My first monthly favorites segment.

It’s crazy how fast time is flying — I can’t believe we’re already a quarter of the way into the year! It feels like it was just yesterday that Rob and I moved into our new apartment, and this was last year June, and it’s nearly a whole year later, and we’re preparing again to move.

I’m overjoyed that Spring has finally sprung…although it sure doesn’t seem like it around here. We were blessed with a Nor’easter on the second day of Spring (Mother Nature seems to be very familiar with practical jokes).

This month also marks my first edition of my monthly faves segment, where I’ll share things about travel, or life in general that have brought me joy, or made life easier, in the hopes that it will bring some sunshine or have some usefulness in your life as well.

 

March Favorites

Video | Chade-Meng Tan leads a ‘Google Talk’ session entitled Joy on Demand

I was introduced to Chade Meng Tan by the WNYC Studio podcast ‘Note to Self’. I randomly downloaded a twenty minute episode from December 2017 where the host documented Chade-Meng Tan’s approach to finding happiness. The former Google employee shared that he always felt miserable, no matter what happened in his life. There were moments that brought him joy, but these were only for brief periods, before his unhappiness would return, and how meditation helped him to discover inner joy. This definitely struck home for me, so I googled his name the next day hoping to find more content, and found this gem.

If you have the time, please watch the entire talk. It’s truly powerful, and can help to make a difference, if you are a miserable soul (like myself). In his talk, he assigns two simple activities that are guaranteed to bring some joy to your day.

Activity 1:

“For five seconds…bring full attention to one breath…total but gentle attention. One in breath, out breath.”

Do you find that you are calmer after the breath? He explains that when you bring attention to one breath, you activate the relaxation response. By giving total attention to one breath, you are in the present, rather than focusing on worries of the future or the past. He explains: “When the mind is at rest joy will arise. And when the joy arises, use the joy to reinforce the ease.”

Activity 2:

Take ten seconds to wish happiness for two people. “Identify two people, and then secretly think..I wish for the person to be happy, and I wish for that person to be happy.”

Do you find yourself smiling during this? I was surprised to find that it made me smile. Chade-Meng Tan explains the reason behind this: “One of the most important secrets of happiness…to be on the giving end of a kind thought is intrinsically rewarding.”

I have incorporated these two simple activities into my day to day, and it has really been making a difference.

Travel Website | Skiplagged

I discovered this website through the Zero To Travel Podcast Website.  If you have travel plans in mind, the Skiplagged website can be a wonderful resource. Through the site, you can research prices from your home city to anywhere in the world, and when I say anywhere, they literally have a destination option labeled “Anywhere.”

Skiplagged screenshot

A snippet of the destinations they found for my dates. There were 53 destinations total, including other places in Canada, as well as the U.S., Caribbean, South America, and Europe, all under the $1,000 price range.

What I also thought was cool was the pricing graph. When you decide on one particular destination, the interactive graph shows the price changes within about a 30 day period from the dates you selected.

Quote | “You have to be the kind of person who can make the best out of a Tuesday. You know those people who live for the weekends? They’re wishing their life away. You have to find something worth living for, or else you’ll look back and realize you’ve wasted your life away.” – Drew Marvin

On a random Tuesday morning, I stumbled across this quote on Pinterest, and I have to tell you, it was a powerful reminder to embrace every single day. As one of those people who continuously looked to the weekend, it spoke to me.

This month, I’ve been making an extra effort to look for the positivity in everyday situations, the “thin slices of joy”, as Chade-Meng Tan said, and this quote has helped me to remember that I have the power to change any situation for the better — and all I need are positive thoughts.

 

Please leave a note in the comments to let me know if you’ve tried anything from this month’s faves list.

 

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