And it was really important.

Often we are more interested in what we can contribute to an activity or event, but we don’t realize that our presence is present enough. For relationships, that is usually what is needed. Our authentic presence is key.


Express your appreciation as often as possible

I can never say thank you enough. Saying thank you shows your genuine acknowledgement of a person’s kind actions, sentiments and words. That is exactly what I experienced this past week: so many emails, cards, hugs, kind words, gifts of work, gifts of time… the list could go on and on.

My husband and I teach; he in a gymnasium (read Preparatory High School in American English) and I at a Business College in a University. Both of us received condolences, not only from colleagues and the administration, but also from our classes. That was very unexpected and heartwarming. It means a lot to hear this, and to hear concern (and appreciation) in these messages. I will thank them as soon as I see them, even though I thanked them by email, as I was getting ready to leave. I have thanked so many people for their kind words and deeds in the past month, and I mean every sentiment.

A smile and hug are often the best present

Having said that, the most simple of actions can mean a whole lot. A hug. Research shows that a human being needs five hugs a day to survive and even more to thrive. So I must have really thrived over the past to weeks- especially since going back for my mom’s goodbye service. Remember as the holiday season comes upon us to give – and receive hugs. The minimum is five a day. And you will be gifting people with the gift of a warm human touch.

Poignant words at the appropriate time can have lasting impact

I have a good friend who has remained relatively close since college days. She is very good with words, and is very wise for our age. She reminded me over hot apple cider that I am also an orphan now, as she (and my husband) is. My coaching instructor reminded me that my roots have been affected, as is always the case when a parent dies. My words also affect people, and I should use them wisely, too.

Laughter is really a great medicine

In the remembering sessions our family had before, during and after the memorial service, laughter was a key ingredient of the process. We all have funny stories about my mom, sometimes my mom was a privy to them, sometimes just a part, and sometimes the instigator. It was a very healing experience to sit and remember and laugh about so many good times together. I think mom would have been pleased to be remembered in this way and to see her family not only mourning, but laughing together.

This is what I have been learning. We all learn. So, what have you been learning lately?DSCN8921

I would welcome comments or questions at and you can find out more about me and my business at


Touch is medicine

November 10th, 2015

Reach out and get in touch


Literally, I mean.


The last thing you can do to boost your happiness quotient is to give and receive (appropriate) touch. We all know about the research about the babies without any physical touch dying. We all know it, but do we apply it to our lives?


5 a day


Get and give five hugs a day and you will be a happier person. It’s a proven truth; research says so.


“So hug someone today. And do not accept little, quick hugs. No, no, no. Tell them your neuroscientist recommended long hugs. A hug, especially a long one, releases a neurotransmitter and hormone oxytocin, which reduces the reactivity of the amygdala. “


I like the idea of good long hugs. Maybe you know a person who is good at giving and receiving hugs. I bet that person is happy, despite the circumstances. I can think of a handful of good to great huggers and thinking of them makes me smile. Maybe you should make a list of good huggers you know and remember to hug them this week and tell them you like to hug them. Thank them with a big hug.


Texting does not give you any happy hormones, sorry. So, remember to meet up with people in person and touch them, appropriately, of course, and show your appreciation of them.


So, what are you going to do for yourself today to make you a happier person?


Here’s my personal answer for today: Where I live today is a beautiful fall day and I will go out and walk with my dog in the sun, meet a friend for a nice dinner and then go home and hug all the members of my family before we head off to bed. These are my activities for myself, but note that these activities help others, too. When we mutually help on another, that’s really when it becomes a good thing: I am not just taking, but also giving to help others out.


That’s why I say give and receive hugs. It’s for both of us and we feel a connection, both physically and emotionally.


So thank you for reading this. You can fin out more about myself on my website:

And now go and find that friend to hug now to make you – and someone you care about -very happy.


Decisions got you down?

November 3rd, 2015


Just Decide

One of the hardest things for some people close to me is making that decision. It can be very wearing on a person and can even bring you down when you feel overloaded with decisions at work and at home. But making decisions can help you out, especially when It is foggy outside like it is here in Switzerland at the moment.


Decision-making can make you happy. It really can!


Time set aside for decisions

One of the biggest stresses in our lives is to not decide on something, to put it off. So, set aside dedicated time to decide, think and then just decide. Make that time, and you will be relieved, and satisfied.


Emotions set aside

Put that emotional side of yourself, including your ego, on the back burner when you decide so that your frontal lobe is working at its best.


“Imagine your business isn’t generating enough revenue to hit your target. What is the specific cause of this?

  • Do you have a positioning issue?
  • Is your pricing right?
  • Do your potential customers know your brand?
  • What can help you solve these problems?

You will make better decisions by focusing on the facts instead of personal deficiencies. If you need help with anything in your business, from marketing through to customer service, you have options.”


Get help

When you don’t have that expertise needed to make the decision, find someone who does and ask them. Also, a neutral party will keep your decision objective.


Check information and data


Remember that one person’s opinion is just that. It is not statistically sound to base a decision on a few people’s opinions. Make sure you have the right data, and it is really data.


What if?

Make sure you know what happens if: What happens if I do do this and what if I don’t do it? Also, what won’t happen if I do do this and what won’t happen if I don’t do this? What are all the underlying risks? Make sure you know what the worst case scenarios would be.


So, when you are finding yourself stressed, first think: do I have several decisions in front of me? If yes, set aside time, set aside emotions, get help if you need to, make sure your information is complete and correct, and walk through your worst-case scenarios. Finally, just make those decisions. Remember the adage: no decision is also a decision.


Then you will feel better about yourself, relieved from the pressure of those decisions weighing on your shoulders, and ready for a good hike up in the mountains, high above all this fog.


Tell me how your decision-making is going!


So thank you for reading this. Should you be interested, you can look at my website:

the idea for the blog today came from: